Defusing a Small Crisis With Humor
Learning to Come from the Gut
Liking Yourself
The Power of Making a Decision
What do Women Want?
What is a Real Relationship?
What Works in the Real World
Why Should I Listen?
Why Should You Like Yourself?
You can Live Without It

Why Should I Listen?

So what does it mean to “Listen” to a woman? How can I possibly do it as nothing they say seems to interest me? What’s in it for me if I were to become a better listener? And why do they need me to listen to them in the first place?

Listening and being listened to for women is an ancient survival mechanism. When all of us were members of a hunter-gatherer society, there was never a guarantee that when a woman’s man went off on the hunt that he would ever be heard from again. So men were a very iffy source of security for a woman, who needed security in order to raise her children.

The survival mechanism that women created was to get in tight with the other women in the community. They did this by doing things together: cooking, gathering, grinding the grain, and gossiping and sharing food. They were doing all of the basic things necessary to create interpersonal relationships. If they hadn’t done all that, there wouldn’t even be anything called civilization because it was women that created all of the interpersonal skills. Talking and listening became their thing. They had to be good at it in order to survive.

What they did was build up a deep well of good feelings among the other women through their talking and sharing. Then, if the dreaded day came when their man didn’t come home, they could draw on that good-will by going to the other women for what they needed: food, shelter, clothing and protection.

So if it weren’t for talking, listening and feelings, none of us would be where we are today. The chances are good that we wouldn’t even have survived as a species. In other words, all of this is good, not negative. Since talking and being listened to represent security to women at a very primitive level, and since security is their “prime directive”, needed for raising their children which guarantees the very existence of the human race, it makes sense for every man to learn how to listen.

For men, I think that our prime directive is to have “peace and quiet” in our home lives. We hate the moods, the sarcasm, the arctic temperatures and the icy silences. So you want to learn how to listen because, “If mama ain’t happy – ain’t nobody happy”.

We men can focus on a goal. We’re the hunters remember? We’re good at locking in on a target, blocking out everything else and zeroing in. So now that you know what the goal is, a little sanity in your life, you can use all of your hunting skills to become a world-class listener. A hunter focuses on the target, he doesn’t allow anything to distract him, no superfluous thoughts enter his mind, and he can remain still for long periods of time. Nothing else matters except the goal. That is a description of an excellent listener.

The rewards are phenomenal: A happy woman who is more than glad to share herself fully and completely in every way. This is the women that most men dream of, and it’s all within your reach.

What do Women Want?

Women are very good at letting us know what they want. We men, being natural "fixers", problem-solvers and rescuers, are very good at attempting to give them what they want in order to please them. None of it works very well for us, and we are forever puzzled, hurt and angry. Our logical minds tell us that it should be a perfect fit: They want things and have problems, and we are good at providing things and solving problems.

But as soon as we get in the middle of it, we get shut down, belittled, disrespected and generally made to feel like an idiot. We are bewildered as to where in hell the fury and icy silences are coming from.

Women may know exactly what they "want", but often don't know what they actually need. This especially applies to younger women with little life-experience and to women who have never experienced receiving what they need from a man. These woman absolutely believe that they know what they need -- and they are wrong. They are wrong because no matter how much they get what they are asking for, they are still miserable, depressed and feel misunderstood and "small".

Women, most of them, don't want their problems solved. Having a problem is a part of their emotional psyche that is essential to their mental health. If they don't have a problem they can chew on at the moment, they will manufacture one. As a friend of mine puts it, "If you were actually able to solve all of a women's problems that she tells you about, then you become the problem." In other words, she will focus on you as the cause of all of her emotional misery and turmoil, because you have taken everything else away.

Women are creatures of emotion. The way they process their emotions (read that "live with themselves"), is to talk it out with another human being. Their natural and historical outlet for this talking process has always been other women. Other women are very interested in what your woman has to say about her emotional state and all of the problems that created it. They calm each other so that by the time they get back to you, they are possible to live with in harmony. A women with a lot of women friends that get together is an easy woman to live with. The man practically doesn't need to do anything to get along with her.

