Personal Business

A Simple Story about Falling in Love

Jason B. Illian

For Mom… Your love not only gave me wings, but it also taught me to fly.

“Love tears down all barriers, encompasses all dreams, engulfs all fears, and demands the full energy of the heart, soul, and mind. Love is not an emotion, an attitude, or a feeling, but it is the unselfish sacrifice of desire, the triumphant procession of hope, and the eternal stronghold of faith, which can be unconditionally wielded by the most powerful being in the universe…the Giver.”

Contents
Introduction Chasing After Destiny Part I The Classifieds The Resume Referrals Company Research Interviews Part II Hired Managing Expectation Making Money Promotions Personal Business

Chasing after Destiny
Most of us know how to make a living, but few of us know how to make a life. Ever since we were children, we’ve been told to work harder, work longer, work smarter, work better, and we’ll get the desires of our hearts. But the harder we work, the further away our dreams seem to be. All the things that have made us successful in the boardroom have made us lonely in the bedroom. And the one job we’ve always wanted—to love and be loved—seems completely out of reach.

His name is CHASE – He is the part of all of us that longs to pursue love. Good relationships are a lot of work. In fact, it can almost feel like a job. But love is not a 9 to 5 thing—it is an all-the-time thing. There are no time-outs, breaks, sabbaticals, or vacations. There are no managers to make sure everything runs smoothly. There are no deadlines, promotions, or bonuses. There are also no job descriptions. We have to learn as we go. Unfortunately, many of us have traded the love of life for the love of work. Passion for profession. Caring for convenience. We thought we could find fulfillment in our professional lives, but now we are going down faster than a synchronized swimmer wearing cement shoes. The prince charming that we expected to rescue us from this mundane, hohum life seems to be riding a very slow steed, and the shine on his armor Her name is DESTINY – She is the part of all of us that longs to be loved. is not quite as brilliant as the shine on his slightly-balding head. Is the promise of a better relationship in this career-focused world just a comeon or can we truly love someone who isn’t named Jefferson or Benjamin?

Personal Business is simple story that reveals a number of profound truths about love and relationships. It is a touching and thoughtful tale of young couple who defies the pressure to settle and instead searches for deep meaning in their lives. Ignoring the belief that ‘this is as good as it gets,’ they follow the voice within, the unbridled passion, the vulnerable, wide-open, unselfish, bare-you-soul desire that longs for something more. Certain that their future is more than spreadsheets and emails, they set out to find the land of milk and honey as opposed to the land of ‘Remember to pick up the milk, honey.’ His name is Chase. He is the part of all of us that longs to pursue love. Fed up with the precut, prepackaged, commercialized love that he has experienced, he begins a search for meaning—a search that starts with himself. He is tired of not only being consumed by his work, but also being defined by it. He feels a void in his life, a hole that cannot be filled with money, friends, or pleasure. He longs for something more. Her name is Destiny. She is the part of all of us that longs to be loved. Like any good partner, she wants to give herself over—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—to somebody else completely, wholeheartedly, without reservations, and without calculations. Incredibly strong yet remarkably fragile, Destiny is our future. She is our passion. She is our dream.

Of Love and Work Job = Relationship – The goal of almost every relationship. Both are a lot of work. The Office = The Bar – The place that represents where we spend most of our time ‘working’ and finding fulfillment. Making Money = Having Sex – The most common measurement of success in personal relationships. Business Partner = Significant Other – The person who shares your hopes, dreams, goals, and desires. Interview = Date – The process of getting to know one another to see if you can work together.

Personal Business is one couple’s story and every couple’s dream. It is a story about finding love in every aspect of your life. The story can be interpreted as you like, depending on where you think you are, in your personal relationship. Whether you are dating, wooing, courting, hanging out, or just flirting, it is the simple reminder that unconditional love is, and has always been, the grand pursuit. Love isn’t about being employed or unemployed, rich or poor, young or old, experienced or inexperienced, full of hope or full of despair, it’s about Chasing after your Destiny. If you have ever been fired from a job, you’re familiar with the line ‘it’s not personal; it’s just business.’ Well, this time it’s personal.

PART I
The Classifieds
Loneliness is the gentle reminder that we were made to love.

The Office on 3rd and Houston always served the best sour apple martinis. Since losing his job to a more qualified man, the only semblance of employment Chase had came from his nightly visits to the corner Office. He had been out a job for months, out of a respectable job for a couple of years, so he went to the Office every night trying to get back into the game. Even though he had been doing a little temp work— making a little money on the side—he quickly learned that finding a quality job was a lot harder than he had imagined. Like most men in their late twenty’s, Chase felt ‘dissed’ by the job market. He was disappointed that he couldn’t hold a job. He felt disillusioned by the ever-changing qualifications and the standard application process. He was stunned in disbelief that all his friends had —or appeared to have—satisfying jobs while he sat on the sidelines. And at the heart of the matter, Chase didn’t want to find just another job. He wanted to find his passion; he wanted to love his job. He wanted something so soaring, so apparently transcendent that it would wake him in the morning, grab him in the afternoon, and captivate him in the evening. If he was going to do this for the rest of his life, why should he settle for anything less? Chase was tired of sitting in the sandbox of life. He wanted to bask on the beach. Yet every night, like cattle to the slaughter, he followed the rest of the unemployed herd to the Office in search for new grass to graze. After sharing lies about the jobs they had turned down and the money they had made, Chase and his buddies began browsing the classifieds together… Tanya Grant—big money, even bigger weekend benefits! Here was a job no man seemed able to resist. With long, lush legs and a sway that made men get dry mouth, she was an incredibly tempting opportunity. Leaning up against the bar, she had a longer queue of guys waiting to see her than a thrill ride at Six Flags. Unfortunately, about that many had already ridden her.

