Saturday, August 22, 2009

Real Men DO Need to Understand Women to Have a Great Relationship and Marriage

I received a lot of responses to Dhaliwal’s assertion that “real men don’t even try to understand women,” and they’re right; on that issue, he still has a lot to learn!

I generally try to avoid controversy and controversial subjects because controversy, by its very nature, means dealing with a bunch of differing opinions, which is counter-productive at best. Personally, I have zero tolerance for opinions and those who know me will tell you that I don’t form them, share them, or listen to them. “Give me the facts or get out of my face and go get them” has been my motto for many years, and it has served me well.

However, once in a while a subject will pop up that is interesting enough to get people involved and they speak up not about their opinions, but their real-world experience, which obviously can differ and make for a great discussion as everyone compares what happened to them and each other and looks for whatever lessons can be learned from the collective experience. This is such an occasion.

One of the few things I took exception to in Dhaliwal’s “How Feminism Destroyed Real Men” (see the August 20 article in the archive) was his assertion that “Real men don't pretend or even try to understand women.”

Real men don’t pretend anything, and I’m not really even sure how that ended up in that sentence because it seems unrelated, but, in my experience and some readers’ as well, the idea that real men don’t even try to understand women is somewhere between absurd and preposterous. How can you ever know “too much” about any person you’re in any kind of relationship with?

As I mentioned before, he’s young and still has a few things to learn, and this appears to be one of them. Before I give you the short version of why that is true, check out what some of your fellow readers had to say. Let’s start with Gene, an ironworker from New York City who has read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and stopped a divorce and turned the relationship completely around:

Hi David!

That Dhaliwal guy is a bit of a punk, isn’t he? I mean, a lot of what he had to say made sense, but the reason my wife was going to leave me pretty much came down to I didn’t know enough about her. It was when I showed her that I had learned the things about her that made her different from me and took those things into consideration that she decided to come home and give us another try, and I kid you not, we’re honeymooning again. I had that same punk attitude that he has, not thinking it was important to know anything about her as a woman. Maybe he’ll learn before his wife kicks him out.

Gene


So understanding women isn’t important, but it saved Gene’s marriage? I can’t reconcile the two thoughts; can you? Check out Sarah:

David,

I can see Dhaliwal and his wife having one of those relationships where they are jumping back and forth from bed to fights to bed. His independence is hot, but his disregard for understanding a woman’s basic needs is cavalier and foolish. We don’t expect and don’t want a man to pander to us because being that much of a wuss is very boring and a huge turn-off. But we do try very hard to learn about the others in our lives and about men, and it does help, sometimes even for the wrong reasons. I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are more women leading men around than men leading women these days, and a lot of that is because we understand men better and know what to do to get the upper hand. The trouble is that we get the upper hand and then find we don’t want it, and punish or drop the man because he let us have it in the first place.

Sarah


Excellent points; the words “cavalier and foolish” crossed my mind as well. Given the choice between a heated relationship with lots of conflict and a hot relationship with lots of cooperation and excitement, which would you choose? Let’s hear from Gwen:

Good morning, David,

Thanks so much for your newsletter. I read it during my morning break every day and it usually makes me smile because I learn a lot about men and myself.

I want to comment about Nirpal Dhaliwal’s idea that real men don’t try to understand women. As a woman, I spend a huge part of my day managing relationships with everybody I know, and that requires knowing about all the people I know. The more I know about them, the better we get along, because I can empathize when I know how they feel, I can anticipate their responses to things when I can recognize how they feel, and when I know what they like, want and need it makes it easier for me to give something meaningful of myself to them without having to put myself out inordinately, which one cannot do if she knows a lot of people and has a lot of relationships to manage. His picture looked young to me too, and as you do, I hope for his sake and his wife’s that he wises up with age.

Be well,
Gwen


Are you getting the idea guys? In a nutshell, knowing what women want and need isn’t to enable you to dote over them and pander to them. It’s to know how to better communicate and cooperate with them, how to provide what they truly need from their relationship with you without having to spend all that time and energy guessing and without having to endure all that drama, punishment and testing when you guess wrong.

And it just so happens that when you know that one of the things a woman wants from a man is for him to be bold enough to be himself in her presence, YOUR life suddenly becomes a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.

When you know what she means when she says, “Fine!” and nothing else, you can realize that there is a misunderstanding in the works and make a move to correct it right then, before it festers and she grows angrier thinking that you intended something other than what you really did and that you’re a mean, abusive jerk because of it.

Yes, I could list a hundred more advantages of knowing what a woman wants and needs and knowing how to communicate with her, but this newsletter is already too long for some of you to read at your coffee break. The bottom line is that you do need to know, and since you don’t speak “girly-ese,” you don’t know.

But I know how you can find out, in language you can understand because it was written by a guy – ME – under the direct supervision of over a hundred women! Interested?

