Breathe People Breathe, We Bought Tools Not Toys

I’ve received a ton of financial advice in the last week. What I should spend, how I should spend it, what amount of savings I need, stocks, bonds, real estate… what I should fix myself. Some emails were rather nasty and personal. But for every doom and gloom communication, I’ve had 8-10 communications from people just plain excited for us. It’s really touching.

We had a decent income spike. We bought a bunch of new stuff replacing broken stuff. I simply do not have the time to learn mechanical engineering sufficient to learn how to fix the broken stuff myself. Other dudes came to my house and installed new stuff, replacing the broken stuff I don’t know how to fix. While other dudes were here, I earned enough to cover the cost of other dudes and saved myself about three days of confusion and frustration. Also the carpet stayed dry, which I really couldn’t guarantee if I start messing with devices that do anything involving a water supply.

We’ve learnt some painful lessons over the last few years about money. MMSL has been a ridiculous risk in terms of our finances and it’s nice to have reached a point of balance where we hit enough paydirt to make a lot of the pain go away. Like I said in the title, we bought tools, not toys.

The question is what from here?

Well… same thing we do every night. Jennifer is still clipping coupons, though eventually working with me. Together we’ll be heading toward more books, more coaching stuff, more blog posts and all purpose world domination helping people. We just have some more money to leverage things is all. Same shit, different pay.

Having Good Tools Matters

It’s official, I’ve about doubled my income in the last three months. Which sounds awesome because it is in fact exactly as awesome as you think it would be. There’s a sort of a surge of money this month as Amazon pays out the Kindle sales two months after the fact, so the first The Mindful Attraction Plan money arrived at the end of August and in September coaching has really caught fire and we’re looking at the second big Kindle check coming at the end of the month before it settles down to something closer to normal.

Suddenly I have more money than I’ve had my whole life.

We’ve done a lot of shopping, catching a bunch of stuff up too. New dryer, new dishwasher, the short vacation to do all the back to school shopping, a second back to school shopping thing that happened that I don’t exactly understand but whatever, a new vacuum cleaner, a giant wholesale run for mass quantities of munchies, a month supply of protein shakes of special magnificence for both of us and plants for the front yard.

The shopping for plants was kind of fun in that we did it at Lowes and I said I wanted to price out some other stuff for the end of the month. Namely a garage door opener to replace the one that’s been broken for mumble mumble mumble years and it’s pretty apparent that the washing machine is dying too. It’s one of those front loader ones and it’s started to drool a bit, so that needs to be replaced too. So picked them out for next week, then routed by the freezers because don’t ask me why, but a freezer filled with extra food just seems to be a symbol to me that you’ve finally arrived at domestic comfort. I have no clue why.

So Jenniferlocks started looking at the freezers. There was a little chest one that was just too small, barely enough room for half a dead body. Then there was a great big chest freezer one and it would have looked more in place on a fishing trawler. Then we saw one that was just right… medium sized and on sale. It was perfect. Jennifer relaxed, this was the one. Then we rounded the corner and came upon an upright freezer, twice as big as the medium sized chest freezer, with internal racks and crazy deep shelving built into the door…

Jennifer:  “That would make it easier to find things and arrange them.”

Athol:  “You wouldn’t be in danger of falling in either.”

(In my defense she is quite short and leaning in to grab frozen salmon from the bottom of a chest freezer could indeed result in slapstick comedy.)

Then she looked at the price. Normally she would have flinched and that would have been it.

Athol:  “I know we’re on an important mission to buy some crappy plants I don’t care about plants for the front of the house, but I’m coming back for this freezer.”

Jennifer: “This is so weird to have money.”

Athol:  “It’s not like we’re buying junk, the freezer is a tool. We’ll use it, you’ll end up getting all the money back and more because you can do better sale shopping.”

Then we got her a new laptop. At some point she’s just going to need one for the business and we went looking for one. She’s used to a 15″ screen size on her work one, but I said she should go bigger to the 17″. Rationale… it’s going to be her primary tool for working her side of the business. Having a 17″ screen is going to be far more user friendly than having a 15″ one. It’s a tool. Hell I would have said go to 19″, but again she’s tiny and at that point the keyboard starts spreading a little making it harder to type. It’s a good laptop. She’s thrilled by it.

