Saturday, August 16, 2008

Unringing a Bell: Negotiation in Relationships and Marriage

A man writes with a real problem. In his absence, his wife applied a lot of effort and expense to make the master bedroom evolve from “nice” to “drowning him in estrogen,” and he hates it. How does a man approach a woman to change this – or anything else that he doesn’t like -- without starting World War III?

Did you ever hear somebody talk about a problem that made you just cringe because you could really empathize and feel their pain and frustration? I got one from another David, apparently a fellow Southerner. Meet David F.:

Hey David,

Man I could use your advice on a problem that is making me want to move out of the bedroom I share with my wife. My wife is one of those chronically nesting women that love to redecorate at least every year or so, especially the master bedroom. They tell you they do this to spice things up. I have no problem spicing things up or even making changes to make them look better, however I do have a problem when the place I am supposed to be able to relax in, make love to my wife in and get a good night’s sleep in ends up looking like an explosion in a flower garden.

I have known for a couple of weeks now that my wife was wanting to make changes to our bedroom and had no problem with her doing so. She has always had what I consider good taste and has always managed to make things look nice while keeping in mind that it was our room shared by a man and a woman.

Last night I returned home from a short business trip to find that our bedroom was no longer a room that a man would feel comfortable in, unless he was more woman than man. A brief description of what I walked into was this: the walls have been painted peach, now not just any peach almost a neon peach and if that was not bad enough there is a border around the top of the walls that all I can say about it is it is a mixture of the biggest ugliest bunch of flower I have ever seen mixed with all shades of color. We now have lace window curtains with a matching lace comforter and dust ruffle. The pillows have lace pillow shams over them and I am not allowed to hardly touch them much less lay my head on one. To top it all off we now have “accent pillows” as she called them covered with satin roses.

I feel like setting fire to the whole room and just letting it burn. I asked her what happened to making the room male-friendly so we both could enjoy it and she just smiled at me and said, “I thought you would like the change.” What I would like to know is where the pod is this woman came out of while I was away. This is a nightmare and the worst thing is that she is so proud of herself and this room that I am not sure how to handle telling her that it has to go without making it seem like I am being an asshole about the whole thing.

How about helping a brother out with this and tell me how to point her in the direction of returning this to OUR special room, one we both can be happy in instead of a recreation of the room she had when she was living with her parents and the room did only belong to a real girlie girl.

Appreciate it,

David F.

(Gentlemen, note that while David’s problem is centered on the redecoration of the bedroom, the following advice applies to any situation where something is done that you don’t like after you failed or refused to be involved in a decision or process, so keep reading!)

Appreciate you (that’s Southern for “thanks for” for all non-Southerners) writing David, and thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite classic Sci-Fi movies (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) with that remark about the pods! Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that your wife has been replaced by one of the pod-born zombies…

Women don’t miss details about you like that. The average woman, especially the really girly ones, are ultra-sensitive and ultra-thoughtful when it comes to the likes and dislikes of those around them, especially those under the same roof. If she submerged your master bedroom in an estrogen ocean, she knew that you wouldn’t like it when she did it; however, she did NOT do this out of spite, so calm down before you get riled up (that’s Southern for “pissed off” for all non-Southerners – LOL!).

Seriously, she did it to get a reaction; yep, you guessed it. It was a test. How do you know? You knew about the impending redecoration event for a couple of weeks, then it happened while you were out of town. If she was really looking to rile you, she wouldn’t have said anything and would have gloated and been pissy when you returned to find it, trying to rub it in and rile you good (yes, that does mean “really piss you off good” – okay, I’ll stop. I just get a kick out of living in the South because we have our own version of “English”). So what’s really going on?

You were gone on a business trip; have you been paying enough attention to her? Or have frequent business trips made her feel a little ignored? Did you listen to her when she tried to speak with you about her decorating plans, or did you just shrug her off and say, “I don’t care, Honey. Just do whatever you like,”? Somewhere along the line, you’ve dropped the ball, and she’s calling it to your attention, hoping that you will be motivated to listen to her next time and really hoping that you don’t act like an ass over it, or even worse, just wuss out and not say anything at all.

First, don’t worry about all the stuff she bought. It’s possible that everything but the paint and the border can either be returned, gifted to someone, or has been borrowed. In any case, what she spent to teach you this lesson was a bargain compared to what a divorce would cost you if she just let it go unaddressed until she got good and riled (I know, I know, but I couldn’t resist!) and kicked you out of the house, so get over it. She’s looking for you to say that you don’t like it, but you need to be decent about it. How?

She’ll likely make comments from time to time about the room just to invite you to say something; remember that almost all communication with a woman takes the form of a negotiation. If you want to be smooth about it, but a little on the wussy side, you can wait for her to bring it up, but it’s better if you lead the conversation by initiating it yourself by asking HER if SHE really likes it as much as she thought she did when she first did it. If she’s extremely merciful, she’ll say, “No, it’s not really exciting me the way I thought it would,” or something like that, and if she’s really wanting to rub your nose in it she’ll say, “Yes, I do! Don’t you?” or even worse, “Yes, I just love it! Isn’t it great?”

Either way, it’s an invitation for you to say that you don’t like it, but you can’t just blurt out, “Hell no, I think it sucks. It’s just too girly.” That’s what a moron does, not a gentleman, or a loving partner. As always, you must try to keep the tone positive. “I’ve tried to get used to it and give it time to grow on me (which is covering your ass for not saying something immediately, and she knows this, but you have to follow along and you do get bonus points for playing the game with her), but it’s just not happening. You’ve always been so tasteful and considerate in making this room good for both of us and I probably should have said something to acknowledge and thank you for that before now, and I’m sorry that I haven’t. I know you probably put a lot into this, but I would be a lot more comfortable in here if it were more similar to the way you have been doing it, and I’ll be happy to help you make whatever changes are necessary since I didn’t speak up when I had the chance before this was done.”

