I was forty-something and still longing to be loved the way I needed to be. She had the same longing. Misguided like a missile missing its target, I practiced the “Golden Rule” – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So, I tried to send her love the way I wanted to be shown – showing up with flowers, buying odd little gifts from Australia or New Zealand where I spoke for years.
She would sigh and set the flowers in a vase in the curio or on the mantle, and I couldn’t understand where her enthusiasm for such gifts had gone.
Then one day, quite by accident, with no conscious thought to it, I took the rough draft of my third book into her office and said, “I’d like for you to read this and tell me what you think.”
She burst into tears and sobbed for several minutes. I’m good with tears, but I wanted to understand what the hell was going on. Slowly she stopped crying.
“Would you tell me why this touched you so deeply?” I asked.
“This is the first time you have asked me to read your work. You usually send it to Robert or Bill first. Thank you so much for loving me so respectfully.”
“Damn!” I said. “I didn’t know you really would enjoy the books about men. I highly respect your intelligence and would always value your input on my work.”
The next day I came home from work and found she had bought me several little gifts that touched me so deeply I broke down and sobbed.
You see I stumbled on to the “Platinum Rule of Love” – Do unto others the way they have been longing for probably their whole lives. In other words, send the people you love – partners, parents, children, husbands and wives – the way they, not you, the way they can feel loved. If you don’t know how they want to be loved, here’s an idea, ask them.
Last night you looked at me
So lovingly I had to turn away.
A friend said to me
There are two ways to love
And in the other way
We give love at a distance
And hope they pick up the clues.
Yesterday I brought you a
Dozen red roses and each
One was a clue and a promise
Some day I would learn to
Love the open way of the flower.
Poem by John Lee