The one thing I really splurged on for myself last year was a really good laptop. It’s not so much a beast of computing power, as sort of a plush and sinfully comfortable one to use. I paid far too much for it and it’s worth every penny. I’m a writer, it’s the only tool I use for my job. I love my laptop. It always makes me feel good to use it.

Then it becomes apparent that nearly everything big we’re buying are tools… the dryer, dishwasher, vacuum, laptop, garage door opener, freezer, washing machine. The rest is good food and replacement clothes. But the tools just keep jumping out at me.

Every broken tool you own is draining energy from your life. Having good tools saves you time and energy, plus if they are functional and beautiful, you can gain even more energy by feeling good about using the good tool.

So what are your tools? Are they broken? Can you fix them? What’s your dream tool?

 

The Red Yellow Green Sexual Communication Tool

This is going to be an important post for a lot of couples.

There’s a ton of advice about whether you should or shouldn’t be having sex on any given night. There’s the default yes, fake it until you make it, no means no, push through her resistance, always be closing, don’t push against her shields once they are up, pound her hard and if nothing works be outcome independent.

Got all that?

What I’ve realized is that some of that confusion is coming from me, in that Jennifer and I from the get go were lucky enough to have mutually aligned assumptions about sexual communication. I’ve just assumed that everybody else communicated the same way. So what this post is going to do is reverse engineer what Jennifer and I actually do in terms of a decision matrix about what we do on any given night. Not that every night we have sex, but that every night we make a conscious decision about having it or not. We don’t wait to be “in the mood” to communicate about sex. The goal here is to give you some kind of shared language and avoid misunderstandings and lost opportunities for sex.

For the most part, this is aimed at “MMSL couples” looking to build a better sex life. The assumption is that both of them want to work together to have a better sex life and connection. They may not feel ultra turned on by each other, but it’s enough to want to work on things. It also assumes no medical issues et al interfering with baseline desire.

Also Jennifer is the lower desire partner and I’m the higher desire partner. So most of the time Jennifer is the one making a color choice and I’m more typically the one making an initiation attempt.

Green = This means Jennifer is very sexually interested tonight. Basically anything is up for grabs and I can push for an “above average” night of sex. This is the night of something more rough and dominant from me. Basically the harder I push / desire / want her, the better her response. Green = Just fuck me. Go Alpha.

Yellow = This means Jennifer is neither particularly turned on, nor resistant to sex tonight. This can go one of two ways usually, (1) a longer foreplay toward warming her up and ultimately her coming to orgasm and enjoying it for herself, or (2) her not wanting that but being willing to give me something like a handjob, blowjob, or the quickee intercourse option. This is from me a softer initiation push than a Green night. On a Green night I’m pushing her toward her maximum sexual response. On a Yellow night, I’m initiating for the purpose to get sex and have a mutually pleasant sexual experience together. Yellow = Warm Jennifer Up / Something for Athol. Go Alpha/Beta.

Red = Jennifer does not want anything sexual tonight. I don’t push her at all about this. Not a damn thing. I usually offer some sort of care bear routine for her as well, usually her Red nights she’s sick or genuinely tired. Red = No means no. Go Beta.

Whether it’s a Red, Yellow or Green night, I don’t get upset and complain about it to her. I remain outcome independent about it.

For the most part, my initiation attempts are simply to discover whether or not it’s a Red, Yellow or Green night. Once I know what kind of night it is, I tailor my approach to that.

But until I make a move, I might not know it’s a Green night, because she might not tell me.

Relationship Momentum

In terms of the overall relationship momentum, imagine a 1-100 scale with 100 being the best possible and 1 being the worst possible.

In the 71-100 range, you’ll probably get a mix of Greens and Yellows and a  handful of Reds.

In the 31-70 range, you’ll mostly get Yellow, but also a variety of Greens and Reds.

In the 1-30 range, you’ll mostly get Red, with some Yellow thrown in. Maybe a Green if you’re getting ovulation sex.

Gaining Points

Every night you make the correct call, i.e. she wants Green and you act Green, you get a +1 to your relationship. Same thing on Yellow nights, she wasn’t wildly into it, but you still had a good experience together, you get a +1. On Red nights, you don’t force the issue at all, you get a +1.

