Stop Talking And Start Acting Like You’re Walking

There’s a mildly complicated backstory, but my answer I think helps women understand they can easily adopt the MAP for themselves and shouldn’t just lob the book at their husband and expect a miracle. You have to take action.

Reader Email: Okay, I will up my sex rank, act neutral (disinterested in sex?) and see how that goes.

Athol: Not quite right…

You can and should act interested in sex… that’s your primary relationship concern and you want to communicate that through your actions. You like and want sex!

However… if he declines sex with you, act like it is no big deal. No begging, no whining, no pouting, no slamming doors, no doing the dishes very noisily and angrily. Just say “okay” and walk away from him.

Read over Chapter 6 in the Primer again and think of it applying to you rather than him. Then read over Chapter 16 again and think of it applying to you as the person running the MAP.

Like I say, start working out, dressing better, a little more revealing… as if you were getting ready to just dump him and move on.

The fantasy in his head right now is that you and he will have a sexless marriage, he will jerk off to porn, and you will just stick around and love him anyway. So start breaking that fantasy in his head. Start acting like you won’t just stick around and be miserable for his benefit.

MMSL The Boardgame…?

Damnit! I can’t embed this video.
So Alpha…. yet so very not Alpha.
I remembered it after someone asked me if MMSL was going to go all tacky and commercial. My thought was this video. (Damnit I can’t embed that either! Grrrr.)
Anyway, the real answer to that is “probably not”. Money is important to me to get me doing what I want to do. But in the end I’m still the guy that was pleased with the birthday presents of a toaster, a laundry basket and a bathmat. So it’s kind of hard to buy me out.
We’re unlikely to have MMSL “The lunchbox”, MMSL “The Soundtrack”, or MMSL “The Flamethrower” any time soon. I sure hope current books aren’t used as MMSL “The Toiletpaper”…
I’ve had a very small number of requests for a German translation for example. Not possible for 2011, very unlikely for 2012. 2013… well let’s see about that. So that’s the sort of thing I want money for.
“The Schwartz was in you the whole time.”

The Five Beta Love Languages

I’ve been doing some research recently to start developing much of MMSL into a couples retreat. There’s a backstory here, and it may all collapse into a heap so I’d rather not say what I’m up to just yet. My long term goals involve in-person teaching sessions, so whether this particular project gets the green light or not, I’ll end up with material to use so it’s all good.
So I said to my new friends,“tell me what you’re currently using.” and they showed me the list of books and DVDs in use. I’d never heard of half of it, and the other half was just the (yawn) same old feminine-beta-emotions-romance-do the-dishes-the-man-is-wrong stuff. Basically it’s a cross between a bad Oprah episode and David after the Dentist. But being a good researcher I ordered used copies of what I hadn’t read yet off Amazon.
At this point I should mention that for a number of years I went to a private Anglican school and have therefore sat through formal ceremonies so long, I have considered quietly removing my appendix with a paper clip to relieve the boredom. I consider that training for wading through the slush pile of traditionally published books I regrettably ordered off Amazon.
Save one…
“The Five Love Languages” is excellent. Oh to be sure it’s just like every other Christian book in that it takes far too long to actually get to the book’s original content. The good bits are heavily packed in the Styrofoam of faith to ensure the non-religious would never want to read it. It is badly wrong in that it completely ignores sexuality and anything remotely approaching Alpha, leaving nothing but a baby soft Beta.
But that Beta is utterly perfect and on point.
If you want, go read the book. There’s like a trillion in print and you can probably get an older copy for $0.01 plus shipping off Amazon. Or, cribbing the summary of the Five Love Languages from here.
Words of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Quality Time:  In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving Gifts:  Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service:  Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
Physical Touch:  This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
The basic premise of the book being that each person usually has a primary love language that really connects with them, and the other ones are simply nice/pleasant/okay. I think that’s an excellent insight.
So when I do something expressive of love and commitment (Beta!) to Jennifer like buying her flowers (Receiving Gifts), she likes it, it’s okay, but it doesn’t really make her swoon. Likewise when I tell her I love her, and say nice things about her (Words of Affirmation), it’s the same thing. Nice, pleasant, but she doesn’t melt on me. She does respond well to Quality Time – she gets a little mopey if we’re apart for too long and we both like walking together and just hanging out. She does like being touched, but I’m all over her like a rash, so I don’t think she ever lacks for Physical Touch to ever want it.
But when I do housework, cook dinner, yard work, help her out, go grocery shopping with her… a.k.a Acts of Service… she perks right up and just beams at me. So while all the love languages are good to do at least once in a while, when I want to use a little Beta to hit Jennifer’s sweet spot, Acts of Service are quick, easy and guaranteed points. Not just once in a while, every time.
The giveaway is that Jennifer is constantly doing me little Acts of Service. She actually seriously likes bringing me a sandwich for example. She ironed a couple of shirts for me on Sunday simply because “it makes me feel all wifely”. Um… okay, you can iron my shirts if you want.
If you read carefully above, “I’m all over Jennifer like a rash”, my love language is Physical Touch. I endlessly touch her and playfully maul her like I’m a Labrador puppy.
Gifts do nothing for me – for my last three birthdays I asked for a toaster, a laundry basket and a bathmat. I do like functional items, but that’s about it. Words of Affirmation are nice. Quality Time is nice. Ironing my shirts and bringing me sandwiches are nice… But I feel loved when she touches me. Scratch my back a little and I am yours.
Sometimes when I’m writing Jennifer just slides up to me and runs a hand across my shoulders in passing. It works. I love it. How easy is that?
Ladies, gentlemen… once you figure out your partner’s sweet spot for receiving Beta comfort building, you could probably cut down your overall Beta interaction efforts by half, and yet win twice as many points by getting everything on target. It’s like the difference between a shotgun approach and a sniper rifle.
If you don’t know what they like the best, just experiment and try everything. You’d find it soon enough. Often what they do to you is the giveaway of what they want for themselves.

