What Works in the Real World

An awful lot of what passes for advice around relationships just doesn’t seem to work in the real world. I heard one the other day about “meaningful touches”. Apparently someone came up with the idea of twelve meaningful touches each day. Sort of sounds like an almost magical ritual designed to keep the evil spirits of trouble away from the door of your love nest. My wife and I have been married for over 35 years and it’s a warm and loving marriage that gives both of us that fulfillment that everybody’s looking for nowadays.

Today, we were both around the house together quite a bit. I did some gardening and fixit jobs and she was cooking for company we’re having at the house tomorrow. So I counted the number of times we touched “meaningfully”. It happened maybe five times. If I really gave any credence to the “twelve touches” rule, I would have felt like a failure today, instead of the winner that I truly am. We need to learn to be a little more critical whenever we hear of these rules for living.

Another “rule” that has been around for years is the one about never going to bed angry. Another version I just heard states: “Never go to sleep without saying, ‘I love you.’” Funny, I once would have believed in both of those. Reality is far different.

Most of the arguments that my wife and I have do not have anything to do with what we’re arguing about! But our arguments always do have a reason. We fight with each other when we’re worried, when we haven’t had enough sleep, when we are hungry and when we aren’t feeling well. At those times, it’s not touching or working things out that we need. What we need is something to eat and a good night’s sleep.

It’s far better to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head and pass out, than to say, “I love you.”, when you don’t mean it. The next morning, after a good eight hours, is the best time to apologize and explain what you were going through the day before.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you last night. I was just frazzled from my day at work.”

“Honey, I didn’t mean to yell at you yesterday. I think that I’m just worried about the kids.”

And then, “I love you.”

My next column is about The Power of Making a Decision.

©2008, Irv Engel

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One's life has value so long as one attributes values to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion., - Simone de Beauvoir

Irv Engel is a successful salesman, builder, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He loves to sing, dance and is currently taking an art class to learn water color painting. He is the creator and coordinator of the Relationship Training Course for Men. This book, The Real Deal: A Guide to Achieving Successful and Real Relationships, is the result of hundreds of hours spent writing down the lessons learned in a lifetime of marriage, divorce, re-marriage and raising four kids. He hosts free telephone conference coaching sessions in the evening or on weekends.The conference is a good way to find out about relationship coaching and to ask any personal questions around your own relationships without risk to your money or your privacy. E-mail him for phone number, access code and schedule. Irv and Monica live in Lake Forest, Calif. They have eleven grandchildren. They have celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.

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