How to Master Love, Sex & Relationships
*This is an excerpt from my book, Hero Up: Unleash Your Inner Hero and Make Life Epic. Hope you enjoy it..jim
“Her arms are wicked and her legs are long; when she moves my brain screams out this song”
Puppy dogs and rainbows.
You’re life is like puppy dogs and rainbows if you can master love, sex and relationships. Sure, for most people, mastering this is more complicated than doing a Rubik’s Cube while driving in a foreign country in a snow storm, on a motorcycle.
(You get the point.)
This is a hotly debated topic with tons of people giving so-called ‘expert’ advice so why should you listen to me?
I’m not an expert, I don’t have a PhD in relationships, but I do know something about success in this topic. And if there is one thing I can’t stand it’s when someone gives you advice on a topic that they know nothing about.
Warren Buffet shouldn’t teach hot yoga and Larry King shouldn’t give marital advice.
I have been married to the love of my life, Kelly, for 13 years. While we’ve had our ups and downs like everyone else, she’s my best friend and we have a very strong relationship*.
*She also thinks I’m insanely good looking, funny and humble so that helps. (I might have made that up.)
Everyone should have a Her (or Him). A Her who inspires you, love you & makes life more awesome. It’s hard to find A Her but when you do, you know it right away.
I met mine 15 years ago and I knew 10 minutes into our first date I wanted to her to be my Her forever.
I don’t know my home phone # but I remember exactly what she wore on our first date in 1999 (white tank top, khaki pants), what music we listened to in the car (“Crash” Dave Matthews) where we ate (Vigilucci’s), what table we sat at (second table in front near the window) and what book we were both reading (Art of Happiness).
I remember later on walking away from her door with my head reeling and thinking, ‘I’m going to marry that girl’
And I did just that.
I married that girl in the white tank top, the one who makes me laugh, the one who inspires me, the one who puts up with my tank tops & 80s music and the mother of my gorgeous girls.
I wrote this in the hopes that it will help you enjoy a happier, healthier relationship. That’s really it. I want you to have an epic relationship and be as happy as possible. So this isn’t theory or something I read in a book; it’s all based on what’s actually worked in my life and other successful relationships I’ve witnessed.
I largely developed these ideals from my grandmother who passed away five years ago.
Gram’s Love Advice
My grandmother used to drive me for an hour into Boston to get my braces worked on once a month when I was a kid. I cherished those rides because she was cool as shit and always gave me great advice.
Best Gram Memory
One time we’re driving and I’m making her listen to the Rebel Yell album by Billy Idol. This is back in the days of cassettes. So we’re blasting the music and we start going through a tunnel in Boston.
She looks at me while she’s driving and she says, “Wow, it’s really dark in this tunnel, I can’t see anything!” I then tell her she still has her sunglasses on and she starts laughing uncontrollably.
This was a woman with huge grandma boobs so we’re both laughing, her sunglasses are falling off and her gigantic grandma boobs are shaking and shuddering as Billy Idol is Rebel Yelling.
To this day, I can’t go through a tunnel or hear Billy Idol without thinking of her and breaking into a smile.
Gram used to tell me that I would fall in love with someone who I was attracted to and who would bring out the best in me.
She told me not to worry about what other people think and to just go for it if I liked someone. So that’s a good place to start.
Let’s get rolling. There are three benefits of mastering love, sex and relationships:
You’ll be happier. If you have more good sex you’ll be a lot happier. This is largely obvious but it’s worth stating.
You’ll be healthier. There’s a ton of data out there that suggests that if you have a great relationship, fantastic sex often and you have a lot of love in your life, you’re just generally a healthier person. Again, this is pretty obvious.
The third reason, which I know some people will listen in just for this reason, is by some of the tips we go through in here, my goal is so you have as much lust-filled, totally mind blowing, fantastic sex as possible.
REDUCING COMMON MISTAKES
So let’s get started. But before we do anything, let’s stop f*cking everything up, ok? Let’s stop making the same mistakes over and over again.
Think of driving with the emergency brake on. If you’ve ever driven a car with the emergency brake on, you realize that you’re driving but something’s wrong. You let go of the emergency brake and all of a sudden the car takes off.