Unhappy Father’s Day?

As much as possible I try and stay positive and productive about making individual marriages better on this blog. Negativity is unhelpful at best and can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure at worst. So it is important to stay positive and productive in approach about marriage. But just as roses are very beautiful, you can’t just blindly grab them or the thorns will make you bleed. So this is one of those “Danger Will Robinson” posts.
Two days ago Tom Ball self-immolated himself on the steps of the Cheshire County Court House in New Hampshire. If you have the time to read the 10,000 word suicide note he sent to the Sentinel Source, it’s here. The short version being that he slapped his four year old for repeatedly licking him as he tried to put her to bed, his wife called a mental health provider, and from there the police became involved and the situation continued to escalate through the family court system. After ten years of continued state intervention, in a combination of rage and despair at a likely jail term for being behind on child support, Tom set himself on fire in front of the court house and he burned to death.
I have thoughts on this.
(1) That it was unlikely that it was first time he hit someone in his family. Hitting a four year old in the face for licking is being out of control. Verbal warnings to a four year old do not constitute justification for hitting them in the face should mere licking continue. There are other effective parenting skills that could have been brought to bear on the situation. She was licking him at bedtime, so he could have simply said a firm “goodnight” left the room. In 1911 you could bitch slap your kids. In 2011 that gets you arrested.
(2) Most people do not understand how mandatory reporting works. When the wife called for help to the mental health provider, she likely purposely did not call the police and completely unwittingly contacted mandatory reporters, who then must contact the police or risk loss of licensure and/or jail time themselves for non-reporting. When she called the mental health provider only two options existed – the husband arrested, or both husband and wife arrested. So obviously she chose him to be arrested.
(3) That once the wife calls the police on the husband, the marriage reaches a tipping point where the marriage is immediately set on a course for a nasty divorce. This is extremely difficult to recover from even if both husband and wife want to save their marriage.
(4) That the wife isn’t allowed to change her mind, retract her statements, or even attempt to try and explain that what happened was a minor and/or isolated incident blown all out of proportion. She is reduced to victim status by the state and her testimony is regarded as impaired due to the perception that she lives in fear of husband.
(5) That the law enforcement and court system is not so much vicious but essentially as mindless as a runaway combine harvester once a man is exposed to it for domestic violence/child support reasons.
(6) That the current system can escalate the domestic violence situation. Once a previously non-criminal “good guy” is arrested for the first time for something he perceives himself as not guilty for doing or a very minor incident overblown, it may result in a response of greater passivity and compliance out of fear, but it more likely will result in enraging him. Thus turning him from a good guy with an isolated inappropriate act, or with mild behavioral difficulties, into someone potentially very dangerous. That danger may result in simple seething rage and hatred for his wife and the court system, or it may transfer into unsafe action putting both himself and his (ex)wife at risk.
(7) That the current system actually puts women at greater risk in that help may not be sought for minor incidents for fear of the state destroying the family/her husband. Minor incidents can likely be resolved with counseling, education and use of law enforcement as behavioral intervention. Unchecked though, minor situations will continue to escalate to major situations, which require automatic and severe law enforcement intervention. Usually though this intervention will occur after the fact of a critical event playing out. The old joke of “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” springs to mind.
(8) This case could have easily ended with the murder of the ex-wife and subsequent suicide of the husband; whether by his own hand or by police bullet it is suicide. This case is remarkable only for the final act of self-immolation on the court steps and the letter to the press. Many men commit suicide once caught up in the family court system, their stories would recount much the same as this one.
(9) There’s probably a young woman walking around completely screwed up from trying to cope with it being all her fault for licking her father after he said stop. Kids internalize parental drama. Knowing as an adult that the licking wasn’t the cause, isn’t the same as feeling like it wasn’t your fault.
(10) There is a total failure of general education of how to be married and a parent in America. This entire disaster could have be avoided with a better understanding of how to act as a parent to control young children misbehaving. There should be some form of basic registration of intent to have a child and mandatory training for parents to understand the law and positive parenting skills to act as a cost effective measure to prevent this sort of insanely expensive to the state drama.
As an important aside…
One notes how I carefully frame my statements to be in the best interest of everyone other than the man involved. There is no question that the man is the worst off in this drama, but he is the least powerful in this situation so appeal must be made to the interests of the state and to the safety of women if anything can be affected for the men.
Happy Father’s Day
(And please keep the comments focused on productive solutions and discussion, rather than simply venting anger. I do understand that the anger is justified, but I have made a conscious and clear choice to keep things on point here. I’ll get to my Beta goodness post tomorrow.)

