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The Laws of Love November 23, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Mindfulness.
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Earlier this year, in the midst of mayhem, I received a copy of Chris Prentiss’s latest book to review:  The Laws of Love, Creating the Relationship of Your Dreams.

Now that my life is back on a somewhat even keel, I am ready to share a few thoughts on the book.

Law 6 resonates with me, especially when I look at my life in hindsight:

The Universe is perfect and is always working to benefit you.

Our vision is limited, grounded as it is in the present.  When something  seems negative, we want it to go away. We don’t want to deal with hardship or suffering.  We recoil from pain and resist the “what is.”

But things are not always as they first appear:

* A basement flood might be an opportunity to clear clutter.

* A nasty comment tossed in our direction might be chance to practice  compassion, patience, and forgiveness.

* A mistake might be a reminder to make peace with imperfection.

When we look over our shoulder, and take a retrospective glance at the negatives (e.g., being diagnosed with a tumor, having to undergo surgery, dealing with a flooded basement, being swamped by a rogue wave), our perspective has shifted.

With expanded cognition, we find that the “negative events” we resisted benefited us on our journey.   We learned something we needed to know.  We received a nudge in the right direction ~ a shortcut to becoming who we were always intended to be.

We ended up exactly where we needed to be, when we needed to be there.

If we accept that the Universe is working for our benefit, we start to see that there are no mistakes, only lessons.  Lessons we need to learn so we can grow, explore, dream, and discover how to be who we were always intended to be.

Next time you find yourself resisting the “what is” . . . take a moment to envision how the event might benefit you down the road.

Perhaps it is leading (or pushing) you down a different path for a reason.

Barn’s burnt down ~ now I can see the moon.  Masahide (1657-1723)

For more on this:  Is it Good or Bad? (Mindful Balance)

* * * * *

In stark contrast, Law 10 fell flat on its ass:  Your relationship will endure when you make it your primary priority.

Hmm . . . I’m not sure I agree.   The relationship might endure, but at what price?

I read on, thinking I had somehow misunderstood what  Prentiss intended to say.  I found myself shaking my head in complete and utter disbelief.

In a nut shell, appropriate for such nutty advice, Prentiss advocates giving in to any and all demands, however unreasonable, in order to prove to your partner that the relationship is your number one priority.

Say what?

If your beau doesn’t like your friends, dump them.  If  your significant other doesn’t approve of your family, ignore them.  If you receive a fabulous job offer that doesn’t suit your spouse, turn it down.  If hobbies you enjoy are not to your beau’s liking, they must go.

Hell no.  I don’t think so.

What kind of relationship would it be if one party to it accedes to every crack-pot demand made by the other . . . even if it means eviscerating themselves in the process?

Answer:  A crappy one.  Certainly not the relationship of my dreams.

I see any number of problems with his advice to put “all our eggs in a single relationship basket.”

What if, despite our best efforts to be accommodating, the relationship doesn’t endure?  What if our beau tires of living with a doormat and seeks greener pastures?  What if our significant other gets bored with the relationship because we’ve become only a shadow of our former glorious self?  What if the relationship ends because our partner dies?

Moreover, Law 10 is at variance with Law 9:  The happiness you seek  can only come from within you.

How happy are we likely to be if, instead of looking within for guidance, we are looking solely to someone else to call all the shots?  Someone, perhaps, who is asking us to turn our backs on friends, family, careers, and hobbies that excite and delight us?

Mickey-OKI cannot imagine that any relationship would be worth preserving if it required me to be someone other than who I am.

My relationship with BFF endures because he allows me to be me and I allow him to be who he wants to be, not because either of us allows the other to call all the shots.

What say you?

Does Law 6 ring true?  What about Law 10?

A much better book by Chris Prentiss . . . Zen & The Art of Happiness.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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Comments»

1. aawwa - November 23, 2012

I enjoyed your blog today, as always. I think of the saying “take what you like and leave the rest” can be a good guide. My own life experience plus insight from others, makes a good combination 🙂

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Exactly . . . the book was not without merit. But some of his advice must be taken with a grain of salt.

2. ryoko861 - November 23, 2012

Law 6 is this: There’s always a silver lining. I do try to look (or get something out of) at something positive in a negative situation.

Law 10? Wow, being submissive is the LAST thing you should do ( or need) in a relationship. If the partner doesn’t like your friends…..either hit the road or the partner needs to deal with it and accept it. There’s a control issue going on in that respect!

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Most of the book was a decent read . . . but Law 10 (especially because he refers to it as a Universal LAW) seemed absurd.

If the Laws apply equally to both partners than Partner A should NEVER tell Partner B to jettison friends, families, or hobbies on A’s say-so.