One second, you’re confused about why you’re going so slow, the next you’re cruising down the freeway with the wind in your hair.
Many people make easily correctable mistakes in the area of love, sex and relationships. We all make the most basic mistakes in the world that when you see them from the outside, you’re like, “Oh shit, he’s about to do something really stupid…”
You really want to help but there’s nothing you can do. Kind of like watching a car accident in super slow-mo.
So a big part of this is reducing mistakes and giving you some actionable advice that you can implement immediately. Not in the next 30 days but in an hour. When you’re done reading this, you can go grab your honey and make it happen. No time like the present, right?
GET TO THE SOLUTION FASTER WITH OCCAM’S RAZOR
The first step in all of this is to start thinking like a dead Italian. The Occam’s Razor theorem was developed by William Occam in the 1400’s. He said that the simplest path to something is usually the right path. The simplest solution is usually the right way to go. The quickest path between two lines is a straight line.
And although this guy didn’t have Doctor Phil, the Internet or fantasy football, he’s right on. The simplest path is always the best, so that’s the path we should all take. Everything you do in your life, whether it’s your relationship, career, sports, whatever you should always start with the Occam’s razor theorem.
It’s simply the fastest, most direct path to success; especially in relationships.
TIP: A quick point about efficiency and effectiveness: You should always go for effectiveness over efficiency. Efficiency’s great if you’re on the right path, but if you’re on the wrong path, it’s not doing you any good.
ABOUT GREAT RELATIONSHIPS — ARE YOU IN ONE NOW?
There are three main metrics that form a baseline of a great relationship:
Your partner adds something to your life. They must be someone who adds something positive and brings something awesome to your life.
BEST IN YOU
Your partner brings out the best in you. You need someone who adds to your life and brings out the best in you. I can tell you that my wife brings out the best in me. Sometimes she drives me absolutely crazy but she brings out the best in me and she helps me be a better man than I could be just on my own.
Look, let’s be real for a minute. If you’re not having great sex, how good is your relationship? I realize that people will argue that point but those people are wrong and should go back to Justin Bieber’s Twitter feed. So is it great? Is it something you look forward to? Are you still into that person today no matter how long you’ve been together?
Those are the metrics to judge your relationship by. Answer those questions honestly and you’ll see where you stand. Once you get in a relationship with somebody, see if that the person brings out the best in you.
· Do they challenge you?
· Do they support you?
They may be confusing, infuriating and completely mind-boggling but are they someone who challenges you, supports you and brings out the best in you? If so, you’re in a good spot.
They should also be a safe place. I think of my wife as being a safe place. She’s a home base for me, a beacon in the sea. She’s somebody who I know always supports me and always has my back. That’s very comforting, it’s good to know that somebody supports me and she has my back 100%.
And obviously, your partner should turn you on. Hopefully, you have an awesome sex life with your partner. Keep in mind that every relationship has problems. It’s not all sunshine, puppy dogs and rainbows. We all go through sh*t. Some go through more than others.
There are four major problems in relationships. They are:
LACK OF CONNECTION
This is when you are just not connecting with your partner on any level. You don’t really know what to do about it but you’re just not connecting.
Face it, you’re just bored. You’ve been with your partner for a while and you’re just in a rut and bored with each other. That’s never good.
The third is when you start to nag, when you start to pick at each other for no specific reason. You get on each other’s nerves and the nagging comes out.
You’re just too damn busy. You’re running around all day long, your partner’s running around and at the end of the day, you’re both just exhausted. You’re wiped out and there’s no time and/or inclination to connect at all.
Those are the problems you see most often. Why? Is it because there’s a lack of effort or is it just because we don’t care? Well the good news is that it’s not usually from a lack of effort. People make the effort, but they make it in the wrong areas.
Face it; we all do the same wrong things. The crazy part is that I see people (myself included) make the same mistakes that other people make, over and over again. The biggest thing is that we all largely try too hard at the wrong things and don’t try at all at the right things. The problem is that we don’t know the difference between the right and wrong things.
If you’re trying to make your girl happy and bringing her flowers every single day but she hates flowers well that’s not something that’s going to work ever. So not only are you doing the wrong thing, but you’re also spending time, effort and money doing the wrong thing. You’ve working really hard to do the one thing that is guaranteed not to work. That’s like paying someone to repeatedly punch you in the face.