Next, the beautiful Sarah Wells. Her countenance read: Sarah Wells— quiet, part-time job available for tall, dark, and handsome man. Interviews take place in the back room. She was about 5’11”, blonde, and very cute in a leopard skirt and black Manolo Blahniks. Chase occasionally spoke to Sarah in passing, and she always seemed pleasant. But the word on the street was that was she was looking for a part-time job in addition to her full-time job. Danger, Will Roger, danger. What about Kelly? Kelly Davidson—looking for a one-on-one, longterm relationship with compassionate and romantic man. Sounds good so far. Kelly had recently been given the pink slip herself and was new to the world of unemployment. She had held a steady job for years, and rumor had it that this well-endowed brunette had tenure. But apparently love of the horizontal kind wasn’t enough. When she stopped at Chase’s table and began talking to the men, it became quite obvious why. The job listing should have read: Looking for beautiful, matching paperweight who does not value educated conversation. And then there was Rachael, Tamara, Sonya, and Kristin…and then Donna, Abby, and Tara…and the list went on and on. Some seemed to be interesting with opportunities of advancement, but after further inspection, they all seemed to be looking for the same shallow things. Some were part-time, some were full-time; some required too many hours, some too little; some demanded obscure physical requirements (who else looks like Brad Pitt?), An EXTRAORDINARY some just wanted a breathing, erectlove can’t be found walking homosapien; some wanted young men, some wanted old men; using ORDINARY some paid too little money, some means. paid… well…too little money; some were good from far, and some were far from good. Whatever happened to the job description that read: Jane Johnson—looking for strong, silent character, unselfish love, deep loyalty, and real transparency? Shaking his head in despair, Chase began to realize that searching the classifieds was an exercise in futility. The Office was a dating jungle, and Chase was playing with the lions. He had been hurt many times before, and he just knew he was about to be devoured. Unless people started wearing name tags—Michelle: SWF (single white female), Carol: W2W (woman to woman), Grace: PXH

(psycho ex-husband)—there was no way Chase was going to find a partner. He began to ask himself, “How do I break loose from the same ole’, same ole’ unemployment scene? I get up every same ole’ morning, put on the same ole’ clothes, cook the same ole’ breakfast (which, many times, is the same ole’ dinner from the night before), say the same ole’ things, work in the same ole’ places, make the same ole’ money, return home at the same ole’ time, and start the same ole’ routine the very next day. There has to be something better.” Disappointed, Chase clocked out for the final time and headed for the Office door. As he glanced back over his shoulder, he finally began to realize with his head what his heart had been telling him all along. He was made to be something more. There may be many ways He was made to share something more. He was made to love to FILL a life, but there something more. Even though he are very few ways to was tired of going through life FULFILL it. alone, feasting at the classified table had given him nothing but heartburn. He thought he was on the right road back to employment and ultimately, happiness, but it only seemed right because most people were on it. Just because the road was jam-packed with millions of very fast, slightly misinformed briefcase-totting professionals didn’t make it right. It just made it crowded. And a person can feel just as lonely in a crowded room. Chase knew he wasn’t going to be able to find the extraordinary love he had been dreaming of using such ordinary means. There may be many ways to FILL a life, but there are very few ways to FULFILL it.

Love’s Little Lesson

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An extraordinary love can’t be found using ordinary means. If you want to be happily married and madly in love for the rest of your life, why would you settle for less than EXACTLY what you deserve? Just because everyone else dates a certain way doesn’t make it right. It just makes it crowded. Listen to your heart. It knows the way. You were designed for something more. You were made to be something more. You were made to share something more. You were made to love something more. Don’t settle for the scraps from the table of life. You deserve to dine like royalty. There are many ways to FILL a life, but there are relatively few ways to FULFILL it.

The Moral of the Story is… 1. If you could change anything about your dating or married life, what would it be? What is stopping you from making the change?

2. Have you ever settled for less than true love? Why did you do it? What precautions can you put in place to protect yourself from doing it again?

The Resume
If you want to be desired, be desirable.

Funny how a sour apple martini—or six of them—looks the same coming up as it does going down. As Chase knelt before the porcelain god the morning after, he realized that it was about time to clean up his act…and his shirt. He was never going to be able to find, much less keep, a significant job if he didn’t approach the job hunt from a different angle. Job hunt? Hmmmm. As Chase splashed cold water on his face, he began to remember some valuable advice his mom gave to him when he was young. In addition to reminding him not to pee on the electric fence, throw rocks at the neighbor’s pit bull, or eat the yellow snow, she stressed the importance of ‘Staying Put’ when you are lost. In classic

Let those who love you, find you.

Stay Put

mom fashion, she made Chase the saltshaker and the search party the myriad of sugar cubes on the kitchen table of life. After moving the saltshaker a couple of times, she demonstrated how difficult it was for the sugar cubes to find the moving saltshaker. ‘If you would just stay put, they will find you,’ she instructed. ‘Stay put and let those who love you, find you.’ Mom, you might be on to something. The more awake and less hung over Chase became, the more he realized the genius of ‘Staying Put’. Instead of focusing on finding a job, he needed to focus on those things that made him attractive to the job market. What attributes would a significant job be looking for? What strengths did he have that he needed to highlight and, more importantly, what weaknesses did he need to work on? Was he compassionate? Forgiving? Loving? What made him desirable? He knew that he had something special inside, but like the bathroom on the Starship Enterprise, no one ever got to see it.

Thinking back on the night before, and the night before that, and the many nights before that, Chase realized that he and the rest of Office hopefuls had it all wrong. They had been trying to sprinkle magic fairy dust on their chances of landing a job by wearing the right suit, reciting the right lines, and buying the right drinks for all the right people. While their intentions were noble and many of their gestures kind, Chase and his friends were simply trying to mask the emptiness inside. They really had nothing significant to offer. And the hardest thing to hide is something that isn’t there. While he didn’t fully grasp the concept of ‘Staying Put’ just yet, Chase did realize that Mom wasn’t suggesting that he lock himself in his house and wait for the perfect job to come knocking. He knew he was going to have to put effort into it. Instead of looking for the perfect job, Chase had to make sure he was the perfect job candidate. He had to figure out what gifts he had that future employers would find attractive. He had to figure out what he was passionate about. He had to figure out who he was before he could find anybody else. Those who have nothing inside can share nothing, and those whose lives are going nowhere can have no fellow travelers. Chase had failed to nurture and nourish his own personal life up to this point, and in hindsight, he realized that this left him unable to partner or love anyone else. Instead of looking for the perfect mate, work on becoming the perfect mate. Tired of chasing, hunting, pursuing, and performing for prospective employers, Chase wanted to find his basis and identity in something besides his job. Too many of his friends measured their whole lives, including their self worth and importance, Those who are going by their success on the job. Self worth is nowhere can have no definitely not the same as net worth. fellow travelers. Chase had done it many times himself just to wake up one day with a pink slip in his heart. Chase wasn’t going to let it happen again. He had lived too long believing that his job would ‘complete him’ only to find out that his fairytale belief was completely false. If he wasn’t enough without a job, he would never be enough with one.