Do you see the difference? First, you’re trying to do things on her level while not being feminine about it, which is attractive. While apologizing for not paying enough attention to what was happening and being more involved in it, you’re not sucking up, and offering to help is not buying her off; it’s just common courtesy. You’re acknowledging your own mistake, but the apology is simply expressing the recognition of error, not begging forgiveness. Acknowledging her past efforts to be considerate of you is also just common decency, not sucking up to get out of the doghouse. Also notice that you’ve not said anything derogatory about what has been done, only that you would be a lot more comfortable if it were done without so much feminine flair. And the best part is…

You don’t have to explain any of this to her. She knows what every last word on the lines and between them means, and will be happy, although maybe not overtly so, to fix the problem. You may end up doing a lot of the work, and making trips to the home center to get supplies, and fielding a few odd glances and remarks about how it would have been better if you had said something before she went through all that trouble, but you earned whatever hard time you got by being inattentive, so suck it up and enjoy the time together. Find ways of interjecting some playfulness, including some naughty playfulness, into the situation from time to time. It makes the work go by faster and brings you closer together, especially when the lights go out at night.

Now, the most important lesson of all. If you had read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you would not have had any chance of going through any of this, because you would have known better than to make the mistakes you made. You would have known that you needed to be more attentive because you would have seen the signs long before she hosed your bedroom down with concentrated estrogen.

You would have known to “give her the gift of missing you” (thanks to David D’Angelo for finding such a memorable way to say that) while you were gone, and how to make it a positive event for her instead of either a wuss-fest of calling all the time or a scary ordeal of solitude, as most men do when they go way for a few days. You would have known what to do before you left and while you were gone to help her to look forward to your return and think wonderful things about you in your absence. All this and much more (see the list at the web site!) is waiting for you in an instant download at, so get on it, now, before you come home to a teal house with fuchsia shutters and your neighbors (at least the women) know you still don’t get it and are being punished again.

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

David Cunningham

Friday, August 15, 2008

How Do Honey-Do Lists Affect Your Relationship and Marriage?

We all have them. Some of us find them amusing and fun, while others hate them as the bane of their existence, a constant source of stress and a major hurdle to doing anything that they may want to do. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded “Honey-Do” list. How you handle it has a HUGE impact on your relationship, and it can be good or bad. The good news is it’s YOUR choice, not hers…

Welcome to yet another Friday (as I write this on Friday evening!), gateway to another weekend. What are you going to do with it? For some of you, it’s your last day of rest before another frustrating and laborious weekend spent trying to shorten your “Honey-Do” list.

I want to ask you a really simple and blunt question: WHY???

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself a single question about your honey-do list, let alone all of the pertinent questions? Well brothers, it’s time.

The first question you need to ask yourself is why you have a honey-do list (hereafter referred to as simply “the list”) to start with! To answer that question, we need to consider the various reasons that women construct the list, and then look at what is on YOUR list to verify their intent. Ready?

Some of the reasons women construct this list are logical and productive, others amusing, and still others downright diabolical. Let’s take a look at these.

1. It makes you look and feel important around the house

2. It makes you unavailable to look and feel important around other women

3. It helps distribute the task load so that you each have equal free time

4. It helps distribute the task load so that she has more free time and you have less or none.

5. It gets things done that she is unable to do herself

6. It gets you to do things that she could do herself so that she’s free to have fun while you’re working on the list.

7. It promotes a feeling of cooperation and teamwork

8. It creates an investment in the relationship that you will be reluctant to cash in

9. It makes good use of otherwise idle time

10. It puts her in complete control of your free time and ensures that you won’t be tempted to have any fun of any kind without her, even though she may be having loads of fun without you while you’re working on the list.

11. It’s more affordable for you to do the work instead of hiring it out

12. It frees up money for her to spend on other things, which will be purchased when she’s out shopping while you’re working on the list.

13. It lets your wife see you acting competently and confidently to get things done.

14. It lets your wife see just how much crap you’ll put up with from her – TESTING!

What’s the first thing you notice about this list? How about that there are an equal number of good and bad reasons for the list and its elements, and that each good reason has a directly opposing bad reason? That means we cannot make snap judgments and say silly stuff like, “My wife would NEVER do that to me,” or “My wife is such a nagging, selfish witch that she’s just making me do everything so she doesn’t have to,” so drop any preconceptions and let’s look at the facts of your relationship through a few other simple questions.

How many of the things on your list are things that:

…your wife is unable to do?

…your wife is unable to help you with?

…you do well and/or enjoy doing?

…you don’t do well and/or despise doing?

…your wife offers to help you with or you will be doing while she is working on something else?

…your wife informs you that you will be doing while she is out shopping or doing something fun?

The answers to those questions will tell the tale. They will also tell you what you need to do about your list!

If there are things on your list that your wife could do, why isn’t she doing them, or helping you to do them?

If there are things on your list that you hate to do or aren’t skilled enough at to do competently and safely, why are they not either being done by your wife or being hired out?

If there are things on your list weekend after weekend that you are doing while she is out having fun, when did you hand over your testicles to her?

Yes, I DID say that. Committed relationships and marriages are partnerships, are they not? That doesn’t mean that you do all the hard stuff while she has all the fun any more than it means that you drink up your paycheck every week and beat the hell out of her to keep her in submission while you spend her paycheck to keep the bills paid. It’s a two-way street, and if you’re not doing your share of traffic control, somebody else in your house is “wearing the pants in the family,” as the saying goes.

