Sunday, December 31, 2006

Keeping the Love Coals Warm

"I Love the Way You Wrinkle Your Nose When You Laugh" This final ego-massage technique concerns long-term love. It helps keep you in love with your Quarry because it keeps your Quarry doing the things you love. Love is a two-way street, and it's hard to keep someone high on you if your affection for them sags. Dr. Benjamin Spock is the famous baby doctor who in the 1950s taught American parents how to cope with their offspring. Today, controversy swirls around his doctrine of permissiveness, but the well-intended doctor leaves the world with at least one good axiom. He said, in essence, "Tell the little tyke that he is great, and it will encourage his greatness." I call this technique Spocking after this baby philosophy. Spocking, on an adult level, is doing the same with your significant other. Divulge what you love, appreciate, or admire in your Quarry so he or she will keep doing those things you love, appreciate, or admire. People start to fall in love for a myriad of different reasons. The logic, flowing from your Lovemap, can seem as arbitrary as loving the way she wrinkles her nose when she laughs or adoring the way he caresses your cheek. You might have fallen in love with him when, the first time you invited him to dinner, he washed the dishes. You might admire her strength in the face of crisis or respect his sense of honesty. To stay in love (and therefore keep your Quarry in love with you), encourage that which you adore. Say "I love the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh." Say, "It's so exciting when you caress my cheek." Say, "Believe it or not, one of the things that I really love about you is the way you offer to do the dishes." Say, "I admire your strength in the face of crisis." Say, ''I respect your deep sense of honesty.'' I remember a lovely New Yorker cartoon, so poignant I cried. The drawing was of an obviously poor, overweight, and exhausted couple sitting at their kitchen table. The husband, in his T-shirt, hadn't shaved. The wife had curlers in her hair. Dirty dishes and diapers hung on a makeshift clothesline strung from a pipe to the fridge. They were drinking coffee out of chipped old mugs. The caption was the man smiling at his wife, saying, "I just love the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh." The couple looked genuinely happy, in spite of the mess, in spite of their poverty, in spite of their exhaustion. If Spocking was part of their daily life, they probably were.
TECHNIQUE #46: SPOCKING Think about the subtle, maybe even silly, things you love about your significant other. Then, at odd moments, tell him or her what those things are. Your partner is not a mind reader. More than just saying "I love you," you need to tell why. Many people neglect to tell their significant other what really turns them on. (Yes, this applies to sex, also.) The significant other, not realizing its importance, stops wrinkling her nose, caressing your cheek, or washing the dishes. Then one tiny bulb goes out in the magnificent array of glimmering lights that make up love. If other bulbs start burning out one by one, the love can go dark. If your significant other becomes insignificant to you, you are both losers. Keep Spocking the qualities in the ones you love to keep the love alive.

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