Editor's Note: While this article is addressed to women, it's information can be applied just as well for a man in a relationship... As you are reading, you can simply substitute the word "woman" for "man", etc.
Remember how you glowed when you were first in love with your man? People loved being around you because you radiated happiness. The love you shared with your man made life seem good, and you were sure you'd be happy forever. We are here to reassure you that you can have a tender, generous, warm-hearted relationship again...and it can be even better than ever before.
It is natural for relationships to have an ebb and flow, to grow more or less intimate as circumstances shift. Relationships need care and nurturing, and often it's hard to know what to do. You have probably been searching for reasons why your relationship isn't as warm, loving, and compassionate as you'd like. We know how difficult that can be, and we're happy to tell you that you don't have to do it all on your own anymore. We will help guide you to find the real reasons why your relationship might not be all you desire — and you may be surprised at what you find.
We will help you see that there's nothing wrong with you... that in fact, you are far more powerful in your relationship than you ever imagined. We will help you learn to use your power for yourself... so you can have the happy, fun, luscious, exciting, accepting, kindhearted relationship you desire. Not only is it possible, it's closer than you would believe. You can have it, you deserve it... and we will guide you there.
Wouldn't it be great if the problems you are having with your man could seem as insignificant as they did when you first met?
It's natural to filter a new love through rosy lenses that make things look easy at the beginning. We all do it. It's part of what allows us to open our hearts and let someone into our lives. The love and appreciation we feel initially are strong enough to override any issues that come up. After a while, though, the issues become clearer and clearer — don't they?
Today, it may be impossible for you to put your rose-colored glasses back on. Yet you can put the issues back into perspective so they don't seem so huge or insurmountable. Believe it or not, it's likely that the issues you're having now were evident from the beginning — you just may not have seen them because you were wearing rose-colored glasses. Unfortunately you can't travel back in time and relive the days when you were sure your love would overcome any obstacle. Neither can you wave a magic wand and turn him into a prince. Ruling out time-travel and fairy tales, then, what are your options in the real world?
1. You can keep your relationship the way it is. No need to read any further.
2. You can wait for him to change. Good luck! You've already noticed that's not happening, at least not on your time schedule, right?
3. You can get out of the relationship altogether. This is an option that probably looks tempting when you are upset and angry. Beware, though — history tends to repeat itself. The issues you walk out on in this relationship may come back to haunt you in the next. It's worth doing the work ... before making any drastic decisions.
4. You can warm your heart toward him again. When you allow your heart to warm, soften, and open toward him, you allow room for healing and rejuvenation to happen. Warming your heart is not for him, though he will benefit. It's for you. When your heart is warmed, you can recapture the glow that once softened the problems and have the passion, love, and tenderness return.
The first two options are relatively nonactive. You may have already been choosing those options for months, years, or decades. In order for things to change, then, you'll probably want to pick another option. Option #3 may be the most tempting and seem the easiest. Yet you haven't chosen it. Why? Because you love him. In some cases, leaving may truly be the right option. If you are being abused, it would be good to get yourself out of such a situation. If you are not being abused, however, Option #4 is recommended.
Option #4, warming your heart toward your man, is a very powerful choice. When your heart is warm and you are open to loving your man, you single-handedly shift the relationship's dynamics. Your man will begin to feel more loved and appreciated. That's nice for him, and more importantly it's great for you — because when he feels more loved and appreciated he will be more inclined to want to make you happy.
When love is present, most things can be fixed. We are all human, and we are all doing the best we can. It may not seem like it all the time, yet if we could be doing it better we would be doing it better — wouldn't we? You are doing the best you can, and your man is also doing the best he can. Keeping this in mind will help as you begin opening your heart to him.
IF YOU ARE ANGRY OR DISAPPOINTED...