Losing Points

Every night you make the wrong call, you get a -1 to your relationship. She wanted “Just fuck me” Green, and you were too soft on approach (Yellow) or ignored her (Red). She wanted something sedate or just for you Yellow and you tried to get her to have pornstar sex (Green) or didn’t make any move on her (Red). She didn’t want anything at all on a Red night and you tried to get a Green or Yellow response.

Adaptive Strategy

What happens with a lot of struggling couples, is that they get advice to “Always Green!”, or “Always Yellow!” or “Ignore Red, just push yourself through it and act Green.” The result of that is some nights get a +1 and some nights get a -1 and they all balance each other out. Thus over the long term, the relationship doesn’t get any better. If your relationship momentum score is a 30 and you go +1 -1 +1 -1 +1 -1 +1 -1 +1 -1…. you’re still going to be stuck at 30 even though you’re both working hard on your relationship.

You have to have an adaptive strategy to heal a fragile relationship.

You cannot force a sexual response from someone who doesn’t want to give one, without risking seriously negative effects to your relationship. So when the relationship is down in the dumps below 30, that may well mean a whole lot of not having sex at first.

If she’s not interested in sex with you (Red), you must stop orbiting her and being angry about not getting porn star sex (“Why aren’t you Green?”), or not even bothering to give you a handjob (“I just want a Yellow, why can’t you Yellow?”). When she’s feeling Red about sex and you demand / pout / threaten / tantrum and she lets your fuck her, you get Red Sex and you complain about that…. (“She just lays there like a Starfish!”)

So my advice from here is to actually start using the words Red Yellow Green until you get a handle on it. Over time, you won’t need to say the words because you’ll internalize them.

This has all been largely focused at the guys/higher desire partner, so a final thought for the women/lower desire partner…

If you force yourself to have sex you don’t want and hate every minute of it. In what bizarro world does that fix your relationship and make you love your partner more?

High Fructose Porn Syrup

Somewhat off topic in a forum thread…

Athol:  Actually it’s become clear to me over the last year that it takes very little porn at all to start guys detaching from their wives.

@Haniel:  Might be a derail, but this is where my thoughts are now. I never had a porn problem. My wife never had a problem with me watching porn. I just viewed it as a little extra on the side since I’m more high desire than my wife. It’s way different sensations than sex so I figured just something different and I would do it on off nights–nights were my wife had a busy day and all. Usually two nights a week.

Anyways after reading a few threads here and on r/redpill and the infamous http://yourbrainonporn.com I finally said hey why not just try not using porn ( I thought maybe a month or so to see if there’s a positive change in anything). The main argument to turn me was the simple drop in testosterone. The second was just thinking about how unnatural it is to be able to click click click get aroused anyway you want.

I really didn’t expect much of a change as I was never a heavy user and have a very healthy sex life with my wife, but wow, after two weeks I already decided no porn ever again. My energy towards my wife and during sex just felt so incredibly better.

1) I became much more dominant in my initations. I don’t know if this is because I knew that was the only way I was getting off or just because I hadn’t wasted energy jerking off to strangers.  But I’m just way more proud of the way I initiate and have been getting better reactions from my wife too. It’s hard to define the change it’s just the energy I have when I approach her.

2) Emotional closeness. It’s hard to explain this without getting sappy. I no longer look at other women to jerk off ( I still notice women in day to day life but I’m not stroking at the time so its not as impactful). So my wife is my sexual half. Everything sexual for me is my wife. Every time I get a random boner now I think of her in a hot dress or her sucking me or me pounding her. It used to be oh remember that awesome video the other night, or man that one video I’ve saved for years that always gets me off. Now its random boner  = wife. So now I just feel really connected to her. Boner wife boner wife. That’s the least sappy way to describe it.

3) Noticeable increase in load size, orgasm sensations and duration of orgasm. Even light porn use effected this. The thing is with light porn use say 2 nights a week and with wife 5 nights I never had a break. Now I have a break 1-2 nights a week and that’s enough to really up the pleasure and make the time with my wife more powerful. Who doesn’t want better orgasms with their wife. Now that I don’t watch porn I finally cum like a pornstar.

Its been around 3 months now. Never going back.

Athol:  I’ve had a long time saying that “Something isn’t a problem until it’s a problem.” I still believe that. It’s just become apparent more clearly now how quickly porn does become a problem. We’ve come a long way from a secret stash of stolen Playboy’s.