So what do you do? That depends on what answers you have to all these questions, but when you have the answers, what you do about it will be self-evident. If your tasks are on your list for the right reasons, have fun with it. Open some negotiations and playfully challenge your wife on her contributions, get her to help you with the items on the list, etc. Tit-for-tat (no pun intended) can be a lot of fun.

If however, your list turns out to be a “massive cargo of bovine fecal matter” (a big load of bulls**t), it’s time to turn the tables. Tell your wife that you’re done spending every free minute you have working on the list while she’s out having a good time, and that she’s going to share responsibilities, to include taking up a part time job to help pay for things that need to be hired out if your financial situation calls for it. If she threatens to leave over it, let her go; either she’s testing (women do a lot of that, remember?) or you just flushed out a spoiled brat or a gold-digger who was taking a free ride at the expense of your life and hard work, and life’s too short to live like that.

Gentlemen, it’s really just this simple: If you are referring to your wife as your “ball and chain,” you’re either married to the wrong woman, you’re allowing her to take advantage of you, or you’re being punished for not stepping up to the leadership position that you are supposed to be filling, whether it’s intentional or not.

These problems are entirely correctable, and only serious cases of incompatibility or skullduggery require divorce to correct them. Most problems, honey-do list and others, require only that you stand up and act like a man, taking a leadership role (not a controlling role, mind you) in the decision-making, resource allocation, etc., and then inviting, listening intently to, and considering your partner’s input if she has any before finalizing decisions. Can you do that?

Certainly, but maybe not in your present condition. To lead you need to know about leadership, and to lead a woman you need to know about women: how they think and communicate, what they want, need and expect, what turns them on and pisses them off. You got all that under control there, Sparky?

If not, go to and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and get it under control, quickly and effectively, as have the many before you who have done everything from stopping divorces dead in their tracks to making mediocre relationships the envy of the community.

Who am I to make such a claim? The translator for several hundred women who contributed to the content and have watched their husbands become the man of their dreams. If you’re going to ask for advice, go to the source, somebody who HAD the same problems as you and fixed them, not somebody who HAS the same problems you do and miserable, or worse yet, has never had the problem and has only an opinion as to why you do or what to do about it.

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

David Cunningham

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Effects of Cooperation and Competition on Relationships and Marriage

Committed relationships thrive on cooperation, not competition. Is competition killing your relationship? Would you recognize it if it were? Believe it or not, many don’t, because it’s not always obvious…

I hope you’re enjoying your day. I had to run some errands a while ago, and everywhere I went I noticed couples in heated competition, arguing about purchases, project details, child-rearing issues (one couple was standing in the middle of a shopping mall concourse yelling at each other over whether their 14-year old daughter was going to date a college-age young man!) and it was so painfully obvious that if these couples were focused on WHAT was right instead of WHO was right they’d be living much happier lives.

A committed relationship or marriage requires two people to coexist, preferably in the pursuit of mutual goals, or at least compatible goals that conform to shared values. That’s what being well-matched is all about; and what gives you something to talk about and work together to achieve, without which the relationship eventually falls apart, being unable to withstand the pressure of the vacuum that forms between the two people.

This requires cooperation, which in turn requires that you have compatible values; otherwise, the two of you will be competing to force your values to be the standard by which the whole household conducts its business. Let’s look at an extreme example just because the extreme ones are the easiest to see and take the least explaining:

Imagine a capitalist and an altruist are married. The capitalist will make decisions based upon what promotes his or her well-being and that of their family, while the altruist will make decisions based upon the ideal that he or she is his or her neighbor’s keeper, seeking to give away everything that the capitalist wants to use for the family.

Their value systems are stark opposites, and therefore there can be no cooperation; the directly opposing value systems cause the couple to constantly compete to try to live within the constraints of their value system, which will destroy a relationship every time because there is no win/win scenario for the majority of decisions they have to make, and compromise fulfills nobody. The bottom line is that they never should have entered into the committed relationship because it was doomed before it ever started.


Not everything is a question of values. Two people can have common values and be striving toward a common (or again, at least compatible) goal, but have different ideas about how to achieve it, and all too many couples make the mistake that I’m about to describe, especially when one is creative and one is analytical:


…or whose idea is the right idea, etc. The creative person will incorrectly see the analytical personality as a stifling constraint to their artistic liberty instead of a very valuable filter that can keep them out of trouble and from wasting time, life, and other resources in the pursuit of the unattainable or self-destructive. Conversely, the analytical will often incorrectly see the creative as a flakey pain in the buttocks who is too busy going off on absurd tangents to focus on the issue at hand.

Notice that I said that BOTH are incorrect!

If these people were focused on WHAT was right, and the most efficient and rewarding way to achieve whatever was before them (COOPERATING!) instead of being focused on WHO was right, meaning who’s smarter, who’s in control, who’s getting their way this time, etc. (COMPETING!), the creative could see and be thankful for the analytical’s ability to work through the various options and find the one with the least risk and greatest reward, and the analytical could see that the creative was capable of brainstorming and presenting options that may not occur to the analytical, some of which may be far better for their mutual success.

By taking advantage of their functional differences through cooperation, the couple is brought closer together, seeing each other as complimentary and therefore valuable instead of irritating, building trust and intimacy through cooperation instead of frustration and resentment at having to endure and lose frequent arguments.

