Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Preparing for Valentine's Day, a Great Way to Turn Things Around in Your Relationship or Marriage

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you need to be thinking about it now, not on your way home from work on February 14. Here’s some help in the area of choosing the right gift.

Before we get into how to get prepared for Valentine’s Day, I want you to read an excerpt from a letter I got from one of my female readers who “felt” that I wasn’t aggressive enough in trying to make sure that you understand the idea of “mutual consent”:

...A man can create attraction and a woman can respond physically but not really want to do anything with this man. I have been in this situation. If I had been asked verbally there is no way that I would have gone through with it. Many women, especially younger women, feel great expectations to be sexual; our society promotes the idea that a man's way goes. Many women have been raped in this way but because they did not say no verbally they feel like they cannot complain or acknowledge the pain men have caused them. While having non-verbal consent is fine especially in an established relationship. I especially like the quote you had a while back where the man (I cant remember his name) said “I lean in 90% for the kiss and she comes in the last 10%.”

Also while I am a fan of the rough hasty sex described the other day, I have a warning for the men who do this: if she is saying something do not assume it is positive. Having to say stop 3 times with the last a yell is a very frightening experience.

Men pay attention to your partners. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men have been sexually abused. Many things may be frightening for you partner. This is why consent is so important you do not want to damage your partner and as the statistic shows it is very likely that one of your partners has been abused. I also believe if more young men and women were taught about the importance of consent verbal or non-verbal many accidental rapes could be prevented.


If our society really promoted the idea that a man’s way goes, I and the entire marital and dating advice industries would be out of a job, because the biggest problem women voice to me and the other gurus is that men are wusses who won’t engage properly in sex play (this reader might be quite young and dealing with horny teenagers who have boundary issues instead of men). But that aside, Her concerns for men (and women) respecting boundaries is legitimate. So once again, Guys, “no” means “no;” don’t ask for sex, but don’t push it on a woman either; and the straightest path to the bedroom is playing and teasing her so that she gets all amped up and takes YOU to the bedroom. (And read my book so you’ll know the right way to go about that! LOL!)

So let’s get to the Valentine’s Day fun!

I got a question from a reader a few days ago that reminded me that it’s time to prepare for St. Valentine’s Day. Those of you who are historically-inclined know that this day was originally instituted as a day for old flames to get back in touch with each other, back in the days when very long courtships were the rule and women didn’t approach men; it was acceptable on this day for women to contact a former suitor and invite him to resume his pursuit, although a proper lady would never do so in so many words, of course! The mere announcement that she was widowed, or her engagement was broken for some reason, was “understood” as the invitation. ;-)

It has since evolved into an occasion upon which women expect “romantic” gifts, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make with many of them is the traditional, boring, and very impersonal dozen roses and box of chocolates. A woman wants a gift to be very personal, regardless of cost, so that she knows it was carefully chosen – or even constructed, if you are good at creating gifts of any kind – just for her. One of your fellow readers has seen the light, and asked for help. Meet John:

Hi David,

I have read your book and have seen the light. After 12 years of marriage I have slipped into pre-packaged holiday gift mode. I am having trouble coming up with new ideas for this Valentine's Day. Could you recommend some new ideas? My birthday is a few days before the 14th and my wife has planned a short trip out of town for us that weekend. Last February we were talking divorce, this year after reading your book and actually seeing that I had become foolishly predictable and boring, I've turned OUR life back on. I am now running out of ideas to keep her on her toes. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank You

My reply:

Hi John!

Congratulations on getting things turned around! If you're like most men, you're not running out of ideas, you've run out of inspiration and need a quick refresher course on the art of choosing gifts for a woman to remind you of where to look in your life with your wife for ideas. I could name off a hundred things that somebody else’s wife would love that your wife may have no interest in at all, and would in fact be insulted by, because they aren't something very personal and obviously chosen specifically for her. This must come from within you, because you are the guy who lives with her.

Start by going back to the gift section in "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," which is short and to the point, and then I'm going to give a list of a few newsletters that expand on the subject. As you read these things, plug you and your wife, your upcoming plans, your history, etc., into the processes and examples and you'll most likely be flooded with very good ideas.

(Those of you who have not yet downloaded your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" can find that same gift advice in my free “What Women Want” report, which you can download at
your convenience.)

After you do this, whether you come up with ideas or not, write back and we'll do a quick double-check and either make sure you've made some good choices or figure out what got in the way of you making a good choice and get you moving on the right road. This is one of those "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him to fish and he eats for life" kind of things, and luckily, what you need to read to review doesn't amount to more than probably 3-4 pages at most, because the subject really isn't that difficult once you recapture that "groove" that you know you're going to get back into when you start reading; you'll knock her socks off for sure!