Cool! Go to
>http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and get turned on and tuned in and drop out of the program, the one the media has been shoveling for decades that makes it somehow wrong for a man to enjoy being man. Start turning your relationship around and kicking it up to notches seen only with the Hubble Space Telescope, right now. Never put off until tomorrow the success you can enjoy today! (That’s pretty catchy, huh? Write it down and put it on your bathroom mirror and recite it several times while you shave in the morning.)

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Past Winners in Our Contest Who Found Their Way to Great Relationships and Marriage

I’ve not received a response so far this year in our contest from the King Arthur and the Witch story that is worthy of winning a prize, so I’m extending the contest for more winners to enter!

For those of you joining us late, in
yesterday’s edition I announced a contest for the best lessons from that story that readers could pick out and submit, because it was full of them.

I’m disappointed to say that I’ve not received even one mentionable response to this contest so far this year, because in years past, there have been some very insightful comments made by some of you. I’m going to print the winners from the past years here because they are quite brilliant, and I’m also going to extend the contest so if I receive any more really good ones before the deadline Sunday night at midnight, Mountain Time, the submitter will still get the prize. Get a load of these:

Hi David!

Yes I loved the story too! You did bring out some amazing points and very possibly the most important ones. I have a few you may find interesting as well. I think one very understated one but is so easily overlooked in many, many stories is the Ugly Swan.

Yes everyone else saw the "old crone", what a sacrifice it would be, etc., etc. Something which could be very easily overlooked is she obviously had the potential to be WHATEVER she chose at any moment all along. She, or any woman is perfectly capable of being as beautiful or as "crony" as she wants at ANY time.

Let's face it, we have all had relationships where the lady we couldn't be without, "turns" in to a waspish, mean, nagging crone we can't wait to be away from. Little realizing WE kept pushing her in that direction because we weren't being the man she needed. Responsibility can be a tough taskmaster unless we relish and see it for the liberating force it can truly be. I don't have your course but from the emails I've seen from you a lot of the principles are perfect for turning your crone back in to your queen.

Another part of this is it illustrates the women could very well be a cackling witch simply waiting for a real man to lead and allow her to be the woman she really wants to be all the time. How many "bitches", sorry for that, are really simply screaming for help, for a real man to stand up and say it like it is so she can relax, breathe and enjoy truly being herself? And making the man who reached her the luckiest guy this side of heaven in all the ways he never even imagined? Look out and make sure your health is tip-top because you're in for a ride buddy!

You can also learn from this story people will rarely tell you the real reasons why they do something. I am reading "Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini and this is brought out in many ways where people consistently never see the reasons why they acted how they did and even refused to accept those reasons when directly confronted with them. If asked, many women will say they want the wussie, fawning, put me on a pedestal little boy. But their actions, romance novels, magazine stories and certain movies all say something completely different.

Choosing your sources of information is absolutely crucial. We may not like or be afraid of finding out because if we do it will mean we will have to take responsibility and OWN it. That can be a very scary thing especially if we are already having confidence issues. It can seem like your being asked to throw yourself down and asking someone to kick you. That's not the case at all because when you find the answers you need, see them make the changes you want and create the excitement, the thrill you want so terribly in your relationship, you'll treasure that moment for life.

I could go on but this is already long so I will close and say THANK YOU for all of your great emails. I truly believe if people would just act on the emails alone it would give them a HUGE leg up on creating the success they want in their relationships. It just boggles the mind to think what it would be like putting your emails together with your book.

Sleep soundly and enjoy knowing you are reaching a great many more people and making a difference whether they say so or not. I will take this time as well to again say thank you and I look forward to all your emails. They are very special in every way. Just like you.

Thank You Very, Very MUCH!!

Sincerely,

Dave
(2006 winner)

Dave is obviously an achiever, and very insightful. After reading "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and my two free reports (linked at the bottom of this page) “Break-Up Busting 101,” and “What Women REALLY Want,” he has become an absolute master and guru in his own right, as well as a very close friend. And by the way, he’s right; the content of these newsletters means a lot more to those who have read my book. They’re like continuing education lessons for them.

Now check out Karl, who’s letter clearly demonstrates the appropriate attitude for a real man and achiever:

Hi David,

The best lesson in the story is in the first paragraph - That being: If you can't figure something out for yourself, ask someone who CAN figure it out. It's worked a treat for me.

I win,

Karl.
(2006 winner)

Karl entered expecting to win, and said so! Also notice that he placed a period after his name in closing, emphasizing that his is the last word on the subject, something you see in very confident personalities. Not everyone who comes to me is a wuss; some are very manly men who need help understanding women, others who need help communicating with them. Many are very manly men who have been led to believe that they need to act wussy in order to get on with women and are horribly unhappy putting on that act, and wanting relief from the stress of acting against their nature. All of them are getting help, because they’re taking Karl’s lesson one step further:

To deal with something they can’t figure out for themselves, they’re asking someone who has already figured it out, tested it, and succeeded with it, then went on to help others succeed with it, the very definition of a trusted source of information for those who know how to recognize it. Which brings me to an entry that I couldn’t have made up if I’d tried, and made me laugh so hard that I had to send him one just for the laugh. Meet Paul (who by the way, is a VERY important guy for reasons I can’t divulge without violating his privacy, but if any of you single ladies are in the NYC area, I really should introduce you to him, so e-mail me at
support@makingherhappy.com and I’ll pass your address along to him):

Hello David,

I gather the lesson is as follows:

When your questions go unanswered and something is not working after a year and many people are advising you about a suggestion take their advice and spend whatever the advice will cost. Example: In this case many people advised King Arthur to seek the advice of the Old Witch, however Arthur felt the price would be too high and wasted precious time. How to relate this to today's time: When David is doling out terrific advise and your marriage is in the rut and all it cost is about what you would pay for a couple of movies and popcorn or beer and cigarettes then stop wasting time and purchase and read "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage." and save your Marriage.

