Romantic Behaviors 11-Forgiveness

Here is an anonymous e-mail received with a powerful message…

SAND and STONE

“Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: ‘Today my best friend slapped me in the face.’

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: ‘Today my best friend saved my life.’

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, ‘After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now you wrote on a stone. Why?’

The friend replied, ‘When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.’

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. It is said that it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire lifetime to forget them.”

Forgiveness is another way to “earn it”.

Romantic Behaviors 10-There's No Place Like Home

Research has shown that due to the current recession, people are changing the way they perceive their homes. Rather than taking extravagant vacations, they are traveling closer to home–getting to know areas they used to just fly over. People are taking shorter, weekend “get-aways” rather than yearly trips of a week or two to more exotic places. Many people are fixing up their existing homes rather than buying larger homes with higher tax liabilities. People are also preparing for retirement differently by saving more (understanding that Social Security may not be available when needed.) Due to advances in medical science and more education about healthier living habits, people are planning to live in their own homes later in life rather than going to retirement communities. People seem to enjoy their independent living, even as they get older. 

For current enjoyment and future planning, you can fix up your home together. Whether you pay people to do your “honey-do” lists or you dust off some skills not used in a few years, find ways for you both to plan and implement home improvements while increasing the value of your home at minimal costs. My wife recently saved over $10,000 by designing and sewing new curtains for our home. I received some passionate smiles and kisses when I surprised her by mounting the curtain rod brackets (since I’m not Mr. Handyman, she was quite surprised). Her smiles and the twinkle in her eyes were definitely worth dusting off my old tool belt and remembering how to plug in the hammer. ;0) 

This can create short-term excitement as well as long-term pride of ownership. Finding joint products and reminding yourselves of possible teamwork can really reinforce your partnership.

Romantic Behaviors 9-Get Healthier

One way to romance each other is to make future plans and goals together. Choose to do things together. This reinforces your desire to stay with one another. This is both comforting and reinforcing.

To take things a step further, take action to make sure you are around to fulfill that commitment. Our way of life can be filled with health obstacles–poor diets, eating at the wrong times of day, sedentary lifestyles, and encouragement to always have more. My wife and I are both overweight and have lots of reasons to explain such. Last year when my doctor told me that since I was now over fifty years old and borderline diabetic and elevated (but not high) blood pressure, I could either lose twenty pounds or he could put me on medication. I was quite motivated to lost the twenty pounds, and did so within the month. However, at 5’10″ tall and 248 pounds, I was still overweight. I realized that I was setting myself up for failure. Though my wife didn’t complain about my spare tire, she would probably prefer my not only looking better, but also being healthier so that we could plan more time together–not for next week or next month, but for decades to come. She is a wonderful cook, so her preparing meals is one of her favorite ways to show me how much she loves me. Conversely, I love to take her out to nice dinners to spoil her. These are wonderful ways that we each try to “earn it” but it has become out of balance. We need to focus more on exercising to allow ourselves to be around for each other in the long term. Today she joined Jenny Craig and also paid for me to join. We will now have prepared, measured meals to limit our caloric intake. What a wonderful way for her to show me that she loves me!

For years I have chosen to multi-task for my exercise. I walk our dog, while listening to podcasts about publishing or audio books about business or relationships, while pumping two ten-pound weights for 45 minutes. In this manner I get a lot done, but my wife is even more important to me. I have now invited her to join me. I’ll pull out my headphones and talk with her on our shared walks. We may keep up the same route that allows me to walk our dog off his leash, or we will sometimes choose unique and more scenic routes to mix things up. This will also allow for a time for us to focus on each other while catching up on what is new with each other. What a loving way to share time now and to also become more fit to make sure we can be there for each other in the future. It’s estimated that we should walk 10,000 steps per day. Are you close to that goal? How could you share time with a loved one while also preparing yourselves for future fitness together?

Romantic Behaviors 8-Support and Encouragement

Here’s another anonymous e-mail for your enjoyment…

“A real man is a woman’s best friend.
He will never stand her up and never let her down.
He will reassure her when she feels insecure and comfort her after a bad day.
He will inspire her to do things she never thought she could do-to live without fear and forget regret.
He will enable her to express her deepest emotions and give in to her most intimate desires.
He will make sure she always feels as though she’s the most beautiful woman in the room and will enable her to feel confident,    
     sexy, seductive and invincible.

No wait… Sorry…

I’m thinking of wine. It’s wine that does all that.

Never mind.”  ;o)

Good partners support each other and encourage the other to be the best they possibly can. When partners help each other become stronger, the partnership is made stronger, which helps make each partner stronger. When you help your partner become even better, you indirectly help yourself become better. You can build each other up or tear each other down. Which do you do more frequently? Is that in the best interest of your relationship?