But if your woman has isolated herself at home all day with the kids, or in an office with a lot of males, when she gets home she needs something from you: She needs you to listen while she talks and processes all of the emotions that are swirling around inside her that she doesn't know how to handle. Your job at that point, if you are to have the peace and quiet that you crave, is to listen attentively and actively without interrupting or expressing an opinion except to agree or express wonder at what you have just heard. If you hear her describe a problem in her life that is "Driving her crazy", stifle the urge to blurt out the "solution" that is so obvious to you. Suppress that primal urge to fix her and make all of her problems disappear.

This actually happened: A couple of years ago, after following my own advise for a long time, my wife expressed a problem that was really bothering her. I immediately saw the solution in a flash of male ego and inspiration and started to blurt it out to her. She stopped me with her hand and yelled at me, "Don't do that. Damn it, you know better! You're fucking everything up." I realized what I was doing and freaked out. I stopped immediately, completely put my "solution" out of my head and apologized and asked her to continue, which she did. When she got done, nothing was "solved" about the "problem", but she was okay and we went on to have a lovely evenling.

Learning to Come from the Gut

One of the hardest lessons I have ever had to learn was to become conscious of my "gut feelings". I used to be a master of pushing down my feelings and being unconsious of what I was really feeling.

I seemed to be operating from the principle of, "If I ignore what I am feeling, maybe it will go away."

Well, I've reached a point in my life where I am no longer capable of ignoring my feelings and sometimes they can make me completely miserable. The trick in making your feelings work for you instead of eating you up inside is dependent on knowing who you are and what is important to you -- and then not ignoring what you feel.

One of the main things that I have learned about myself is that I value being respected. The other side of that coin is that I can't and won't tolerate being treated with disrespect. I refuse to allow the people in my life to treat me as anything less than a human being. If someone that I know does treat me with a lack of respect and I don't do anything about it, that is when I feel miserable.

I know full well that I am not perfect and that I am fully as capable of making mistakes and screwing things up as well as any human being. But I insist on being treated with respect in spite of anything that I have done, simply because I usually don't mess up on purpose.

If my intention is love and healing and not hate and destruction, and I do my best, nobody has the right to treat me with sarcasm and put me down or try to push me around. I, at the very least want to be treated with ordinary courtesy.

Lately, my wife has taken to forgetting to deal with me with the same rules that she automatically applies to complete strangers. When she wants me to do something for her, she makes it in the form of a command instead of a request. "Please", "Thank you", and "Would you do me a favor?" have been sorely missing lately.

"You're falling asleep. Get up and go to bed!"

"Take off your hat"

"Stop putting these things in the drawer. Throw them in the trash."

The unexpected commands were making me angry, but I waited until I had a good night's sleep before I said anything. Sometimes, my feelings are caused by not enough sleep or dehydration or fatigue. But when I woke up this morning, I was madder than the day before and I knew that I had to act. When I got back from the gym, I went into her and said:

"I am extremely upset with you right now about the way that you have been treating me. I feel as though you don't respect me enough to give me common courtesy and it has made me extremely angry".

She was startled and asked me what she had done. I told her how it felt to be sleeping in my recliner and rudely awakened by her command to go to bed.

She immediately began defending herself by trying to explain.

I exploded: "NO! I'm not listening to your explanations when I'm telling you how I feel. I'm walking away!"

I went upstairs to change out of my gym clothes.

It took her about five minutes, but she came up, sat down and said, "Okay. Now I'm ready to listen".

So I reeled off three or four examples of what she had been doing lately and how angry I was. It took awhile, but she listened very well and then apologized. We had a very good day today.

No, she didn't even slow down as to the number of things she wanted me to do, but she treated me with kindness and respect throughout the day.