While Chase had fooled previous employers into thinking that he was a real ‘catch’, he knew he was going to need more than creative marketing to mask his ineptitude at keeping a job. By the world’s standard, he had a long list of calculated and successful career moves, but in reality, he felt completely empty. Switching partners time and time again left a hole on his soul. So instead of sifting through the pile of Maxims and Men’s Healths to figure out how to entice a prospective employer, he decided to be honest with himself. He decided to make a list of all the things he wanted in a partner—and then apply the qualities to himself. After realizing that he had been short-changing himself for years and that no woman in her right mind would want to partner with a man who had time to watch Looney Tunes in the middle of the afternoon, he put some classical music on the stereo, wrapped himself in his red velvet robe (yes, real men have them) and began to write the list. Thoughtful, wise, humble, forgiving, responsible, dedicated, committed, driven, colorful…content, but not with mediocrity; intelligent, but not necessarily book-wise; fun-loving, but sensitive to other’s feelings; beautiful, but not high-maintenance… As he read the list over, he suddenly had an epiphany (besides the fact that he looked dashingly handsome in his strawberry robe)—A successful relationship is not defined by what you put into it, but by what you keep A successful relationship is not defined by what you put into it, but by what you keep out of it.

out of it. His truthfully-honest list had none of the bogus activities and stealth leadership positions that an employer would normally see on a resume. When Chase wrote the list, he was focusing only on the things that really mattered. He didn’t want to be a free agent, playing the field anymore. He wanted his life to have purpose, and he wanted to live his dream. In essence, he was plotting out his destiny. Most of his friends were constantly switching jobs, and they all shared a common thread—they were miserable. Everyone was looking for the job with the best benefits—the convenience, the attractiveness, the money— and nobody was in it for the commitment. It was as if it was okay to

have a shallow and platonic relationship. Disc-jockeys encouraged it on their talk shows, authors joked about it in their books, and experts supported it on television. But Chase longed for something more. Chase wanted his job to be significant. Tired of one-night stands, he wanted to have meaning in his life. If he was going to spend nearly every waking hour working, he better enjoy what he was doing. More importantly, he better believe in it. Making lots of money was no longer the primary concern. He wanted to wake up every morning and go to bed every night with a purpose. As he turned out the light, the magic pen of passion began to etch his new mission statement on his heart: Personal Mission Statement: determine WHO I am— it will ultimately determine WHOSE I am. Simply stated, Chase knew that when he began to know who he was, he would be in a position to know and love another. When he understood his own significance, he would find a significant other. It is hard to find someone else when you don’t know where you are. But what if nobody likes me for me? What if I continue to stay unemployed? Chase thought. These were real thoughts with no real answers. Well, I can’t be worse off than I am right now. Chase realized that he couldn’t continue being someone he wasn’t. Even if he got the job he wanted, he knew he couldn’t keep it if he wasn’t being true to himself. Even though he knew he was going to have to exercise some patience, he knew whose heart he had to capture first—his own.

Love’s Little Lesson

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Stay Put. You have to nurture and care for your own heart before you can nurture and care for another. Instead of looking for the perfect partner, you have to make sure you ARE the perfect partner. Don’t tie your identity and happiness to your romantic relationship. Your personal value and contentment should not be a matter of circumstance. A successful relationship is not defined by what you put into it, but by what you keep out of it. WHO you are will determine WHOSE you are. When you know yourself, then you will be in a position to know another.

The Moral of the Story is… 1. Do you think you are desirable? In other words, what qualities do you possess that you think others find attractive? More importantly, what characteristics do you need to work on?

2. If somebody asked you to write down your life’s mission statement, what would it be?

Referrals
Relationships are about chemistry—there aren’t good or bad partners, just partners that work good or bad together.

Who would have thought that Chase would have to get out of the Office to get any real work done?! While there was no way for Chase to regain or rewrite or reverse or recapture any of the time he had wasted at the Office, he had finally come to the realization that he could no longer prostitute his dreams for the simple pleasures and escapes in life. The job market was meaner than running a marathon in a new pair of Hush Puppies, and the Office was about as effective in helping him get a new job as the DMV was at helping him get his driver’s license. So Chase did what any tough man would do. After a good cry, he opened his little black book, made a list of some of his close friends, and began networking. “Referrals!” his Dad bellowed. “Referrals are the only way to land the big one.” He called his childhood friend Jane and asked her to lunch. Over a nice soufflé and a glass of 1995 Zinfandel wine, Chase told Jane that he was looking for a job. Jane smiled. Chase blushed. Jane Self-satisfaction, selfwinked. Chase realized that gratification, and selfJane had the wrong idea. indulgence all lead to one Thankfully, Jane said that she thing— was flattered that Chase SELF-DESTRUCTION. thought of her, but she wasn’t hiring at the time. Her position had been filled just a couple months earlier by a dashingly handsome Swedish fellow named Durk. But she said she would be happy to snoop around and see if any of her friends were looking to fill a position. Chase thanked her…and then got stuck with the check. Could’ve been worse… Chase also called Haley. Haley and Chase lived a couple doors down from one another in college, and she was notorious for always trying to set Chase up with ‘the perfect one.’ He was hoping she would still have that problem. When Chase called, he got only about two syllables into the conversation before Haley screamed with excitement, relayed every experience he had missed since they had last seen each other in college