I expect that Chris Prentiss longs for the day when marriage vows included a wife’s promise to “love, honor and OBEY.” Sure, divorce was less prevalent . . . because women were too busy obeying their husbands at home to have jobs. 🙄

gita4elamats - November 28, 2012

HAHAHA!
Law 10 sucks!
Catch 22

nrhatch - November 28, 2012

Law 10 is not likely to lead to the relationship of MY dreams. Far from it. 😀

3. Playamart - Zeebra Designs - November 23, 2012

i’m with you on #10! z

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Relationships often require compromise . . . but they rarely benefit from having a dictator in the midst, even a benevolent one. Gone are the days of “Father Knows Best.” 😉

Playamart - Zeebra Designs - November 23, 2012

si, i lived that submissive role long ago… quoth the raven, nevermore! :))

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Good quote. Quite appropos for this post. 😀

4. Maggie - November 23, 2012

And that’s why I had to break up with my ex. He didn’t like my friends, I didn’t like his friends, we both felt like we had to change to suit each other… etc. Opposites attract, but don’t necessarily make good partners for life.

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Good thoughts, Maggie. Accommodating each other, at times, makes sense. Ignoring who we are (or want to be) on an on-going basis to comply with a partner’s desires is a recipe for disaster.

Eventually that house of cards is going to collapse.

5. sweetdaysundertheoaks - November 23, 2012

Law 10 sounds very much like the book my Mom-in-Law gave me before CH and I were married. I was young and naive then.. 🙂

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Thanks, Pix! Yup. His archaic advice sounds like something a prospective mother-in-law might say to her son’s young naive bride-to-be. 🙄

6. spilledinkguy - November 23, 2012

Hmm… it seems to me like you’d want to be in a relationship with a person because you appreciate them for who they are…
so it seems a bit ridiculous it would be ‘beneficial’ to somehow ‘change’ them…
🙂

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Exactly!

Plus, if we don’t allow our partners to change and grow and flow at their own rate. . . they might turn into stagnant cesspools. 😉

7. Barbara Backer-Gray - November 23, 2012

Six: absolutely. 10: Nonsense.

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

I wonder . . . if his significant other asked him to stop writing books, would he abandon his avocation at her behest?

Somehow, I doubt it. 😉

Barbara Backer-Gray - November 23, 2012

Exactly!

8. Pocket Perspectives - November 23, 2012

Law #6…. always presenting the “potential” of working to benefit you….since we can choose to “resist” what’s happening, which usually leads to much unhappiness and sense of victim-hood, or see the beneficial “lessons/teachings” in it, the positive/empowering choice would seem to be to learn from it and shift…and get nudged in that positive direction.
Law # 10… oh that relationship is going to get very boring, dry, limited, restrictive and confining ….shudder…no thanks!

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Yes. #6 ~ Even if the “best case scenario” or benefit never arrives, we’ve been far happier in the interim. And when we are happier, we feel more empowered to make positive changes on our own.

And #10 ~ Strengthening relationships involves exploring compromises and reaching win-win solutions. That essential part of the equation is missed entirely if we follow his advice .

9. Andra Watkins - November 23, 2012

People should like us for us, not their expectations of us.

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

No relationship should feel like a straight-jacket . . . where we are bound to preserve the status quo rather than continuing to grow as individuals.

BFF loved who I was when we married, but if I reverted to THAT girl now, I expect that he wouldn’t be pleased. I have changed in so many positive ways during our years together that it would seem like a big step backwards.

If I had had to ask him for permission every time I wanted to explore new horizons, would I have grown as fully as I did by looking within for guidance? I doubt it.

10. Booksphotographsandartwork - November 24, 2012

I say sitting in stalled bumper to bumper traffic on the interstate is far better than the accident you could have been at the front of the line.

nrhatch - November 24, 2012

Yes! Timely observation given the massive 100-car accident in Texas which closed I-10 on Thanksgiving morning.

11. kateshrewsday - November 24, 2012

Fascinating line of enquiry, Nancy. That every cloud has a silver lining I agree, though I think the universe’s main aim may be to expand and ultimately contract to make a new universe, and we are what happens along the way. I don’t believe it is benign, any more than Aslan was ‘a tame lion’. I think the universe operates along the lines of Yeats’s terrible beauty. We live, hopefully happily, and with a positive expectation which can really affect how our spell on this earth progresses;but infirmity and death lie there for us all at the end.

