Monday, June 24, 2019

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Create the Intimate Relationship You Desire

When there’s not commitment, 
there's confusion.
--- M. Scott Peck

Commitment is not for everyone. I didn’t think it was for me for the first forty years of my life.

I was never able to “think” my way into it. The mind can come up with reasons to support just about anything, which in my case included a dystopian view of marriage and an inability to confront inner demons.

I was only able to commit to marriage once my love for my (now) wife became stronger than my fear. I wish I could tell you exactly how it happened; the only savior I can point to is empathy.

After being apart for a year-and-a-half, I experienced a moment of knowing with her that transcended rational thought. I had been teaching Compassionate Communication and realized that I hadn’t understood her well when we had been together.

When we saw each other again, I told her I loved her.

“I love you,” she replied.

“You loved me before, but you weren’t getting what you needed in our relationship,” I shared. “Let’s sit down and talk about what you would need to feel comfortable in this relationship.”

We agreed that we would give it another try, and if it was going well, I would propose within six months and we would marry within a year of our engagement.

I proposed just over two months later. Six months afterwards we were married. That was over eight years ago.

This week, ask yourself what you most wish for in this area of your life, whether it’s marriage, children, or simply a more intimate connection with your partner.

Make a commitment not to make a commitment, but to confront the inner demons obstructing your path toward what you desire.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Create the Intimate Relationship You Desire

Life requires you to learn and then balance two foundational skills: how to choose how you want to live, and how to live with what you choose.
--- Anthony Silard

About ten years ago, I was wrestling with my inner demons about commitment and went on a walk along the Potomac River outside of Washington, DC with a close family friend who had been married to his wife for over forty years.

“How have you managed it,” I asked him.

Robert looked at the turbulent rapids and thought for a while. Then he said, “I think the best advice I ever received was from my aunt, while I was fixing my tuxedo just before Charlene and I were married.”

He had my attention. “She said, ‘Robert, always remember this: Whatever Charlene does, just give. No matter what happens, always give. And you two will be fine.’”

Robert helped me to understand what marriage truly means: commitment to giving to the other person through thick and thin.

Challenging advice to hear at the time. When you’re single, it’s all about you: choosing how you want to live. That’s what you need to do: go exactly for what you want (without stepping on anyone along the way) because later you’ll be living with your choices.

As Robert’s aunt illumined, it’s not about you anymore once you’re married. Especially once you have kids.

Don’t get me wrong: you’re still important—the way a servant is important. You are still a human being, but not one that’s being served anymore; instead, you are now serving others.

In so doing, you enable your potential future spouse and children to build their lives around you. This is both the rawest and most rewarding form of leadership available to humankind.

This week, reflect on how you wish to live in this area of your life so you can later live with what you choose.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.