including the disastrous broken-pinky-toe-and-outdoor-patio-buildingincident, insisted that he say ‘hello’ to her new husband, and asked if she could call Kim, Tailor, Jenny, Amanda, Tonya, Cindy, Melissa, Crystal, Beth, McKenzie, and Aubrey for him. These were the girls in her weight-watchers class. Ok, this was worse… Feeling lucky after the first two debacles—and secretly hoping to get lucky—Chase decided to finish off the day by walking down the hall to talk to Candy. As her name suggested, she was sweet, tempting, and from what Chase understood, looking for a partner. Drifting from his original plan about having meaning in his work and justifying it as ‘a great networking opportunity’, Chase knocked on her door. By the way, what kind of girl works from home all day, every day? When the door opened, Chase quickly realized that Candyland was certainly no place for preschoolers. Candy WAS looking for a partner…to add to the group. It was easier to attract viewers to her internet site with three girls and two guys. Suddenly, networking didn’t seem like such a grand idea. In the beginning of his search, Chase was free of problems and full of promise. But the networking idea turned out to be about as effective as asbestos pajamas—it saved Who I am? What am I him in the short run, but it would kill him in the end. passionate about? What is Chase had gone out on a important to me? number of blind interviews, but in order to survive these beatings, he realized that he had to be just that—blind! Or deaf! Or senseless! No wonder nobody wanted to work with these people! They were all crazy! If I had a monkey and music box, I’d fit right in to this circus! Frustrated, Chase reflected back to his mission statement: Determine WHO I am—it will determine WHOSE I am. Who am I? What do I care about? What is important to me? What am I passionate about? As Chase spun around in the chair in his office, he peered out the window at the park across the street. A smile with very low mileage began to creep across his face. Children. Chase loved children. Both of his parents were elementary school teachers, and whether it was genetic or environmental, Chase lit up like a Christmas tree when he was around kids. He loved their enthusiasm. He loved their honesty. He loved their compassion. I mean, how can a person not like someone whose favorite meal is Oreos

and milk? Growing up, Chase always dreamed about working with kids and impacting their lives, but as he went through college, he suppressed this desire. He seemed to have a habit of doing that type of thing when it came to his feelings. Most of the time, it is easier to go with the crowd and do what they are doing than to follow your heart. As Chase watched the children play, he realized something pretty monumental about life. The road to mediocrity is a gradual one—gentle rolling hills, wide paved streets, and The road to a mediocre relationship no road signs. is a gradual one… Chase didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to give up his passion for pursuing a meaningful relationship. It happened slowly. First, he decided to deny his urge to find someone special. Then he decided to listen and follow the lost people around him. Finally, he shifted his focus from making meaning to making money. His transformation to the Dark Side was nearly complete when life slapped him in the face. Only then did he realize that he was completely consumed in himself. Chase began to chuckle at all the ‘self-help’ books he had read. Get What You Want Out of Your Relationship! Put Yourself First! How to do Things Your Way! These were things he had been doing all along and these were the exact same things that were tearing him apart. His focus had always been himself. He was the king of self-preoccupation, selfadmiration, and self-gratification. But life isn’t about ‘self’—it is ‘other’ focused. You shouldn’t be thinking about what you can take from a partnership. You should be thinking about what you can give to a partnership. You shouldn’t be thinking about what you can TAKE from a relationship. You should be thinking about what you can GIVE to a relationship. The ‘Staying Put’ thing was starting to make sense. By focusing on the things he was passionate about, he would have a much better chance of finding someone with whom to share his dreams, and hopefully, his future. While it sounded good in theory, Chase was still skeptical. He kept having visions of wandering the streets at 70 years old, begging for love like a panhandler begs for change. While he knew it would not happen if he followed his heart, it was still a real fear.

Trying not to overanalyze the situation, Chase saw that the kids in the park were getting ready to play a game a football. It had been a long time since Chase had played Nerf football. There is nothing quite like grass-stained jeans to take your mind off the little worries in life. Twenty minutes later, Chase was at the bottom of a kindergartner dog pile while the remaining children circled like vultures. They had tackled the beast. Dragging two on each leg and carrying a half dozen others while being blinded by the one they called Armpit, Goliath was subdued by the myriad of little Davids. Chase had fallen short of the goal line and the children loved it. Giggling like a kid, Chase loved it, too. As he slowly peeled the kids off of him, Chase noticed a very odd pair of football shoes a few feet away. Stilettos. Not normal playground attire. And they were attached to a long, luscious pair of… “Hi,” the sweet voice sang. Chase quickly hopped to his feet. Sporting a pound of grass and sand in his hair, he looked like a Mardi Gras party favor. “Hi,” he said. “I thought you had it,” she said with a smile. “Excuse me?” “The touchdown, that is. I thought you were going to score.” “Yeah, well…I’m hoping to. I mean…I WAS hoping to…score a touchdown, that is.” And that was how it started. Chase learned that her name was Destiny and that she had been watching from the bench across the way. She came to the playground everyday Destiny has been with the two boys whom she babysat. She loved children. Chase waiting for you all and Destiny talked and talked and Along. talked. It was so easy. He never enjoyed conversation so much. Engulfed by her presence, he almost missed the fact that she was strikingly beautiful.

Chase sensed the magic: Destiny had been waiting there for him the whole time. All he had to do was follow his heart. As the conversation came to a close, the most unbelievable thing happened. Chase asked for her number…and she gave it to him. He couldn’t believe it. She was hiring…

Love’s Little Lesson

The road to a mediocre relationship is a gradual one—gently rolling hills, wide paved streets, and no road signs. You don’t just wake up one morning and settle for less than your dream. You compromise one decision at a time until, ultimately, you have been compromised. When you focus on ‘self,’ the outcome is inevitable—selfdestruction. You shouldn’t be thinking about what you can take from a partnership. You should be thinking about what you can give to a partnership. Get out of your normal routine. Go do something you’ve always wanted to do. Go introduce yourself to somebody you’ve always wanted to talk to. You’ll be surprised at what happens. When you follow your heart, your Destiny will be waiting for you. It has been there all along.

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The Moral of the Story is…

1. Name three selfless things you do (or have done) for your
significant other on a regular basis. (It doesn’t count if you expect something in return!)

2. Do you think love is a choice or simply a matter of chance?

Company Research
Hope is the certainty that everything will make sense, no matter how it turns out.

