How To Stay Together

Ded­i­cated to my wife Antoinette with love

Today is our (Antoinette’s and my) 35th wed­ding anniver­sary, which prompted me to write this post. Our friends and fam­ily con­grat­u­late us and obvi­ously are impressed how we stayed together for such a long time. We do not really see any­thing to be impressed about. We just are together and it is the most nat­ural thing for both of us. In The Game­less Rela­tion­ship I have out­lined the four prin­ci­ples of a healthy rela­tion­ship and we are both draw­ing from it on daily bases. Some­one says that all is in atti­tude. And indeed it is. Let me explain.

Just to be on the same page here is the definition

atti­tude |ˈatiˌt(y)oōd|


a set­tled way of think­ing or feel­ing about some­one or some­thing, typ­i­cally one that is reflected in a person’s behavior

So, when it comes to your atti­tude towards your mar­riage, do you see it as a rela­tion­ship between two sep­a­rate peo­ple that have come together to share life, or do you see your­selves as one fam­ily and parts of the same fam­ily. Although both are true, which one do you think is more likely to sup­port a long-term rela­tion­ship? How do you see your par­ents or your grand­par­ents, as two peo­ple that got together, merely in a rela­tion­ship, or as your fam­ily? As a fam­ily of course. They are yours. Blood is thicker than water. Why is it than, that spouses can­not see them­selves as such a strong fam­ily unit as their chil­dren see them. (Hint: blood has noth­ing to do with it.) What would it look like if your atti­tude (set­tled way of think­ing) towards your mar­riage would be not merely as a mar­riage, but as a fam­ily unit? Remem­ber, you can­not dis­own your fam­ily i.e. par­ents, chil­dren etc. That kind of atti­tude requires you to make such a choice (“choice” is a key word here) with integrity, com­mit­ment, respon­si­bil­ity and love, the four prin­ci­ples of a per­fect rela­tion­ship as elab­o­rated in The Game­less Relationship.

So, when­ever a prob­lem comes up, you deal with it as a unit, a fam­ily, not as two sep­a­rate peo­ple look­ing to gain advan­tage over each other, or get some­thing more for your­self. In par­ent­ing there is a rule that you scold chil­dren for what they did, or did not do and not for who they are. Take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for your fam­ily and avoid per­sonal judg­ments and per­sonal attacks. Use the same prin­ci­ple in your mar­riage towards each other and deal with it from the point of view of your fam­ily and what’s best for it, which coin­ci­den­tally, most of the time turns out to be best for each of you. Trust the process and you’ll eas­ily reach your 35th anniver­sary and not be sur­prised about it and cel­e­brate it with joy like every other day in your marriage.

Aware­ness Exer­cise: Notice in what ways and in what sit­u­a­tions you feel alone, although you are mar­ried or in a rela­tion­ship. Do you feel that that your life is, and deserves to be sep­a­rate? What prob­lems would you con­sider to be his/hers or yours only? How eas­ily can you dis­own your spouse/partner? Can you do the same with your sib­ling or a parent?


Who chose your partner?

Whether your rela­tion­ship is going well or not you can always think back to the out­set of the rela­tion­ship and, if you are able to look at those begin­nings with an open mind and objec­tively, you can always say, I told you so. Or at least your par­ents, rel­a­tives or friends could say it.

Our ini­tial rea­sons, feel­ings and intu­ition, or denial of the same are very telling about what our rela­tion­ship will look like in the future. No sur­prises here. If, say, when you first met your part­ner your intu­ition told you that he/she was not for you for any par­tic­u­lar rea­son or in gen­eral, and later you gave in to your feel­ings and rea­sons for not trust­ing your intu­ition, you may very well regret it at some point in the future. If you got into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda, when­ever your agenda gets ful­filled or is not per­ti­nent any more, the rela­tion­ship will most likely dis­solve. You may even be unaware of the real rea­son why you do not want to be in a rela­tion­ship any more, so you will look for some super­fi­cial imme­di­ate rea­son to end it, but if you go deep enough you will always find that orig­i­nal agenda being the real rea­son and cause for your “change of heart”.

Now imag­ine that your part­ner came into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda that he/she has never revealed to you. Often they may not even be clear about it them­selves, or they may be in denial about it. You may end up bewil­dered and con­fused as to what hap­pened. You will never get a straight answer from your part­ner for the rea­sons men­tioned above and you will have to set­tle for some other lame and unbe­liev­able excuse for the break-up. Either way, the real rea­son most of the time lies in the ini­tial rea­son for being in the rela­tion­ship in the first place.

So, who chose your part­ner? Were they your fears, long­ings, desires, inner child, inse­cu­ri­ties, low self-esteem, lone­li­ness, sex drive, you name it. These are just some of the rea­sons. Men and women usu­ally have very dif­fer­ent ones. That par­tic­u­lar dif­fer­ence makes it very dif­fi­cult for you to dis­cern what the real rea­sons are for your part­ner want­ing out.

But when all is said and done, the rea­sons for break­ing up most of the time are just that: rea­sons, plau­si­ble sto­ries, excuses and expla­na­tions. Orig­i­nal agen­das are rarely part of the break-up con­ver­sa­tion and tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for it is not even on the radar screen. It is much eas­ier to blame the other for your lack of com­mit­ment, respon­si­bil­ity, integrity and gen­uine love.

