THE GIGANTIC ROMANTIC

gigromaticI just read an article about lyricist and book writer Alan Jay Lerner, one of the legendary collaborators in the world of musicals. His collaboration with Frederick J. Loewe spawned some monster hits such as “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot.” Lerner led also one of Broadway’s most colorful personal lives, marrying eight times before he died at age 67 in 1986. In his autobiography, he admitted to being lousy at marriage. His daughter, Liza Lerner, one of his four children who are the offspring of three different Lerner wives, referred to her father as “A Gigantic Romantic.”

I take issue with this. Lerner was indeed passionate, and channeled this passion to writing compelling stories about love.  However, the deliverance and sustainability of love is the stuff of great romance. Lerner & Lowe wrote the musical “Brigadoon,” the story of a mythical village that only materializes every 100 years. In the story, Brigadoon will disappear for good if anyone tries to leave. Imagine how important you would treat a love affair if you only had a week to live it until succumbing to hibernation once again.

That is what Dating for Life is, my friends. Because you never know how long you have in any relationship, so live it vibrantly each and every day.  Chivalry matters. Cherish any love in your life, because unlike fairy tales, you don’t have a crystal ball to know the future. Unfortunately, Alan Jay Lerner may have been a “Gigantic Romantic” but he seemed to know more how to fall in love than to sustain it. It’s too bad that my book wasn’t available to him back in his day.

 

CHIVALRY CARD

chivalrycardThere is a popular expression among males related to the “man card.” For example, my brother-in-law and I were coaxed into seeing the premiere of Sex in the City with our wives.  He and I feigned a fear of losing our man cards. Certainly, a “manly man” would be putting his masculinity on the line by attending this movie. In a similar sense, any man or woman who consistently shows a lack of respect is at risk of losing their chivalry cards.

Prince Charming is only charming when actions equate to image. The same can be said for Cinderella. Manners make a difference. No matter how dashing or eloquent any individual may be, actions speak louder than words. Arrogance and disrespect trump out initial first impressions in the long run.

A man who never opens a door for a woman is displays the same lack of chivalry as a woman who fails to acknowledge it. A man who is late for a date shows disrespect but so does the woman who makes him wait after his arrival. When a person begins texting while the other sits at a dinner table, it is disrespectful of the other.  The chivalry card is at risk of being yanked.

Relationships are never static, always dynamic, either spiraling upward or downward. When two people show mutual respect, the relationship spirals upward. When one person allows another to be disrespectful or even abusive, the relationship becomes one-sided and over time the enabler becomes a doormat. Sadly, doormats ironically get what they deserve: a loss of self-esteem and few sustainable relationships. How to prevent this from happening will be discussed in my next article.

A mutually beneficial relationship is when two people never stop dating. Anyone on a first date is likely to be on his or her best behavior. Relationships erode when chivalry erodes. Dating for Life has four keys that work for any two people who get together, whether in business or personal endeavors, family or friends, or even the most awe-inspiring love affair ever.

 

FALLING IN LOVE (ALL OVER AGAIN)

fallinginloveagainThe “pursuit of love” is a misnomer because of the context in which it is used. Adjectives to the word “pursuit” include hunt, conquest, even stalking. In a hunt, to one side will be deemed victorious. In a conquest, the saga is often time sensitive. Does it make sense to pursue the title of “man or wife”, set your goal within a defined time frame with focused intent to win the game?  Perhaps you are better suited to be a professional athlete, where every season has a climax and then resets the following year.

The “pursuit of love” is rather an art form, applied repeatedly in the form of Dating for Life. When one person “falls in love” and yet the other person didn’t, this is tragic, but not catastrophic. Initially falling in love is actually falling in lust. The brain sends endorphins within seconds when stimulated.  It has been proven that true love must be confirmed by the heart much further downstream. Because true love can only be when two people participate. When you feel that you could love someone, and the chemistry isn’t a two way street, move on. It wasn’t true love.

But when two people truly “fall in love” this is magic. As I have stated before, you can’t make the magic happen, but you can preserve it. Dating for Live makes every day a date with life in celebrating what you have with your partner. Once two people have fallen in love, it is absolutely possible to fall in love all over again, day after day. Chivalry should never die nor be put on life support either. It should be an active verb for any age. Romance is a verb, not a noun. Prince Charming doesn’t have to be a young stud to put the glass slipper on his princess. To me, it is much more romantic if a prince of any age continues to place the glass slipper on to the love of his life, year after year. That glass slipper was never meant to be placed in a trophy case, but put to use day after day.

