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Friday, February 7, 2014

Saving the Relationship

Dear Bro Jo,

I am not a member of your Church, but I know you have published a lot of books. I am curious what you have done as far as relationships go?

My girlfriend and I have been trying to work things out, and I was curious what you have as a tool that I might be able to use?

I look up to you and Sister Jo's relationship and want to know what the secret is?

Any info you have or tips are greatly appreciated!


Mr. Fix It

Dear Fix It,

Every relationship is different . . . but basically people act and react in predictable ways.

The key is to discover what motivates them; what is it that is behind why they do and say what they do and say.

Most of the relationship stuff I talk about boils down to helping people understand what those motivations are and why.

What they chose to do about them is their call.

Sister Jo and I can be volatile. We're outspoken, opinionated people. Two of those in a relationship can be an additional challenge.

Add to that my drive to want to "talk things to death" and her need to be left alone when she's upset, and we've had some whopper arguments.

I'm not sure what's going on with you and your girlfriend, but I know that women don't like men to "fix" them, and men think women come to them with issues because they want us to offer solutions.

Women just want to be heard.

When they're done venting they want us to say "honey, I love you; I know you can handle it" or as was said in a show I watch, "those three magic words:  wow, that sucks".

As for us, we men need to be appreciated.

Whatever it is we're bringing to the table we think it's valuable and we want to be thanked.

And our brains are wired differently. Ever see this VIDEO?

I believe that the thing that makes relationships work is being selfless; the willingness to put the other person's needs and wants ahead of our own, and communicating enough so that we know what those needs are.

The problem arises when we start to feel (in economic terms) like we're not getting any "utility" from our relationship.

We think the other person is selfish and here we're always being selfless, and how come their not doing for us like we're doing for them!

Which is, of course, selfish.

For us, brother, in order to make things work we need to fight our tendencies to be selfish, and the best way for us to do that is to be of service to others, but mostly of service to each other.

For Sister Jo and I that's where Church comes in.

Getting that regular reminder of the things that are truly important in this life is something I have to have.

It's like the God-Husband-Wife Triangle.

(Which I really recommend you look at if you haven't before.)

As Sister Jo and I work on being selfless we grow closer to God, and that brings us closer to each other.

Of course, both people need to be willing to do that.

Just as both people need to care about the relationship succeeding.

You know what it's like when only one person cares . . . that sucks.

There's no magic salve. ..

And what works for some doesn't work for everybody. ..

And it's not like our marriage is all dancing trees and singing flowers. ..

But I wouldn't want to live without being married to Sister Jo, and I know she feels the same about me.

And that's pretty cool.

It's worth all of the effort - and it does take a lot of effort sometimes!

(I'm sure Sister Jo has to put forth a lot more effort to get along with me than I do to get along with her. Heck, we ALL know that's true.)

So decide if this is someone you can trust (that, TRUST, by the way, is more important than perhaps anything else in a relationship; certainly more important than attraction and love) will put your needs before her own AND (this is very important) that she can trust that you'll do the same.

That means you two need to have a very serious talk.  Very soon.

And you know, brother . . . maybe Church is what you need . . .

You don't have to be a member of the LDS Church to go to Sunday meetings . . . I think a lot of people don't know that.

Perhaps the LDS Faith has something to teach you about growing closer to God and how that can help you grow closer to each other.  I can tell you that it works for me, and I'm very grateful to have that regularly in my life.

If I can help in any way, I'm always here for you.

- Bro Jo

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