Romantic Behaviors 7-Take Care of Them Afterwards…

Though we don’t like to think about it, we can even take steps to take care of our loved ones after we’re not around to do so any longer. I received the following from a life insurance salesman, Chip Brinks of Five Rings Financial. Fortunately, my wife and I have both taken life insurance out on each other so that when the unevitable happens, the other’s life will not be financially devastated. This says it well…

“Because he loved me,
He did the dishes
Rubbed my feet
Surprised me with tulips

Took me to musicals even though he didn’t like them
Carried my bags while I did the shopping
Held my hand.

He died of cancer four years ago.

Because he loved me,
I can stay in our home.
I can be here for our children.
I can afford to pay for their college tuition.
I can worry about the other things in life besides money.

He still loves me.  And he still shows it.”

Keep Your Partner's Bowl Full

Isn’t it funny that daily chores can remind us of lessons learned? Yesterday, our ten year old yellow lab, Buddy-pictured below with our grandson, Will, finished the last of his 40-pound bag of dog food. I need to get him more food today. We keep his bowl full all of the time and he just eats when he desires. He also gets some of our leftovers, but he rarely has to “worry” about having food. He is a muscular 95-pounds and he has never taken it for granted because he has grown up knowing that there will always be food available. He has taken the leftovers for granted; one year after Christmas dinner, we gave him too much leftovers of prime rib and I ended up taking him to the vet and paying $900 to discover he had a stomach ache. His daily dog food may not be as exciting, but it meets his needs so that he doesn’t over-indulge. A couple times our backyard gate has been left open yet Buddy has not left the yard. Even when given the opportunity, he stays where his needs are getting met.

In contrast, when I was separated from my ex-wife, for whatever reason, she sometimes didn’t feed our eleven-year-old German Shepherd regularly. Hans was used to his dog bowl being full, so he also never left the yard, even when a couple opportunities occurred. Yet, when his dog bowl was empty for several days during our separation, he would leave the yard in search of food. About a year later I was able to leave the apartment life behind me, returned to having a home with a yard, and Hans again became quite the home body. When his dog bowl was kept full, he never left the security of his bottomless bowl. Even when we moved to a new home and new neighborhood, he never left the yard since his needs were getting met.

The lesson learned–when you take care of your partner’s needs, s/he won’t have to seek getting them filled elsewhere. Whether the needs be food, sex or companionship, it’s amazing how we can tolerate the same, dry, dog food everyday (hopefully with occasional treats) as long as we know that it is always available.

Do you keep your partner’s dog bowl full? This is another way to “earn it”.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Here are the upcoming appointments for which I am scheduled to speak. I have listed the Rotary clubs, but their meetings are typically available only by invitation. I hope to see you at one of these meetings during which you can learn more about increasing the love in your life and improving your relationships.

UPCOMING & RECENT SPEAKING EVENTS:

November 18, 2010-Rotary Club of Lincoln, CA
Noon-Invitation Only

November 12, 2010-Folsom Women’s Service Club
1:00 Folsom Community Center at 52 Natoma St. in Folsom, CA

November 7, 2010-WNBA Author Showcase in San Francisco
Open to the Public

October 30, 2010-Rotary District 5180 Conference
Invitation Only

October 9, 2010-Sierra Author Showcase Writers Bloc
1:00-5:00 p.m. Placerville Library at 345 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA

October 2, 2010-Del Campo High School 35th Reunion
6-11 p.m. at the Sacramento Hilton; Open to Del Campo Graduates

September 21, 2010-An Evening With Authors-Open to the Public

6-8 p.m. Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Bob Quinlan of “Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love” (Authority Publishing, $19.95, 252 pages), Frances Kakugawa of “Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry” (Watermark Publishing, $16.95, 232 pages), Kiyo Sato of “Kiyo’s Story: A Japanese- American Family’s Quest for the American Dream” (Soho Press, $25, 352 pages), and Susan M. Osborn of “The System Made Me Do It: A Life Changing Approach to Office Politics” (Lifethread Publications, $19.95, 176 pages) will read from their works and be available for autographs.

Unconditional Love-Not

The following is an excerpt from Earn It:“Unconditional love implies that love will happen unconditionally—regardless of any conditions. It suggests that we are completely powerless regarding love. We are not that vulnerable. Once we accept that we can influence our feelings, characterized as love, we empower ourselves. We cannot control love, but we can empower others to want to love us. Likewise, we can motivate others to love us less. Love can be enhanced or reduced; love can be earned or unearned. You are already empowering yourself by investing the time and energy to read this (blog) and evaluate your love life. Your attitude will affect your behaviors regarding love.”