Defusing a Small Crisis With Humor

My wife and I had a bunch of friends over for dinner last week. My wife spent a lot of time setting the table and getting the food ready. My job, which I do really well, is to be the best helper she could ever possibly hope for. At an event like this, which involves our friends and is a part of our social life, she is the manager of the entire occasion. I am not the co-manager or even the assistant manager. I am strictly her helper and go into a very pro-active mode of cooperating with her and making her life as easy as possible so that we can both be proud.

I don't sit around not paying attention and waiting for her to tell me what to do. I ask her what she needs often, and also just look around and identify what needs doing and then just do it. So, I wash a lot of dishes, put stuff away, check in with our guests often around drinks, etc.

When I first understood what my role was in these situations, I had a hard time accepting it. After all, I'm a big boy too and how come I'm only a helper? It seemed demeaning. I found it hard to accept the fact that she gave orders and I had to do things her way.

Two things enabled me to wholeheartedly take on the role of "helper". The first was understanding and accepting that our social life is not my responsibility -- it's her's. I have plenty of areas in my life where I am in charge and have complete control. I literally don't need to control her areas. The second was deciding that if I was going to be a helper, then I would be the best damned helper anyone ever saw, and that I would be proud of my job. Then I let her know it. I had to let her know it, because she didn't understand herself what our roles were. She actually thought that our social life should be 50/50 and was always mad at me for not taking charge of social events. She was always grousing that, "You never take responsibility for anything--I have to always think for both of us."

I finally had to tell her one day that it was her job to be in charge of the social aspect of our relationship, and that it was my job to help her. But I let her know in no uncertain terms that I was the best damned helper she could ever have and that I was proud of the work I did on our behalf and that I would no longer put up with her putting me down. That worked! From that point on, I never heard a complaint from her. On the contrary, I now get nothing but praise. Not only does she tell me directly how much she appreciates all I do, but I hear her boasting about me to her friends over the phone.

So here we are at the dinner the other day. Things are going along well, and my wife is happily bustling about the kitchen and our guests are at the table chatting and eating in the dining area. I'm washing dishes. So she comes in and suddenly she's upset:: "Damn it! Where's my knife? I was just using it a minute ago."

I turned around and looked at her. She's glaring at me.

"You're going to drive me nuts! I can't put anything down without you moving it. Why can't you leave my things alone?"

I could have gone almost anywhere with this situation. We could have had an argument. But I decided to use humor to deflect it. I knew I could do that, because I am not afraid of my wife. She may be yelling, but she is not upsetting me. I have no need to get defensive! I know from past experience that she puts herself under tremendous pressure when we have guests in the house to have everything go smoothly. So I said:"Look. I know that you get upset like you are right now when I put away something that you are using, but I also know that you get a lot more upset when I don't clean things up and put them away".

She said, "Yeah. You're right. I do that."

So I said, "So, basically, I'm wrong whatever I do."

She said, "Yeah. I guess I do that too."

And she started to get a little sheepish and began to realize how unreasonable that was.

But I took her hands, looked her in the eye and said, "It's okay, babe. At least I get to choose how I lose.".

She cracked up and so did I, and we laughed ourselves silly right there in the kitchen. The incident was over, and we went back and sat down with our guests.

You can Live Without It

When we were little children, we were completely dependent upon our parents for the details of our survival. Our "relationship" with our parents, although not full person-to-person, still brought us all we needed to keep us alive and functioning. Instinctively, at a very early age, we knew that without the relationship we could not survive. As we got a little older, the rational part of our minds confirmed this intuitive reasoning. Without our relationship with our parents we would survive extremely poorly or for a limited period of time. The possibility that some relative, friend of the family or government agency would take over in their stead would enter the minds of only the rarest of children.

The equation is elegant in its simplicity: mother and father equals survival. Later in life, for most of us, it becomes: “Relationships equal survival.” It is this that becomes a lifetime trap for many of us. To arrive at true maturity as adults, we must, all of us, come to both the intuitive and the logical conclusion that upon becoming an adult, the old equation no longer applies in its original basic sense. Now, as an adult, we can provide for ourselves the basic necessities that were given to us as a child.

