Monday, October 06, 2008

What a Marine Can Teach You to Help Your Relationship and Marriage

You might be shocked at what you can learn from a Marine gunnery sergeant about how to be the kind of man with whom every woman wants to be in a relationship. Check it out!

I got a great e-mail from my top student telling the story of a Marine gunnery sergeant who displays an attitude that every man should have regarding all phases of his life. The story was published on September 24, 2005 in the Omaha World-Herald at and is unfortunately no longer available in their archive, which apparently only goes back 21 days, a real pity in this case, but it’s still circulating in e-mail. However, it is reprinted here without their permission.

There was an outstanding photo posted with the story, one in which you can
see what a real man looks like; he’s flipping a “one-finger salute” to the people who tried to blow him up.

I want to make it clear that I am in no way making a statement about U.S. involvement in Iraq. That’s an issue for some other venue; our discussions here are therapeutic, not political. My sole focus here is on “Iron Mike’s” attitude, one that clearly demonstrates that there is not a victim-like bone in his body, and that’s what I want you to see and focus on, regardless of your politics or views on the military or any war.

Here’s the article (which may be an excerpt from the article, judging by the lead-in, which implies that there was more text before it):

Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as "Iron Mike" or just "Gunny". He is on his third tour in Iraq. He had become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour. Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had arrived at a chaotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. He chose not to wear the bulky bomb protection suit. "You can't react to any sniper fire and you get tunnel-vision," he explains. So, protected by just a helmet and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposal officers term "the longest walk", stepping gingerly into a 5ft deep and 8ft wide crater. The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his 7-inch knife to probe the ground. "I found a piece of red detonating cord between my legs," he says. "That's when I knew I was screwed."

Realizing he had been sucked into a trap, Sgt Burghardt, 35, yelled at everyone to stay back. At that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below the sergeant's feet. "A chill went up the back of my neck and then the bomb exploded," he recalls. "As I was in the air I remember thinking, 'I don't believe they got me.' I was just ticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything from the waist down."

His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. None could believe his legs were still there. "My dad's a Vietnam vet who's paralyzed from the waist down," says Sgt Burghardt. "I was lying there thinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, 'Good, I'm in business.' "As a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. "I decided to walk to the helicopter. I wasn't going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher." He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered salute. "I flipped them one. It was like, 'OK, I lost that round but I'll be back next week'."

Copies of a photograph depicting his defiance, taken by Jeff Bundy for the Omaha World-Herald, adorn the walls of homes across America and that of Col John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi, who has hailed the image as an exemplar of the warrior spirit. Sgt Burghardt's injuries - burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks - kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But, like his father - who was awarded a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam - he stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against insurgents who are forever coming up with more ingenious ways of killing Americans.

Now, do you see the point? Forget the war, the military or the fact that he’s in it for a minute, and focus on the man. Even while he’s sailing through the air, he’s not having the thoughts a victim would have. The “society of victims” mentality has not reached this man. How does this apply to your life, and your relationship?

Imagine that instead of touching off an incendiary device, one of your coworkers, or closer to home, your wife barks at you. Do you go off and sulk, whining because they were out of line? Or do you handle the situation and do what is required to resolve it?

I’m not saying that Iron Mike’s anger is how you should meet every conflict, and I sincerely hope that mentioning that wasn’t necessary, but you never know how people take some things. The point is that instead of acting like a victim and giving in to the aggressors, he stayed focused on the situation, kept his wits about him, and most importantly, kept his head held high, remembering his position as a leader and making sure that he maintained an effective leadership image for the sake of those who looked to him for that leadership.

This is the attitude that women respond to. I can’t say that all of them want it or that all of them who do want it even know they want it. Predatory and parasitic women only want such a man to the degree that he will continue to allow them to feed off of him. Abusive women and women with control issues will feel attracted to such a man, but their mental and emotional damage will often make them resent him and want to tear him down. Such women are losers and deserve losers, and you should not concern yourself with pleasing them, but with identifying and avoiding them at all cost, because they are going down and they are looking for someone to go down instead of them; ultimately they’ll just find someone whom they will take down with them.

Any good woman will respond to a man with such an attitude with respect (if she has any for herself) and with attraction. Mix in a sense of humor and adventure and you’ll be the man of every woman’s dreams. That’s the good news…

The bad news is that you can’t fake being this guy. You have to BE this guy! You have to feel good about yourself, realize that you deserve whatever you earn and set about the task of earning what you deserve. You have to make the conscious choice to stand up and be a man, not some politically correct wuss who leaves all the decisions to a woman and has more clothes and skin care products than she does, nor some dumpy slob who embodies and projects half the self-respect found in your average pile of dung.

That’s the key to Iron Mike and all of us who are like him, and that means there’s more good news: I very deliberately used the words “make the conscious choice to stand up and be a man,” because that’s what it comes down to. You may not be able to choose your moment of death, the cards you draw in your next poker game, or whether you’ll walk into a Fortune 500 company unannounced and expect to take the CEO’s job, but you can choose the attitude and values with which you meet the world, and if you don’t take responsibility and make that choice, somebody will end up forcing their own upon you, and you’ll just be the wuss that let them get away with it.

So stand up! Get on your feet, get your chin up off your chest and stop looking at your feet. Look to the horizon, and plot a course for getting there. Look people in the eye when they address you and as you speak to them, not at your feet or off into space. Get your shoulders back where they belong and get your hands out of your pockets. And while you’re at it, tuck your damned shirt in and get a decent haircut – respect yourself and look the part. That “I just got out of bed and don’t know how to dress myself” look may be trendy, but that doesn’t mean it looks good, and if you think it does look good, take that as a red flag that your self-respect has bottomed out.

You don’t think so, huh? Women have this thing I call “girly radar.” They can pick up on a wuss, a lie, or lack of self-respect from a long distance. Find a place where a bunch of slobbish-looking guys with “bed hair” hang out, and before going, get a classic, well-groomed haircut, shave, and dress in inexpensive but well-fitting clothes that are laundered, pressed, and squared away – casual slacks, button-down or golf shirt tucked in, with a belt, and shoes that generally match the belt. Then go into that place and walk up to that gang of women standing or sitting dressed to the nine’s that none of the wusses are talking to and just smile and say “Hi!” They’ll pick up on the image of self-respect and confidence instantly, and the only one’s who won’t be interested are the predators looking for a sugar daddy; they’ll smile and then notice that you’re not wearing designer clothes and realize that you won’t make a good target.

Well gents, there it is. The value of self-respect is greater than any man who doesn’t have it can imagine. Develop some, and protect it with your life, and then watch how both women and men, but especially the woman who lives in your home, respond to you.

That will get you on the road to success, but you’ll still need a thing or two, like good inter-gender communication skills, to build that relationship of your dreams. None of that is hard, either – you’ll find that three simple rules govern nearly all communications between a man and a woman – but it’s not obvious. If it were you wouldn’t be reading this trying to learn what you need to know. How about some more good news?

You don’t have to spend years picking through my newsletters and blog posts to figure out how it’s done. What you need to know has already been compiled, tested, and proven, and it’s in my e-book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," which you can download at I suggest you do so right now, because now that you know you have a choice to make, you also have a responsibility to make it, and life tends to punish those who fail to make a choice just as severely as those who choose poorly.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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