Never really considered myself a heavy user by any means, and it’s not like I was even jerking off to it. I had a bunch of pic based Tumblrs I was following and when Google Reader kicked the bucket, I was just too busy to find a replacement for it. So the porn just vanished on me one day and that was about it.

It wasn’t until about 3-4 weeks later that I got a adult ad in my email inbox that I got the face full of porny tits and ass. I was shocked by it and that was really surprising to me. Oh I don’t mean “shocked” in a clutch-the-pearls way, just in a wow-that’s-a-lot-of-stimulation way. When you’re a sex writer and a screenshot of box covers makes you have a reaction of any kind it gets your attention. What the fuck just happened there?

So anyway, pretty much everything Haniel said above I’ve noticed too. It’s just a whole lot easier feeling attracted and horny around Jennifer without the porn around. Not like we were even having marriage trouble / sexual dysfunction / serious whatever as a side effect either.

And don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have a moral qualm about watching porn. It’s not even a hard no forever either. I’d just rather not suck down the High Fructose Porn Syrup.

Four Year Year Cycles

Okay I gotta be honest here. The damn kids have got to go back to school. Summer is too long. I’m starting to go stir crazy.

Oh don’t get me wrong, the girls are great kids. They are well behaved and compliant with the rather minimal demands we put on them. We’re four introverts so everyone is usually pretty easy going and giving each other lots of space. They are just here during the day, which means neither Jennifer or myself 100% switch off.

The good news is that youngest is finally starting high school and we’ve got just four more years of school age kids. Which means right now is a finishing line of sorts and in four more years there’s another finishing line.

Looking backwards in time, summer 2009 is when I started this whole MMSL journey. Four years ago. Back then there wasn’t even the phrase MMSL… no MAP, no Alpha Beta Balance, no Captain and First Officer, no Primer, no Time Before Writing… nothing. It’s really hard to imagine a time of not knowing that information and concept collection. Just me lost on Talk About Marriage trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and marriage as the starting point. The ending to that four years has been writing The Mindful Attraction Plan and pretty much the final polish on The MAP as a concept. Plus leveraging all that into the Life Coaching.

 So…

2009-2013 has been MMSL 1.0

2013-2017 youngest does high school and lets call that MMSL 2.0

2017-2021 No more kids! Which creates a new freedom for Jennifer and myself and let’s just say that’s MMSL 3.0

We’ve actually somewhat decided what MMSL 3.0 will be in that without worrying about kid watching, we’ll be vastly more able to travel. By travel I mean speaking, appearances, the whole touring craven fame monster thing. Jennifer and I traveling together. Which means we really need to be based out of a hub airport city. Jennifer likes warm weather. Yada yada yada, we’re kinda fixated on Dallas as the targeted city to move to.

We’re already starting to talk about fixing and replacing things based on the move in four years. It’s going to be one massive garage sale / large trash pickup summer 2017 and we’ll move with exactly what we must keep and no more. Then buy new of everything else when we arrive. Plus we both hate maintaining a house, we plan to travel a lot, so we’re obviously more looking toward a condo unit or even a rental when we go.

We ah… still haven’t visited Dallas yet. We’ll do that sometime and see if we like it. But we picked the neighborhood already anyway lol.

Apart from that, I haven’t really visualized what we do other than travel all over the world doing events for MMSL 3.0.

Now of course it’s MMSL 2.0. Which as far as I can tell is whipping myself harder to write more blog posts, but it’s really going to be repeating the same process as The Mindful Attraction Plan five or six more times. Taking one slice of the Primer/MMSL thought and then really expanding that into something properly targeted and marketable. I don’t see everyone needing *all* the books for their own life, but I do see all the books fitting into a shared theoretical framework. Hopefully everything cross sells and it’s all awesome. Plus the coaching and seeing exactly where the whole forum thing goes… 2000+ members now. Wow.

It’s going to be a very busy four years. Five or six more books in the next few years seems crazy, but I think I’ve found my groove with them finally.

Oh and Pro Tip. It’s the exact middle of these four year cycles that seem to be the hardest.

So how about you? Are you in a four year cycle? What’s the next step for you?

Getting Through to the Lazy Bear Husband

Short version… lazy bear husband, ten year marriage, crappy sex, four kids and husband rarely around….