For many people, however, this new reality only seems logical to their thinking, reasoning mind. There remains some part of them that still insists: “Relationships equal survival.” These people enter each relationship from a position of fear, a weakness that flaws the relationship and dooms it to failure from its inception. It will fail to become a real person-to-person interaction while it exists, and will usually fail to exist at all after a few years. One or both people finally reach the point where they can no longer tolerate what the fear is doing to them. Oddly enough, the one with the greatest fear of losing the relationship will often do all of the things that would guarantee its loss, all the while proclaiming, "Don't leave me, I can't live without you!"

The reality is that they are sick of living with the pain of fear and want to get out of the situation that they feel is causing that pain, but the child- like part of them believes that they can't survive outside of the relationship. When we enter into a relationship from a position of weakness caused by fear of loss, it is impossible from the beginning to establish ourselves as adults dealing with other adults. We invite the other person to treat us as a child and become our pseudo-parent. Often, if they themselves are not fully mature, they will fill this role automatically, some reluctantly and with great anger and some taking to it like the proverbial duck to water. We thus create in our lives a variety of pseudo-parents, some benign and some tyrannical according to their own liking for the role. None of this does anything for our own dignity, and if we dare think about it at all, we realize that we are miserable beyond all description with what we have done with our lives.

Many of these sad child-adults begin to do all of the things that would seem calculated to wreck any relationship. The unconscious desire is that if they are inept enough, unlovable enough, the other person will take the initiative and one day walk out, thereby releasing them from a misery that they don't have the courage to get out of themselves. So they burn the roast, over-salt the stew, stay out late and come home drunk, leave dirty underwear strewn about, flirt with other people, leave beer cans on the good furniture and on and on and on. Usually, there are innumerable small explosions from the offended "parent", and it's then that the “child” cries, "I'll change, please don't leave me, I won't do it again." But they do, until one day it all ends in a split, often a divorce, sometimes a shooting and too often just living together as complete strangers for the sake of the children.

If you are in such a situation now, you know that it feels as though there can be no solution. For all of the years of childhood the equation "relationship equals survival" was a part of us all. For many of us, the adult years have been a striving to keep that equation intact. To the extent that we succeed, we remain children.

Liking Yourself

A real relationship is not for everyone. First and foremost, it’s a lot of hard work and commitment. You have to give up a lot of what you believe is the real you. That is, you will need to learn compromise, compromise, and more compromise in order to focus on what is really important to you and your happiness.

You wont be able to remain self-centered and will have to learn the meaning of creative selfishness. A lot of you reading this even believe that being depressed and miserable is just part of who you are and that it can never change. The reality is that most of you reading this might as well just stop reading and go do something else, because you are just not ready.

For those of you still with me, you’re just hoping that I’ll tell you something that you can actually use to turn your life around because you are just sick and tired of beating your brains out and never getting anywhere. Maybe you’re tired of being a loser and never getting anywhere in life. Maybe you have a divorce or two under your belt and don’t want to ever go through that again. Or you can’t hold a job or create a successful career. Maybe you have just come to the realization that you don’t know what you are doing and that you need help. Or maybe, just maybe, you like yourself too much to keep putting yourself through a life that is only half a life.

And that’s my point exactly: unless you figure out how to like yourself enough, you are not going to decide to make a commitment to do what it really takes to turn your life around. Let’s face it. You have been doing what you have been doing for a long, long time. It’s an entrenched habit of a lifetime. You are so used to shooting yourself in your own foot, so used to all your little bad habits and addictions and attitudes that unless you figure out a way to learn to like yourself, you will go back to them in a heartbeat and anything you learn here and in the following columns or my book will just go down the drain.

Unless you learn to love yourself, you will never even have the possibility of taking charge of your own life and truly owning every aspect of it. You’ll never take the time to learn what the true role of a man in a relationship with a woman is. You’ll never discover the joy of learning what it feels like to be loved and far more importantly, respected by others.

So, if you’re really ready, it comes down to this: “If you don’t love yourself, why should anyone else love you?” And this: “Why should you love yourself?”