The former of these scenarios builds self-esteem, love, trust, respect, and loyalty, while the latter destroys them all. While you would be hard pressed to put a capitalist and an altruist, an atheist and a zealot, a soldier and a pacifist, etc., under the same roof for any length of time and expect anything but misery and a break-up, putting two people together who have different “brain-wiring” but common goals, values, and interests can actually be a very intense and rewarding relationship instead of a recipe for divorce.

It’s all in the choice to focus on what is right or best and cooperate to identify and do it instead of focusing on who is right or best and having to compete to see who is going to win each battle while both ultimately lose the war, a war that shouldn’t be fought in the first place.

I saw at least fifty couples today in a three-hour period for whom this concept would have been one of several “magic bullets” that could have made their obviously strained relationships happy and rewarding. Many of these couples looked like they’d been together for several years (to wit, having a fourteen-year old daughter), and had been miserable for most of that time since they had worn down to the point of no longer trying to paint on a smile in public and opening fire on each other like that, at the top of their voices in the middle of a crowded mall.

Would you have been one of them?

Do you see where you could slowly be becoming one of them?

If so, you don’t have to live that way. Cooperation starts with a CHOICE to cooperate, to know, recognize, and value your partner’s differences as something that can benefit the two of you instead of something that rubs you the wrong way. It requires open, deliberate communication, and a healthy amount of self-esteem, trust and respect – all things that you should have had from the start, and unless you have opposing, competing values, can still be developed much quicker than you might imagine.

To learn how, go to and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and get your relationship back on track. You and your partner should be and can be cooperating as partners, not hacking at each other as competitors; life’s too short to spend it competing with the people you live with.

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

David Cunningham

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Confidence Building: Yet Another Crucial Part of Great Relationships and Marriage

One of the greatest things you can do for your relationship is to build self-confidence. Here’s why, and more important, HOW…

I just got off the phone with a man for whom I feel incredibly sorry. I’m not one generally given to pity, and usually hold people accountable for their choices, but this guy had been hammered into the ground from birth, programmed for failure and zero self-esteem to the extent that he didn’t want to accept that feeling any other way was even possible, let alone normal.

I’ll spare you the details; he basically grew up in a home with a single mom who was abandoned when she found out she was pregnant and hated men, and had the bad fortune to be pregnant with a son who looked identical to his father. She’s spent his entire life abusing him and blaming him for her bad choices, and has him convinced that he is totally worthless.

Needless to say, he’s never had a good relationship with a woman. He rarely even gets into a relationship because he rarely gets a date, let alone a series of dates from which a relationship can grow. After about two hours of discussion he finally started coming around to the idea that he really has a choice and asked how he might go about building self-esteem and confidence. What follows is the advice I gave him, at least parts of which should be useful to all of you.

Self-esteem is defined as regarding one’s self with respect, recognizing one’s own value. It has to be there to recognize it, and when it’s there it MUST be recognized and accepted. You must know that you deserve whatever life you have by virtue of whatever choices you have made, and that if you have made bad choices, you simply must make better ones to make your life better.

To some of you that will sound terribly simplistic and self-evident, but you’d be shocked at how many people I’ve counseled or encountered at seminars who think that their value is determined by what OTHER people think of them and not what they think about themselves. To make matters worse, people who look to others for their self-esteem are often so afraid of what others think that they will either withdraw completely or go to the other extreme and become an acute approval-seeker, which is self-defeating since nobody will respect anyone who seeks their approval.

As an aside, many women suffer from a particularly nasty variation of this condition. Because of their social nature in combination with having had their self-esteem hammered into the ground almost since birth (by the beauty and fashion industries, other destructively competitive women, predatory men who know to abuse women to get them in approval-seeking mode, etc.), they anticipate all possible criticism and negative comments about everything going on in their life, and then respond as if that criticism and those comments had in fact been made.

This leaves them constantly feeling under attack by those around them when in fact they are their own attacker, and it leaves those around them wondering what they did to deserve such a tongue-lashing or thinking the woman is paranoid. Should you see this, try to talk with her about it and take whatever measures are necessary to build her self-esteem, or else she may end up going down and taking you down with her.

Now, getting back to you, once you have taken responsibility for your choices and have thereby empowered yourself to make more and better choices, assess yourself, and see what value you have. Take stock of your good and bad traits, and see that the good ones outnumber and outweigh the bad ones; if they don’t, that just means you have more choices to make and corrective actions to take than the average guy, so don’t panic. Building a man is a lot easier than building a house if the man desires the improvement.

It is crucial that you appreciate all the good things you find in yourself. If you are a talented artist, a skilled craftsman, a competent manager or decision-maker, don’t just blow that off as something that you were born with. Even if you were born with it, you still had to DO SOMETHING WITH IT to recognize your talent. If you haven’t done enough to feel good about it, take that as your cue to start doing more to leverage your existing skills and talent. Why?

Self-esteem and ultimately confidence comes from achievement, and nowhere else. And yes, even the smallest accomplishments count! The more you accomplish, the more you feel qualified and prepared to accomplish more. That feeling of readiness to face new challenges is the very essence of confidence, and recognizing that state of readiness is the essence of self-esteem. It makes you more able to face the potential for success and adversity with the idea that you can influence and survive the outcome.

Why am I talking about confidence in a newsletter about relationships and marriage? Because women absolutely love it! And when they see it genuinely exist in their man, they will whip a running saw mill to protect him and their relationship. Why?

Because they literally dream of finding a man who feels good about himself. Such a man is low-maintenance and potentially high-excitement, and what’s a woman’s greatest enemy? All together now, 1…2…3…BOREDOM!

Yes, that’s right. Everybody who said “boredom” gets a gold star.

