Posts Tagged With: romance

The Gentleman’s Curse?


There’s an old adage (or aphorism? I never get those right) that goes “nice guys finish last”. It’s the belief that being nice is a terrible liability when it comes to things like romance or business. We’re told that girls prefer bad boys over gentleman. Or that in order to have any success in business, you have to be aggressive and shark-like with a “take no prisoners” attitude.

Crazy thing is, for most of my life I believed that statement to be a load of crap. And by “crap” I mean “an often repeated untruth that slowly becomes accepted as truth simply by the sheer volume of people who choose restate and quote it as fact”. But come on, there couldn’t possibly be any drawbacks to being considerate and full of compassion, right?

Wrong.

Like I said (only a short two paragraphs ago), there was a time I believed that to be true. That is, until I better understood the reasoning and truth that underlies this oft-quoted saying. Which is to say that I watched as the truth of it manifest in my own life. I finally understood that there was more substance to this than I originally thought. Having been a participant (victim?) of this truth, I have since dubbed the phenomenon the “Gentleman’s Curse”. Let me explain…

I’m pretty sure I’m what some would call a gentleman. There are at least a handful (read: 2 or 3) who could attest to the fact that I am patient, generous, transparent, chivalrous, and emotionally supportive. These are all traits generally associated with being an overall “nice guy”, if you will. **DISCLAIMER: I don’t describe myself this way simply to toot my own horn, but to provide the basis for what follows next. What follows next is that I’ve come to whole-heartedly believe that sometimes (and only sometimes) being nice was the worst choice I could have made. My “nice guy” nature has contributed to some pretty awful outcomes and circumstances over my lifetime. I know that sounds terrible. But as I’ve also learned over the years, the truth isn’t always pretty.mr nice guy

See, the thing is, it’s not that I can really help being a “nice guy”. It’s in my nature to be this way. My overall personality, typical responses and individual inclinations are hard wired into the fiber of my being. The problem is that some people can often be perceived (and at times, accurately so) as a bit of a softy or even a pushover. People take advantage of the fact that they know you probably won’t behave in ways that would make them feel awkward, uncomfortable or afraid.

Still, I don’t want this post to come across as all “bah humbug” about being nice. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be nice or even that I need to change who I am. I’m saying that I am exactly who God created me to be. I am fashioned by His hands and He is a master craftsman! I am neither a mistake, nor am I a failed or aborted process. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And with that understanding and acceptance, comes freedom to not feel pressured to be anything other than who I am.

I am NOT the one to rail on Time Warner Cable over their gouging practices (6 month undisclosed customer retention pricing that tripled in cost and won’t go down unless I call and complain). However, I AM the one who understands that as I love my enemies, bless them that curse me, do good to them that hate me, and pray for them which despitefully use me, and persecute me, God will bring both vindication and justice. I find rest in that promise.

Potters-ClaySo I will continue in my “nice guy” ways with the power of the knowledge that what I originally thought was a curse, was actually… a blessing. ūüôā

Categories: commentary, personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pull Of The Cape


Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to be a HERO.¬†cool Not the kind of super hero who foiled the plans of criminal masterminds with my single bound tall building leaps, locomotive power and bullet speed. Not necessarily the kind of hero who safely retrieved POW’s from deep in enemy territory.

No.

I wanted to be a kind of machismo-infused hero, rescuing contemporary “damsels in distress” who, in my limited experience at the age of 16, were so often the victims of relationships gone horribly wrong. The tales I’d hear of betrayal, degradation and distress from some of my female friends angered me, but also filled me with compassion and an overwhelming desire to comfort them in some way.

So it was that I wanted to be that stand-up guy who came along and mended their broken hearts by being to them what other men could or would not. Fulfilling their unrealized expectations. I wanted to fix the traumatized emotions of all the disappointed and disillusioned women I knew.

Ha! As if that were even possible.

As you can probably surmise, this was not at ALL practical or realistic. Still, it took me a long time to realize that, though I had the best of intentions, I simply couldn’t save everyone.