The next column is about “Why Should You Like Yourself?"

The Power of Making a Decision

The first step in creating a true relationship is the conscious decision that you would rather have one than not have one. Many people are trying to maintain various types of interactions with others without ever being sure in their minds that they want to be in the situation in the first place. They are constantly asking themselves, "What am I doing here when I could be some place else?" I can recall in my own life that whenever anything went wrong I would immediately begin scheming about ways to get out of where I was. Once I was so miserable that I bought an airplane ticket to get me away from the problem that I was having with my wife. It was only by chance that I didn't take off and create another miserable relationship somewhere else. I recall that I was constantly storming out of the house and mumbling something to myself about, "Not having to put up with such crap!" Like so many others, I drifted into the relationship when everything was going good, but wanted out as soon as things turned a little sour. I was trying to operate without a true commitment.

Unless the decision that a relationship is desirable is made, and made solidly as a commitment, nothing further can be built. It is sad to realize, but there are people who are leading fruitless, miserable lives within one or several pseudo-relationships for no better reason than that they have never gotten to the point where they have decided that it would be better to have a real relationship with another human being than to remain in the hell they are in now. Once the decision to have a relationship is made, it can then be modified to specify with whom and what kind of relationship it will be. As an example, the commitment of a husband toward a wife would be, "I want to have a long-term loving relationship with you as your husband."

Getting this straight in your own mind and expressing it to the other person in so many words is vital to a healthy beginning. A salesman, as an example of another type of commitment, can commit himself to a shorter-term sales situation with a client. In this situation as in all others, it is vital to establish in your own mind just what you are there for and then to communicate that commitment to the other person. It is amazing what a wonderful sense of strength is derived from making a conscious decision and then sticking with it. For the first time, you can begin to look at today's problems as what they are: temporary setbacks. Every argument or bit of insanity that comes into your life no longer has to throw you into a tailspin that makes you feel totally helpless.

Dealing from a position of strength and communicating that strength and sense of commitment to the other person also gives them a feeling that there is some stability to their lives. Now they have something that they can count on which tends to calm them down. Some of the craziness that you have become accustomed to living with begins to disappear from your life.

If you are in a relationship now, can you honestly say that you are in it because you made a conscious decision to be in it and are sticking with that decision? If not, does it make sense to you to make such a decision now? Can you see that if such a decision is never made that you are just kidding yourself about getting anywhere with anyone? Couples that I have known who couldn't get a handle on this one point have flown apart over the smallest of life's problems. They get along just fine as long as everything is going smoothly, but as soon as life intervenes in the form of money problems, kid problems or any other problem, they just can't handle it.

I have been amazed at how easily the most seemingly compatible couples have come apart. In talking to one or the other of them, the lack of commitment is obvious. When asked if they think they will ever get back together, they give answers like, "Well, we'll wait and see what happens," or "It's too soon to tell how it's going to work out." They seem uninvolved and not in control of the situation.

The feeling is that they are waiting for someone or some event to come along and make the decision for them and sort it all out. There is none of the feeling that, "This is what I want and I'll do whatever has to be done to achieve it." Yet some of these same people function very highly with strong goals and commitments in the business and professional parts of their lives.

Nothing is more profoundly flattering to a man than to be told, "I can't imagine my life without you. I never even look at another man." Nothing can sweep a woman off her feet faster than to hear, "You are the only woman in my life. I'd move heaven and earth to stay by your side." These are magic words that can save a relationship that looks as though it's on the very brink of disappearing

My next column is “You Can Live Without It.”

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.

Why Should You Like Yourself?

Do you like yourself? This is the very heart of your ability to have a relationship with other human beings. When you really look at it, why would anyone want to be with you if you don’t even like yourself? And then: Why should you like you?

Liking yourself isn’t quite what you might expect it to be. Perhaps you think that it is possible to just decide to like yourself and it will happen. But the decision to like yourself is just part of it.

