Matt called me to complain about his wife. He said she avoided him, wouldn't have sex with him, and seemed to dislike any conversation with him.
"I'm miserable," he said.
"Do you have a Real Love group?" I asked.
"Do you attend at least once a week?"
"Do you talk to people from the group every day?"
"Because what you really want is love from your wife."
"Then I suggest that you follow your wife around all day and complain that she's not giving you the love you want from her. Follow her every move. And remember to do lots of whining."
"But that will just irritate her. That won't work."
"Odd, then, that you do exactly that. She hates to hear your complaining and pressuring—hates it a lot—but you keep doing it. You've proven beyond all doubt that trying to get love from your wife never works, but you keep trying. Does that strike you as smart or stupid?"
"Not very smart."
"Because she can't love you in the way you want. She simply does not have it to give, so for now why not give up that effort entirely and get it from the people who have it? Like from the members of your group."
"What about my wife?"
"Like I said, you've already proven there isn't anything you can do about that right now. Demanding love from one particular person doesn't work. For one thing, if you demand it, you can't feel it as unconditional love. Second, the other person—in this case, your wife—really hates the pressure of your expectations. You think she's not sick of your complaining and pushing her?"
"I promise you she is."
"So you have absolutely nothing to lose by getting love from people who have it. You'll be happier yourself, and then you'll finally have something to give your wife. If you do, there's a chance she might even learn how to love you too."
Most of us have lived without love all our lives—which really isn't living, just surviving. In our pain, it's understandable that we try to squeeze every drop of attention we can from the people closest to us—understandable but deadly. We must learn how to stop buying and selling "love" and let the real thing simply flow to us without manipulating it.
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