PS David, if this entry wins, as I am still single, please donate your copy to next e-mail that you receive from someone whose marriage is on the rocks

Kindest Regards
Paul
(2007’s winner)

As I told Paul, who is also a friend and truly a man among men, many of my readers have said that this book should be required reading in high school because in addition to helping you fix problems, it does a great job of preparing you to FIND that one in a million relationship that can be an effortless, happy, and life-long marriage. He’s single, and by the time he gets to the end of this book, he’ll be ready to find happiness in what I suspect is one of the world’s richest concentrations of high-quality single women, New York City.

Here’s a 2008 winner, who also ended up becoming a close friend later:

Hello, David,

I found several lessons. Like you, I am an Objectivist. So I saw Lancelot trade his single life for life with a crone because he would not choose to live without Arthur as king, just as a man might trade his single life for life with any woman because he would not choose to live without someone to lead, protect, and provide for, recognizing that there are benefits in both single and married life, some of which are mutually exclusive, and having the guts to make a decision about which he wanted and stick to it.

I saw that there is a lot of free information around, and that not much of it is useful. “Common sense” is today a misnomer. “Uncommon sense much more accurately describes what common sense used to refer to, the ability to think through something to a correct conclusion or functional remedy. There are always people around ready to give free advice, and most of them are merely parroting what they’ve heard others say with no idea of whether it works, or else telling you what they’ve done that didn’t work, but they think it should have and are looking for personal validation through your success where they failed, rather than hoping that you succeed.

Another thing that I noticed was that Lancelot went through with the wedding, and was going to go through with the honeymoon consummation as well. Just as many real men try to make the best of any situation without complaint. He “steeled” himself, instead of whining and lying about a headache or some other ailment.

And the part that struck me most was that he trusted his wife to make a decision if she had the guts to make it. I personally would never trust any decision a woman made after consulting a dozen girlfriends, because girlfriends are often too good at persuading other women to do something that is not in their best interest purely for the sake of drama, but I would trust a woman who would skip the drama and realize the gravity of the situation to make the best decision she was capable of and be open to discussing and negotiating it afterward.

Thanks in advance for the book!
Joel

I really don’t think I can or should add anything to Joel’s comments. His points struck me as self-evident as I read them. Joel had only been subscribing for a couple of weeks, and we quickly become very close friends after this. He is another guy who has no trouble being a man, but has some issues with evaluating women and relationships and communicating. He had to work a bit at growing tolerant of the indirect communications style his wife uses, because he’s hyper-analytical and efficiency-oriented and therefore driven to take the shortest path to anything, but he got there, and they’re good now.

So what about the rest of you? What lessons do you see that haven’t already been disclosed? There are still a few, and you’ll recognize them when pointed out after midnight if not before, but try to dig them out and send them in because I’m still inclined to award another copy if someone spots the one really super lesson that has yet to be reported. And if you don’t see one…

…take it as proof that you need to step up your efforts to learn and go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage". It is THE quickest path to happiness, as anyone who has used this book or whom I’ve counseled will tell you. I don’t buy this crap of needing 10-20 weeks of counseling to straighten out a marriage or determine that it can’t survive. The facts of your life are right there before your eyes, and if you can identify and observe them without bias, you’ll know exactly what to do. After that, it’s just a matter of execution. So get busy! Life is short, too short to waste being unhappy, the clock is relentlessly ticking, and not a single tick can be regained once it has passed.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

King Arthur and the Witch: Lessons in Women, Relationships, and Marriage, and a CONTEST!

A very funny King Arthur story holds some very valuable lessons for the man who wants to understand and be happy with a woman.

I received a great story from one of you (thanks Ken!) that tickled my funny bone so thoroughly that by the time the laughing fit had subsided I had literally “laughed myself sick;” I was a bit nauseas, my diaphragm and abdominal muscles were sore, and my jaws and cheeks ached from that ancient and wonderful condition known affectionately as “perma-grin.”

But then I looked past the punch line and looked for the lessons it might hold for us, and sure enough, there they were. Read this story, and then see how many lessons you can pick out and we’ll compare answers at the end of the story, and I’ll give you details on how to win a free copy of my book in our annual “King Arthur and the Witch” Contest.

King Arthur and the Witch

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question? What do women really want?

Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.