Aware­ness exer­cise: Being hon­est with your­self is very demand­ing, often uncom­fort­able, some­times even impos­si­ble, but nev­er­the­less, it is an essen­tial prac­tice for being in touch with real­ity and your growth and devel­op­ment. This exer­cise has two parts: a) no mat­ter how resis­tant and uncom­fort­able it may be, admit to your­self the real rea­sons you got into the rela­tion­ship in the first place, and b) remem­ber what your ini­tial reac­tion was when you met your future part­ner for the first time. What con­clu­sions can you draw from these mem­o­ries? Cau­tion: This is nei­ther the place nor the time to blame any­one, includ­ing your­self. Just notice what insights you come up with. You may even share them with your part­ner if you think it appropriate.

Please share those insights  with us.


How to…

Recently I received an e-mail from a per­son request­ing a refund because he had read many books on rela­tion­ships and that The Rela­tion­ship Saver was not help­ful.  A few oth­ers have com­plained that it’s not spe­cific enough. I’m sure that he is not the only one who has accu­mu­lated a lot of knowl­edge about sav­ing rela­tion­ships dur­ing a con­sid­er­able period of time, but has always been dis­ap­pointed because “it didn’t work”.

So, how is it that we are so knowl­edge­able yet can­not improve rela­tion­ships, no mat­ter what? The best exam­ple is over­weight peo­ple who want to lose weight. Most of them know exactly HOW to do it. The same applies to rela­tion­ships. We often know how to do it, yet we do noth­ing about it. And therein lies the problem.

Both The Rela­tion­ship Saver and The Game­less Rela­tion­ship are prac­ti­cal books of which there are two types: one, which spells out rules, and the other, which explains the prin­ci­ples. The Rela­tion­ship Saver is a “rule book”. It does not explain any under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples.  If they were included The Rela­tion­ship Saver would run to vol­umes. It is designed as a man­ual to be put to imme­di­ate use. Sav­ing a rela­tion­ship is often an urgent matter.

On the other hand, The Game­less Rela­tion­ship is a book about prin­ci­ples. Rules are cre­ated from prin­ci­ples, i.e., “Do not steal” is a rule, but it comes from a prin­ci­ple of hon­esty, cred­i­bil­ity, trust and integrity. A rule book is meant to be short  (look at The Ten Com­mand­ments).  To explain the under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples may take much longer.

How come we read all these books, we gather all the infor­ma­tion we can get, and our rela­tion­ship is still in trou­ble? I am sure by now you’ve guessed why. The magic word is ACTION, and not just any action. In order for a book to work, YOU must do the work. Sorry, there is no way around it. I wish there were a magic wand that you could just wave and your part­ner would change into a prince/princess and you would live hap­pily ever after. The only magic wand there is hap­pens to be the one you hold in the form of an ACTION that pro­duces a change in YOU. Here are some rules (with the under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples in paren­the­sis), which if you apply them, will not only improve your rela­tion­ships but will give you a much hap­pier life in general:

-    YOU must take action (actions are always in lan­guage).
–    YOU are the one who needs to change (peo­ple react to each other).
–    You can­not change other peo­ple (change can only be ini­ti­ated from inside and insist­ing that other peo­ple change makes you a vic­tim).
–    Keep your promises (integrity).
–    Do not gos­sip (integrity).
–    Do not judge, lest you be judged. (Your beliefs and inter­pre­ta­tions are NOT real­ity. They are only real to YOU.)
–    Leave the fol­low­ing phrases out of your vocab­u­lary:
o    I, you, he/she/it should (The world is what it is, not what you think it “should” be.
o    I’ll try. (“There is no try, you either do or not do” – Yoda from The Star Wars movie.)
o    I hope. (Hope is okay, but there is no action in it, there­fore no change.)

-    Love (uncon­di­tional love is the high­est level of self expression).

How do you fol­low the rules? By apply­ing them in action. Liv­ing by the rules is fine — many peo­ple do — but dis­cov­er­ing and becom­ing aware of the under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples and learn­ing from them makes you much more ver­sa­tile, secure and much more pow­er­ful; not to men­tion that lit­tle plea­sure of being right more often.

Dif­fer­ent peo­ple learn (or not) differently:

- Stu­pid peo­ple do not learn.
– Smart peo­ple learn from their own mis­takes.
– Clever peo­ple learn from other people’s mis­takes.
– Intel­li­gent peo­ple learn from PRINCIPLES.
(Dr. Lo)

So, how do you make the most of a prac­ti­cal book? Every sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent. Every sit­u­a­tion can be observed from dif­fer­ent points of view and thus inter­preted dif­fer­ently. No prac­ti­cal book, there­fore, can tell you exactly what to do in ANY par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. You must make your own judg­ment accord­ing to your inter­pre­ta­tion of the cir­cum­stances accord­ing to the rules and prin­ci­ples learned from prac­ti­cal books. To the ques­tion I often get: whether The Rela­tion­ship Saver will get my love back, the answer is NO, The Rela­tion­ship Saver will do noth­ing for you.

Some peo­ple think that just by read­ing a book and hav­ing more knowl­edge about rela­tion­ships and/or if they are told exactly what to do in their par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stance they will save their rela­tion­ship. Rela­tion­ships are about being and not about doing. Doing is a direct result of being, not vice versa.  In other words, what you do is a direct result of who you are being in any par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. YOU must walk the talk. YOU must learn about the changes you need to go through AND put them into prac­tice. And, YOU are the only per­son you CAN change, thus most likely chang­ing your rela­tion­ship and the qual­ity of your life. Do not give that power to ANYONE else.

Books have enor­mous power, but only if you coop­er­ate and if what you’ve read is reflected in your actions.



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