Category Archives: Love

Can People Ever Really Change?

A recent female caller wondered if she should stay with and even marry a guy who spent the full first year of their relationship being violent.

I immediately said, “You’re a grown woman.  If you want to play Russian Roulette with your life you have the right to do that.  Please, though, have your Fallopian tubes tied so that you can’t bring any babies into this situation to either be hurt directly or indirectly by a messed up, violent home-life.”

She wanted to know if people can change.  Well, the correct answer is….YES!  Of course people can change.  When people are motivated and disciplined and committed to being, thinking, and doing things differently, they can most definitely evolve in a positive direction.  It does take time and simply acknowledging the need for change is not (contrary to popular thought) 50% of the problem.  You all know that’s true because every one of you remembers making a New Year’s Resolution – which clearly acknowledges a need for change – and even a plan….which just evaporated with time and ennui.

Therefore, in the context of this woman’s call, a person prone to violence is not one who is going to make a quick change.  The caller wanted to know if there was hope that in the future…no matter how distant…that he could be different.  Well, sure – IF he makes the commitment and is committed long term to whatever it takes to change his way of looking at the world, intimate relationships, and his own identity.

An interesting fact is that when people do make such profound changes, they rarely are interested in the people who wanted them when they were less positively functional, as they recognize that it takes a less functional person to be attracted to same.  Said in a bit ‘o different way: emotionally healthy people, even though they may protest love and compassion, just don’t commit their lives to a recalcitrant, unwilling to change, difficult, or dangerous person.  It is because of their own sad inner dynamics that they find solace in being involved with an unhealthy person…it makes them feel needed or puts the responsibility for their unhappiness somewhere else or is simply a place to hide from the threat of not being capable of a good life.

This particular caller thanked me for my advice…I asked her to tell me what my advice was; she said, “I don’t want to play roulette with my life.”  I gave her kudos for making a healthy and good choice.  I also told her that she’d feel stupid for the time already spent, lonely for the company, scared of being alone, and more…but that this decision was still a healthy and good choice.

You see…she is the one in her life she had the power and the necessity to change; focusing on him was just a way to hide from that.

I love the beginning of happy endings…and that call was one of those.

57 Years Married and Still “Hot” for Each Other

I read this email on the air, but it’s so good, I wanted to share it with everyone:

Dr. Laura:

You gave me a most wonderful 79th birthday present today, in the form of a caller who showed the typical stupidity of the male.  He was married to his second wife for 25 years, and was concerned, because, while he still enjoyed her, he was not sure that he still really LOVED her.

I have enjoyed your daily “classes” for years, and have learned much.  But there is one class I believe I am uniquely prepared to present. The ladies learn much about “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” from your book and daily sessions.  You tell the ladies how to work us guys, and of your power over us.

Right back at you, my dear!  I have had my magnificent lady eating out of my hands for 57 years, and once in a while, I still playfully remind her that she is just my “first” wife.  You gals aren’t all that complicated.  The answer is simple:  as you get what you need or want, you are more willing to give.  That’s the same principle you preach to the girls.

What does it take?  Really, not much – just a little TLC gets big payoffs.  Try:

1.  FLOWERS – for no special occasion or guilty conscience.  A single rose will
Work.  No greater mileage for $1.50.

2.”I LOVE YOU” – Tell her or show her at least 10 times every day.  It’s easy.  There are so many ways to say it, and even more important, to show it.

3.  COFFEE IN BED – No big deal.  The coffee maker is automatic, and the payoff at my house is BIG.  It always begins with a “thank you” that sounds like it was the first time ever.  She gets this treatment most every day, and if I sleep in, well, then I get to say “thank you!”

4.  REASSURE HER – Tell her how good she is, and back her up every time you can.  She will thank you for it.

Does it really work?  YES!  My LADY loves to tell her friends who often bemoan their love lives and multiple “whatever’s.”  She tells them “The best thing I could wish for you is to be married to my Don for a week.”

Making love to my 75 year old lady is wonderful, and I have the thrill of making her enjoy her sex. (Wow.)  My greatest honor was to be invited into her body so long ago.  She was all mine at 18 and still is.  As the subtle changes came along in her life and body, I was happy, because I knew that I was part of each of them.  She still has great looking “boobs” and a beautiful behind.  I love handing her the towel as she steps out of the shower with that great welcoming smile.