But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she exacted.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

“What a woman really wants,” she answered, “is to be in charge of her own life.”

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day, or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now....what is the moral to this story?

If you don't let a woman have her own way, things are going to get ugly!

Yes, the moral presented is a valid one, but only up to a point; giving in too much can make you look like a wuss, make your partner bored, and make things get about as ugly as they can get as the relationship comes apart at the seams, especially if you have a “toxic wife,” but that’s not the lesson I hope you found. A woman can only be in charge of her own life up to but not including the point where she starts being in charge of yours.

Foremost, did you notice that the witch wanted to be in charge of her own life, but submitted to Lancelot’s leadership on the issue when she clearly had the power to choose independently of his say-so? Women will do this in real life as well, every time. Why?

No, it’s not because they are weak, or stupid, or anything like that. They simply enjoy being lead and testing a man to see if he’s capable of leading. It’s exciting for them to see a man act with authority and make decisions. That’s NOT to say that they like seeing a man be a bully and force decisions upon them without giving them a fair hearing and consideration in issues that involve them, so don’t go there. Some women may respond to it, but the pay-off is damaging to both of you, so just don’t.

They can handle things just fine on their own if they have to; it’s just a lot more fun and exciting for them if they tell us whatever’s on their mind and then they see us make a good decision and carry it out, kind of like it’s fun for us to ask them to go get something for us so we can watch their hips swing as they walk away. It’s that same low-key, voyeuristic sexual excitement; they get it from our behavior like we get it from their appearance.

And yes, some of them literally need leadership because they tend to get drama-swamped and can’t make a decision at all, and some are emotionally-damaged and self-destructive, just like some men are. These are minorities, gentlemen, small minorities. They’re just so noticeable when they do occur that we’ve all seen them, without realizing that a whole lot of us are seeing the few of them, that they appear to be more common than they really are.

And what about “being in charge of her own life”? Do you know what that means to a woman? Pretty much the same thing that it means to us, but much more intensely. Women have a lot more insecurities than we do, and they tend to be bothered by them a lot more than we are. No wonder after the centuries of oppression and the constant bombardment of their self-esteem by the fashion and beauty industries, predatory men, hyper-competitive women, and others. Coupled with their more-creative brain wiring and subsequent heightened emotional tendencies, I’m surprised and pleased that they get along so well as they do, because many of them do have more obstacles to happiness than we do.

For a woman, being in charge of her own life means being able to rise above the insecurities and the drama to feel comfortable in her own skin and confident about her choices, especially the choices she’s made about the relationships in her life. No small task when you consider the conditions they live in as listed in the preceding paragraph.

Where we tend to spend our lives managing tasks and projects, women, because of their social nature, spend their lives managing relationships. When they say they want a man who makes them feel safe, they’re not talking about a bodyguard; they’re talking about a man who earns their trust and loyalty, who gives them a feeling of commitment and continuation of the relationship, because severed relationships are as traumatic for them as failed plans and projects are to us, if not more so. We put our life into our work, and they put their lives into their relationships.

Another lesson is in her response to Lancelot. If you do the things that make a woman happy, like letting her see you being a real man and using what you learn about a woman’s needs, wants, communications style and methods, etc., she will be compelled to make your life wonderful. It’s in the wiring, and even predatory women can be turned around to some noticeable but still unhealthy degree if the man is strong and exciting enough; NO, it’s not enough to make them a partner, so don’t bother wondering if you could be the one to turn them around.

Predatory behavior is the result of biological wiring, just like their more-sophisticated communications skills, responding to confident leadership and other alpha male characteristics with attraction, being hyper-adverse to boredom, etc. Don’t let that lesson be wasted.

As an aside, hopefully a quick one, I want to point out a common misconception in this story that has extremely destructive potential. This story speaks of Lancelot’s “sacrifice” in marrying the witch. “Sacrifice” is the trading of value for nothing, resulting in the destruction of value, which benefits nobody at all. Lancelot traded his choice of bride to see his King live and lead his country, because he did not wish to live otherwise. That is a trade of value for value, not a sacrifice.

You often hear people talk about the need for sacrifice in a relationship; if ever you are asked to make a true sacrifice in your relationship, to give up and destroy something of value to you for no appreciable benefit, you are looking at a controller, some form of predator or parasite, not a partner. A partner might ask you to choose between two things of value to you, (like trading a roadster for a car that will carry the whole family) or between two actions (a fishing trip with a friend or a family vacation), but only a predator would ask you give up something of value to you without something in return, like selling your roadster so they could have one or giving yours to them while you do without, or giving up your fishing trip so they could go off on a cruise with girlfriends. Good relationships do involve a lot of trades, but never sacrifices, and if you’re with the right person, you’ll seldom employ compromise, either.

What other lessons can you find in this story? Let’s do a contest. E-mail me at
tips@makingherhappy.com, and if you send anything I find worthy of repeating to your fellow readers that hasn’t already appeared in print during previous runs of this contest, and I’ll send you a free copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” Entries must be received by 11:59PM Mountain Standard Time (Las Vegas, Nevada time) on Saturday, August 22, 2009. I've held this contest in the past, and it was a blast. I also met some of my best students and closest friends through this contest. And for those of you who participated last year, no cheating this year! LOL!

