Friday, January 30, 2009

“Coulda,” “Shoulda,” “Woulda”: the Wrong Words to Say When You Look Back on Your Relationship or Marriage

A MUST-READ ISSUE! How often do you use the phrases “could have,” “should have,” and “would have”? If it’s more than very rarely, it’s a good sign that you’ve got some room for major and easily-achieved improvement in your relationship and your life in general.

It’s another wonderful Friday morning as I write this, and after the weekend will come another of 52 great opportunities you will have this year to start the week off right. Make the best of it. If you haven’t already made your plans for the week, make them over the weekend, and include some form of self-improvement in each of three areas: your personal development, your career development, and your relationship with your partner (or preparing to have a great relationship with a partner if you don’t currently have one).

Wow! Stop and think about this for a minute. You have 52 chances every year to begin a week the right way and get things done. By the same token, you have 12 chances to start a month right, 260 or more chances to start a work-day off right, 52 chances to start a weekend right, and 365 chances to start a day off right, with a bonus chance every four years. That’s a huge number of opportunities to improve! Have you ever thought about what happens as you let all these opportunities slide by unused?

Time passes, and your life with it – the most precious resource in all the universe, and one that you never even know how much you have left to enjoy. When it passes and you don’t avail yourself of the opportunities it presents, the end result of all the boredom and frustration that breeds is resentment, a grudge against yourself for not living the best life you could live, but few of us ever recognize resentment as the result of our own choice.

People often transfer that grudge to other people because they don’t take responsibility for their life. They sit around singing the old “Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda” song and making themselves miserable, as well as most of the people around them. How attractive do you think that can be? How much of your company do you think your partner (or your friends or your employer, for that matter) can even endure, let alone enjoy, when you’ve become poisoned with resentment to the point that you have developed the mentality of a defeatist, or a victim? Right, not much. What can you do?

You watch for opportunities and you take action, of course! If your partner does something that annoys you, don’t spend months or years resenting it, talk to them about it and see if there is some alternative, or even better, full resolution. The person you live with is the last one you want to resent, because they are supposed to be the one you spend the greatest amount of your life with, right? And if you choose to not tell them that you have a problem with something they are doing, it’s entirely your fault that you are annoyed and feeling resentment, not theirs. It can’t become an issue for them until you tell them it is an issue for you!

If the company you work for has a policy or other employee that annoys you or you think could be improved, don’t just sit around resenting it; discuss it with the appropriate person. It’s entirely possible that nobody noticed the problem you noticed, and also possible that everybody noticed but you were the only one who had the guts to stand up and say something. That can get you promoted or fired, and if it gets you fired, you’re in the wrong company anyway. Work for a company where your insight and initiative will be appreciated -- and paid for!

If after you notify them and they choose to do nothing you are still dissatisfied, find a new place to work! The worst job in the world is the one you resent getting out of bed to face in the morning, and again, that is YOUR choice. Choose to pursue your passion instead of just dreaming about it. Dreaming a dream only makes you a visionary if you pursue it; dreaming dreams that you never pursue makes you a loser.

What about your friends? Are they really friends? If they are, you can talk with them about things that are problematic in the relationship you have with them, and if you can’t, they’re not really friends after all, are they? You can’t expect them to mold their entire life to suit you, but if you’re allergic to tobacco smoke you can ask them not to smoke in your house when they visit, or if you’re allergic to pet dander you can ask them not to bring their pet with them or leave it outside when they come to visit.

If they have a different political or religious preference than you and it seems to be a sore spot, you can ask them to stop trying to convert you and just agree to disagree. “Here’s the deal: you don’t invite me to [go to your church/be a conservative/join the PTA], I won’t invite you to stop [going to church/being a liberal/being in the PTA].” If they can’t afford you the respect to make your own choices after having heard whatever they have to say once, they’re not a friend, they’re a crusader, and you don’t need that around when there are so many other people around who could be good friends, right?

What about other opportunities that come up between you and the world? The opportunity to start a small business, trade cars, get a great deal on a piece of real estate? Before you pass them up, take some time and give them an objective look if they interest you in some way, instead of looking back from some point in the future and saying that you “shoulda-coulda-woulda”.