Chase had been on interviews before and he compared them to showering with his toaster—they were shockingly painful. Most of the interviews he had taken were overdressed flattery sessions where each person tried to put their best foot forward. There was no real substance. Neither party was To have a DIFFERENT type of honest about what they relationship, you have to date were looking for. It was Chase’s belief that was DIFFERENTLY. why none of his previous relationships ever lasted. Both parties had over-promised and under-delivered. They set unrealistic expectations from the beginning, and it was impossible to live up to them. In these jobs, he felt like he was playing a banjo in an orchestra. He was completely out of place. But Chase was optimistic about Destiny. He had met her because they shared a common passion—children—and he felt this shared goal could give them a foundation from which to build even after the excitement of their fresh, new relationship went away. He didn’t know her particularly well, but he was excited and a little nervous about going out with her. From what he had experienced in the park, the job certainly had potential. As Chase stumbled into his closet, he thought about how distorted the normal interview process had become. Instead of seeing whether they shared common ideas, dreams, or goals, most people simply pursued the job with the greatest benefits. If it looked good, it was worth interviewing for. If it paid good money, it would be fun and rewarding. If it was The popular way is popular, it would look good on the NOT always the resume when it came time to look for right way another job. It was such a shallow process. No wonder no one was happy with their jobs! No one was devoted to a long-term relationship. Most people were simply in it for immediate gratification.

Not that Chase was better than everyone else. He had certainly made his share of mistakes. He had been known as a notorious smooth talker and would have certainly been found guilty in a court of law for wading in the shallow end of the conversation pool. At times, he even consciously took a position to use it as a quick springboard to a sister or partner organization. In his prime, Chase was the stereotypical job candidate. Chase didn’t want to go through that again. He didn’t want to hurt. He didn’t want to hurt someone else, either. While jumping from job to job had a sexy appeal to the people at the Office, it left him empty inside. With each lost job, it became harder and harder to get back into a meaningful relationship. Ever time he broke off a partnership, he found that he had more baggage than the time before. And We all have baggage, baggage gets heavy, emotional or otherwise. We especially when you are just have to find somebody carrying around a broken traveling the same direction heart and shattered dreams. in life. It was not that Chase was going to stop interviewing. He was just going to start interviewing differently. Regardless of what the experts called it—dating, courting, wooing, etc—it was a significant part of the get-to-know-you process. Chase found that it was healthy to have a number of casual interviews before committing his heart to anything. It helped him decide not only what he was looking for, but also what he was NOT looking for. The fact of the matter was simple—most employers wooed you in the interview and then disappointed you in the relationship. They were better on paper than they were in person. He knew that the only way to sift through all the undesirable jobs was to spend more time in the interviewing process. Chase had had his share of pink slips, and he was ready to take things a little more seriously. Unlike his previous jobs which went down faster than the Titanic, Chase had done his research on Destiny. He assumed that if he was going to interview for a position with her, he better know a little bit about her before showing up on her front steps. Destiny was certainly well respected in the community. The local grocer said that Destiny always ‘blew in like a breath of fresh air.’ A few of their mutual friends said that Destiny was the first person they would call if they ever needed help. Even the boys that Chase played football with said that Destiny was the sweetest girl they had ever known. And they

didn’t even like girls yet! These were the type of references everyone wishes they had on their resume. Chase began to wonder. If Destiny was calling his references, what were people saying about him? A cold shiver ran down his back. Chase hadn’t exactly been the ideal employee in the past. From missed meetings to unfinished projects to unreturned phone calls, Chase had not only dropped the ball in previous relationships, but he had also managed to kick it around. His performance reviews read like a relationship wrap sheet. Determined not to go through another job like Sherman went through Atlanta, Chase sat down and jotted a few notes to himself about interviewing.

1. Be Patient—No matter how good a job appeared to be, Chase
was learning that it was critical not to jump past the full interview process. The majority of his problems arose when he moved too quickly into a Relationships, like hell, are job, not when easy to get into and nearly he moved too impossible to get out of! slowly. Like hell, relationships are easy to get into but nearly impossible to get out of. While he had never really tried it in the past, Chase was beginning to support the idea of taking an internship before committing to a full-fledged job. Although there were no benefits and no pay, he thought that getting to know his potential, future partner on a friendship level could be extremely valuable. It would allow him to see how she worked with others before he made any rash moves. In the past, Chase had discounted the fact that he was somebody important and special, and that he had something important and special to share. He didn’t have to prostitute his skills, hopes, and dreams to the first job that presented itself. Like a mosquito in a You are somebody important and special, and you have something important and special to share.

nudist colony, there were so many opportunities in the job market he just needed to exert a little self-control and patience while waiting for the perfect one. Chase had experienced a number of different jobs and if he had learned one thing, it was that the most successful team wasn’t the one with the best players—it was the team that played the best together. Relationships were about chemistry. There weren’t necessarily good or bad partners, just partners that worked good or bad together. Chase knew he was a square peg and that he had been trying to pound himself into a round hole for far too long. Previous jobs had looked good, sounded good, and felt good, but they were not good, at least not for him.

2. Speak from the Heart—If Chase was going to commit himself
to someone for the rest of his life, he needed to speak from the heart. Questions like…What are you looking for in a partner? What do you think about family? How do you handle conflict? What do you believe? What are your goals? Chase was interviewing Destiny as much as she was interviewing him. If he wanted her to be open and honest, he had to lead by being open and honest himself. Sometimes the most difficult questions are the most freeing. It may be reasonable to eat at a mediocre restaurant. It may be tolerable to drive a mediocre car. It may even be acceptable to Love, by definition, CANNOT be average. live in a mediocre house. But it is absolutely, unequivocally, unquestionably unthinkable to have a mediocre job or to be content with one. To do any job well, it takes a considerable amount of time and dedication. Good enough is not good enough when it comes to loving whom you are with. Chase wanted his partnership with Destiny to be great and knew that it would demand his full attention. He had done a poor job talking about matters of the heart in the past, and it had been his Achilles heel. It was always easier to handle the monotonous daily tasks—the emails, the projects, the

speeches—than it was to sit down and discuss the monumental issues that affected the relationship. And regardless of how a relationship was going, there were always issues. It was part of the growing and refining process. If there aren’t any issues, be concerned—very concerned. Somebody is not being completely honest.

3. Share a Passion—Chase knew this was his most important
reminder. For a relationship to be ultimately successful, both partners had to share a common cause, a passion, a fire. He had watched his parents and a number of others quit their jobs after 25 years A shared PASSION is a because ‘they no longer shared PURPOSE. had anything in common’, ‘their lives were going different directions.’ The reason that it felt like their lives were going in different directions is because they didn’t share a common cause. While Chase and Destiny had met because they both loved children, Chase knew that they needed some deeprooted, fundamental, shared beliefs in order to stand the test of time together. They needed to share a passion. Cleaning up for his interview, Chase began to smile at the advice his Mom had given him about ‘Staying Put.’ She knew, as he was beginning to learn, that the only way he was going to find out what he was passionate about was to examine his own heart. And he couldn’t do that if he was constantly jumping from job to job. The idea that ‘you complete me’ is completely wrong. If you are not complete by yourself, you’ll never be complete with somebody else. When you share a common cause, life becomes bigger than your own relationship, and you remember how fortunate you are to have that special person in your life. Chase had never ‘You complete me’ is complete rubbish. experienced this, but he longed for it more than anything else.