If you don’t have an entry, that should tell you that you need to be reading "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," because you should be able to recognize these things if you’re going to be living happily with a woman. Download your copy right now at
http://www.makingherhappy.com and start becoming that guy whom legend says does not exist, the guy who knows what women really want and how to have fun giving it to them, not to mention reaping the immense and wonderful rewards they give in return.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Women Respond to Feminism Destroying Real Men and the Politics of Relationships and Marriage

Some women responded to yesterday’s quote of Nirpal Dhaliwal’s “How Feminism Destroyed Real Men,” and guys, you’d better pay attention!

The responses to yesterday’s newsletter were enlightening and entertaining, to say the least. I’m going to break from tradition and let the ladies do most of the talking today, because what they had to say is both valid and valuable.

Let’s start with Peggy, a divorced mother who made a career change to be near her son who is serving in the military who has written before and always has something brilliant and insightful to add to our discussions:

David,

I couldn't agree more with the article.

There are a couple of stories I would like to share involving my ex-husband. He remains my best friend; but we divorced because of his infidelity. He became extremely depressed over a two-year period after losing his job in Saudi Arabia. His whining about how "unfair" life was caused me to feel nothing but pity for him. He advanced into a more depressed state and became slothful in his appearance. He did little around the house and didn't even venture out to look for work.

There was no way this pathetic creature was getting anywhere near me. His depressed condition caused him problems in the bedroom. I was working one full-time job and two part-time and I totally lost respect for him.

I'm glad to report that he is now working and we remain good friends. The point is the "emotion" of his despair is what turned me off. If he had said, "I don't know how I'll get through this or when; but I will," I would have worked the extra jobs as long as necessary.

Two of my favorite stories concerning my ex. One Saturday I was cleaning the bathroom toilet. He called for me and I answered "I'm cleaning the bathroom". He said, "Something so beautiful should not be bent over cleaning the toilet. From now on, I have toilet duty." That meant more to me than five dozen roses and a hundred boxes of chocolate!

Another cherished memory: One cold winter’s evening, I started the car and heard a loud thump. I got out and to my horror, discovered the neighbor’s kitten had been inside the engine. I'm an animal lover and ran inside crying and told my husband what had happened. He said, "There is no way you could have known, just go tell her." I said, "Please don't make me go." He then went to the neighbor, buried the kitten, and told me the neighbor was fine and understood completely.

That evening the attraction was so strong, I almost attacked him. He said, "If you kill anymore kittens, just come get me!"

I think these stories support the author's point.

Keep up the good work!
Peggy


They do indeed, and they support some things I’ve been telling you gentlemen for a long time. For starters, women know that drama sometimes gets the best of them and they get caught up in the emotion of crisis, and when that happens, they want a man who is strong enough to cut through the drama and lead the charge out of the crisis instead of a man who gets caught up in the drama, wusses out, and wants to turn into a girlfriend, comiserator, or an object of pity.

Also notice that in spite of infidelity and problems, they remained friends. A divorce is a declaration of irreconcilable differences, not a declaration of war, and it can be handled with reason and dignity if those involved simply choose to handle it appropriately.

What do you see in the “toilet duty” story? What was the cause of Peggy’s happiness? Was it flattery? No. Was it being told that she was beautiful? Hell no. Was it the fact that she didn’t have to clean toilets anymore? Hell no, again. It was the fact that he recognized her effort, appreciated it, and found a rather poetic way of announcing that he was going to join in and help out. It was shocking, bigger than life, and delightful, and there’s a word for that: ROMANTIC. And yes, romance is indeed where you find it, even in the toilet. ;-)

What about the kitten story? He could have been afraid to face the neighbor like she was, or could have been a jerk and just said, “you made the mess, you fix it.” But, recognizing that she was genuinely distraught because she was an animal lover, had killed an animal, and didn’t want to be the one to hurt the neighbor with the bad news if they were also an animal lover like she was, he took the heroic leader’s role and just handled it. She could have done it, and would have if she lived alone, but he saved her from a pain that she didn’t want to inflict on someone else. Being heroic is highly attractive, but being sensitive enough to recognize the real reason behind a woman’s emotions and respond to that is a super-aphrodisiac that amplifies the heroism a hundred-fold.

Now let’s hear from Margaret:

Hi David,

I thoroughly enjoyed that article and would like to comment. Cheating on his wife notwithstanding, this young man is wise beyond his years. I rather envy his wife. He may be a pain in the neck sometimes, but she’ll certainly never be bored.

Margaret

Okay guys, remember what I said about boredom after hearing it from several hundred women? Boredom is their worst enemy, and a man who acts like a man is anything but boring. Add to that the sensitivity that comes from good communications skills, compatibility, and a good understanding of women and you’ve got a recipe for a happy relationship that will last a lifetime.