Correction…

I couldn’t save anyone. bummed

Except one.

To that one, I endeavored to define a man who successfully balanced his testosterone-influenced emotions with chivalry, romance and an understanding of authority. I made a silent promise to show her what it meant to be a modern-day hero upon whom she could always rely, trust and rest her confidence. I made a similar promise to my only daughter so that winning her heart would require the power and determination that only a hero possessed.

And yet, even now I will occasionally feel the “pull of the cape” begging to be worn when I talk to my female friends who are miserable and misunderstood. I refrain because I understood a long time ago that trying to be that for more than one woman would actually mean being that for no one. What I mean is that every woman deserves the undivided attention of the man who holds their heart. My divided attention would be both hypocritical and ineffective.

So for those, I simply listen with a sympathetic ear and an encouraging smile. And hope that one day THEIR hero will appear.

Categories: personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DOVE NOTE #67 – Murder of the Mood


Okay men, raise your hand (or simply nod in sullen agreement) if you’ve even had one of those days where you and your wife have been eying each other up all day. Flirty text messages flying back and forth.¬† Leaving little notes around the house full of cryptic innuendo. Wearing her favorite fragrance. Having brief conversations on the phone full of titillating descriptives. All of this in anticipation of getting intimately skinected to one another later. And then…

You ask a brainless question about her choice of clothing, or make a sideways statement about weight whose context is misconstrued, or simply fail to see, remember or do something rather important and BAM! You’ve killed the mood and sex is abruptly OFF the table… for the evening, possible for the week depending on the severity of the crime. Of course, you feel blindsided and you have no idea how you went from the Playboy Penthouse to the Devil’s Dog House. ūüė¶

If this sounds familiar, just know that you’re not alone. There are many men who have inadvertently murdered an otherwise amorous mood. I call these moments instances of “Sudden Libido Disruption“. Sometimes the SLD is so great, the rift now between you so wide, that there is usually little chance of recovery, if any.

So how do you avoid the relational faux pas that result in SLD? Well you have to start of by understanding what has taken place. As I’ve mentioned earlier, for many women intimacy is tied inextricably to the heart and mind. This is why it’s important to keep the focus on the two of you throughout the day. Those breathy phone calls and sexting go a long way to filling her thoughts with being together. A major barrier to arousal is anything that would cause her to become distracted or preoccupied. So you don’t want to introduce any topic, situation or circumstance that might hijack her mind. Mindjackers can manifest in the form of frustrating circumstances (ugh… you didn’t take the garbage out like you promised and now there are ants all over the kitchen!) or financial discussions (wait, I thought YOU were going to pay the gas bill?) or even comments that prompt “futurisms(sigh.. I just have to lose this last 15 pounds before Christmas). It doesn’t even have to be that she’s necessarily mad at you, but the result is the same: SLD.

The bottom line is this… be mindful of what you say and be sensitive to where she’s at emotionally. You won’t lose with healthy doses of encouragement, attention and good ol’ fashioned romance.

Categories: Dove Note, intimacy, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DOVE NOTE #24: Love Language


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes “)

I was talking to a friend the other day and he asked me, “So how’s married life?”¬† I told him that this is the absolute happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.¬† And for those who know my history,¬†that’s saying a lot.¬†¬†Because I honestly thought that I would never love or be loved like this… EVER.¬† I was deeply wounded by my last marriage, but even so there was always a part of me that believed in a deep love and still¬†yearned for¬†it.

So, in the beginning of my relationship with¬†Dre,¬†we discussed the importance of demonstrating love and feeling loved.¬† You know… that feeling that tells you beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone truly loves you?¬† It not only provides indisputable proof of your commitment to a person, but it can fan the flames of passion.¬† And who doesn’t appreciate passion, right? ¬† Anyway, we’d heard about the Five Love Languages and decided to find out which one best described our individual needs.

