Sometimes in today’s tight economy, roles get reversed, and the father stays home with the kids while the mom works. Does this have a negative psychological effect on the kids?
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I got a wonderful email from Sylvia, which I want to share with you all:
This is a lesson my mother taught me, but I thought you would approve of her very good advice.
I am a southern “belle.” Though I have lived all over the world and do not possess the characteristic lilting southern drawl, I am, in fact, a belle through and through. When raised as a girl in the south, you learn (amongst other things) a true appreciation of the beauty and power of words. We southern girls are thoroughly schooled in the art and craft of words. We learn, very young, how to paint a picture with words. We learn to exploit the rhythm and cadence of language. We speak softly in order to draw in our listener (thus focusing all attention on ourselves). Really – who doesn’t like a whisper? We speak slowly, because anticipation makes everything more enjoyable. Really – who doesn’t like to be made to wait…just a little?
I will often send my husband an email designed to make the air around him stand still. I can still make his mouth water with just words. I can make his mind linger and dwell on me all day, with just a softly spoken sentence as he leaves for work in the morning. Sometimes, in the afternoon, I’ll call him up just to say “I was daydreaming about you just now. I was remembering how sweet you are and how you still make my heart beat faster.” This is not just some idle exercise. This is the ultimate investment in my family. This is what makes my husband anxious to get home to me, even after fifteen years.
Through flirting, I reap a harvest of sweetness, kindness, gentleness and playfulness. Flirting is a gift we give to each other. It keeps alive the sweetness and excitement of our early dating days. Flirting is like a gentle touch. It is stroking the ego of the one you love. It is titillation pure and simple. It is foreplay with words and humor. Flirting is the secret that all other women know. Flirting is the difference between “ho-hum” and “hot!” It is something you miss when it’s lacking and you often don’t even realize it. Flirting captures the mind, and where the mind goes, the body soon follows.
So ladies, flirt with your husband. Here, let me help you out: send an email to the one you love today and simply say “I thought of you today. I thought that if you were a book, then I would like to read you and re-read you, over and over again.”
You see, when you give sweetness, you get so much more back.
Cruising through the news sites, I recently came across a list of the Top 25 Most Romantic Movies. I was amazed at a number of the choices: adult male dancer in cheap resort “doing” a teenage girl (like they have a future together!); a woman having sex with her fiancé’s younger brother; people who meet while on a European excursion and immediately become intimate, and on and on.
When I was younger, I used to just “watch” movies and get caught up in the mushy emotions. As an adult (and definitely as “Dr. Laura”), I watch movies on a much deeper level, and I’m not happy with the notion that as long as two people are swept up in fantasy and immediacy, it’s just b e a u t i f u l.
Maybe it’s because I spend hours each day on my radio program helping people extricate their hearts, minds, and collateral damage from their decisions to just go with the flow of erotic and romantic feelings. I’m left trying to help them remedy the hurts done to others as well as themselves and the “accidental” children who do not typically benefit from “conception-on-the-run.”
The film The African Queen was, for me, one of the most romantic movies of all time. Humphrey Bogart gives up being a surly, drunk, self-designated outcast for Katharine Hepburn, who gives up being an up-tight, prissy, self-avowed spinster, for a cause, using his little beat-up boat to sink a German war boat. Having that joint goal (well, she had to work hard to get him out of his shell to be brave enough to re-join the world), and having to deal with deadly elements on a six-foot power skiff together, they built something really romantic.
Those of you who are married and struggling with illness or the economic “elements” should watch that movie together…twice! I believe it will make you snuggle. What brings people really close together is not just itinerant sex. It is a joint goal, the attainment of which requires you both to become MORE. Sometimes that goal is survival, and at other times, it may be the birth of a child, or a commitment to some effort in the world. Great sex is the prize…it is not the substance of true love.
People have all sorts of reactions when Valentine’s Day comes around – some think it’s too commercialized, and others get hurt if they don’t get the traditional flowers or candy or card. Still others don’t think it should be observed at all. I think it’s time to recall the important reasons to celebrate:
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Read transcript here.
Here’s the scenario: you are a young woman poised to be married to a man who informs you in no certain terms that fidelity is not going to be a quality of your marriage. You’re hurt and confused. You call Dr. Laura. You ask her opinion – should you marry this man? Dr. Laura says: “HAVE YOUR TUBES TIED. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT AS AN ADULT WOMAN TO MAKE ANY CHOICE YOU WOULD LIKE (STUPID AS IT MIGHT BE), BUT I BELIEVE YOU HAVE THE MORAL OBLIGATION TO NOT IMPOSE THAT UNSTABLE, UNHAPPY, POTENTIALLY VOLATILE SITUATION ON CHILDREN.”
This discussion between South Carolina’s first lady (and soon to be ex-wife of Governor Mark Sanford) and me never took place. She went ahead, married him, made children, crossed her fingers and her eyes, blinded herself, and now she and the children are in the public eye…embarrassed.
Jenny Sanford, in an interview with Barbara Walters (yeah, I know) admits knowing in advance, saying that not having a vow of fidelity bothered her to some extent, but “I got past it.”
She is now having her 15 minutes of infamy with a tell-all book, anguishing over the emails (which went public) where her husband talked about his lover’s body parts.
I think I’m more disgusted with what she is doing now – after colluding with the charade of a marriage – than in making this choice in the first place.
In general, why do women volunteer for this kind of situation?
* They think they’re special and he will be different with her
* They believe in romantic fantasies and that love will heal all
* Dependent loyalty
* Emotional attachment
* Embarrassment at admitting a mistake
* They believe there is money or power to be gained
Mrs. Sanford is embarrassing her children and herself, which is tacky and unclassy in my opinion.
Guilt and longing are two very human emotions that often blend into a desperate glue that keeps people stuck in situations they ought not to be in. Whether it is with family, friends or a prospective spouse, trust that small, smart voice inside of you which repeats the mantra you try to ignore: “This is destructive or dangerous. Let it go or get out.”
Decent people feel guilty about pulling away from a relationship because “it will hurt the other person’s feelings,” and decent people just cringe at the idea of causing another emotional pain. That’s nice, but guilt is a cue that what you’re doing is wrong, not that what you’re doing is something somebody else just doesn’t want or like. There is no intent to hurt in this situation. There is only the intent to preserve one’s own emotional and physical safety and/or well-being.
Longing is a natural condition – i.e., wanting something to be right and good because you’ve invested in it, and because it is a good thing to want: a great, happy, healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship is always a blessing. However, when that is clearly not the case, then withdrawing is the healthiest and, therefore, right thing to do. It is difficult for people to give up their dreams, but you have to remember that the dream is not the problem. The current object of that dream is the problem. Take your dream and plant it where it can actually grow well.
Remember, there is no growth without discomfort or outright pain. Consider growing pains of the emotional sort just a natural course of events as you mature, and make wise decisions.
Choose wisely; treat kindly. Treating kindly won’t work if you haven’t chosen wisely.