Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The True Rules Of Engagement

To my female readers, imagine this; It's a Tuesday evening. About 7pm. And you are sitting on the couch being cradled in the arms of the one you love. Your favorite music is softly playing in the background as the man of your dreams is gently caressing your cheek and staring lovingly into your eyes. This is not lust that you are seeing. It's admiration. Appreciation. And though no words are being spoken, you clearly understand from his smile, from his caresses to his kisses, that all he wants is to love you and to feel you loving him back. You sit up to face each other and before you can speak the words, he says them, "I love you." Three simple words filled with power and promise. Power to build and create, or the power to destroy. Past heart breaks have taught you to be cautious. Young men these days speak those words so easily with no regard or comprehension as to what those words truly mean. But this man, the one holding you now, makes you feel loved and protected and cherished. He has demonstrated on numerous occasions that loving you means putting you and your needs first. For him, love is not a word. It is an action. And he has given and sacrificed enough to prove to you beyond a shadow of any doubt, that when he speaks these words, that he truly means them with his whole heart. And it is for those reasons that you not only believe in his words, but you have the courage and enthusiasm to return the love that he is so freely giving to you.
To my male readers; Imagine if you will, the same scenario. But with the woman of your dreams. Warm, supportive, patient and loving. Eager to please but wise enough to know when to move and when to wait. That shoulder you can lean on when you're stressed. That ear to listen to you vent. That voice to soothe, advise, encourage and guide. The perfect friend. The perfect lover. The perfect life mate. She took the time to get to know what truly makes you tick. And is always quick to show you that she knows exactly what her man wants or needs without you ever having to tell her. And the closeness that you feel with her isn't because of anything sexual, as a matter of fact, it's the closes thing you 've ever felt to anything spiritual. Why? Because for the first time in your life, you finally found someone who cared enough about your thoughts and feelings to actually listen to you. Listen to your heart crying. To your anger spilling out. To your frustration boiling over. To your tears overflowing. To your guilt pushing you over the edge. To your fear keeping you isolated. To your dreams ready to explode into life. To your need to be something or someone more than who you are. She listens to it all. And she doesn't judge. She listens and she doesn't punish. She listens and she does not tell. She takes your pain into herself and shares in it with you, so that she can understand it like you do. And then she comforts you. She cry's with you. She rocks with you. She encourages you and inspires you. And she will let you rage and rage and rage just to get it out of your system, just to tell you at the end of all of your raging, that everything is going to be alright. That whatever comes, you will go through it together. That she loves you. And that she is proud of you. And you don't really understand how or why, but her simple words of encouragement brings you peace. And makes you feel strong. They help push away the fear and help to give you perspective. You begin to realize that you are not alone. That she is going to love your no matter what. That she's not walking away because as far as she is concerned, she is apart of you. And that together, you are twice as strong. And suddenly, you find yourself loving her twice as much.
Believe it or not, neither of these are fairy tale scenarios. They are the revelations of real couples who have done the work and stayed together through some tough storms to make their loving relationships a reality. Unfortunately, this does not apply to everyone. Because not everyone was truly meant to be together. One would think that at the rate we as a civilization are evolving and growing, that with each generation we would weed out the bad habits or traits possessed by the generation before us. Sadly, that is not the case. In fact, the issue that has inspired this editorial is a human trait that seems to be regressing right before our very eyes. I am talking about DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS. Somehow, though we have made tremendous advancements in our evolution in science and technology, we seem to be regressing mentally and emotionally as human beings in our dealings with one another as mates. And it has regressed to the point of a significant portion of our society prescribing to the belief that DYSFUNCTION is a NORMAL part of EVERY RELATIONSHIP.
But there is a reason why so many of you have embraced this lie as though it is the truth. There is a reason why so many have participated in failed relationships that left them feeling angry and bitter. So bitter, you're not even able to maintain a civil friendship with your ex. It is because you entered into your past relationships without fully knowing or understanding the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Every successful relationship begins with the proper implementation of the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. It is the understanding of these rules, and by the strict adherence of these rules, that most productive, loving, prosperous relationships are spawned. Before I reveal to you these all important rules, lets first establish what qualifies a relationship. This is not to insult your intelligence, but to drive home a point before laying out the rules and explaining how and why they work, versus why what YOU have been doing, has continuously failed.