OneFootOut:  Wanted to add, the reason the ultimatum has to be bigger and more impactful, is because I’ve called our pastor a few times over the years to initiate divorce plans, and I’ve told him I’m done,  told him I’m not attracted to him, etc. I’ve even left for a couple days, and kicked him out for a couple weeks, but nothing changes. It’s all beta-niceness for a couple weeks then back to normal old boring roommate mode. (I actually prefer the roommate thing to having him approach me for sex, though)

I also, after reading through many posts, am curious what it is about ME that’s most often attracted betas. The only 2 alphas I was with, were my absolute most amazing relationships, but the rest of them were just nice guys.

Athol:  Actually right now. Don’t do a damned thing to try and attract his attention to MMSL, it will only weaken it’s impact.

I would like you to read The Mindful Attraction Plan for yourself and report back where you think you are in the process, what you’ve tried and failed at before now.

It sounds like you’ve been unwittingly throwing Display of Low Value after Low Value at him.

OneFootOut:  Will do. I have started the book already.

I didn’t understand the last line of your post. Does that mean I’ve put him down? I’m very careful not to, but it happens. The only time I’ve ever said outright that I wasn’t attracted to him, was months after my first daughter was born (9 years ago) and I was having panic attacks during sex/from him approaching me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Athol:  No, I mean you’ve unwittingly put yourself down to him.

Every time you’ve gotten upset and begged him to change, you’ve told him you’re powerless in the relationship and that he is in charge.

Every time you’ve threatened divorce etc and then failed to follow through, you’ve told him you’re powerless in the relationship and that he is in charge.

Every time he’s ignored you and you’ve just soldiered on like it’s okay and done everything at home alone, you’ve told him you’re powerless in the relationship and that he is in charge.

Every time you let him drain your energy and get nothing in return, you’ve told him you’re powerless in the relationship and that he is in charge.

These are all Displays of Low Value.

Liberty:  This is so hard to grasp and REALLY understand but it is the truth.  If you fully embrace it, it will cause such a shift in your mindset, you’ll wonder what you’ve been thinking all these years.

I feel for you.  I came here with very similar experiences of complaining, trying to change, trying to get him to change etc, nothing works or sticks.  Gag!

I know you’ve been trying to fix it for years and feel like you are on your last possible tiny thread of tolerance.  But I believe this forum is where the magic is and you just got here.  It is working for me and things are changing.  Learn, read, change yourself and your perspective.  Good luck!

Serenity:  It is a tricky thing when the woman finds MMSL first and is the one who wants her husband to change.

Many of the wives here have stumbled around, making mistake after mistake with our husbands and being counter-productive.

Recommend that you save yourself a lot of time and heartache and take advantage of Athol’s private coaching option. Had it been available when I first started running my Map, I would have avoided a lot of pitfalls that slowed down our progress.

At some point, if you and Athol both feel that it’s time to bring your husband in, there’s no additional charge to include him as well.

Athol:  Actually Serenity got to be a guinea pig for some of this stuff, so coaching might not have helped much for her back then. But it’s proving to be rather effective for drawing the attention of the less interested partner now. There’s just something about your husband or wife getting “sort your life out” help that seems to really make the other person pay attention. Plus the no additional charge for a couple as opposed to one person doing it seems to be appealing too.

And yeah… ugh, I really have to get the coaching ads up on the blog and forum… and the MAP book linkage on the blog too.

There’s Enough Pain For Everyone

There’s enough pain for everyone.

The way to get past the pain and anger is to learn the pain and the anger of the opposite sex.

Then you start to realize that for every total fucking cunt that’s out there…

…there’s more women crying themselves to sleep because their husband doesn’t love them, cheats on them, has a broken dick, or is just totally fucking useless.

Then you start to realize that for every wife beating asshole that’s out there…

….there’s more men lost and confused as to why they held down a job, were nice, didn’t have some crazy addiction or defect but still live a life of endless rejection and grinding sorrow.

There’s enough pain for everyone.

 

Prayer-in-Action Beats Prayer-in-Talk

Asked in the Faith and Spirituality section of the forum…

@European_Bob:  As I’ve been progressing through the MAP one of the key points that I’ve found for men is to not let your wife’s mood have an influence on your’s. i.e. if she is complaining then stay aloof and happy. Another aspect is OI – if she doesn’t want to have sex then I’m still fine, I can go off and do <manly thing> instead. Follow this train of thought through, it appears that one of the goals of the MAP is to become self-sufficient, not reliant on your wife or anything else for what you need and/or want in life.