Is Having Money Alpha or Beta?

Reader Email: Does having a healthy 401k fall into the alpha or beta territory? How about a nice home? Shopping at the fancy grocery store? Expensive nights out? Tailored suits? Long vacations? Fancy cars? Where is the line drawn between alpha-spending and beta-spending? In a LTR, where money is usually pooled, can alpha-spending still be effective in inspiring sexual attraction? Can it be effective on a spouse?
Athol: Money is simply a store of value, so it is fluid in it’s application of being Alpha or Beta as it can be spent either way. Women will tend to perceive a mans money as being potentially spent the way they would most like it to be spent. Party girl sees a million bucks as a huge party waiting to happen. Homemaker girl sees a million bucks as a big house, a mess of kids and her getting to stay home and not work. Doctor girl sees a million bucks as the college loans gone and an awesome shortcut to a private practice with reasonable hours. Church girl sees mission trips and structured giving. So it’s kinda potent in that sense.
It’s less important than it was 50 years ago, but more money is better than less money when it comes to attracting women for sure.
As an aside, Jennifer and I have always about level pegged income our whole marriage and pooled the money. I always felt semi-stupid buying her gifts with our shared money. “Here’s some flowers, you just spent $10 on them, I hope you like them.” I made a determination early on that all the book/blog money was mine. (My nursing money just goes to the joint bank account) It’s been an interesting dynamic to have additional income and spending that I have control over.
Of course the timing chain on her car went within two days of the first book money arriving and sucked it up to within about $60 lol. So it’s not like I’m a bastard with my new cash. It’s just an interesting dynamic. Most of it is just going to catch up on the bills and store up for the next book for fancy cover et al.
Blogger just “upgraded” it’s interface and functionality. It’s way worse now. So the projected reaching into the back pocket for a proper web design is going to be sooner rather than later as well.
Plus there’s these iPhone covers on Cafepress that make the iPhone look like a Star Trek Tricorder… so I’m seriously tempted just for the sheer geekiness of it all.
I’m also kind of excited to get to buy her flowers once in a while without using her money. Even so, she doesn’t seem to overly respond to them anyway, but I like giving them. Something I’m going to look at a little closer over the weekend..we’re going to focus on streamlining your Beta efforts to require less effort but create more comfort than ever.