What are you going to miss if spend an hour checking out some seemingly great opportunity, an episode of “Law and Order” or “CSI”? Or “American Idol”? (Give me a freaking break!) What might you gain? Or what loss might you protect yourself from by doing a thorough investigation instead of being caught up in the emotion of the moment and just jumping in – the other side of the opportunity coin?

There’s a word for people who sit around saying “I could have,” “I should have,” “I would have,” and it’s not a nice one. It’s spelled “L-O-S-E-R,” and combined with the resentment that it forms, it earns you a second label, spelled “W-U-S-S.” All your incessant telling of tales of woe over all the things you should have, could have, and would have done earns you a title as well, “BORING,” which you may remember as the one word above all others that you never want to have a woman assign to you if you want to live happily (and intimately!) with her. Combine that with “wuss,” and you’re done. Period. End of relationship.

Take a look around you, a close look, at your life, your career, your relationship, and how you view the world and your place within it. If you don’t like what you see and it makes you complain to others or silently grumble to yourself, exercise some personal initiative and make some choices and some changes! You don’t have to become a storm trooper or a steam roller, just start taking action according to some well-researched and well-constructed plan that will provide what you want in a consistent pattern of sustainable growth.

You don’t have to move the Earth to be known as a guy who gets things done; you just have to be seen getting things done consistently, and be known for your successes instead of your whining and complaining about what you didn’t do, but should have, could have, or would have done. That’s what makes you an achiever, and a winner – and attractive. Just start looking for ways to gain either achievement, resolution, or closure, and simplify your life.

Why the self-improvement sermon? Do you have any idea how attractive it is to a woman to be with a man who takes action? Who is pleased with his life? Who wears his successes like a badge of courage with grace and dignity? I’ve asked hundreds of them, and received the same answer from all of them – it drives them absolutely wild because it’s adventure and romance and they live vicariously through it, savoring the emotions of success and celebration – but don’t take my word for it, ask a few yourself!

Ask them not what they look for in a man so much as what they see that makes them sit up and take notice when a guy walks into a room, and when he speaks, whether to them or not, what makes them feel drawn to him to get to know him better and crave his attention and to spend time with him. They will tell you it is self-confidence, the bearing of a man of action that draws them close enough to see if he also has the brains, sense of humor, and naughty streak that makes him the real “catch” that they want to spend a lifetime with.

Relationships can be tricky beasts to say the least. People can spend years, even decades in relationships that simply suck the life out of them, filling them with resentment and poisoning their very soul because they never committed the simple act of evaluating the relationship and either making some adjustments or finding one that they could happily live in. Are you one of these people?

Some couples spend as much as decades together never really knowing each other because they never commit the simple act of trying to improve their ability to communicate with each other, in spite of the centuries of time and effort that have been spent writing books on bridging the male-female communications gap. Are you one of these people?

Some couples spend years together just getting along day-to-day, letting life slip through their fingers while they are bored to tears, looking for help, excitement, and even love in all the wrong places, like flings and affairs, trendy focus groups, magazine columns that give the opposite advice this month that they did last month, never finding what they’re looking and maybe even never realizing the full extent of what they are missing. Are you one of these people?

If you’re any or even all of the above, you can find answers and genuine, guaranteed-to-work help in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” 118 single-spaced pages of an instantly downloadable e-book, dense with information tested and proven by 118 couples during its first writing and many more since it was published. It’s working for everybody who’s using it, and it will work for you, too.

So what are you going to do? All you risk by taking action is the time it takes you to read the book; what do you risk by not taking action? A lifetime of unhappiness? Celibacy? Finding your partner cheating? Maybe finding them cheating AGAIN? Or perhaps getting caught cheating yourself? How about losing half or more of all you own plus unfettered access to your kids? You might gain something though, all that free time that you’ll have when your wife and kids are living with some other man. Are you up for some of that? It could be coming your way a lot faster than you think, especially if your sex life has slowed considerably, which is both a cause and a symptom of a decaying relationship.

It’s far easier to fix things at home if they can be fixed than any other alternative you have, so jump over to and get your copy of this truly amazing book right now, instead of saying at some time in the future that you should have, could have, or would have.

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

David Cunningham

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