Did you ever hear a woman say that she wants a man who makes her feel safe? Did you make the mistake of thinking that she was talking about having a man who was just a bodyguard? Probably, so here’s the low-down:

When a woman says she wants a man who makes her feel safe, she’s talking about a man who will not play games with her feelings, or be so caught up in his own drama that he allows her to drown in hers. She’s talking about a man who won’t consign her to being bored to tears and feeling like life has no purpose because he’s too busy whining about his own problems.

She wants to feel like part of something worthwhile, and like the man she trusts as her partner is qualified to lead her without being an ass and trying to control her. In short, she’s talking about having a man with healthy self-esteem who values himself and her, and knows how to interact with her in a way that is complimentary instead of competitive, or even worse, parasitic or predatory. That’s why women flock to a confident man like ants to sugar, and why when a woman has such a man, she’s just as likely as not to kill to keep him.

So there you have it, and I’ll bet it’s nowhere near as hard as many of you thought. I hear so often that confidence is something that “other people are born with and I’ll never have” that it’s sickening, because it’s simply not true. You can have it, indeed, you can EARN it, and it’s simply a matter of making some choices to identify and accept the truth about yourself and then improve on it if necessary.

I don’t walk into a room feeling confident because there’s a 99.9997% chance that I’m the smartest guy in the room, even though it’s true according to IQ points, or because there’s a lot of things I could do better than anybody else in the room, even though that’s true as well. I walk into a room feeling confident because I know that no matter what happens in that room, I’m going to meet interesting people I can speak with, laugh with, and if appropriate, learn things from and accomplish things with; no matter what happens, I can make a contribution that enriches my life and the lives of others and very likely take something with me when I leave the room that also improves my life. What does that tell you?

It tells you that confidence is not a matter of how you stack up to the other people in the room; it’s a matter of how you see yourself in being able to survive and flourish the events of the foreseeable future. And that, brothers, is precisely the measure of a man, and when you measure up, the people around you recognize it, involuntarily, and respond to it, especially your partner.

It’s literally the single best thing you can do for your life, and it’s either the best or second-best thing you can do for your relationship, depending on your communications skills; for some, improving your inter-gender communications skills will provide more improvement in your relationship because you can’t get along if you can’t communicate, and we’ll get into that in other lessons – indeed, MANY OTHER LESSONS.

Or, instead of waiting for more lessons, you can just grab the bull by the horns and dive in head-first by going to and getting your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and accomplish in hours or days what might take months or years otherwise. Talk to some of the confident people you know about their rules for success, and one of the things you’ll hear is “Never put off until tomorrow the things you can accomplish today.” Truer words nor better advice were never spoken…

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

David Cunningham

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is Somebody Bringing You Down? Insidious Killers of Relationships and Marriage

There are some people who not only don’t want anything in their life to go right, they don’t want anything in your life to go right, either. These people will pose as your friends, but if you carefully listen to them, you’ll know they don’t act like friends, because every time you get excited about something going well in your life, they have something negative to say. These people can even end up being your partner or your spouse, and if they do, they “gotta go!”

I had a run-in with a defeatist this morning, and it reminded me that defeatists, people who are simply resigned to the prospect of defeat without regard for real chances of success, are a scourge not only to all achievers, but to relationships, since a great relationship with them is not possible and a great relationship in their presence is something they will fight tooth-and-nail, and I want to make sure you can recognize them and get them out of your life before they can do too much damage to you or those you love.

You shall know these people by their works, as the saying goes. They lead a mediocre life at best, always complaining about some problem, always a day late and a dollar short, and always trashing any idea you have to get ahead or trying to tell you that whatever success you just experienced will have to be short-lived because they tried it and it didn’t work out for them.

The plain and simple truth is that these people refuse to see themselves as successful, and to confirm that success is impossible, they have to obstruct everyone else’s success in whatever way possible, else their little delusion explodes and they have to admit that success is possible and it’s their choice to fail that has caused them to fail all their life.

You do know them, huh? Maybe some of these:

The guy who says the car you’re trading up to is a piece of crap, and Consumer Reports only says it’s good because they’re taking money under the table.

The woman who says that the business you want to start can’t possibly succeed because everybody knows there’s no real market for something like that, and only by dishonest means can you ever make a living selling real estate, manufacturing some way cool new gadget that the world is begging for, or performing a service that everybody and their brother is asking you to quit your job to come to do for them.

The guy who spends more time bitching about not having a job, or more effort trying to look like he’s trying to find one while milking unemployment insurance for every penny he can get, than it would take anyone to actually get one.

The chronic chemical abuser who says there is no sense being clean and sober because they couldn’t do anything worthwhile anyway, and by the way, neither can you, so you might as well join them for a few drinks, smokes, pills, etc.

The zealot who greets your ambitions with sermons about how “money is the root of all evil,” and “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and telling you that you should be volunteering for their pet charity instead of starting or expanding your own business, trying to make you feel guilty about wanting to improve yourself and your situation.

I’m sure you get the picture by now. No matter what you want to do, they say it can’t work, and no matter what you do succeed at, they say it can’t last, or they want to throw some obstacle in your way, like guilt.

There are three basic scenarios in which these sorry people can have a negative impact on your life and especially your relationship, if you let them. Above all else, keep in mind that they can only impact your life if you let them, because you always have the choice of eliminating them, even if YOU are the defeatist; we’ll talk about that scenario last, so pay attention, because it’s the biggie.

The first scenario is where someone who doesn’t live in you household is the defeatist. Maybe a co-worker, somebody you erroneously regard as a friend (no real friend who values you and whom you can value can truly be a defeatist – they are more likely to be some kind of dependent and need you rather than care about you), or even a family member who doesn’t live with you. These are the easiest people to dispatch, because you can give them two choices, to straighten up and support your aspirations or stay out of your life; you can ultimately hold them accountable for their choice by cutting them out of your life if they don’t get with the program.