He wanted his life’s work to have meaning, and he wanted someone to share it with. Deep down, however, he was afraid. He knew that if he asked Destiny to share her dreams, he would have to share his as well. He couldn’t do that! Men don’t share their dreams! There are certain things that men do and certain things men just don’t do. Besides not asking for directions, calling a plumber, or walking away from a fight, men don’t share their feelings. It’s unmasculine. It’s unfathomable. It’s un-American. Yet at the risk of being completely vulnerable, Chase felt the urge to share his feelings. He didn’t want to just find a partner, make a little money, and go on with an uneventful and unmemorable life like some of his friends. He wanted to experience an abundant life, and he knew that it demanded all of him. His neighbors, an elderly couple who had been happily married for over 50 years, said it best when they said, ‘Run as fast as you can toward your passion and grab the hand of the person running next to you.’ That sounded about right. Chase was ready to lace up his Nikes. Mixing and matching six different shirts and three different pairs of slacks, Chase fought the urge to call in sick. He knew that Destiny was something special, but he was still haunted by the memories of horrific previous interviews. If the very worst has already happened, the very best is yet to come, he kept telling himself. Besides, this was Destiny. Run as fast as you can towards your life’s passion… And grab the hand of the person running next to you. Chase remembered a saying that his grandmother always shared with him when times got tough—Hope is like a firefly, only showing its brilliance in the midst of surrounding darkness. Chase certainly knew about darkness. He had been unemployed for a long time and was praying that Destiny might be his light at the end of the tunnel. As he

sprinkled himself with a little cologne, he took a deep breath and headed for the door. Here’s to hoping…

Love’s Little Lesson

    

Love is built on a shared passion and a common set of beliefs. Speak your heart, even if your body and mind tremble. If you want to find love, run as fast as you can towards your life’s passion and grab the hand of the person running next to you. Don’t stop dating. Just commit to dating differently. 3 Points to Dating o Be Patient – You are somebody important and special and you have something important and special to share. Don’t just date the first available body. o Speak from the Heart – Don’t be timid about addressing the issues that really matter. When you talk about it, you bring it to life. o Share a Passion – What you believe and what you value is the foundation of your relationship. When you share a common set of beliefs, you set the groundwork for a successful future.

The Moral of the Story is… 1. What are you passionate about? What are you running towards with all your might?

2. Love is patient. What other qualities do you think unconditional love should encompass?

Interviews
You will be remembered not by WHO you loved, but by HOW you loved.

Since when do I sweat like an Eskimo in the Sahara? thought Chase as he approached Destiny’s place. His palms were sweating, his armpits were sweating, and even the small of his back was sweating. Either he was more nervous about this interview than he would admit or he was quickly transforming into his father. Next thing I know, I’ll be growing hair out of my ears. Chase checked just to make sure. Shuffling up the long concrete pathway to her door, Chase quickly did an inventory of all things he needed for the interview. Rose, check. Early arrival, check. Reservations, check. Fly zipped, check. Everything seemed to be in place. Gathering up as much There is a difference strength as he could, he between HAVING a knocked on the door. relationship and BEING in a He hadn’t been this relationship. nervous since his first middle school dance. Even though he looked like a true gentleman standing there in his crayon-blue short-sleeved button-up and midnight black slacks, he thought about turning and running. Man, this is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. She’s not going to like me. Before he could turn the neighborhood shrubbery into the steeplechase, Destiny opened the door. Wow! No wonder God called her WOOOOOOOOO-man! Chase couldn’t believe his eyes. The brief job outline that he read at the park certainly didn’t do Destiny justice. She was stunning. Chase had certainly out punted his coverage on this one. Now all he had to do was not screw it up. “You beautiful,” Chase blurted out. Great, she’s going to think I learned English from Tonto! Good start. Quick, give her the rose! Pulling the rose from behind his back, Chase handed Destiny the crimson flower. “Thank you,” she shyly said with a smile. Stumbling, she continued, “You good, too.” Chase could see that she was nervous as well. They already had something to share.

As Chase walked her arm-in-arm to his trusty steed—a 1985 wood-sided stationwagon—he felt like he was walking on air. They exchanged pleasantries to avoid the awkward silence, but they were both anxious for the evening to hit full stride. There was something there. Chase felt it. Many of us seek the experience of love rather than love itself. Destiny felt it, too. They didn’t know what it was, but they felt like they could be themselves around one another. It was very comforting. And for the first time, Chase wasn’t thinking about all the fringe benefits. He was looking for something much deeper. Guessing that other men had probably tried to wine and dine Destiny in the interview process, Chase decided to do something a little different. Instead of taking her to the Office or sharing a crowded restaurant with other interviewing couples, Chase prepared a quaint picnic at the park where they had first met. He wanted a quiet place where they could just talk. He had never tried ANYTHING like this before and was prepared for it go over about as well as porcupine juggling. This was an entirely different strategy from his normal chase-them-and-wear-them-down method. When they arrived and Destiny saw a candle-lit table for two, she gasped in amazement. No one had ever gone to this much trouble for her. She was touched. Maybe Chase was really serious about the open position… As they sat there munching on peanut butter and jelly squares—the only meal Chase could prepare—they laughed and joked and had a good time. Chase had brushed up on his professional etiquette for their dinner, and he was properly scooping up his Cheetos with his dinner fork. He would have made his mother proud. It was a dinner with no hidden agenda, no promise of money, no strings attached. It was just a boy getting to know a girl. Everything went just as planned except that the ice cream truck drove by five minutes early and Chase had to run it down on foot. After they finished their double-dip, rocky road ice cream cones, they began to talk. Since they both had been burned by the promise of love at first sight, they started slowly. Destiny asked about Chase’s childhood. She asked about his family. She asked what he liked to do when he wasn’t working. She asked about his faith. She wondered at his strengths. She wondered at his weaknesses. And after she heard a

