37/365 There's No Half-Jumping Across the Chasm

THE QUOTE

A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one heart home. —Rumi

THE LOVE NOTE

K— I've never felt that you've looked back in our life together. I've always felt that you've been with me the entire time. Even when we've fought or struggled there was never a one-foot-in, one-foot-out feel to it. There have been times we've been ignorant and unskilled but there's never been a time when we haven't been WE. —J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE

Keeping a place in your heart for old flames, lost loves, unfulfilled dreams, other side of the fence fantasies, comparing the one you're with with others, etc. are all examples of half-loves. Letting all of those go fully and without regret or begrudgement is the prerequisite for the privelage and honor of "taking one heart home" to yourself. There is no half-way jumping across the chasm. In true, real love give it all or get nothing.

36/365 Refuse to Take Her/Him for Granted, EVER

THE QUOTE

"The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost."

—G. K. Chesterton

THE LOVE NOTE

K—

We live in a changing and uncertain world. Our kids keep growing and I as I embrace each new stage of their development I also grieve the one past. Because of that I try to be with them as much as I can. I refuse to be the father who looks back on his relationship with his kids and utters, "If only...".

Further,  I try to be a loving and appreciative husband to you because I know too well how easily people can be hurt, marriages can be damaged and relationships lost. I refuse to let that happen to us. I know you do, too, which is why you are so very good to me. I do realize that all the good I have can be lost through ignorance, carelessness and stupidity. As Chesterton said, I belive it is because of this awareness that I do not take you or them for granted and that I am fully able to love you and the children as we all deserve.

—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE

Refuse to Take Her/Him for Granted, EVER. There's a STUPID old saying that says, "You always hurt the ones you love." While I understand how that happens, it seems like a cop-out and a lame one at that. Seems to me that if anyone on the planet deserves your best it is those you have sworn to honor, love and protect: Spouse and children.

We give our best to our customers, the store clerk, the neighbor, the friend, the stranger. That is good and right. Those people all deserve to be treated with respect, civility, kindness, and good manners. Of course, it's easier with those people because we don't live with those people day after day, year after year. Naturally, when we live so closely we get on each others nerves, get stressed, and snap at each other. However, rather than seeing that as an excuse for bad behavior it should provide us with all the more reason to be even on our better behaivor, to watch ourselves, to learn and practice the skills to master strong emotions and to discipline our behaviors.

What skills, what practices? Oh, man, there are so many great things available to us. Some of my personal and professional favorites have become the ones I teach the most: Mindfulness practices, Building Strong Families with ACCCTS principles and skills, Marketing the GREAT Relationship Brand in Your Relationships, and so many more (seminars and articles) Come learn them in private coaching or invite me to speak to your group or event.

The phrase "You always hurt the ones you love" is the pre-cursor to "You don't know what you've got til it's gone." Two tragic, and wholly avoidable, cliches that can be, and should be, stricken from our relationship lexicon.  Thus, Chesterton's quote is a simple key to preventing both of these lame cliches.

35/365 True Love Is Sacred

THE QUOTE

"I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."—Henry Ward Beecher

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
I have been a "hopeless romantic" for as long as I can remember. However, I've never fully known love until I've paid the price to know it. That price has been commitment, dedication, devotion, sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion. Those are divine traits that this mortal son of God has tried to practice for your sake, for our children's sake and for my sake. Thus, it is only since I've learned to love that I've learned to fully worship my God—not in prayers and worship meetings alone but most importantly in daily practice of loving well His children according to their birthright: That you and the children deserve to be loved well. I hope that I love you well, baby. You deserve nothing less than the very best I can give.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
True love is sacred as it requires sacrifice. True sacrifice isn't easy, however, it is sacrfice that gives up the good for the greater. False, or empty sacrifice is when we give up the good and then only note that the good was given up. That is when we "count the cost" of our sacrifice. That sacrfice is not sacred.

That which is sacred is protected and reverenced. A temple is honored and treated with respect. It is considered holy. Treat your partner and your marriage the same. However, truth is it is much easier to reverence a sacred structure than it is a relationship. A structure is constant; people fluctuate. A structure is easily identifiable as sacred; an upset, impatient and imperfect partner is not. All the more reason why I believe that our greatest opportunities for spiritual growth are in our relationships. It is in our relationships that the things we say we believe are tested to their core. It is easy for me to be pious, high-minded and reverent in my place of worship. It is not easy for me to always be so in my relationships with my spouse and children. Thus it is in those relationships that my belief is fully tested and it is there where my true character shows itself—for good or ill. Thus, when I learn to love fully and well the people who are not always easy to love fully and well, then I have fully learned to worship the Divine.