I began this comment by typing something insufferably smug about putting relationships first. For me, my family are the cornerstone without which I fear I might crumble, but I intend never to test that hypothesis. Meanwhile, my intellectual life is every bit as important to me and writing is at its heart. Great food for thought, today, Nancy: I shall carry on thinking about this for a while.

nrhatch - November 24, 2012

Wonderful comment, Kate. Sometimes the silver lining is no where in sight. At those times, it’s easy to persuade myself that the future is “all for naught.”

Then a quote pops into view, “Despair is Hidden Arrogance ~ I have see the future and it doesn’t work.” That reminds me to temper my pessimism. 😉

Like you, I recognize the value of valued relationships. But we won’t bring much to the mix if we become cardboard cut-outs of ourselves due to abandoning our essential essence by letting “them” call all the shots.

My most important relationship is the one I have with me (and spirit within): “God dwells within me, as me.” _/!\_

12. Three Well Beings - November 25, 2012

I would love to ask the author some questions, though. I would be very interested in knowing how he has concluded Law 10 could benefit anyone. Any relationship, deep love or sound friendship, couldn’t possibly survive over time. It actually sounds like the conditions that often lead to abuse. I’m sure that’s the last thing he was thinking, but it would be a discussion point!

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

Domestic Violence is all about power and control . . . part of which includes isolating the victim from friends, family, and resources. Red flags went up for me too.

As Col notes, if BOTH parties ONLY do what’s best for the relationship, it might work. Even so, I expect that neither party would grow to their full potential. The relationship might endure at the expense of its component parts.

13. colonialist - November 25, 2012

Rule 10 would work if BOTH follow it.
Rule 6, on the other hand, doesn’t ring true to me. The universe is an evolving thing – and in any philosophy which makes any sense, is working towards a purpose. Therefore it is not, yet, perfect. Nor is it in operation to benefit you, the person. Only you, as part of the infinite.

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

I agree . . . the relationship might endure if both followed Law #10. Even so, I expect that neither party would grow to their full potential. So the relationship would flourish at the expense of its component parts.

As for Law #6, all I can go by is my own experience. Things that seemed “bad” at the time . . . ended up helping me. I learned valuable lessons. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it seems more purposeful to me.

14. sufilight - November 25, 2012

Oh, no, nope… #10 would fizzle in the relationship with my s/o. We give each other space and we allow each other to be.

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

I expect that with the right two people, the conversations would go like this:

“Hey I’d like to do X. What say you?”
“Will it add to your net happiness?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Then, go for it . . . seeing you happy adds to my happiness.”

But, as described, I think it’s a recipe for disaster with one party to the relationship using the law to manipulate the other . . . not to enhance the relationship, but for their own selfish ends.

15. jannatwrites - November 25, 2012

I also think things (both good and bad) happen for reasons that may not be immediately recognizable. The cool part is getting on the other side and seeing some purpose to it all.

Before you wrote about your questioning of #10, I took issue with making the relationship the primary priority. Yes, relationships take work and should be A priority…but I don’t think it is THE priority. It’s give and take…and it takes both people playing nice to work. I don’t see how the author could claim that by making the relationship the primary priority, it will endure. It won’t go anywhere if both people don’t make it a priority.

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

I am ready to get to “the other side of 2012.” This has been a horrid year . . . with more horridness looming on the horizon. Maybe I’ve got the BAH HUMBUG’s . . . or maybe I’m just tired of looking for the needle of the good in a haystack of the bad. 😦

I agree with you . . . relationships take work if they are going to work, and they require a healthy amount of give and take, and compromise. I think that his “law” falls flat because the aim should be a WIN-WIN for the parties to the partnership . . . not a WIN for the partnership at the expense of the parties.

16. Booksphotographsandartwork - November 25, 2012

I must not have read this all the way through the other day. Number 10 is a hell NO! That’s just stupid. That isn’t a relationship it’s a dictatorship.

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

If someone wants a relationship “at any price” . . . Law 10 might be worth a shot.

For the rest of us, Law 10 doesn’t make much sense.

17. Perfecting Motherhood - November 28, 2012

Sounds like Prentiss likes his women to be submissive… As long as he keeps saying “yes, dear”, I’m OK with that. 😉

nrhatch - November 28, 2012

He doesn’t earmark which gender should submit to which . . . but who read books about relationships? Women.

And the example he gave of a marriage that fell apart was a young naive girl who married wealth, developed independence, and ended up divorced (while her ex-husband married another young naive girl). Prentiss pointed out that it was HER decision to become more independent that CAUSED the break-up of the marriage, when (of course) it was probably the old geeser’s pickled pecker to blame.

Either way, Mr. Prentiss seems to feel that, if women want their relationships to endure, they should stay young and naive . . . if that’s what caused the initial attraction.

To that, I say ACK! Stagnating to satisfy someone else is NO WAY to go through life.


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