number of tender and compassionate responses, she began to wonder where this great man had come from. One answer intrigued her more than the others. When she asked him why he changed jobs so often, Chase sighed, stared at the ground for a moment, and then responded, “The most common mistake that I’ve made in past relationships is that I sought the experience of love rather than love itself.” Chase knew it—he had just never verbalized it before. Love was not an emotion, an attitude, or a feeling. At its most basic level, love was LOVE is wanting what is best for someone else, regardless of what it means to you. protecting, providing, guiding, sacrificing, forgiving, and dare we forget, working. Love was patience in the presence of pain, trust in the midst of trial, and strength in the season of suffering. It was the willingness to trade personal success for the success of the partnership, to tackles obstacles together, to share dreams together, to reach goals together. It was a difference between having a relationship and being in a relationship. Chase had past relationships, but he had never been part of a relationship. He had always put himself first. And the impact was like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. The night ended. But the interviews didn’t. Chase called back for second, third, and fourth interviews, each round getting deeper, each round testing his passion. With each interview, he learned more about the vision, hopes, and goals associated with the job. He learned that she was quietly courageous with a deafening spirit, tender, understanding, compassionate, bottomless, and fascinating. She wasn’t just looking for anyone to fill the position. She was looking for someone special who understood what it meant to be mutually dependent on each other, intimately involved with each other, joined by common interests, problems, joys, and sorrows, and invigorated by the same passion. She wasn’t just looking for someone to make her happy—she was looking for someone to make happy.

Chase had never gone through a process like this before. He usually just By trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, you find it nowhere. hopped into bed with the first good-looking partner that came around, and when the job got difficult, he’d bail. He never got intimately involved. But by trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, he found it nowhere. He had never committed himself to something significant and his heart ached in the loneliness. He had always taken from his jobs. This time, he was ready to give back. Even though he didn’t know it, Destiny had comparable feelings and had been down a similar path. In what seemed like a revolving door, she had a number of partners walk out on her. Mistakenly, she believed it was her fault. She felt that maybe her job wasn’t that attractive. She felt that maybe she didn’t treat her partners like she should. She felt that maybe she should just settle for anyone who would take her. But deep down, she wanted something more. And for the first time, through the interview with Chase, she began to have hope again. As they become more comfortable with one another, they began spending more time together. It was a great way to see the true work environment. Instead of just sitting down for a formal interview, they played with the kids together, went grocery shopping together, volunteered at a homeless shelter together, and went for walks together. It was during one of the walks that Destiny finally asked the question… “Do you LOVE working?” she asked as she searched Chase’s eyes. The ‘L’ word! He had never been asked about loving his job before! Up to this point in his life, Chase didn’t live for his job—he lived for the weekends. He never thought about providing for anyone else or working for a more dignified cause. The money had always been enough. But He felt what all good men feel but never admit – FEAR. things had changed, and his head couldn’t ignore what his heart felt. He

had worked so hard to find himself, but in the process, he found this wonderful girl. And now her spirit was tugging on his heart. Was this feeling really love? For a moment he felt what all good men feel but never admit—fear. He was afraid that he wasn’t good enough for the job. He was afraid that he wouldn’t stay committed. He was afraid that she wouldn’t love working with him. All real emotions. All false insecurities. Deep down, he knew he had what it took to be a good…heck, a great…partner. Because for the first time in his life, he didn’t want what was best for himself. He wanted what was best for Destiny. What he felt was not a frilly sentiment or an adolescent infatuation but the boldest of human initiatives—love. He was ready to provide, guide, sacrifice, forgive, and even work, for Destiny’s love. Chase had come to the end of himself—a place that few men ever find—and was willing to step out in faith. He didn’t know what the future would hold, but he knew who was holding his future. When you come to the end of yourself, you will find someone else. “No, I don’t LOVE working…” he quietly whispered. “…But I LOVE working with you.” Destiny began to cry. Chase hugged her. They kissed.

Love’s Little Lesson

    

There is a monumental difference between having a relationship and being in a relationship. In the former, you just have to be present. In the latter, you have to passionate. By trying to find fulfillment everywhere, you find it nowhere. You can only be fully committed to one relationship at a time. Although most of us never admit it, we all experience a certain amount of fear in new relationships. But by becoming vulnerable, we set our hearts free. Love is wanting what is best for someone else, regardless of what it means to you. You have to come to the end of yourself in order to find somebody else.

The Moral of the Story is… 1. Have you ever come to the end of yourself? What does ‘coming to the end of yourself’ mean to you?

2. What fears do you have about relationships?

PART II
Hired
Great relationships require great sacrifice.

Chase was hired. Destiny was no longer a soul proprietor—she and Chase had formed an exclusive partnership. The interviews had been taken, the questions answered, the tears shed, and the contract signed. Now it was time to get down to business. A new relationship is very exciting, but it is also very fragile. Every move, every word, and every project is carefully examined and critiqued to see if there are any alternative or false The single most destructive motives. Chase knew that thing you can do in a one of the reasons many relationship is NOTHING. of his previous employers had lost interest in his work was because he stopped doing the very things that got him the job in the first place. The single most destructive thing you can do in a relationship is NOTHING. He was determined to not let that happen again. Chase knew that there were 3 critical abilities he was going to have to develop if he wanted this job to work—vulnerability, reliability, and availability. He had dropped the ball in these areas in the past and was certain that it had damaged his relationships. Vulnerability After a few months on the job with Destiny, Chase knocked on her front door at five in the morning. Staggering, drowsy, and wrapped in a bath robe, Destiny opened the door to find the smiling Chase dressed in a ratty old Puma sweat suit and a Nike baseball cap turned backwards. He was holding bagels, orange juice, and coffee. “Mornin’, beautiful,” said Chase as he kissed her on the cheek. “I’ve brought you breakfast.”