A functioning, loving, prosperous, non-dysfunctional relationship is what occurs when two separate people, with their own separate identities and lifestyles, choose to walk their journey in life together. That being said, there are a few things that can help ensure that the direction your relationship is moving in, is a positive one. These items are what we term as the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. These rules fall into two categories. Category one is "THE INDIVIDUAL." And category two is "THE COUPLE." This is the part where a lot of people are going to get their toes stepped on. A lot of people will not agree with these rules,... those people however, are the same people who have already been in 4 or more unsuccessful relationships that have ended in anger and bitterness. They will go out and try again, and they will fail again, and they will repeat the process again. Using as their justification and affirmation, the lie, that everybody goes through this. That all couples fight. That the drama they experience in their relationships is normal. And is to be expected. - Again:
We as a people, have been taught to find the short cuts. To do things better, faster, quicker, to be more efficient. And as a consequence, we have developed a taste for "INSTANT GRATIFICATION." Unfortunately, this is one of those things in life, that cannot be rushed. "BECAUSE THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS IN LOVE." Here are the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT:
1). Before any man or woman can be ready for a relationship with another person, they must first be secure and situated with themselves. Have their own identity. That means already having a job. Or having some way to secure your own money. Having your own place as well as your own car. Before you can be ready to contribute to a loving relationship, you have to first know how to be self.-sufficient and responsible for YOU! Because honestly, if you can't even take care of yourself, how are you to be expected to take care of the one you claim to love? Now this step alone would kill about 65% of most relationships today. There are just that many people who are actively participating in relationships that are UNEVENLY YOKED. Where only one person is footing the bills or doing all of the work. One is usually the giver and the other is usually the taker. For any relationship to have real hope of longevity and prosperity, both participants need to be able to contribute ON ALL LEVELS. That would be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and yes, FINANCIALLY. And no, I am not suggesting that it is all about the money. But a relationship is just like a career. Keeping in mind that the definition of a career is; "getting paid for what you love to do most." Just like any career, before you can excel to the top and get paid what you are worth, you need to be prepared and qualified to do the job. That means going to school for your training or degree or certifications. Once you have all of the tools you need, the sky is the limit. The same applies to LOVE. If you want to be able to be the best that you can be in the relationship, and want to be able to expect to receive the best out of that relationship, you need to ensure that you have everything that is required of you on your end. Love is a bounty and an investment that pays out huge returns for what you put into it,... but you have to actually have SOMETHING to put in. Something to invest. Something to contribute. Something more than just talk and game. Because a 100% return on any investment that you contribute NOTHING to, will still equate to nothing! Come on, do the math with me; 100 X 0 = 0. Change it around if you want, it still comes out the same. 0 X 100 = 0.
2). This is absolutely crucial. This is where the definition of a "COUPLE" is qualified and defined.
A couple is two separate "INDIVIDUALS" (please see definition above), who have already established their own individual lives and identities, but now choose to walk their life's path, "TOGETHER." The trick here is that even though they now walk together, there needs to be a healthy RESPECT for the OTHER PERSONS INDIVIDUALITY. The person that you are with, just like you, already has their own dreams and goals, their own wants, needs and desires. And just like you, they want their chosen mate to be a source of encouragement and support. The goal is that your mate will ADD to your ability to grow and prosper. NOT TAKE AWAY FROM IT. And together, you will develop a separate set of goals and dreams together as a single unit. - THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE GOALS OR DREAMS OR AMBITIONS THAT THEY HAVE AS AN INDIVIDUAL GO AWAY! - Those things still exist. Those things are still important. And if they are important to them, THEN THEY NEED TO BE IMPORTANT TO YOU. This is where and why COUPLES fail.When you give up your own individual dreams or identity to accommodate the other person, there is a void left in its place that cannot be filled because there is no such thing as a replacement for your dreams or for your identity. These things are a literal part of what makes you who and what you are. They are the things that drive and inspire you. Take them away,... and you are not YOU anymore.