Loving another, as imperfect as you are and as imperfect as the other is, allows us to taste perfection and to get in touch with the sacred, with the Divine. Sacred love requires that I sacrifice the hardest thing to sacrifice: Ego. Pay the price that sacred love requires: The price of commitment, dedication, devotion, sacrifice, forgiveness, and compassion. These are the traits of the Divine. We can only develop transcendent love when we transcend our ego that keeps us anchored to pride and self-centeredness. Instead we must willingly trade ego for other-centeredness, which frees us into true connection with the divine nature in self and others. It is through connecting with the Divine within us and in others that we are then connected with the Divine.

34/365 Get On, and Stay On, the Same Page

THE QUOTE

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
This is the author of The Little Prince which is one of my all-time favorite books (I don't think this quote is from that book, though). While I enjoy gazing at you I get such peace and security knowing that we are looking and moving in the same direction throughout our life, which then assures that when I do turn to gaze at you I will know you are there beside me. That sounds like love to me.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Get on, and stay on, the same page. Getting on the same page of "falling in love" is the easy part. Staying in love, though, not only takes some work it first requires making a decision to stay on the same page even when feelings come and go. Look forward together. This allows you to study where you are going, helps you know the territory, and keeps your eyes on the prize.

33/365 Make and Remake Love—Red Hen Style

THE QUOTE

Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread, re-made all the time, made new.
—Ursula K. Le Guin

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
You are the Maker of Yummy Things. Every day you make our meals and our treats—the food that nourishes not only our bodies but also our souls. You make the stuff we need and want. You are a creator, a maker. I say frequently, "This is the best ________ you've ever made." And it's always true.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Make and Remake Love. Bread nourishes. It keeps us alive. We make it and it makes us. This making is never completed, though. It must be made and remade. Love, too, is never done. It is a combination of ongoing work and ongoing enjoyment.

Consider the story of The Little Red Hen: Everyone in the story wanted the tasty results but none were willing to do the all the work required to help the hen make the bread. It is the same with relationship work. Everyone wants the GREAT Relationship, but few are willing to do the work required for the results. Be willing to do the work to get the results. Bon appetit!

32/365 Count the Ways

THE QUOTE

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need; by sun and candle—light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old grief's, and with my childhood's faith
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath.
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning
[Picture: Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:410px-Elizabeth-Barrett-Browning,_Poetical_Works_engraving_flipped.png]

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
Well, I think these two blogs (this one, and The 52 Love Songs Project, both count as counting the ways I love you. So read and count on!
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Count the ways. Literally. Take out a sheet of paper, or type on the computer, a list of all the ways, big and small, silly and profound, you love your partner. Make this an ongoing list. Share it with your partner all at once and/or leave notes and phone messages, send emails and texts daily with the following, "I love you because ______________." Fill your mind and your partner's with all that is right instead of focusing on all that is wrong.

31/365 You Marry More than Your Partner

THE QUOTE

Never judge someone by who he's in love with; judge him by his friends. People fall in love with the most appalling people. Take a cool, appraising glance at his pals.
—Cynthia Heimel

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
Well, my friends were your friends, too, so you already knew what you were getting. And how blessed we are to have such true blue friends who have also proven their greatness through their love and devotion to their families. They are examples to me of how to be a good man myself. Just look at us back in college there in the "Dungeon." This is a great quote—one that our kids will do well to learn from as they make their choice for a partner.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
You marry more than your partner. People often "act" surprised or shocked by their spouses family and our friends behavior, mannerisms and attitudes. Then they act like victims of their in-laws and their partner's friends. Well, "look before you leap" may be cliché, but it's still wise counsel for those who are falling in love with someone to bear in mind you buy the whole package: Family, friends, associates—warts and all. If it's already "too late" for you, then stop acting victim (if you are) of your partner's friends and family and instead learn how to engage more effectively with them or to better manage your own side of it. Don't know how? No problem. Call me.

