Courting the Souls of the Ones You Love: the “Platinum Rule of Loving”

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

Face-to-face, eye-to-eye,

Skin-to-skin

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

Conference Feb 2020john-lee-courting-womans-soul

 

They Love You – In Their Own Way

When I was a boy the conversation went something like this: “Mom, does dad love me?”

“Of course he does son, in his own way.”

“Then why doesn’t he show it or tell me he loves me?

“He just can’t son, but trust me he does.”

As a young adult the conversation would often go like this: “John, do you love me?”

“Sure I do. You know I do.”

“Then why don’t you ever tell me you love me?”

“Why do you keep asking me? I’m here ain’t I?”

A whole lot of people – young and old – don’t get loved the way they need. Many good people try to practice the “Golden Rule” when it comes to love: “Do unto others the way you would have them do unto you.” Not bad! But what happens as they treat you the way they want to be treated, loved, adored, cherished and respected?

So for some time (though I have failed many times) I try to practice what I call “The Platinum Rule:” Do unto others the way they have been longing probably their whole lives.

In other words, send your loved ones and show your loved ones the love they need instead of the way we wanted to be love by our mothers, fathers, lovers, ex-girlfriends, or past husbands, wives, and yes, even our children.

When I ask my clients who are wrestling with love, “How do you want to be loved?” More often than not (especially men) will say, “I don’t know. No one has ever asked me that question and I’ve never asked myself.”

Then I might say, “Have you ever asked your loved ones how they want to be loved?”

“No, but they all know I love them in my own way.”

One client said, “Well I don’t want to tell them how I want to be loved. They should know after all this time. If you have to ask, then it doesn’t count.”

One time I said in response, “If I ask you to buy a new Volvo and you say yes and you do, do you think I’m going to say take it back because I had to ask you?” Hell, no! I’ll drive it with a smile.

“Alright then,” as we say in the South:

  1. Become aware of how you want to be loved.
  2. Ask your loved ones how they want to be loved.
  3. Tell everyone you really love what makes you feel loved.
  4. Occasionally ask your loved ones this question: “How well am loving you?”

And then, to quote the great American wise man, James Taylor, “Shower the people you love with love…”