The final rule is an old one. And in my opinion the one that matters most. If people were just honest with themselves about their ability to follow it, there would never be a problem. It simply states: "WHATEVER YOU DID TO GET ME, IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO KEEP ME." This should actually be the easiest thing in the world to do. Because hopefully, when you meet your life mate, the mutual attraction that you are both experiencing is a NATURAL one. Meaning you are attracted because you both actually share so many things IN COMMON WITH EACH OTHER that it justifies the attraction. Not your lust for each others flesh, but your shared interest in life. On issues. Politics. Views on family. Involvement in the community. The same religious views. The same tastes in music. These shared views matter. There is nothing wrong with being different or uniquely YOU. But in terms of a relationship, if you are talking about spending THE REST OF YOUR NATURAL LIFE WITH SOMEONE, I can assure you that you are going to want to spend it with someone who has the capacity to see things from your point of view. You will still have differences in opinion. But at least your mental thinking will mostly be moving along the same lines. COMPATIBILITY MATTERS. And yes, opposites do attract and fun can still be had by all, but statistically, those relationships mostly fail MISERABLY AND PAINFULLY. This decision, to mate, to marry, or to claim your soul-mate, should be as important as you choosing a college. A career. And those choices are usually made based on some very specific things. Love is no different. And the impact is just as life changing. Do not relinquish your ability to have some say-so in who you choose to be with. Do not leave it to fate. Stand up and take an active part in who you choose, or risk being another failed statistic. It's about choices. And some are harder than others. But they still need to be made.
There is only one thing left to remember. You need to be honest enough with yourself to be able to see and acknowledge the difference between LOVE AND PASSION. This will make you or break you. PASSION is such a huge part of what makes up LOVE, that it can easily be confused for being true love itself. PASSION is overwhelming and addictive. And when it's good, it's good. Unfortunately, it is not enough to sustain or to keep a relationship alive. Especially if it is the only thing you two have in common. The other aspects that you need as an INDIVIDUAL will come into play sooner or later. And when they do, and what you need as an INDIVIDUAL does not line up, or your needs are not being met, or interests collide, opinions collide, desires collide, all you have left in the wake of all of that opposition, is the passion. And that's when you realize, that the sex between you, as good as it is, it will not pay the bills. It will not supply you with emotional support. It will not encourage you when you need to go left and your mate is fighting you to go right. It will not back up your decisions. And it will not inspire you to push in the opposite direction,... "THE DIRECTION IN WHICH YOU DREAMS ACTUALLY LIE." No, PASSION, (as delicious as it is), is not enough. So, it falls to you now. As a responsible adult, to do the things that YOU ALREADY KNOW ARE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST. I can assure you, that while you are on your journey through life, if you are being true to yourself and your own dreams and ambitions, that along the way, you will find someone, whom you are incredibly attracted to, who is striving in the exact same direction as you, doing the exact same things that you are doing, for the exact same reasons. Those are the relationships that last 50 years or more. Nothing personal, but the reason your current relationship is not or did not work, (and yes, I am making a general assumption that does not apply to everyone, I realize that. But the point will be made), is because you probably met him or her, at a random place, like a night club, or the mall, or some public venue, and were only physically attracted to them. Maybe you thought they were funny and cute and that combination made them seem exciting to you. People ask all of the time, "WHERE CAN I GO TO MEET SOMEONE WHO IS INTO THE SAME THINGS THAT I AM INTO?" I am blown away every time I hear it. Because the answer is simple; YOU WILL MEET THEM IN THE PLACES WHERE YOU DO THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST TO YOU. And if you see them there regularly, it will give you the opportunity to see how passionate they are about the thing that matters so much to you. It will afford you the opportunity to strike up intelligent conversation. Share laughter and discover what else you may or may not have in common. That is the missing element in our relationship hunting now. NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE THE TIME NECESSARY TO REALLY GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER. Everyone just wants the sex and then fast forward to HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Sorry family. It honestly does not matter how much we grow or evolve in science or technology, this part of love and relationships, will simply never change. So date. Meet and greet. Mix and mingle. But be selective. And do not be so quick to move people into your homes. Or bring them around your kids. Get to know them first. So, before you go and lay with each other; Try sitting together without driving each other crazy. Then try walking together hand in hand. Then try running in the same circles. If you can do that, then TOGETHER, maybe you can actually fly. - Adrian Milan

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