30/365 Life-long Romance is a Choice, Not a "Falling"

THE QUOTE

A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night, a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.
—Ana Alas
[Picture: Carl & Ellie from Pixar's Up]

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
There are two great loves in my life: 1. You. 2. Love. I am in love with you and I am in love with love. Loving you reminds me of how great love is and loving love reminds me to love you anyway when I may not quite feel like it.
—J

PS: Love #1 gave me the Four Treasures of My Life which are but subsets of the two great loves of my life. Thanks baby. Love #2 keeps me in check so I never run the tragically foolish risk of losing any of the above.

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Life-long Romance is a Choice. "We fell in love... we fell out of love." Sounds like a lot of accidents happening around something as big and important as love and all that goes with it: Marriage, money, children, property. True men, who know how to love truly, romance their women daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and repeat for life. Create love by choice. Don't wait for it. Too many people base their behaviors on their feelings (and then defend it like it's normal):

"You need to treat each other as friends."

"Yeah, but I don't like him."

"So."

"How can I treat him well if I don't feel it? I'm not fake."

"Oh, so your sincere contempt, nitpicking, criticisms, snide comments, sarcastic remarks, and yelling are somehow ennobled because they aren't 'fake'?"

Here's the problem: Most relationships start with, "I feel loving so I act loving" and then as partners get to really know each other they get annoyed, irritated, hurt, upset, etc and then it is, "I don't feel loving so I won't act loving." People feel this is acting out of integrity. I say it's specious emotional reasoning. There's a point where your feelings matter. I'm a therapist, I get that. There's also a point where your feelings don't matter. Invalidation of emotions is bad. We know that. Overvalidation, though, is just as destructive.

The principle here is Correct Behavior GENERATES (over time) Desired Emotion. So the GR Work involves a LOT of learning to treat each other well in loving, compassionate, patient, rule-disciplined ways so that the stance now becomes: "I act in loving ways even when I hate you." This keeps us from trashing the relationship just because we don't feel good. Still skeptical? Okay, try emotion-driven behavior at work for a month and see how long you have a job. We behave well to get well. We behave good to get good.

29/365 Gain TRUE Knowledge

THE QUOTE

The three stages of love and marriage:
You don't know 'em, but you love 'em. 

You know 'em, and don't love 'em.
You know 'em and you love 'em.
—Unknown 


THE LOVE NOTE
K—
Enter Stage One: As friends first and then when we dated what wasn't there to love? We only saw the best of the best of each other. And it was good stuff. Then we married. Enter Stage Two. That wasn't always easy. We got to know each other—our good sides and our worst sides and the feeling of love would transiently ebb and flow. Now I can gladly say that we have Entered Stage Three. We know each other—the good, the bad, the annoying, the silly, the goofy, the irritating, the inspiring, the encouraging, the sweet and the considerate—and we love each other. We've learned and grown. I can honestly say I love you better BECAUSE I know YOU for who you REALLY are. I am a better person because of you and all we have learned from each other and with each other. It can only keep getting better.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Gain true knowledge of your partner. Gain knowledge—I did not say gain assumptions or gain judgments or gain criticisms or gain interpretations or gain perceptions. I said gain true knowledge. Study your partner as he or she IS not how you think he or she SHOULD be. Knowing is a process, not an event. Knowing another person is a slow, progessive, development that occurs over time. Give it time and study well without the knowledge barriers listed above.

The Chinese character for "knowing", as shown above,  has more than one meaning including "awake, wake up", "feel, sense", "discover, find out", and "arouse".  These are good concepts for gaining knowledge.

28/365 See True Beauty

THE QUOTE

Johnny Depp as Don Juan de Marco in response to Marlon Brando's character psychiatrist Dr. Mikler, (whom Don Juan thinks is Don Octavio de Flores and owner of the "villa") when Dr. Mikler asked how he could call the psychiatric hospital a "villa", replied:

"By seeing beyond what is visible to the eye. Now there are those, of course, who do not share my perceptions, it's true. When I say that all my woman are dazzling beauties, they object. The nose of this one is too large; the-the hips of another, they are too wide; perhaps the breasts of a third, they are too small.

"But I see these women for how they truly are... glorious, radiant, spectacular, and perfect, because, I am not limited by my eyesight. Women react to me the way that they do, Don Octavio, because they sense that I search out the beauty that dwells within until it overwhelms everything else. And then they cannot avoid their desire, to release that beauty and envelope me in it.