That however seems to be in contradiction to the whole Christian perspective of being reliant or dependent on God. Personally I’m not sure I even understand 100% what it means to rely on God.

How do these seemingly 180 degree opposite positions work together?

Athol:  I admit I do start to get frustrated with the constant attempts to make MMSL a perfectly Christian thing. There’s a lot of overlap that I think Christians can identify with,  but I’m just as close to Christianity as say Buddhism. You could make a case that running your MAP is a close cousin to the Noble Eightfold Path. There’s a Kiwi twist on a Taoist symbol on the front cover of The Mindful Attraction Plan.  Outcome Independence is classic mindfulness… be here now… oh hang on, let me cue up Yoda…

Yoda:  Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.

So as you can see I’m not exactly dipping my pen in one ink well. MMSL is a multi-layered synthesis and there is still more to come from me.

All that being said… let me try and answer the original question and really, I’m not trying to piss Christians off here. I’m trying to motivate you to get into action and do something about what ails you. That’s all. The world is going to hell in a hand basket. We are so far beyond needing to just save the marriages of our own little sects and corners of the world.  We save every relationship we can. We’re running out of time to turn the tide.

/rant on

The MAP isn’t about self-sufficiency in the sense of not needing people, it’s about creating personal value that other people want to be associated with. If anything it’s acutely aware of people needing other people and works to ensure you’re in a state of attractiveness to be loved and wanted.

It is self-sufficient in the sense that it is aware that no one is going to just gift you with a happy life and relationship, so you have to create those conditions for yourself.

Because MMSL focuses on what you can actually do for yourself under your own steam, it is in one sense in direct opposition to a faith-based approach to personal development.

Also when you consider that God isn’t required to answer your prayers the way you want him to, you should also consider the need to be outcome independent on getting God’s help if you’re a Christian. I mean if he thinks you need to learn something through suffering, it might be several years or even decades before your situation is resolved the way you hope it will be.

Prayer is more often than not a verbalized negative statement to the effect that you cannot do something. It’s a negative energy statement that you are powerless to create the change you want. That without some outside force, you will fall, fail and falter.

Well I say bullshit.

You damn well can do this stuff. It just works. It works for the same reason powered flight does not require angels to lift a 747 off the ground. It works because God’s assistance is not required.

When you stop waiting on God to provide and support you, and you just get into action and start making changes in your life…that’s when changes start happening.

There is unquestionably a spiritual component to what I teach, unstated in the Married Man Sex Life Primer but stated clearly in The Mindful Attraction Plan . Namely that your actions are your true statement of faith and that they influence the universe around you in positive or negative ways. I believe spirituality is seamlessly interwoven with the mundane tasks of everyday life. Trying to separate activities into “spiritual” and “non-spiritual” categories is misunderstanding the nature of the universe. I believe you create a greater sense of positive spirituality by building a deck, helping a friend, cleaning a room or working your job, than you ever will in prayer. Prayer-in-action will always be better than prayer-in-talk.

In fact more often than not, your prayers worsen your situation because they are negative in tone. Faithless prayers are a negative energy effect. You don’t actually have faith things can be better when you complain to God about your life.

If you had faith God can help your life, you’d just walk out your front door and start living your life like you had God’s help. You don’t have to keep praying like you’re feeding God’s parking meter or your spirituality will expire.

God is not sending a limo to drive you to the gym. Some shit you have to handle yourself.

/rant off

 

And tomorrow we’re talking about Jennifer’s amazing thighs.

Jennifer: ???

Negative Energy Means You Struggle to Visualize a Positive Outcome

I’m starting to see a pattern over and over again.

When you have a low energy couple, typically there’s some sort of mutual dysfunction happening. He’s got some major issue that’s unresolved and she’s got a major unresolved issue.  Those two dysfunctions are enmeshed in each other in a Vampire and Victim dance.

But even though there are negative things happening, the way the couple relates to each other is stable.

The relationship sucks, but it sucks in a very predictable, routine and reassuringly same way. When the couple fights or disagrees, it’s almost as if they are pulling scripts out and doing a play together. First he says this, then she says that, then he gets mad, then she cries, then he slams a door and marches out, then she calls her sister and her sister tells her to leave and she agrees she should leave, but then she cooks dinner and he comes back and he says the food was good and they look at each other and disappear into the bedroom while the kids roll their eyes and announce they can’t wait to turn 18 and get the hell out of here.