If things have gotten difficult with your man, you may be angry at him or disappointed in him. You have good reasons for your feelings. It's not easy to share your life with a man day in, day out, every day, all day. Yet it would be to your benefit to be willing to put aside your anger or disappointment as much as possible while you read this book. Being upset takes a lot of energy. Why not channel that energy toward having what you want? There are a few things you can do to help yourself redirect your energy as you read.
GIVE YOURSELF SIX MONTHS.
You may be trying to decide whether or not to stay in your relationship. Reading this book will help you make up your mind because it will shift things in ways you may not even be able to imagine right now. Yet change doesn't always happen overnight. Allow yourself six months to see where your relationship is going before making any major decisions. If that seems too long, give yourself three months, then extend it if necessary. You need time to get the knack of approaching your man differently, and he needs time to respond to you differently. You are worth the time it takes.
KEEP BOTH FEET INSIDE THE DOOR.
When things go wrong you probably think about leaving your relationship, and you may find it difficult to be willing to do what it takes for things to improve. How can it get better when you're already halfway out the door? For now, step back inside and commit to staying in the relationship for the amount of time you've allowed yourself. Say to yourself, "I'm here. The door is closed and I have both feet inside. My focus is to work it out with him."
You have a much better chance of having your relationship improve when you are committed to working on it. If nothing changes after your allotted period of time, then you can decide what to do next. If things are beginning to change, let yourself be encouraged... and keep on keeping on.
BE WILLING TO HAVE IT BE DIFFERENT.
This is a trial-and-error universe. Sometimes the only way we end up getting it right is by getting it wrong many times. Doing something a new way takes practice. Your willingness to experiment in your relationship is crucial.
ASSUME THAT YOUR MAN IS GOOD...
Yes, you may be very angry with him right now — or you may feel disappointed or resigned. Yet staying with that anger or resignation makes it difficult to be cherished. You fell in love with him and wanted to be with him at one point, right? He must have a lot of good qualities for you to have chosen him.
...UNLESS HE'S NOT.
There are a few men out there who don't like women, or who may exist to make life difficult for us. If you have one of those, you may not be able to work things out. If you are being abused and your friends are begging you to leave him, it might be that you need to do just that. Yet the "bad" men are far fewer than we tend to think. You probably thought your man was terrific at first. Being open to reconnecting to that feeling will ultimately allow you to be cherished by him again. We will show you how. We intend that in reading this book you gain the strength to care for yourself within the relationship. Whatever the case, make sure your first priority is you. You deserve to be happy and cherished.
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU THINK AND SPEAK ABOUT HIM.
If you're in the habit of complaining about him, putting him down, and thinking negatively about him... be aware that what you think and speak matters. If you are constantly talking with your girlfriends about leaving him, for example, you are damaging your relationship with him each time, and you aren't creating a lot of space to work things out.
KNOW THAT YOU'RE DOING THIS FOR YOURSELF.
No, it isn't fair that you're doing the work and he may not be. Yet if you want to be happy, you are worth doing whatever you can. You are worth the time and attention it takes to be cherished in the way you desire.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PART OF YOU THAT WANTS IT TO WORK.
There is a part of you that wants your relationship to get better — or you would have left him already. Let that part of you be open to believing things can get better and you can have the relationship you want.
This article was excerpted from:
How To Be Cherished: A Guide to Having the Love You Desire
by Marilyn Graman & Maureen Walsh.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Life Work Books. ©2004. www.lifeworksgroup.com
About the Authors
Marilyn Graman is a psychotherapist based in New York's Greenwich Village. She designs and delivers most of the courses Life works offers. Maureen Walsh divides her time between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, where she guides the development of new projects, and creates and presents specialized courses. She is the business head of Life Works. Since 1984 they have been offering workshops, seminars, retreats and intensives to support people having more of what they want in life. In 2002 they launched Life Works Books. Together Marilyn and Maureen bring over 50 combined years of experience to their warm, insightful and clear-headed guidebooks. They Are the authors of these two books: The Female Power Within and There is No Prince and Other Truths Your Mother Never Told You.