Guessing and wondering are not what you want to be doing in your relationship. You need to know exactly what makes your partner happy so that you can do the things he/she actually likes and will appreciate.
My wife loves chips and salsa from El Napolito (a local Mexican place here in San Diego). She likes that more as a surprise than if I brought home flowers or a diamond necklace. She REALLY likes chips & salsa. So guess what I bring home? Chips and salsa…
The easiest way to figure out what your partner likes is to ask them. Don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be, just ask them. More on that later.
If those are the problems we all face, what doesn’t work well and what does?
THE BEST RELATIONSHIPS
If you watch great relationships they tend to have a few things in common. Sure, every couple is different but there are some similarities. So what do great relationships have in common?
Having balance in your relationship is the straw that stirs the drink and gets everything else rolling. If you don’t have balance and are too dependent on one another, that will cause problems. You need to be both interdependent and independent.
You don’t always have to agree with your partner but you have to respect them. If you don’t have respect in your relationship, you’re screwed. Lack of respect leads to contempt. Contempt is the number one reason people split up.
Being connected in your daily life is really important. Being dependent upon one another but then also having your own level of independence is key.
Choosing to be happy over winning every argument will make you happier in your relationship.
ALL ABOUT VALUES
There’s a monster difference between values and things in common.
Does this sound familiar?
“Oh, I love him, he’s so great! We’ve got so much in common. We both love to blah, blah, blah…”
Unfortunately, having things in common is really not that big of a deal. It’s definitely not something to base a relationship on. Look, having things in common is really nice but it’s really not sustainable. Why? Because your likes/dislikes change over time while your values tend not to change.
Let’s say one of your values is that you’re vegan and you don’t believe in animal cruelty and you start dating someone because you both love surfing. Everything is awesome until you find out that the girl is a deer hunter. Not likely but it could happen.
That relationship is destined for failure because you believe in preventing animal cruelty and he believes in creating it. The fact that you both love surfing is now significantly less important because your values don’t align.
So when you’re starting to look at your relationship, look at the things that you both value and the things you have in common. Focus on your similar values because your tastes will probably change over time (said the guy still wearing 80s era tank-tops).
HAVE THE ‘YES/NO’ CONVERSATION EARLY IN THE RELATIONSHIP
You really should have the values yes/no conversation early in the relationship. The yes/no talk is all about your values.
· Do you want kids?
· Are you willing to move to another city?
· Do you want to share finances?
· What are your religious beliefs?
· What are your politics?
You want to have this conversation early on in the relationship so that you can decide if the relationship has the ability to be a long-term relationship.
Let’s say for example you want a huge family with tons of kids. You come from a big family so you ask your partner, “Do you want to have kids?”
If your partner says, “No, I’m not interested in kids at all. I don’t like them.”
Well if that’s an absolute deal-breaker for you, then you really need to think about that and see if this is a relationship you want to continue long term. Sorry if that sounds harsh but even if you have a ton of things in common, it doesn’t matter if your values don’t align. Trying to save you some time and anguish here.
So have the yes/no talk, early on in your relationship to see what your absolutes are. Get really clear with one another about these topics so that you can see really where your relationship stands.
My wife just called me at work and asked me to not do the thing I wasn’t going to do. I was going to do it, then she didn’t need me to do it until something changed and she DID need me to do it but in the end she really didn’t. So she called to confirm that I wasn’t going to do the thing that I said I wasn’t going to do. I told her that if she wanted a guy to not do the thing he said he wasn’t going to do, then she married the right dude.
HOW TO CONNECT
Since we’re all so damn busy with texts and emails going off every second, it’s really important that you’re able to connect with your partner. But how do you do this? There are four ways to connect instantly.
First and foremost is that you have to recognize that being able to connect really, really matters and is the fuel that drives everything else. If you’re not connecting with your significant other, then nothing else is going to work. You have to be connected and to be connected, you have to be present.
Third, you actually have to be there. And not just be there in person, half-asleep or half paying attention. You’ve got to be able to listen. You got to be able to contribute to the conversation. You cannot fake this and if you do, trust me, you’ll get busted.