Think of it this way. Why do you like someone else? Usually, you like another person for many reasons, but you don’t normally just decide to like them for no reason. You might like them because they make you laugh. Maybe they have an attractive smile. Perhaps they like to do things for you like take you to interesting places or invite you over for a meal. They may notice everything that you do and compliment you often, making you feel important. When you talk, they may be excellent listeners. They may do interesting things that they like to share with you when you meet. You may have similar interests and passions. This list could be endless.

I went through a time once when I was feeling depressed and didn’t like myself very much. Life just wasn’t very much fun. Eventually, I noticed that my work vehicle was in disarray. I realized that I had a hole in my shoe. I hadn’t indulged myself in my favorite pastime, dancing, for a long time. It struck me that I might be able to help myself pull out of my depression by being good to – me!

So I organized my vehicle and got it washed. I had my shoes repaired. And then I went dancing and had a great time. In no time I was myself again.

The message was clear: If you want to feel good about yourself, you need to be good to yourself. If you want someone to love you, love yourself first.

Start with your health. Just giving your body the right kinds of foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, will be a mood elevator. Going to the gym or riding a bike or walking is another great way to be good to yourself and a great way to meet people. And you you’ll look better too: younger and healthier and more attractive to everybody. When was the last time you played with your hobby and honored the little boy inside? When was the last time you just went out and had fun, without any agenda?

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to bring men into your life. Reconnect with your boyhood friends if that’s possible. This will satisfy that little boy better than almost anything else you can do. And here’s a little secret. Go do guy things with other guys – force yourself if you have to. There is nothing more attractive to women than men having a good time with each other and not needing them. There is something mysterious and exhilarating for them there. And they just like to be around a man that knows how to have fun.

Learn to set boundaries for your life. Don’t try to be all things to everybody. Don’t take on everything that people ask you to do. Ask the hard questions before undertaking any task: How much of my time will this take? What, exactly, does it entail? Then let them know what you are willing and not willing to do: which days you can work and when you need time off for personal things. Everybody is attracted to a man who knows what he wants and what he doesn’t want. Most of all, you will be giving yourself what you need, and you loving yourself is the most attractive thing of all.

My next column is about: “What Works in the Real World."

What is a Real Relationship?

There are a lot of different kinds of relationships, and not all of them are going to make you happy. In fact, a whole hell of a lot of people are in relationships that make them downright miserable. I know a man who is in a relationship with a girl that runs around on him every chance she gets. I know another whose wife will leave the house and not come home until late at night, and never thinks to call him to let him know where she is and that she is going to be late. Another man I know stays in a job that he hates because he scares himself with the picture of his family living on the street because he won’t be able to pay the mortgage without that job.

In every case, these people sold themselves out in order to stay in relationships that made them miserable. The guy with the girlfriend put up with it because of a promise he made to her never to leave her. The guy with the wife put up with it because of his marriage vows of “for better or worse”. The guy with the job holds himself hostage to his own wife and kids. .

Men tolerate bad employers for fear of losing their jobs. They stay in careers that they despise for fear of not being able to pay the mortgage and being thrown out into the street. Many men live in misery because they are trying to do the “right thing” around promises they made when they were young and didn’t know any better. And an awful lot of men stick around “for the sake of the children”.

In my view, these men are not in real relationships. A real relationship is one where two or more people are dealing with each other as equals and where the result is greater happiness than if the relationship didn’t exist. These “quasi” relationships wind up not making anybody happy, even the ones doing the bullying and the running around.

It’s been my experience that quasi-relationships are almost never really necessary, in spite of the fact the people in them absolutely believe that they have no choice. They surround themselves with obligations and fears of loss that they raise to the status of sacred cows and then see something almost martyr-like in their own suffering.

This series of columns which is based on my book, The Real Deal, is for those men who are sick and tired of the drama and are ready to make a decision to have something better. Real relationships that hold a promise of something more than martyrdom and grief—relationships that can bring that most precious of God’s gifts: happiness.

My next column will deal with who you need to become in order to create real and happy relationships in your life.

©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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