Yes, they might get pissy, and might say bad things about you, but while they’re sitting around talking about how you cared so little about them that you just went off and succeeded without them (a defeatist’s favorite lament), you’ll be off succeeding without them! Big whoop, huh? Hardly…

In the second scenario, the defeatist lives in your household. Ouch. That either means family member or some down-on-their luck “friend” (yeah, right, see the first scenario) that has suckered you into taking responsibility for their bad judgment. This scenario is considerably tougher, but still ultimately in your control; you may just have to pay a higher price for their cooperation.

Sounds harsh, huh? Well, yes it does, until you realize that the defeatist is so efficient at killing any chance of good fortune they might have that they almost always end up in trouble as a result of their own choices, not random events. Yes, there were certainly some defeatists displaced by Hurricane Katrina or a tsunami, and one could reasonably argue that at least some of those were there by choice (to stay when they could have left and ultimately to live there at all) as well, but regardless, they would be doing it to themselves if natural forces weren’t doing it to them, because they choose failure after failure. What do you do with them?

The same thing you would do with the ne’er-do-well in the first scenario – you give them the choice to straighten up or leave! By continuing to support them as they destroy their own life and try to influence you to destroy your own, you are “enabling” them! And they will reward you handsomely by inviting you to join them in their pity-party, and may even let you continue to pay their bills while they’re sitting around too depressed to look for a way to fix their problems and regain their independence, if they ever had any.

If you know a defeatist, look at their life – indeed, check out several. See how many are living in really bad rental housing, shacked up with friends, parents or other relatives (well into adulthood!), and how many of them are working minimum or near-minimum wage jobs when the average person of their age and expected experience level is at twice that or better. There may be some emotional repercussions from ousting them, but can you afford to be influenced by that failure-mongering attitude? Can you afford to have your partner or your children (if you have any still at home) influenced by them, or disrespecting you because of your failure to rip them from your jugular vein? Get them out of there before they impact your relationship with members of your family.

But wait! What if it is your partner that is the defeatist? Does that make a difference? Should it? Think with me for a minute here. You’re on an ocean liner, it’s going down, you and the rest of your family and friends are on a lifeboat, there’s still more room and plenty of supplies, but your partner says, “no, I’m just going to go down with the ship, because if I get in that raft, nobody’s going to find us.” What do you do?

Do you step out of the raft and back onto the sinking ship to go down with them when there was clearly an available and attainable choice to live??? Not me, nor anyone else who realizes just how precious a resource your life is. Being on that sinking ship – that they choose to go down with rather than to step on the raft – is a bad choice on their part that does not in any way create an obligation on your part.

Repeat after me: “A bad choice on your part does not create an obligation on my part.” Again. Again. Keep going. Yes, again! Keep repeating it until you understand it, accept it, and can live it. You may choose to help somebody out of a tough spot, but there’s no good reason for you to sanction and enable someone’s stupidity by bailing them out of a bad choice that was made simply because they wouldn’t acknowledge the possibility that they could succeed at something else and give it a try.

If it’s your spouse, give them some time, support, and even professional counseling if they need it, as well as ample opportunities to succeed so they can learn that they can indeed do it, and hold them accountable for both the outcome and a timetable for an outcome, and if they just can’t make the choice to snap out of it, fire them! It may cost you half of everything you have, but that’s better than having the defeatist costing you everything you have, including your life.

Hmmm….who does that leave for the third scenario? Well, yes, YOU! If you are the defeatist, you’re in big trouble, because everyone around you either pities you, is annoyed with you, or flat out wishes you’d find somebody else to bring down with your negativity. Yes, YOU are the one who may be about to get the “shape up or ship out” ultimatum, and no, there’s no nice way to put it, they’re really feeling that way!

But, since it is you who is the defeatist, it is you who has ultimate control as to whether that defeatist philosophy and attitude gets fixed! You don’t think it’s you? Well, take the test. If as you read the preceding paragraphs and kept feeling you needed to defend those mentioned because they just couldn’t help making bad choices because everybody always makes bad choices and nobody does anything right except by luck, guess what! You’re a defeatist!

If you are the defeatist, denial time is over. All these things I’ve been talking about doing are subject to be brought to bear against you, and somebody may already be contemplating it. You’ve thought all your life that you couldn’t succeed, and as long as you thought that, you were right, precisely because you thought it.

Ask any achiever about happiness and success and they will tell you two things: Success is a choice, and hanging out with losers is something they won’t do.

So start by choosing to believe that success is a choice, then pick a successful person and learn from them. It doesn’t have to be a Fortune 100 CEO, just somebody who is living a life that you would like to live. Model their behavior, especially how they think about life, success and achievement. It will give you the picture of success to move toward, the thought processes to help you get there, and the confidence to continue succeeding and be strikingly attractive to your partner! Then instead of wishing you were somewhere else, everyone will want to be around you and doing things with you for a change. ‘Nuff said!

Folks, success and happiness really are choices you can make, no matter what it is you want to do, as is a great relationship. You must choose to believe you can succeed, you must choose to act to succeed, and you must choose to eliminate anything from your path that will keep you from it.

If you’re having relationship or career troubles, or any kind of trouble, seek advice from those who have successful experience upon which they can base good advice, not somebody who whines about how there’s no use in trying. Don’t waste your time discussing your plans, hopes, and dreams with someone who plans for nothing and expects nothing but failure, hopes everyone else will fail to validate their own failure, and dreams of nothing but rationalizations for their own failure, or seeking advice from those who obviously have none of value to offer.

