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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This is from Michelle:
Dear Dr. Laura:
A few weeks ago, you had a caller who was contemplating divorce, because her husband wasn’t being nice and, in turn, she wasn’t being nice to her young son. During the call, the little boy started crying and to calm him, she picked him up and he immediately stopped. You told her of the power of a mother’s arms, and you told her that if she would just treat her husband the same way, he would melt just as her son did. I thought about it, but forgot to do anything, and then I listened to the program again this week. It was like you were personally talking to me.
I have been married for 16 years to a wonderful man who has been the sole financial provider for all that time so I can be an at-home mom to our teenage son and daughter. While I always thank him for making this possible, unfortunately, my attitude has been ‘well, while you were at work all day, I had to deal with very important things like toddler meltdowns to teenager meltdowns.’ But your words changed all that.
Last night, my husband arrived home after a business trip to find out we have some unexpected, high medical bills for our son (he has special needs so, while this has happened before, now is a particularly hard financial time). Instead of me attacking my husband and telling him I had to consent to all the tests which resulted in the bill, I took your advice. I held him in my arms and said: ‘This must be so hard for you, when you work so hard and you plan all the finances for our family, to have something so big come up when you don’t expect it. I really appreciate you supporting this family, and I feel our kids are so blessed to have you as their dad.’
Dr. Laura, he melted, just as you said he would. We went on to have a lovely night, planning how we would pay for this bill and then talking about other things. If I had not taken your advice, we both would have been angry and sulking and it would have lasted for days. You reminded me that even though my sweet husband is a big, strong provider, he still needs compassion and comfort. How blessed am I that I could provide that for him.
Your words have changed my life and my marriage, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep helping people do the right thing.TrackBack URI
I have watched film adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in all its incarnations many, many times, and I recently watched the 2005 film version again. I love the film…no matter what criticisms may be about a portrayal or a performance. I clearly have a profound attraction to this work.
First and foremost, I love the utter regard the men had for women, which is evident from how they addressed them: “Miss…” (and their first names if they were single) or “Mrs….” (and their last names if they were married). Men bowed upon entering and leaving a woman’s presence, and women curtsied, even under unpleasant conditions. Flirting was ever-so-subtle: a look, a light “accidental” touch of a hand. A man romantically yearned for and tried to earn the affections of a woman. The sweetness of the regard for women in this era (particularly in upper and middle classes) was something to be admired, and something we now miss. There was a clear distinction between a “good” woman and an easy, loose woman or whore.
That distinction is gone today. Now, women put down good money for music that represents them as whores without pay. So many young men are casual about women and sex in general, and sex is a casual expectation almost always fulfilled.
Young women scoff at dignity and modesty as just stupid, prudish, sexist notions. They “shack up” with some dude without a marital commitment, yet expect the love and respect, fidelity and loyalty to exist without the spoken vows, only to be disappointed, hurt, and generally confused.
There was a recent film comedy, called “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” in which Matthew McConaughey (in a twist on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”) got to go back into his life to see all his old girlfriends. There was one scene in the television ad for the movie which showed a seemingly endless dining table filled with hundreds of girls. Obviously, this was meant to show how shallow and manipulative he had been. To me, it just showed how many stupid girls there were (and are), “putting out” in a situation where there was clearly no respect, regard, or intent.
Men used to have to ask a woman’s dad for permission to “court” her, even when the woman was an adult! Now, all he has to do is show her a bedroom, back seat of a car, or a motel room, and the date is sealed. When men had to explain and express their intentions, they had to take the whole activity of dating much more seriously, as there were personal and social consequences to misleading a young lady. That reputation would annihilate any chances he might have had of marrying a good woman. He’d have to move states or provinces away. Now? That kind of rakish reputation makes girls/women want to line up to get some from an infamous entity.
The women’s revolution did not raise any consciousness worth elevating. It mostly diminished a woman’s sense of herself as special, minimized her value in the minds of men, put sex on the level of animals, created a nanny/baby-sitter/institutionalized day care financial boom (as women gave up the blessing of nurturing their own children), increased the use of abortion as a birth-control technique when an accidental pregnancy occurred with a guy who did not want fatherhood, created perpetually unhappy, angry, nasty wives, and made it very difficult for “nice girls” to be respected and cherished.
The last scene in Pride and Prejudice between the two now-married lovers has them discussing what she wants to be called by him when he is not using her given name. He suggests one name, and she rejects it sweetly, because it is what her father calls her. She then asks him what he will call her when he is angry. He, not being able to envision that situation, talks to her about always letting her know how lovingly important his happiness in wrapped up in her…forever…and he kisses her gently about her face as he says “Mrs. Darcy” over and over again. He gave her his heart, his life, his vows, and his name. And, in that era, giving a woman your name was the ultimate public and private statement of his total commitment to her, which makes that scene so moving to most of us, and infuriating to feminists who see that scene only as ripping away the woman’s identity.
I always cry at the end of the movie.
I cry also for what women have given up in exchange for wanting to have it all and not be subordinate to a man. I don’t know…I kinda think being on a pedestal is not subordinate. But what do I know? I’m only a recovered feminist.TrackBack URI