Same shit, different day.

Then one of them stumbles onto MMSL and the MAP and the light bulbs start going off inside their heads.

It can be different. It can change. It can be better.

But then the questions come….

But what if it really works?

What if I really change and get better. Will I still want to be with her? Or if she really gets better, will she still want to be with me?

What if we both run the MAP and become stronger better people… and the only thing holding us together was our problems? What happens if we break up because of the MAP working?

Here’s what I’ve been saying to that line of questioning.

When you have a crappy relationship, you always have a low energy / negative energy mood and mindset. One of the symptoms of that mindset, is that you cannot visualize how a positive relationship between the two of you can be. You can kinda visualize getting better as an individual and you can usually visualize your partner getting better…. but the combination of the two and how the pattern of interaction between you will be, always seems to slip out of reach when you think about it.

When you have a negative mindset, when you start to imagine the future turning out good…. you tend to bring it back into alignment with your current negative mindset and blow the future up. I.e., we both become better, stronger, happier people and then we divorce each other in a firestorm of emotional carnage.

Well….

….that hasn’t happened to anyone yet.

What I have seen happen is couples saying, “I couldn’t have imagined how good this is right now”. Or saying they could imagine about half of what was good about their relationship, but there are entire other unexpected areas that suddenly blossomed for them.

It’s a little like climbing a mountain with low lying clouds. You can’t see the summit because the clouds block your view. It’s only when you just keep climbing, just keep climbing and climbing, when suddenly you’re above the clouds and the sun is shining and you can see forever. It’s always a bright sunny day on planet earth, it’s just a question of having enough elevation.

You both run the MAP. You both make huge advances. You both get hotter.

It will be fine.

You have no idea how good it can get.

And if you want fast track to better… there’s always the 12-Week Guided MAP.

 

 

What are Your Three Monkeys?

Ages ago my dad told me a story of one of the other executives in his office, who had a peculiar method of dealing with the problems of his department. Outside his office door was a small shelf and on that shelf were Three Monkeys. The traditional hear-no-evil, see-no-evil and speak-no-evil trio. I believe they were plush toys of some description.

When an underling was reporting a problem to the executive, they had to pick up one of the monkeys and take it into the office with them while they presented the problem. If the executive accepted the problem as something he was going to work on… he kept the monkey on his desk.

Which left just two monkeys sitting on the shelf outside his office. When he accepted a second problem, there would be just one monkey. After a third problem was accepted, the shelf would be empty of monkeys.

No monkeys meant underlings weren’t to bother him as he was already busy and a fourth problem would reduce his problem solving effectiveness. So in all likelihood, bringing a fourth problem to him would simply result in the fourth problem taking longer to solve. The rationale being simple – people can only work effectively on changing about three things at once.

As a problem was solved, the associated monkey would return to the shelf outside his office. This was the signal for the availability for a new problem.

I tell this story because it’s one of the first concepts I tell my 12-Week Guided MAP coaching clients. Part of that process is identifying twenty-four different things to work on and improve over the 12-week period. The twenty-four things to do come from four things in each of the six spheres from the new book: Physical, Money, Displays of High Value, Relationship Comfort, Personality and Sexuality. I rank them all in a priority list. I could explain how I prioritize the list, but it’s rather arcane and the description resembles a recitation of Vogon poetry.

So far everyone’s eyes bug out at the mother of all to-do lists I create. Except each week, we’re just going to work on three things starting at the top of the priority list. As something gets mastered / completed, we cross it off the list and add a new monkey.

This overwhelming sense of “there’s too much to do in my MAP” is I think very common. If you’re in a sucky place in your life, with multiple large problems, it’s easy to just give up and not try fixing any of them. But if you can narrow it down to just three things you need to get done it’s more manageable. You can even forgive yourself some failures on things that haven’t made the Three Monkeys status yet. Sure you’re going to clean the spare room out and get to a dental appointment, the kids are still running wild… but this week your Three Monkeys are joining a gym, creating a budget and getting a plumber to come fix that mysterious water problem. So don’t freak out about how bad things are, or how crappy you feel. Just trust the process that fixing anything is better than doing nothing. It’s going to get better.

So leave a comment…

If you only have to do just three things to make your life a little better this week…

What are your Three Monkeys?