Here are the issues you need to read:

Buying the Perfect Gift (11/27/08 - This is the book excerpt on gifts, in case it's easier than finding your copy of the book, and you can skip it if you have your book or my free “What Women Want” report handy).

A Female Reader Writes in About Gifts (11/13/05 - Probably the best newsletter on the subject after the excerpt from the book)

How Much Is Too Much? (01/09/09 - Defining the rules about excessive gift-giving, expectations, buying love, etc.)

Ballroom Dancing (10/09/05 - Ballroom dancing lessons are still a huge romance and attraction-builder, especially if your wife likes to dance!)

Girls and Their Toys (11/22/08 - about women and adult toys, in case your wife likes naughty things)

(For those of you who have never visited my newsletter archive, the address for the archive index is and it's just plain HTML web pages. You scroll through the directory to find each article and just click on the link to get it on your screen, then hit the "back" button on the screen or press the backspace key on your keyboard to return to the directory.)

And by the way, double congratulations for having the forethought to deal with this now instead of on February 14, like 99.8% of other men will do. That's the mark of an achiever, and you get bonus points for that!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David Cunningham

Gentlemen, this really isn’t that much reading to do if you don’t remember the material, so don’t let the fact that it’s five articles deter you from doing this right. There are few things that you can do for a woman that endear you to her like selecting a truly great gift for her, not because she’s some kind of materialistic gold-digging “ho,” but because choosing a great gift for a woman requires that you pay attention to her, know intimate details about her, and consider those things when buying or making something for her.

Most women would melt over a carefully-selected bunch of wildflowers, that contained scents and colors she liked, and only perfect flowers, maybe matched her eyes or something like that, and possibly were accompanied by a brief handwritten note that said something like “You’re my favorite thing, of ALL things…” than a dozen roses or orchids with a piece of jewelry hidden in them and a $10 super-card from Hallmark.

Every woman can receive roses, thousands of women can receive that same piece of jewelry, and who knows how many people receive that same card? BUT! There will never be a bunch of flowers like the one you picked ever again, and if what you wrote on the paper was something she’s never heard, doesn’t sound “canned” (so don’t be an idiot and copy something cute from a card, because many women spend a lot of time browsing card verses in stores looking for good cards and emotional rushes), and is something that she would expect you to mean when you say it, it’s just for her too, and devastatingly special. And let’s not forget the bonus of including something small and durable that can go into her “treasure box” to remind her of her favorite times with you when she feels lonely, down, or really ticked off at you!

Indeed, one of the greatest stories I received from a reader featured a “card” that was a short note written on a sticky note (like 3M “Post-It” notes) and was stuck on a picture of the two of them wrapped in plain brown paper. The paper was from a grocery sack from the grocery they first shopped in together after they got married, and inside was a picture from their honeymoon in a frame that he had made in his shop from magnolia wood, her favorite flowering tree. The total cost was pennies (his neighbor had cut the magnolia tree to get it out of the way and he’d asked for some of the wood), and the impact was maximum romance because he had thought it through and put in some personal effort.

Caution: Don’t just run out and try to find wildflowers in February because I mentioned them, either! Spend some time getting to know your partner or thinking about what you know about her, and think about how you could combine some things she likes into some unique gift that leaves no doubt in her mind as to why she received it. Ha! What am I saying??? There will be no doubt in her mind why she received anything! If it’s the wrong thing, there will be no doubt that you’re in insensitive idiot, and if it’s the right thing, well, take your vitamin E and make sure your medical insurance is paid up in case she injures you when she pounces on you later, because giving the right gift is some pretty hot stuff!

Gift-giving is one of the many areas where men fly blind when trying to get along with women because we’re not trained to know how they think and what they like as we grow up. Our mothers train us to be “nice” and to defer all decisions to women to be “considerate” and to buy extravagant gifts for women to impress them, and bless their hearts (as we say in the South), they have no idea that they’re setting us up for disaster, but they are. They should be teaching us how to choose a good woman, how to communicate with women, and how to keep a woman interested and excited enough to enjoy our company for years and years. They don’t, but I will!

All you need is a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and you can download it at with a few mouse-clicks. Do it now, because you never know when she might decide she’s had enough and you’ll be another one who’s been thinking everything is just fine until she hands you the divorce papers, and when you ask in that shocked voice, “What’s this about???” she says those immortal, bone-chilling words that sends shock and confusion into the very soul of every man who hears them: “See! You NEVER LISTEN TO ME!”

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

David Cunningham

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