 

THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH

sevenyearitchMan meets woman. They both fall in love. The wedding parallels fairy tale endings, at least in the couple’s minds. Then life happens. Why is the Seven Year Itch a movie classic?  Because it symbolizes what after a couple that has fallen into love then fall into ruts. Seven years is an arbitrary number; the decline depends on how slippery the slope is. Functionality replaces Fun. Routine replaces Romance. Incompatibility replaces Intimacy. How can you fix this? Most marriage counselors are adept at identifying the problems in relationships, and offering exercises on how to minimize the negativity that can manifest. But to the same extent that a man and a woman can’t make love happen, neither can therapists.

This article isn’t about making love happen; it is about preserving love after it has happened. Dating for Life doesn’t mean Dating until Married. “I do” doesn’t mean “I did.” My book goes into great detail, but for now, the focus is to “Never ALTER what got you to the ALTAR.”

Seven years is an arbitrary number because it depends on the exposure that two people have together in their marriage. I know one couple that has been married twenty eight years.  The husband is on the road travelling 75% of the time. Therefore, they have really only been together for seven years.  Uh oh—are they starting to itch? (For something different in their lives?)  Another couple that lives together and works together exposed 24/7, 50% more than the average relationship.  Could they be desirous of change after 3-4 years?

Done right, why should any romance atrophy? I will submit to you that after a considerable period of time in marriage “Happily Ever After” will either be well on its way to being a reality, or will be in the midst of becoming a bittersweet statement. There is a way to nurture LOVE and allow it to bloom vibrantly year after year.

Stay tuned.

 

THE PURSUIT OF LOVE

pursuitofloveThe “pursuit of love” is a misnomer in many ways. Young singles seek it by going “clubbing.”  Wait a minute, wasn’t that what cave men did long ago? Neanderthal one to Neanderthal two:  “Hey, let’s go out and get us some women! You distract em.’ I’ll sneak up from behind and club them over the head. We can drag them back to the cave.” Seriously, this has never been the pursuit of love, finding women. It’s the pursuit of possessions.

There is no cologne or snazzy outfit that you can wear that will flip the switch on love. You can’t make love happen but you can make like happen for sure. Going out with another individual is all about creating the environment for a nice time.  There are four keys to his described in detail in my book Dating for Life.

When love does happen, it is magical and certainly intoxicating. Men and women have been enthralled with the feeling of rapture since prehistoric times. Countless books, songs and movies have been produced about the pursuit of love. But not enough focus is given to the “preservation of love.”

Ask most couples about what “Happily Ever After” means and they will often refer to trust as the key. “He is a good man,” one will say. Or, “She has been a great mother to our children.” Many will tell you that the romance has dwindled, but the relationship is solid because it is comfortable. That isn’t “Happily Ever After” but rather “Stability Ever After.” Is this wrong?  Of course not. Trust is a cornerstone of a great relationship. Honor, integrity, servitude—all become the fabric of the individual and the relationship. But again, how do you preserve what should be the most cherished thing you will ever receive in life—LOVE.  Stay tuned.

 

FALLING IN LOVE

Crystal SlipperWhy is it that the classic tales of love address the “pursuit of love” and not the “preservation of love?” Prince Charming rescues Cinderella; Sleeping Beauty is awakened by the handsome prince by the kiss of true love. The Beast is released from his spell by being kissed by a beauty. Now fast forward ten, twenty or thirty years and what do you have?  Does Prince Charming have a beer belly and hang out with the guys watching sports? Does Cinderella trot off to yoga class with her gal-pals? Is Sleeping Beauty now a size 14, having lost all self-esteem because her prince is off kissing other younger beauties? Even worse, did the Beast turn back into a beast with regard to how he treats his wife?

Never assume “Happily Ever After.” It doesn’t work that way? Like the old Smith Barney investment commercials featuring John Houseman, you need to approach LOVE the “old-fashioned way. You need to earn it.” But how?

Isn’t the spark of romance generated by the pursuit of bliss? Men are hunters and they need to hunt, right? Women are gatherers and playing hard to get keeps the man in conquest. However, at the altar, when they both say “I do,” does this mean “I don’t” have to pursue this relationship anymore, because it’s mine? Be careful what you wish for, or what you assume. You will get a relationship, for better or for worse, and by not investing in it, it’s a safe bet that your relationship will be the latter.

In my next few articles, I will describe how to preserve what should be the most cherished thing you will ever receive in life—LOVE.  And Dating for Life can help you preserve it!  Stay tuned.