If improving your relationship is on your list of things at which you want to succeed, there’s a ton of good advice in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” It’s tested, proven, and works. Download your copy today at, because success is a choice, your choice, as is a truly great relationship, and what you need to know to get it done is just a few mouse-clicks away!

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

David Cunningham

Monday, August 11, 2008

What to Do When She Gets Bored: Saving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Relationship and Marriage

Boredom is every woman’s arch-nemesis; it literally poisons them and threatens their life and sanity. How can you spot it, and what can you do about it? You’d better know, because left to her own devices, you may not be part of the solution, or if you are, you may be wishing you weren’t!

When I was researching "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" women’s biggest and loudest complaint about their men could be summed up in a single word: “BORING.” It’s the last word you ever want to hear a woman use to describe you in any interaction with them, no matter who they are or the nature of the relationship.

I received a letter that I want to share with you, because in one respect it’s sad and in another it’s downright annoying. Meet Dan:

Dear David,

I am writing this letter in hopes you can help me. It seems of late that my wife is not as interested in me as she used to be. I have tried all types of things to get her back to where we were a year ago when we got married, but nothing seems to work. I feel neglected, and it’s starting to feel like she is getting bored with me. The tone in her voice is different and sometimes she makes me feel like I am just a toy to be used when she needs one.

I want her back the way it was when we had fun and I was not worried about upsetting her with what I had to say. I love this woman in every way possible and can not imagine my life without her in it. It’s just like I never say the right thing to her anymore. Could you please tell me what I could be doing wrong?

Thank you for your time,

Yes, Dan, I can, but before I do, I want to ask you a question: I get letters literally every day from people who read this newsletter and especially those who are using "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" talking about the great results they get and how fast they get them, and how their wives no longer see them as a boring dolt, but as exciting and fun. You’ve been subscribing for several months now. Do you know why are you not getting the same results?

The short answer is because you’re not really reading these newsletters, which describe all these problems to you, and you’ve not yet read and used "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" in your relationship to learn how to recognize and fix these problems. I give more advice on this subject than any other, and you haven’t been paying attention. Now your situation has become critical, so listen up while you still have a chance to fix this.

Your wife is indeed bored, and if you’ve been reading even a small percentage of the newsletters I’ve been sending you every day you know that she needs you to do something about it. That’s your job as her husband. Take responsibility and get it done.

You should also know by now that she has been trying to communicate precisely what she needs to you, but because you and she are not wired with the same biological communications circuits, you’ve not been hearing her, and she’s thinking that you’ve heard her and chosen to ignore her. That’s a bad problem, and the reason that she is now making you feel neglected.

In addition, you should know that what she is needing for you to do to break her boredom is to create attraction for her, to give her that “swept off her feet” feeling from time to time, which gets her neurotransmitters, endorphins, hormones, and everything else in balance, saving her from that antsy torment that causes women to seek and create drama to substitute for the attraction you are failing to create.

The other thing that you should know by now is that if you don’t do something about this, she will, and at best, you’ll find yourself dealing with the spill-over from the drama she creates and at worst you’ll be dealing with affairs and even divorce that are used in a last-ditch effort to communicate to you that either you shape up or one of you is shipping out, if she gives you that last chance; many women will just divorce a man outright without a second thought once you let them go this far if another man creates attraction for them.

Obviously, the thing to do to fix all this is to go ahead and get your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and put it to work. Depending on how fast you read, the average person can get through it the first time in 2-4 hours, and it’s a book that you’ll want to re-read periodically as your experience base broadens and your skills develop.

In its pages, you will learn how to evaluate yourself, your wife, and your relationship, making it easier for you to know what’s broken before you start trying to fix things, or if you and your wife are so mismatched that fixing it will never be possible. You’ll learn how she communicates, so that you can finally pick up on all those signals that you’ve been missing all your life. You’ll know what makes women tick in general, and what they want, and with your newly-developed communications skills, will know your wife so well that she’ll describe you to her friends as “he always just knows what I want.”

And finally, you’ll learn about attraction, what creates it and what kills it, and that because it is a biological, not logical, process, you will always be able to give your wife that “swept off her feet” feeling that keeps the two of you intimate and keeps your life fun and exciting, both in and out of the bedroom, and save her from her arch-enemy, boredom.

So there it is, Dan (and YOU!), all spelled out. All that’s left for you to do is go to, download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and put it to work for you, because it’s the best thing you as a man can do for your marriage, and one of the most fun things you’ll do in your entire life to boot!

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

David Cunningham

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sweeping a Woman Off Her Feet, A Cornerstone of Great Relationships and Marriage

Do you know what it takes to really sweep a woman off her feet? Unlikely. Legend has it that it takes a mansion, cars, money, jet-setting, etc., but that is unmitigated “bovine feces” (B.S.!). Sweeping her off her feet requires nothing more than creating a special feeling – one that she will kill to keep once you create it for her – through entirely natural and fun means!

I keep getting mail from men and women that refer to “sweeping her off her feet.” It would be comical to go through what most of the men think that sweeping her off her feet entails, if it weren’t so pathetic. I’m not going to print letters from the men because I don’t want anybody being embarrassed by seeing their effort used as an example of what to avoid doing or thinking on this most sensitive of issues, but we are going to talk about it, in detail, from both sides of the issue.

In a nutshell, the guys keep asking the question, “How do I sweep her off her feet when [I’m not/I can’t/I don’t have/etc.]”

What they aren’t, but maybe could become to some degree, is dashingly sexy and handsome, rich beefcakes.

