. I’ve been a student of interpersonal relationships for over half my life. I was divorced with two kids. Remarried to”the one” with two more little babies. I married a foster child, an orphan. Family meant everything to her. But one day she told me she was disillusioned with marriage “it’s not what I thought it would be”. She was not in a hurry to divorce, but she was unhappy.

We found ourselves in a “covenant marriage” class in a couple of weeks. Followed by a parenting class. Through the years I took classes and team building exercises for work. I read many books. I was raised by a child beater, wife beater, child molester. I had never been hugged by my father. I wanted to be dead by the time I was 9 years old. And now I found myself a father of four.

Life is a journey, death is the destination. On the way you have an opportunity to love to teach, but above all to cherish your loved ones before you or others get lowered into the ground. So where do you start. With yourself. How can others get to know you if you don’t know yourself. I suggest one understanding is that of male or female. We are hard wired differently. Our propensities complement each other but often we find they end up in conflict when push comes to shove. A man looks to the horizon and is task oriented as well as focused to get there. A woman is going to the same destination but her focus is making the trip more comfortable; we sacrifice comfort for progress. Conflict.

You each likely have a different “love language” There are things that speak directly to your heart. My love language is “works”. When tasks are shared, or house is cleaned ,- I feel valued loved and appreciated. Something left messy or undone is something I interpret as personal. When the other likely didn’t even notice. Conflict. So if you look up love languages then take the test, you can learn your love language and why things make you feel the way they do

It also gives a clue into how others may or my not be – and your faulty interpretation of their actions or inactions.

Then there’s the difference in male vs female communication, same words different meaning. This is a whole topic in itself. Great source of communication misfire. Then there’s “love needs” for example a woman’s number one need is intimate communication, whereas a man’s is respect. A woman has difficulty being intimate until an emotional connection is first made, which a man typically does not do until his physical needs are met; which is high on his list of love needs. This is a catch 22. Conflict.

Then there’s communication styles and personality types. So if you want a deeper relationship you really need to get to know yourself and then get to really know the one you say you love. Like I said it’s a journey. I’ve been married to this woman for 34 years this January. I found that peeling back the layers she is the most truly delightful creature I couldn’t possibly imagine. My wife is almost bedridden with spinal surgeries. At 54, living with pain daily, intimacy stopped 3 years ago. You may see a broken older woman. I see the love I was smitten with many years ago. I’m more in love with her now than ever. And to think she could have left me in the beginning. I took the initiative to learn, to read, to study. I took notes. I became a better husband, father, worker, supervisor and regional manager. You can too if you put the work in.

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