Tomorrow, after breakfast of coffee in bed at 6AM with toast, fruit, and melon, I plan to “have my way” with her once again.  And I have a rose that says it will work!

The luckiest guy you will ever hear from,

Don

P.S.  Thanks for being there when we really needed your guidance.

Loving Wives Are Not Doormats

The feministas came out of their skins when I published my best seller, “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.”  Their main point of rage was their notion that taking care of one’s man emotionally and physically was demeaning.

One reader, Vicky, wrote this week:
“Last December, we invited potential friends to our Christmas party.  During the evening, I gave my husband a fresh drink when I saw that his was getting low.  At one point, the man we invited noticed and commented that he’d go thirsty if he waited for his wife to bring him a drink.  The wife, in turn, bluntly let me know that’s because she wasn’t a doormat.  I responded that I never thought I was a doormat just because I enjoyed taking care of my man, and the conversation moved on.  But, I have to admit, that comment ate at me for a long time.  Was I being naïve?  Was my husband taking advantage of me?

Over the months since, every time I hear my husband tell a friend that I take better care of him than he deserves, I let that comment “go” a little bit more.  I’ve now let it go completely. You see, we ran into that couple this past weekend.  We’d heard rumors that they were divorcing (because the husband had had an affair).  The wife confirmed the rumors, but stated that they were trying to work it out. I’m doubtful they will work anything out.  She’s the ultimate “feminazi,” and he will have to do all the changing and groveling for it to “work out.”

Bottom line:  She’s on her way to divorce, and I’m celebrating my 7 year wedding anniversary today with a man who worships me and I absolutely adore after all these years.  Doormat?  I think not! 

One Day You’re Here…the Next Day You’re Not

Ever notice that after you hurt a finger or toe, it becomes the only place you keep hitting against something?  Weird, huh?  Well, the same odd thing is happening to me about my new book, “Stop Whining Start Living.”  It seems that wherever I turn, something relevant to the main concepts of responsibility, choices, courage, endurance, and character just keeps popping up.

I received an email from a twenty-four-year-old woman who is new to my radio program and my books.  She has had a tough time since the age of eleven, due to a father with a severe borderline personality disorder and a mother who simply pretended everything was fine.

But everything was not fine.  The young woman did about everything she could to get their attention and/or punish them for the abuse and neglect: anorexia, abusive relationships and go-nowhere jobs.

Ironically, her mother finally gave her a copy of my books, “Bad Childhood Good Life” and “The Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives.”  I remember telling parents that the way they could make up for their mistakes with their children was to give them the former book with enthusiasm, humility, and optimism.

Well, it worked.  The more this young woman read, the more she wanted to explore herself, and the more she did that, the more she began to enjoy life.  It was at this point that this very young woman came up with amazing insights:

“In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I resolved to begin taking care of myself and (this is a doozy for me) showing love to others.”

“I am happy to say that once I started taking responsibility for myself, I became happy for the first time in my whole life!”

“I can choose whether I want to have a good day or a bad day…just like that!.”

“I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I’m going to damn well use it for something great.”

….and last but not least:

“I’ve been through enough crap to not take life for granted.”

What impresses me about this young woman the most is her enthusiasm.  She gave up the ugly, but comfortable “known” (self-destructive and parentally punitive) behaviors for life-affirming, exciting, but “unknown” – and that takes guts.  I so admire guts!

My favorite of her phrases is “I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I’m going to damn well use it for something great!”  Just today, my yoga instructor (who is my friend) told me her fifty-seven year old cousin, whom she had just seen during Easter, died precipitously of a tear in his aorta.  They tried to save him, but he had so many immediate complications that he didn’t survive.  Just like that.  One day you’re here…the next day you’re not.

Let me repeat that:

one day you’re here…the next day you’re not.  One day your parents, children, the love of your life, a good friend is here…the next day they’re not.  So – my advice is STOP WHINING about the stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter and START LIVING each day as if it is your only opportunity to bring something beautiful into this world.

Love Speaks When We Can’t

On Valentine’s Day, I thought it was appropriate to share with you this email from Kathi, one of the listeners to my radio program.

My husband and I have been married for 16 years.  We have one natural child, a boy, 13, and are caring for five others my mom adopted (my mom is a widow).