Susan, another regular, had this to say:

Hello David,

Another great newsletter. My husband read this and his only comment was, “Why did she stay with him if he cheated on her?” He’s such a moron sometimes, and I’d give anything if I could get him to read your book. I bought it and he refuses to look at it, and it’s about to cost him dearly, because I’ve about had it. Anyway, it was obvious to me that she stayed with him because he has that one-in-a-million personality that makes a woman feel alive, and she missed having that feeling. There’s no other explanation for the sex they had when he came back. He may think he was in control, but she wanted it more than she wanted to breathe.

If I would have been her, I wouldn’t have kicked him out. I would have gone after her and made sure she didn’t come back around. When I finally find that feeling again I’ll not let anything or anybody get between it and me.

Susan


A cheating husband can be a whale of a dilemma for a woman; on the one hand, he’s cheating, and on the other hand, the fact that another woman wants him constitutes what F.J. Shark describes as “social proof,” or external verification that what she has is valuable and desirable. I do NOT recommend that you sleep with another woman to get your wife’s attention and make her jealous, but don’t act aloof or hen-pecked around other women when your wife’s around, either.

It’s good for her to see them desiring you, as it helps her to see that she has a prize; just don’t make the mistake of letting her see you desiring them enough to think you might see them on the sly. Knowing you still look around can actually make her feel good because then she knows that you are aware of the “social marketplace” and have still chosen her; suspecting that you’re PLAYING around instead of LOOKING around can be disastrous, and usually is.

Are you paying attention here guys? These women are literally handing you the keys to the universe; I hope the message is getting through. If not, here’s Gina with a last attempt to open your eyes and ears:

Hello again, David!

Did this author read your book? I’m kidding, of course. No man who read your book would be cheating on his wife. But he understands a lot about us, in spite of saying that a man shouldn’t try to understand a woman, which is crap. A man doesn’t need to understand us so he can make excuses for us, but he certainly does need to understand us to know when to listen to us and when to tell us to “go tell it to a girlfriend.” As you say, maybe he’ll grow wiser as he grows older. Maybe he will end up reading your book after all! LOL!

Best wishes, and thanks again for all you’ve done for us,
Gina


There’s more, but if you’re not getting the message by now you’re not going to get it. Women aren’t stupid. Whether they were actively involved in Dhaliwal’s alleged “feminist conspiracy” or not, they recognize that they miss the men of old just as much as we miss being the men of old. It’s time to rise from the ashes of wussitude and be the man you were born to be. All it takes is to shed some long-standing bad programming…

…and if you want to kick it up a few notches, you can add inter-gender communications skills and a thorough understanding of women to the mix and be the guy that every woman wants and yours will kill for. Interested?

If so, it’s easier than you’d ever dream. A few hours reading and studying to gain understanding, and a lifetime of applying what you’ve learned, and having fun and reward as you do it. Want me to twist your arm a little harder?

Okay, just go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and get started. Or do you want to stick with what you have now, the unexplained fights, the bedroom boredom, the frustration and isolation, or maybe it’s the confusion when she gives you “that look” and stomps out of the room that you enjoy so much…

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How Feminism Destroyed Real Men: Beating the Politics of Relationships and Marriage

A British author’s hypothesis on the near-extinction of real men and how he has coped with it, a surprisingly useful and interesting narrative to say the least!

I’m taking you to task with something a little unusual today, so you might want to save this issue for your lunch break if you’re a slow reader because it will take longer than the usual target of two to three minutes to get through it. Several of my readers forwarded me this link and told me to check it out.


I did, and you should do the same. To help protect this author’s message for future generations, since this is some pretty profound writing and web sites tend to inexplicably disappear from time to time, I’m going to reprint the content here, without the express permission of the author, a Mr. Nirpal Dhaliwal, who published the following article at the Daily Mail web site and apparently is also the author of a book entitled “Tourism,” available through Vintage Press for ₤7.99. I would not recommend some of his behavior or attitude, such as having an affair or bragging about a sexual encounter with his wife, but he does present some very lucid commentary, and the comments of some of his readers are interesting as well. Here’s the article, followed by some brief commentary and suggestions:

How Feminism Destroyed Real Men
16:27pm 4th August 2006
By Nirpal Dhaliwal


Women thought the last victory of equality was to make men more 'sensitive'. The bitter irony, says this male writer in a piece that will infuriate the opposite sex (including his wife Liz Jones), is women don't like wimps after all...

At a dinner party recently, I encountered the depressingly familiar sight of a dynamic thirty- something woman accompanied by a nerdy male sidekick that she'd browbeaten into proposing to her.

The mismatch in power was obvious. She was successful, ambitious and confident; he was a diffident, overweight, shrinking violet who measured every word he spoke in case he said anything remotely contentious that might offend her.

On her wedding finger was the most enormous, glittering engagement ring. A mutual friend later told me she'd initially been presented with a less garish but more exquisite diamond but had told her fiancÈ to return it to the shop and get her something bigger.