[I have made this mistake one million times. It’s probably the thing that drives my wife craziest about being married to me. (That and the tank tops.) So while I’m writing this section for you, I’m really writing it for me too. You need to be able to connect, even if it’s only for a short time. Your partner will appreciate it, believe me]
You must be able to listen. You need to be able to hear what the other person is saying and really take it in. And there’s a difference between listening and hearing. Listening means you hear the words, hearing means you understand and comprehend what she is saying. You need to be able to do both.
You also want to make sure that they know that you are listening. The easiest way to do this is to repeat back what you heard so that you’re crystal clear. This way, they know you heard them and they know that you’re trying to understand. A little effort goes a long way in this area.
KILL YOUR PHONE
One of the easiest ways to connect is to shut down your phone, your iPad, and all of your electronics when you’re home or when you’re around your partner. Usually there’s nothing more important than the time you’re spending with that person, even if it’s a short period of time so suck it up and turn the phone off.
You’ll find that when you’re fully present, the other person will really respect and respond to that. Think of a time when you’re talking to somebody and they’re looking at their phone or they get a phone call and they take it. Don’t you look at them and think, “Jesus man, what a jerk. I’m talking to you right now, put your damn phone down.” So that goes for you too.
MAKING YOUR RELATIONSHIP EASY
How do we make our relationship easy? Simple, be honest in your relationship. Don’t be afraid to tell your woman or your man how you’re feeling because the more you hide your feelings, the more you are screwed. The more honest and transparent you are, the better your relationship is, pure and simple.
THE TWO QUESTION LOVER
You should be a two question lover. There are two questions you can ask to really change your relationship. It’s like getting the answers to the test before you take it. Like going back to high school and take the SATs with the answers in front of you. That would have been pretty epic.
Ask these two questions and everything else gets easier. They are:
1. What is the MOST important thing to you in our relationship?”
2. “What’s the LEAST important thing to you in our relationship?”
These questions are like finding a $100 bill in your pants or getting an extra fish taco in your order. Just epic in every way.
One of the coolest things I’ve found is that the answers that you get are usually significantly different to what you expected, which is always surprisingly awesome.
Why this works:
There are six reasons why asking these questions works so well.
1. The first is that it eliminates the fluff and the B.S. You’re basically saying, “Look man, what’s the most important thing to you? What’s the least important thing to you?” So you want to just get rid of all the fluff and get the right answers from your partner.
2. The second reason this works is that they are open-ended questions that inspire conversation about a topic that directly impacts your happiness. Look, you want to make your significant other happy, right? Of course you do, because you’re awesome.
3. The third reason is that it’s like getting the answers to a test that you really want to pass. Have I mentioned this already?
4. The fourth reason is it allows you to answer as well. You get to chime in and let her know exactly what is most and least important to you.
5. The fifth reason is that you get to see your partner’s reaction to your answers. So if you’re like, “Hey one of the most important things to me is that we have sex five times a week,” and your partner’s shaking her head vigorously, like, “Hell yeah, man, I’m totally down with that,” you’ll be stoked. If she kind of sits back, crosses her legs and kind of gives you that closed up body language, well then you know you’re in trouble.
6. The final reason is you get some ideas as to what resonates with your partner. For example, in the beginning of my relationship with my wife, I used to bring her flowers and candy occasionally. I wanted to make her happy because I was falling in love with her.
So one day, we’re reading this book called the Five Love Languages. We were talking about what we both liked, etc. and I asked her what she thought about the flowers. This is a paraphrased version of our conversation:
Her: “Look I like the flowers but I just want you to put your socks away and empty the damn dishwasher every now and then.”
Me: “Huh?” (I’m quick like that)
Her: “Well you know, when you empty the dishwasher, it means that you’re thinking about a way to make my life easier. That’s the biggest turn-on in the world, is when you’re actually thinking about how to make my life easier and contribute to my life.”
Me: “You got to be kidding me. Emptying the dishwasher is going to make you happy? You don’t want the flowers? All this extra stuff doesn’t mean much to you and you just want me to put my stuff away and empty the dishwasher?”
Dude, that was like the easiest thing in the world to do in our relationship. It was epic…
So ask the two questions. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answers.
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