Love is not an “all or nothing” proposition. You can love somebody more at times and less at others. Hopefully love will be like a stock, pictured as playing with a yo-yo while walking upstairs. There will be variable highs and lows, but your goal should be to increase the love over time. Some times I just adore my wife and wonder why she is with me at all, while at other times, I wonder what planet she came from. I definitely love her, more than I have loved anybody else, but like anybody else we have our good days and our challenges. I know that she feels the same way about me–we’ve discussed it.

This understanding and communication take a huge amount of trust, open-mindedness, and willingness to be responsible for the consequences of one’s own behavior, but it is extremely empowering and will allow you to influence the degree of love that you receive.

“Earn It” at Work

This week is the opening of the National Football League, which shared an optimistic view of human nature. There are many stories of players that haven’t lived up to their potential then fade away into obscurity. There are also stories of professional athletes that work hard to achieve success, sign a profitable contract, then fail to produce at the level that earned them millions of dollars a year. There are stories of players that make several million dollars a year then complain that they don’t feel the love from their teams. There are so many of these stories that we sometimes become tolerant of their pity parties.

Yesterday, a very refreshing story shined above all others. Mike Williams was a highly praised, nationally ranked, wide receiver while at USC (the University of Southern California) where he caught 176 passes in two seasons. He was drafted as the tenth overall pick in 2005 by the Detroit Lions, then traded to two other NFL teams where he caught a total of only 44 passes in three seasons (according to a USA Today article). He was out of the NFL mid-way through the 2007 season having blossomed to 270 pounds (quite heavy for a speedy receiver).

Last November, Mr. Williams approached his college football coach from USC, Pete Carroll, who is now the coach of the NFL Seattle Seahawks. The player asked his coach for another chance and proved his commitment by losing almost forty pounds. Not only did Mike Williams make the team, but he played in yesterday’s season opener and caught 4 passes for 64 yards. Rather than taking his career for granted, he refocused, redefined himself, and dedicated himself to re-earning his professional football career. As he said of the coach to whom he must feel indebted, ‘”It’s more of a ‘go prove it’ type of thing,’ Williams says of his connection with Carroll.”

Isn’t it refreshing to hear of a success story once somebody decides to “earn it”?

Romantic Behaviors 6-It’s In the Details In Love…

Here are some of the details of the night I proposed to my wife-to-be. This was my attempt to “close her.” I’m sure she would have accepted my proposal for marriage anywhere, but I wanted the night to be memorable for us both. To make sure, I preplanned as many of the details as possible. When was the last time you paid this much attention to the details for a date with your loved one? You can do so whenever you like. Do you think this would motivate somebody to love you just a little bit more?

“This is how I proposed to Chris, investing in her as the primary asset in my life:

Our first date was at the Cliff House restaurant overlooking the coastline, so it was the ideal place to ask her to become my lifelong partner. The week before I planned to ask her to become my wife, I went to the restaurant to obtain a copy of their menu. I was going to take it to a printer to have a custom menu made with my proposal as one of the entrees. When I told the general manager of my plan, he informed me that they printed the menus on-site and would do so for me. We made prior arrangements for the complete menu, which would feature our favorites without even being ordered that night. Planning ahead made for a truly magical evening.

We started the evening walking along the beach that “coincidentally” ended at the Cliff House. I suggested we go inside. Immediately upon arrival, we were seated at a window table; she received her Caesar salad and I, my clam chowder. Her curiosity was now peaking. She was quite surprised when the waiter delivered a bottle of Dom Perignon with our menus. I suggested that she try the “Lover’s Feast.” As I left my seat to kneel next to her, the pianist began to play our song, “What a Wonderful World.” While on bended knee, I pointed to her menu, citing, “Perhaps you’d enjoy the…”

“Lover’s Feast—Chris, I love you.  I will spend the rest of my life earning your love.  Will you please marry me? 1.23.97.” 

She stared back at the silent patrons focusing on her as I offered her the box containing her engagement ring. Apparently, the staff had forewarned our fellow diners as to what was going to transpire. As if on queue, several romantics asked, “Well, what’s your answer?” She replied to them, more than to me, “Yes, of course!” as tears ran down her cheeks. One of the waiters took a picture with the camera I’d slipped him earlier. She was rewarded with a lobster dinner (her favorite food, which was not on their regular menu). I reinforced my commitment to earn her love.

More money was spent on this meal than was required. I could have taken her out for a McDonald’s Happy Meal and she would have accepted the proposal. Fortunately, money is not the measure by which we measure our valuables. This menu is displayed in our dining room as a written reminder of our commitment to continue earning each other’s love. I hope she never has to pull it out to remind me that I was once so motivated to earn her love that I was willing to put it in writing.”
 
I will spend the rest of my life earning her love…