That huge diamond was his declaration of surrender in the sex war. But I didn't feel sorry for the stupid sap; he should have been man enough to tell her to get lost and find some other dummy.

Instead, he'd been sucker-punched into a lifetime of nagging and neglect, and looking at his bossy wife-to-be parading her huge rock, I felt a shiver of pre-emptive schadenfreude.

Her smug smile might have given the impression that her glossy-magazine-inspired life was all going to plan, but I could see the tragedy to come.

One day she'll realise how dull and unfulfilling it is to have a man who doesn't answer back, who offers no challenge or danger - but by then she'll be over the hill and stuck with him for fear of being left on the shelf. Sadly, this is the state of many marriages today.

Back in the Nineties, emboldened by the successes of feminism, women sought to slay the dragon of patriarchy by turning men into ridiculous cissies who would cry with them through chick-flicks and then cook up a decent lasagne.

Suddenly, women wanted to drive home their newfound equality by moulding men to be more like them.

This velvet revolution was reflected in a series of broader cultural changes. After decades of uncompromising movie heroes like Marlon Brando and Clint Eastwood, we were asked to fall for stuttering, floppy-haired fops like Hugh Grant; touchy-feely and hopelessly embarrassed around women.

No doubt at the time, millions of misguided single women thought that having a man who could feel their pain and emote for Britain was a Good Thing.

Now, over a decade later, women are waking up to the fact that these men are drippy, sexless bores. The feminisation of men hasn't produced the well-rounded uber-males women were hoping for.

Instead, women are now lumped with flabby invertebrates, little more than doormats, whom they secretly despise but are too proud to admit it.

Rather than partnership, professional women tend to seek dominance in a relationship. They map their lives out early on and pursue their dream of 'having it all' with cold-blooded ruthlessness.

Young women have a crystal-clear agenda: they want the career, the wardrobe, the smartly furnished house, the 4x4 and the cute kids they'll ferry in it to expensive schools. No man is going to get in their way; and the men they choose for themselves are pliant and feeble enough to facilitate that programme.

Concentrating so much energy on work and family matters requires these women to pick a man who is predictable and secure, who won't upset the apple cart by pursuing dreams and instincts of his own.

These are cardboard cut-out men who gush with empathy whenever their wives and girlfriends need to dump their professional stresses and female angst on them: weak and soulless men who haven't the guts to make a mark themselves, who take the passenger seat in their women's juggernaut journey to post-feminist Nirvana.

But having ticked off the various items on their life checklist, women are left with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction. Where was the drama? Where was the passion? Where was the stimulation and growth?

It was all forsaken for an anodyne, materialistic shopping spree that is a Good Thing. ultimately a poor substitute for a real life. These women consider themselves to be alpha-females, but they are nothing but a pathetic sham.

A true Amazon couldn't stand the company of a supplicant male, let alone marry one. Real alpha-women are the ones who can more than hold their own with an alpha-man.

Deep down, women love men who stand up to them, who won't be pushed around. They love men who will look them in the eye and tell them to shut up when their hormonal bickering has become too much.

They love men who will draw a line in the sand and walk out on them when they've had enough. They love men who know their own minds and are man enough to stick to their guns.

I'm always telling my wife, the writer Liz Jones, to shut up. She gets into a prissy huff about it, but I know she respects me for not indulging her neuroticism. Long ago, I realised it is unhealthy for a man to embroil himself in arguments with women.

While men want an argument to make sense and have a rational conclusion, women solely want the argument itself: it's a pressure valve for their emotions, and once they get started there is no stopping them.

I have a very low boredom threshold; I can't bear having protracted discussions about where my wife and I 'are going'. Nor can I bear to listen to the gossipy, highly detailed 'He said, she said' monologues that women drift into when telling you about their day.

I deal with these elements of the female personality with impassive indifference. People might call me a sexist pig, but I am the opposite. I love women, and I love my wife because she is brilliant and incredibly strong.

I am a true feminist, because I only want to be with a powerful and capable woman. No sexist could cope with having a wife as intelligent and independent as mine.

Our relationship would never have worked had I been an effete New Man, desperately wanting to sympathise with the female condition.

My wife would have grown to loathe me for my fawning cowardice. She is a warrior and she needs to be with someone who is a match for her. Knowing the limits of what I will deal with in a relationship, I maintain my self-respect and, accordingly, gain hers.

Men are now generally terrified of women. They hold their tongues for fear of being misinterpreted as sexist; they constantly attempt to second guess their partner in order to avoid giving offence.

They preen themselves with groaning shelves full of beauty products so they won't incur derision and scorn. They suppress their masculinity and present themselves as cuddly Mr Nice Guys, and won't project self- confidence in case it's regarded as unreconstructed machismo.

This backfiring feminist conspiracy has, of course, developed hand in hand with the march of raging political correctness in Britain. The two have combined like some potent chemical reaction to explode in the faces of a generation of women who thought that a 'moulded' man would make for a desirable one.

In recent years, men have been trained like circus seals to be inoffensive to women, and no longer know how to entice them and turn them on.