"So, to answer your question, I see as clear as day that this great edifice in which we find ourselves is your villa. It is your home. And as for you, Don Octavio DeFlores, you are a great lover like myself, even though you may have lost your way and your accent. Shall I continue?"

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
As you know, this is one of my favorite movies: 1. Because of my profession; 2. I appreciate seeing "reality" different from the status quo; 3. It's a great romantic movie not just for Johnny's portrayal of Don Juan but also for Brando's and Dunaway's characters relationship. While you are a great beauty to me, it's YOU that I love more than how attractive you are.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Love your partner for who they are, not how you think they should be. I hear too many people, unfortunately, too often men, who complain and compare physical attributes in a such a way that keep the women in their lives from feeling fully loved for who they are at their very core. I think there is a great lesson to be learned from this fictional movie.

27/365 Become a Lifetime Student of the Master—Your Partner

THE QUOTE

I think a man and a woman should choose each other for life, for the 
simple reason that a long life with all its accidents is barely enough time for a man and a woman to understand each other and. . . to understand is to love.
—William Butler Yeats [Picture: William Butler Yeats, 1908]

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
18 years of marriage, 23 years of friendship. I think we've learned a lot about each other. I believe Yeats is right. We, fortunately, have so much more to learn. At times I think I do know you and then realize I am just glimpsing a shade of understanding on the deeper sublime levels of who you are and what we can be. I am glad that I get to study you the rest of my life and thus learn you. You are worthy of great study. You are worthy of great understanding.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Become a Lifetime Student of the Master—Your Partner.  Yes, "to understand is to love." For those of you have worked with me have learned The Deep Listening Validation Chain (I'll go over later). No one knows your partner better than he/she does. As such, he or she is the Master of Self. Rather than fight and argue, bow in humility to the master and learn from your partner. When you enter your home know you are entering the Relationship Dojo. Treat your partner with the same deference and respect as the student teaches the Sensei. Understand that the best Zen Masters teach not with direct instruction but through puzzling koans and allow you to struggle with your own experience. How is this different from your partner who may be difficult to  understand, with whom you struggle with? Instead of fighting, learn to "sit with the discomfort" and just be with your partner in conflict. Study him/her so well that you come to know their secret suffering under their anger and criticism. Instead of bashing them back blow for blow, instead skillfully duck their blow and attend to their underlying pain. How? Through patient, respectful and compassionate listening. This is difficult. Tough. Do it anyway. It WILL take you a lifetime to master this art. Begin today.  This lifetime is indeed "barely" enough time to understand each other.

26/365 Love Simply and Fully

THE QUOTE

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

—Pablo Neruda, from 100 Love Sonnets[Picture: Pablo Neruda with his wife Matilde for whom he wrote every one of the 100 Love Sonnets]

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
Benji (that's my bro to those who don't know—another good man who loves his wife well and is well loved by him) shared this one with me after seeing this blog the other day. Contrary to this quote, I do know why and how I love you. Akin to this quote I do love you simply and straightforward and unashamedly. This is the way I know and I desire no other way. I love you, baby.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Love simply and fully. Don't complicate love with pride, subterfuge, jockeying for position, scoreboarding, gaminess, and so on. Keep it simple. Be straightforward: Say "I love you." Show "I love you."

25/365 Have a Trophy Marriage

THE QUOTE

Any fool can have a trophy wife. 
It takes a real man to have a trophy marriage.
—Diane Sollee, SmartMarriages.com 


THE LOVE NOTE
K—
My sister-in-law, Leah often says to my brother in her fun, sweet manner, "I'm your trophy wife, aren't I, Ben?" Smilingly, he replies, "Yep." The good news, more importantly, is that they have a trophy marriage. You've adopted the same line, and indeed you ARE my trophy wife. I'm proud of our marriage and love to show both you and our marriage off!
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Have a Trophy Marriage. And proudly display and show it off. This is one reason for this public display of my love for Kara through these blogs. It's not just about braggin' (but if you got it, flaunt it), it's about showing that there is a prize that is attainable through the same discipline and hard work it takes to win a trophy in any field of endeavor.