At the end of last year, my husband was in a motorcycle accident.  He was intubated for three very long days, and hospitalized for seven.  During his silence, I realized a few things:

1. I knew if he never spoke to me again, he loved me and I knew he knew I loved him.
2. I already appreciated him and loved him and cared for him as I should.
3. The reason he was such a wonderful husband was because I treated him as I should and, in return, have always felt and been very loved.

As he lay in the hospital bed and couldn’t speak to me, I realized how much I missed the text messages and the two or three phone calls a day I would get from him, the tap on my rear when I was cooking and he came into the kitchen, and him standing at the door when he comes home every day and we give each other a kiss.  I just wanted to hear him say “I love you,” and when he did it, it was more precious than the day we married. 

I was there every day, of course, and would cry each night when I had to leave him.  I was able to bring him home two days before Thanksgiving, and then continued to care for him for eight more weeks.  I told everyone I was having an 8 week-long vacation with my best friend.  I would take him to doctor visits and to physical therapy.  One of the therapists couldn’t believe I had such a positive attitude, and had such a loving environment in my home.  She had expected to see an exhausted woman and an unclean, unshaven “un-helped” man like she usually saw.  Instead, I was positive and happy and had helped my husband shower and shave and get dressed like I did each morning since the accident.  It seemed the natural thing to do. 

In his times of depression, I encouraged him; in his tears, I comforted him, and now I have released him back into the world fully recovered.  He frequently gets down on his knees and holds my hands and looks me in the eyes, and says “I love you and I trust you with my life.”  He often asked me why I did all this for him.  I looked at him and told him “because I love you and know you would do it for me.”

I have never read one of your books, but have always agreed with you.  I guess the beautiful examples of the proper care and feeding of husbands I had in my life taught me all the things you are trying to teach each caller now.  I hope I am as good an example to my children.  I hope this letter causes someone to appreciate their “best friend” even more.  Thank you for all you do.

Kathi

Letter of Love

Listener Leslie wrote:

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so I wanted to tell you about my sweet husband.  We have been married for over two years, and are now hoping to adopt a baby (you wouldn’t believe how long and tedious this process is, but we know it will be worth it!).  He has always supported my decision to be a stay-at-home mother, and we’ve been saving and planning for two years. 

Two weeks ago, after a long day at my stressful job, I came home crying.  My wonderful husband told me to quit my job, stay home, and relax so that I am 100% ready to be a mother. 

Oh, Dr. Laura, what a relief!  Tomorrow is my last day at this job, and every morning for the last two weeks, I have made my husband lunch, and my job is now to make our dollars go as far as possible.  Every night, he has come home to a happy wife, a hug, an “I love you,” and a hot meal.  Oh, how he beams! 

We may not yet have a baby, but I can already say that my husband is his kid’s dad, and I am proud to be his wife.

Stupid Love Science

Philosophers throughout the ages have contemplated and agonized over what causes people to fall in love.  Sociologists and psychologists have done the same over what causes people to stay in love.  Now neuroscientists are trying to solve both their problems by taking brain scans of folks in love looking for the “cause” of love.

The report of their work prepared by the Wall Street Journal (2/8/08) seems to miss the main point.  Looking for brain sites of increased activity in people who after many years of marriage still feel fabulously in love, is not likely due to some abnormal hyperactivity in centers associated with affection or pleasure.  It is the opposite way around.  People who behave consistently in a loving manner constantly stoke the fires of affectionate and passionate love – all which will show up in their brain scans.

The couple they “analyzed,” the Turners, are described up front:

“Ann Tucker is pushing a shopping cart through the produce section of a supermarket in Plainview, N.Y., when she turns to kiss her husband.  The supermarket kiss is a regular ritual for the Tuckers.  So are the restaurant kiss and the traffic-light kiss.  ‘I guess we do kiss a lot,’ says Mrs. Tucker…Mrs. Tucker is living happily ever after, and scientists are curious why.”

Why?  That’s easy: she and her husband constantly behave like people in love.  Feelings follow behavior and both feed into brain pathways that become “well-worn” through constant activation.

So, stop looking for supplements, hormone injections, or implanted brain stimulators, miracles or moonspots.  Instead, behave like a man/woman in love and you’ll create what you wish for.