But women secretly long for a man with swagger, who is cocky and self-assured and has the cheek to stand up them and make fun of their feminine foibles.

They long for the rakish charm of a man who knows there's a whole ocean of fish out there, who isn't afraid of being himself in case he is rejected.

The truth is, a real man doesn't care what any woman thinks of him. He doesn't care what anyone thinks of him: he answers solely to his spirit.

Real men don't pretend or even try to understand women. They simply love them for being the mysterious, capricious creatures that they are. And they don't take them too seriously, either. They know the vicissitudes of the female mind, its constant insecurities and the fluctuations in mood.

Rather than pander to them, they simply watch them drift by like so many clouds on the horizon. They don't get entangled in a woman's feelings and listen to her prattling on and on until she's talked herself out. Such strong and stoic men are exactly what women need to anchor themselves amid the chaos of their emotions.

Sometimes my wife bemoans my detachment and laissez-faire attitude to our marriage and wishes I were more wrapped up in her. I tell her she would soon get bored of it, because men who put women on a pedestal can't make love to them in the way that women want.

A man who is too in awe of his woman isn't going to tear her blouse open and ravish her on the couch; he isn't going to pull her hair and whisper profanities in her ear. Whenever my marriage is at a crisis point, and my wife's ego and mine are jostling for a position of supremacy, we inevitably have strenuous, battling sex.

My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.

The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them.

Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I'd been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I'd been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.

I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: 'Who's the boss?'

The question threw her. Initially she wouldn't give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. 'You are,' she finally gasped. 'You are!' I am a very difficult man to be with. I know I have caused my wife great pain and anxiety. But she is an adult, and ultimately it is wholly her choice whether she wants to be with me or not - I cannot be anyone other than myself.

I don't believe in working on relationships and making artificial efforts to give them substance. I believe in people being themselves and following their hearts towards whatever destiny lies before them.

When women choose to be with New Men, they are choosing a life that will be only half-lived. I think a lot of them are finally waking up to that fact. Relationships between independent and assertive people will always be fraught with tensions, but they have enormous creative energy.

Despite the many problems my wife and I have endured, we have both come a long way since we first met six years ago.

We have challenged one another to grow - professionally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. This would never have happened had she flaked out and gone for a softer option in her choice of partner.

Bring back the real men, girls. You might just remember why you loved them in the first place.

Tourism by Nirpal Dhaliwal is published by Vintage, £7.99.

As I said, I would not recommend some of this author’s behavior. Aside from the affair, he also says that “real men don’t pretend or even try to understand women.” In my experience, to not try to understand a woman is to set yourself up to be unable to lead a woman, which is crucial to attraction and her excitement; understanding and effectively communicating with anyone, regardless of gender, race or anything else is requisite to effectively leading them.

Dhaliwal’s attitude is that of an adversary, not a partner, despite his claims of loving women to the point of being himself a feminist. However, his picture indicates that he is young, and his language artistic, so hopefully as he ages and gains experience he’ll be less apt to try to take emotional or artistic liberties with reality. Again, do visit that site, and if you’re interested in tourism, you might want to look for his book as well.

I wanted all of you to see this because this young man does have a provocative and highly accurate idea, and we will spend an issue or two discussing your questions and comments about it, because if nothing else, it should certainly bring into focus some of the problems and misconceptions that many of you have that brought you to me. His life is working for him better than most, but there are still some issues that provide room for improvement, and we’ll be digging into them for sure, so feel free to send questions and comments to
support@makingherhappy.com and let’s see where we can go with this.

If you already know that you need help and have just been having trouble finding the information to fix the problems and make improvements in your relationship, go ahead and jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and find out how to make your partner one of the happiest women alive without engaging in the “pandering” and other bad behavior men are so prone to commit these days, allowing you to find happiness yourself!

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

Monday, August 17, 2009

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 much 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
http://www.makingherhappy.com, 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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How 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…

I spent almost all of this weekend in my workshop building cabinets, doors, tool storage racks, etc., turning it into a real man cave for a “do-it-yourselfer” like me. In my life, productive work is a person’s greatest virtue, and I love doing anything that helps me to do more competently, or do things more efficiently. Next weekend I may well do the exact same thing, and love every minute of it.

You have another weekend coming up. And many more after that, until the end of your life. What are you going to do with each of them? Or even the next one? According to your letters, for many of you Friday is just 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 even if the relationship or marriage goes bad.

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 that she wants, without regard for what you might want, which will be purchased when she’s out shopping while you’re working on shortening 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!

15. It helps to maintain or even increase the value of your real estate so that you can upgrade later or contribute profits to your retirement.

16. It helps to maintain or even increase the value of your real estate so that she has more to take with her when she leaves you for the gardener, playboy, or biker she met recently.

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 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? (If you just answered “no,” take that as a sign that you need to be on the phone with me within the next 24 hours!) 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 bullying, 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 also need to know about women: how they think and communicate, what they want, need, and expect, and what turns them on and pisses them off. You got all that under control there, Sparky?

If not, go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com 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