Get the cool shirts at: http://www.falkdesigns.com/diary/archivee/2009_08_01_archive.html. No connection to me, just giving due props to sweet Ts.

24/365 Dealing with Incompatibility Is More Important than Being Compatible

THE QUOTE

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how 
compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
—Leo Tolstoy 


THE LOVE NOTE
K—
In the first half of our marriage, I spent more time wondering what the heck was wrong with YOU. By the beginning of the second half I began to realize the need to look at what was RIGHT with you and what was wrong with ME. From there I think I grew into a better and more patient person BECAUSE of our differences, not in spite of them. Learning to deal with our incompatibilities has actually taught me how to love you better and truer.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Dealing with Incompatibility Is More Important than Being Compatible. Oh my gosh! I am SO tired of hearing "We're just not compatible." In 16 years of counseling, I have seen some rare cases where people truly aren't compatible. However, the vast majority of the couples I work with transform their crap marriage into beautiful, compassionate and profound. It is as Tolstoy said: It's not about compatibility as much as how you deal with that incompatibility. To me this is such a saving grace—Because instead of having to find that "one right match" or the finding the ever elusive "soul-mate" we can create a mature and loving relationship based in compassion, intelligence, growth and development. Whew. Thank goodness!

23/365 Commitment is...

THE QUOTE

Commitment has kind eyes. He wears sturdy shoes. 
Everything is vivid when he is around. It is wonderful to sit 
and have lunch in his gardens around harvest time. You 
can taste in the vegetables that the soil has been cared for.
—J. Ruth Gendler

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
"Commitment has kind eyes." Wow! What a wonderful line. This whole quote is sublime. Commitment is what you give so freely and fully to your garden each year and we reap the benefits so fully. Commitment is what we also give to each other so freely and so fully every year from which we so bountifully enjoy our harvest of beauty, satisfaction and nourishment. You can taste in the quality of our relationship that the soil has indeed been cared for.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Commitment is "kind, sturdy, wonderful, and cared for." It is something tended to and nurtured. It is invested in and time is given to it. It is not accidental and it is not just a "given". Commitment, like gardening, isn't easy and simply takes lots and lots and lots of hard work. It requires "sturdy shoes". And because it requires so much, so much is then gained and rightfully enjoyed.

22/365 Speak Love. It Matters.

THE QUOTE

Love is what you've been through with somebody.
—James Thurber

[Tevye and Golde from The Fiddler on the Roof]

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
I am so grateful that we've never been stingy with our expressions of love and affection for each other. So many people I know wish to hear words of affection, encouragement, and love from their partners. Thank you, baby, for all you also do that so well matches your words. For 18 years you have done so many things that speak what words cannot. I love you.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
Speak Love. It Matters. Say these words sincerely and frequently:

  • "I love you."
  • "I love you, because..."
  • "I notice that you..."
  • "I love it when you..."
  • "I am so grateful for you because..."
  • "You mean so much to me."
  • "I appreciate you."
  • "Thank you."
  • "I don't know what I would do without you."
  • "You do so much for us."
  • "What you do is a lot."
  • "You are enough."
  • "You are all I need and all I want."

Don't ration words of love and connection. Don't be stingy with the language of love which is the language of life. People come up with the most illogical reasons to justify their holding back expressions of love:

"She'll come to expect it", one man told me. "Yes, exactly. And so should she. She should expect to be treated well by the man who vowed to love her his whole life."

One woman said to me, "Yeah, but he doesn't do..." I replied, "So? He still shouldn't be encouraged greatly for what he does do?"

You've been through so much together. Celebrate with expressions of what IS there vs. holding back these words because of what ISN'T there. Don't know what to say, though? Try this: "We've stuck together through so much. I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to me that you are here every day through thick and thin. I am amazed that not only did you pick me, but that you still choose me today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

21/365 Play First by the Rules—There Are NO Shortcuts to GREATness

THE QUOTE

"Love is like playing the piano. First you must learn to play by the rules, then you must forget the rules and play from your heart."
—Anonymous

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
We both learned some good things from both of our families, and we both learned some bad. We then both got educated in what the research identified as the best practices. We read and we studied. We practiced. While we've "come into our own" at this stage and do it our own way, we continue to study, attend marriage retreats, etc. You know this, as a talented pianist who learned through tiresome discipline, the value of practice and repetition until you "make it look easy." Well, I'm glad we've done our work and still continue to practice. I'm glad we can now so easily play from our hearts with seeming ease.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
I cannot tell you how many people have expressed to me the belief that love shouldn't require rules and formality and practice, but that if it's true love it should just work, it should just flow, it should be easy. Yes, I know, but seriously, that myth is a very popular and pervasive one that many intelligent and otherwise well-educated people actually buy into.