What was most interesting was learning that there were very different ways that made us feel loved.¬†¬†¬† For Dre, nothing says “I love you” more than spending time with her.¬† Sure… I can call her at work and say I love you every day for a month…¬†I can even have elaborate bouquets of flowers delivered to the house every Thursday at 3 o’clock… but for her these things¬†will never replace me actually being with her.

By spending time with her, it communicates to her that she is important to me, and says there’s nothing more important to me right now than her.¬† And we both benefit because it means she wants me around… she enjoys my company.¬† My friend put it best when he said, “She has chosen to love you… not like family who loves you because you’re related, but because she sees something in you that’s valuable.”¬† Amen.

For me, its very different.¬† What lets me know that she loves me is her confidence in me… her support and encouragement.¬† She can give me compliments all day, and even spend time with me, but it doesn’t replace knowing and hearing that she believes in me.¬† If I’ve completed something that I’ve worked hard on and she says, “You did a great job honey,” that’s nice and all, but what would really put me on cloud nine is if while I’m working or planning, for her to say that I’m doing a great job, that she trusts my judgment, that she believes I’m doing the right thing and I’m on the right track.¬† Build my confidence and I’ll feel loved.

With this revelation, we had to rethink what defines things for our relationship like Romance, Intimacy and Consideration.¬† The trick here¬†was remembering that when¬†demonstrating love we can find ourselves only¬†giving what¬†we hope to receive.¬† But with true love, it’s more about communicating what you need and feeling loved when that person sincerely gives it to you.

This year we’ll be celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary… and I still look at her with wide-eyed disbelief of how incredibly blessed I am to have found her… not someone like her… but HER in particular.

Categories: Dove Note, family, intimacy, marriage, personal, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Modern Love


You know, I’ve been cruising the blogosphere for the better part of a decade. And I’ve seen a lot of interesting things and I’ve met a lot of interesting people. In all this time, I’ve seen a common thread among certain types of people when it comes to love. They fall into a few distinct categories:

The Skeptic: Many skeptics see LOVE merely as a theory. They often find no practical applications in the real world. To some of them, love is bitterly fleeting and inevitably temporary. They approach relationships with extreme trepidation. Failure becomes the expectation and they tend to project this onto most of their relationships, which can have the unfortunate effect of acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy. For the skeptic, LOVE at most only exists in books and movies where the outcome is predetermined by the author.

The Dreamer: Dreamers for the most part, have a wholly unrealistic perception of LOVE . They’ve bought into the fantasy that LOVE comes in the form of a knight in shining armor riding on a white horse, or a beautiful virgin damsel in distress hoping for a¬† handsome hero. The drawback is that dreamers measure every romantic encounter by an unattainable standard that often leaves them disappointed. No one fits the mold they’ve crafted in their mind about the perfect relationship. It’s almost as if they’ve scripted the entire story in their head to the point that even one diversion from the plan disqualifies even the most promising suitor.

The Realist: These people have usually witnessed the best and worst LOVE has to offer. It isn’t always from direct experience, but more often from observing the roller coaster rides of Skeptics and Dreamers. They have no preconceived notions of what a relationship should look like. They’re not swayed by empty declarations or sappy displays of affection. And they don’t confuse lust with LOVE.¬† Although many Realist would love to experience whimsical romance, they typically are more than willing to put in the work necessary to simply make a relationship successful. This saves them from the disappointment usually experienced by Dreamers and the hardening of the hearts of Skeptics.

Sometimes I wonder how many of us have a realistic outlook on LOVE. I think a lot of people would like to believe that LOVE is just like the movies or in the stories we read where everyone lives happily ever after. After the dissolution of my first marriage, I was a hardcore Skeptic and thought LOVE was a farce. But meeting and marrying Dre has been the next best thing to living the life of a Dreamer.

Do you fit any of these categories?‚Ä®

If not, how would you categorize your outlook on LOVE?

Do you feel as if your perception of LOVE is determined by your life experiences?

Categories: relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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