What they can’t do, at least today, is be dashing, charming, traveling with their women all day every day, shopping like there’s no tomorrow without a care for where the money comes from.

What they don’t have, at least not yet, is a few million bucks, a mansion, an island retreat, exotic car, private jet, country club membership, huge male organ (which, by the way guys, is grossly unpopular with many women because while it’s fun to look at, a 10-inch long “member“ being forced into a 4”-6” long vagina HURTS LIKE HELL according to the women, at least those who have not yet had a hysterectomy!), etc.

You know what? Not one bit of this matters!!! At least not to any woman worth having. Yes, many of these things CAN be used, because some women do respond to some degree to some of these things, but when women talk about being swept off their feet, these things aren’t what come up on their wish lists.

When women talk about being swept off their feet, they consistently mention self-confidence and sense of humor (especially a naughty – but not trashy and especially not demeaning or disrespectful -- sense of humor) more than anything else. They mention “having him know what I’m thinking,” but when questioned on this point, will eventually explain that they don’t really expect a man to be psychic, but they want a man who listens and picks up on all their signals (non-verbal stuff, like body language, as well as hints, etc.) to the extent that they can tune in to what the woman wants and even anticipate it.

They also mention a man who acts with and even defines and exercises authority by making decisions, being intelligent – even an expert on something – and leading conversations, not to mention knowing how to lead a negotiation with them (yes, most conversations with women involve some sort of negotiation!) without trying to dictatorially control (bully) the conversation and outcome.

And more than half of them, believe this or not, said that they liked being grabbed, pressed up against a wall, and aggressively kissed and ravished. But there was a deviation amongst those that responded this way that means you must be very careful. A few said this scared them, some said they liked this, but liked for it to go on for a minute or two and then be left hanging so they could anticipate the finish later in the evening, while others just wanted to go for broke.

I noticed in two polls that I did early on that women who said this kind of sudden action scared them had also been abused or forced into sex, and described themselves as chronically insecure. The most secure of the respondents said they liked to be “pounced upon” and then left hanging, to be ravished fully later in the day or evening.

You might be shocked at just how much a woman will tell you if you just ask her in a way that says that you’re genuinely interested in hearing what she has to say. And feel free to discuss this with your wife, and I do mean DISCUSS; DO NOT ask her permission. Tell her that you’ve heard about this and are curious as to what she thinks about it.

She’ll tell you how she’d react, because that is the question behind the question and that’s how women speak. But beware: if she says she would like or love it, use it sparingly, else you’ll spoil it for her by burning her out on it so that it bores her instead of giving her an adrenaline rush. Indeed, wait several days before doing it the first time, as she will be expecting you to do it immediately, and will love the anticipation and suspense of waiting and the adrenaline rush when it finally comes after she’s stopped thinking it’s going to happen.

This sudden ravishing is alpha male behavior that flips attraction switches like mad, causing undamaged women to go nuts with excitement and desire – the FEELING of being swept off their feet, walking on clouds being overwhelmed with anticipation of the next meeting with a man, his next smile, next touch, next authoritative statement or naughty remark, etc. Mature women who are the picture of sense and sensibility can be observed giggling like school girls when under the influence of this feeling, because it is that rare and delightful for them. It makes them feel alive like nothing else can; not just alive, but excited about being alive. It’s the extreme opposite of that dreaded curse of curses to women everywhere, “boredom.”

No matter whose advice you read or follow, read a romance novel or two to see the examples of the scenarios women fantasize about and the details these fantasies are built upon – and be smart about it by picking them off the best-seller list or asking a couple of really “girly” girls for their favorites – and tune in to the descriptions of this feeling in the characters in the books, and also pay some attention to what goes on to create that.

If this sounds like a stupid idea, think about this: If you are not invoking attraction in a woman, you are at least boring her, if not annoying the living hell out of her. Being able to sweep a woman off her feet is the second “Holy Grail” of a lasting relationship, only infinitesimally less important than a high degree of compatibility. It’s magic if you can pull it off, and guaranteed hard times if you can’t, because you will be failing to fulfill one of her most basic needs.

When you’re boring a woman you are in an adversarial position, trying to gain or regain her favor. Now, if you were commanding an army against another army, and could read their Standard Operating Procedures manual and high-level stratagem papers to find out how they could be expected to behave in a given situation and how they could be expected to respond to a given maneuver, wouldn’t you? Sure you would! So what’s the difference, other than the obvious difference that a woman can be turned from adversary to ally much easier than a soldier?

For that matter, why do you think there are so many women subscribed to this newsletter and buying my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage”? They want to know what you are being told, to know what to expect of you, if you’re smart enough to follow good advice! They also want to understand their own attraction mechanisms better, and want to identify the core of what makes some men so exciting so they might get a good one, possibly instead of the incredibly attractive losers, users, and abusers they’ve been dating in the past. Take a cue from them and get with the program! They’re a lot better at playing the relationship game than most of us are, so learn from them, especially their diligence in learning about and actively managing their relationships.

What else can I say, Gentlemen? Women are buying and reading this book, writing in daily saying that it’s “spot on” and they wish their men would read it or that they have their men reading it, and it’s working for them. I have their letters to prove it. You can see a few of their testimonials in the archive at the address below and at, and download your own copy while you’re there. Several hundred of them have provided the information to create and maintain this book (can you imagine several hundred women agreeing on anything???), and their men put it to the test and confirmed it before the first copy of the book was ever sold, so if you want to sweep your partner off her feet, get your copy today, not later, because life is too short to waste it living less of a life than you could live. Never put off until tomorrow the improvements you can make today in any part of your life.

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

David Cunningham