But let's compare greatness to greatness. How many great buildings, statues, paintings, martial artists, musicians "just happened"? They all studied the masters, learned from the greats before them, got as much training and knowledge as possible, studied their butts off and then once they drilled it into their heads and muscle memory were they able to then "do their own thing" where it flowed with grace and ease.

Cases in point:

  • My daughter above, is now 13 years old and is playing the music she loves and even writing some of her own. However, for years she complained about restrictive rules and boring practice and "stupid" songs her teacher picked for her. Now, from that discipline she has the freedom and joy to create her own music.
  • The Buddhists have a saying: "Enlightenment comes in a moment.... after years and years and years of meditation." Thich Nhat Hanh shares a little of the simplicity of mindful breathing practice.
  • Bruce Lee, who developed Jeet Kune Do in response to what he called "the fancy mess of martial arts" that was the overly formalized forms of Kung Fu, could only know how to create something new and fresh after studying the masters before him first. 
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan, the brillant blues guitarist, was self-taught with no formal training. However, did he study the masters? Yes. Did he emulate them until he found his own voice and style? Absolutely. Did he practice, practice, practice the best methods and shun what just didn't work? Without a doubt.
  • Ever watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance? Any idea how many hours, days, weeks months and years go into just one three-minute dance routine to make it look like they are just "gliding on air"? They had to learn it "by the book" first before they could "make it their own" and give their dancing their signature style. 

Greatness is created through careful crafting. There are NO SHORTCUTS TO GREATNESS!

20/365 Flaunt It

THE QUOTE

59056_149704038395112_7838236_nLove and a cough cannot be hid. —George Herbert

[See all of Jonathan's "I Love Kara" Anniversary Logos here—a different one every year]

THE LOVE NOTE 

K— There's a reason I'm so "out there" in the open with how I feel about you—I just can't help it. —J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE Show your love. Jesus of Nazareth counseled so long ago, "Don't hide your light under a bushel" and to not "bury your talents". In a less sagely fashion, a popular saying advises, "If you got it, flaunt it." In this case I agree. You don't need to be cocky and arrogant, but if you have a great love then let people see it. There are too many examples of bad marriages and cruddy relationships that are flaunted without shame before us. Let us show others that there are great models to learn from as well. Too many people just don't know what great love really looks like. Show it. Your partner needs to see it. People need to see it. People need to have hope that true love really does exist and that it is GREAT not because it is perfect, but because it is real and possible and attainable.

19/365 True Love Protects

THE QUOTE

In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love, you want the other person.
—Margaret Anderson

[Emma receives just, but difficult, correction from her friend Mr. Knightly. From the movie Emma (starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam) based on the same-titled book by Jane Austen]

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
I think together we have made each other better. I have always loved the movie Emma, which you introduced to me, and especially this scene. This is true love. Not just the romantic emotion of love, bu the looking out for the good, and the goodness, of the one you love. You have always done that and have helped me not only be good, but stay good.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
True love protects. Real love seeks goodness. Real love protects that goodness it finds. True love is not always fun nor does it always feel good. But real and true love IS good.

PS: If you're curious how it ends with Emma and Mr. Knightly... (FYI spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie yet...)

18/365 No Score-Boarding. Just Love.

THE QUOTE

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.
—W.H. Auden

THE LOVE NOTE
K—
Our loving is equal enough, I do not doubt. Neither do I "count" it to see who's doing more. I just love you as much as I can and with all that I have and I know you do the same for me. However, I love this quote as it reminds me of my proper place instead of falling into the easy, slippery slope of keeping score.
—J

THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP PRINCIPLE
No "score-boarding". Just love. Own it. If you want love, then be love, show love, act love. Don't wait for love. Don't wait to give love until you get it the way you want to receive it first. If you do you will get sucked into the loveless black hole of 50/50 "fairness". I've seen a lot of good love die on that nutrient-free vine. Holding back love = relationship death.