“What are you doing?” asked Destiny as she rubbed her eyes and looked around to see if there was a hidden camera. “Well,” he began, “we get all dressed up everyday to go to work together. I thought it would be nice to treat you to a ‘sweats’ day. Today, there is no pressure to impress one another with make-up, nice clothes, or prearranged meetings. We are just going to hang out in our sweats and tTo love at all is to be vulnerable shirts and enjoy one another’s company.” Pointing at his heart he said, “I don’t want to hide anything from you on the inside, and today, I’m not going to hide anything on the outside, either.” Destiny smiled that cute smile Chase had come to love and threw her arms around him. Seeing a guy this vulnerable and honest, she began to wonder if she was still sleeping. After they had their moment, she rushed upstairs, threw on some old wind pants, a tattered t-shirt, some flip-flops, and a visor. It had been a long time since she had been comfortable enough around a guy to go without primping. And it felt Love takes you as you good. It felt good to know that are, not as you are he loved her just as she was, not as she was hoping or dreaming hoping to be. to be. It felt good to know that Chase wasn’t concerned about her external appearance but her internal character. And it felt good to laugh at the fact that they looked like a homeless couple in their old attire. They spent the day walking around the neighborhood, talking at the bookshop, eating at fast-food restaurants, and watching rented movies together from her couch. They each let their walls down a little more that day, and they grew a little closer. It was a good day. Reliability As much as Chase wanted to bask in the glory of their wonderful day together, he didn’t want to become complacent or too comfortable in his job. How many partners complained that their man spent more time in front of the television or drinking beer with the guys than with them?

Chase didn’t want to fall back into this routine. He knew that he had the ability to be more than a partner with Destiny—he could be THE partner for her. But it was going to take some work. A few weeks after their wonderful ‘sweats’ day together, Chase sensed some frustration from Destiny. Concerned, Chase quietly pulled Destiny to the side and asked, “Is something the matter, beautiful?” They had been working together for almost six months, and even though things were going extremely well, they were still learning about one another and their respectable love languages.

RELIABILITY is trust with legs.

“Well, to be honest, yes,” she said. “For the past week, you have been promising to finish a couple of our projects—taking out the trash, planning our vacation, repairing the radio in my car—and none of it has gotten done. I’m not angry with you, but I was just wondering if you wanted me to do it.” Caught a little off guard, Chase quickly composed himself and calmly responded, “No, of course not. I’ll have all of it done by tomorrow evening.” As Destiny walked away, Chase began to wonder what just happened. He didn’t even realize these things were a priority! Stepping back from his emotions instead of turning the kitchen table over in anger like he used to, Chase began thinking through the conversation. During one of their meetings the week before, Destiny told Chase that he was the longest standing partner she had ever had. He was a little surprised considering how beautiful she was, but he was also quite proud of what they had accomplished together. However, Chase had not thought about how some his actions may be portrayed in light of her past. If he was the longest standing partner, she must have been through some very rough and painful relationships. Whether it was fair or not, she was assuming that Chase’s inability to finish the projects he had promised was his first step of pulling away. Chase realized he had to prove his reliability. So instead of getting angry with her for her impatience or waiting for another day to pass, Chase set out to prove his valor. He took out the trash. He planned their vacation. He repaired her car. And he even went

a couple steps further. He took Destiny’s dog for a walk. He vacuumed the living room. He even prepared a candle light dinner for her—Hungry Man microwavable dinners (mind you, he still couldn’t cook)—when she left to go run some errands. When she returned, she was pleasantly surprised not only to see that Chase hadn’t left his resignation, but that he had gone the extra mile to make the partnership work. She walked over to him and sat playfully in his lap. Then, without even being guilted into it, she said, “I’m sorry…I’m sorry that I was so short with you earlier.” The old Chase would have blurted out, “You better be sorry, damn it” without any regard to his own shortcomings or Destiny’s emotional needs. But the new Chase humbly responded, “I’m sorry, too. I should have finished the projects earlier like I promised.” And just as quickly as it began, it ended. Chase was beginning to earn Destiny’s trust. Availability Chase couldn’t believe it! He just couldn’t believe it! After years and years of hopelessly trying, his beloved Chicago Cubs had finally made it to the World Series. More importantly, he and his buddies had seats right behind the dugout on the first base side! Chase had been planning the outing with his baseball crazed friends for weeks and had previously checked with Destiny to make sure that the date was open for a guy’s night out. It was. Sweeeeeeeeeeet! The night before the game Chase was as restless as a child on Christmas Eve. The big day just couldn’t come soon enough. He was going to have the time of his life. Because it is easier to find a jawbreaker in a bag full of marbles than a To be a great partner, you have to spend TIME doing it. parking space at Wrigley Field, Chase and his three best friends from college were going to carpool to the game. Chase wanted to see Destiny before he left so he told his buddies to swing by her house and pick him

up around 5 o’clock. So around 4 o’clock Chase popped in at Destiny’s house… …to find her sobbing incessantly. Sporting a classic Chicago Cubs jersey and donning more face paint than a tribal warrior, Chase was totally unprepared for this scene. Had it not been so serious, any passerby might have compared the odd couple to a clown who had just scared a young boy to tears. But there was certainly nothing funny about Destiny’s crying. She was obviously very upset. “What’s wrong?” asked Chase as he knelt down to the sobbing Destiny who was Kleenex covered and sitting on the couch. Betweens the sobs and the heaves for air, Destiny broke into a long explanation of all that had gone wrong. “I don’t think…I’m doing…a very good….job with you…and I don’t… know what I want…out of life…” And on and on she went, crying all the way. Listening intently, a skill that he rarely used, Chase found out that Destiny had a number of things on her mind. She didn’t feel like she was being the partner she should be. She didn’t know what GREAT RELATIONSHIPS require GREAT SACRIFICE. she wanted to do with her life. She felt like she was getting fat. She saw women being abused in the Middle East on Oprah and was disturbed. But after listening and listening, Chase finally got to the heart of the matter. Chase realized that Destiny’s parents were not happy that they were working together. It’s not that her parents really had any reason to dislike Chase, but they were being overprotective because Destiny’s younger sister was pregnant and single. They didn’t want Destiny to wind up that way, too. To aggravate the situation even further, it was that time of the month, according to the project calendar. Knowing that Destiny was not looking for him to solve her problems but to simply listen, Chase sat up and put his arm around his beautiful girl. “Baby,” he began, “you know that I love…” A horn honked from outside Destiny’s house. Chase’s friends were there. Both Chase and Destiny sat in silence. Chase didn’t just want to

walk out on Destiny in her time of need. He didn’t have the heart to leave her crying. “You better get going,” sobbed Destiny, without even removing her face from the Kleenex. “I don’t want you to miss the big game.” Quietly, calmly, and almost robotically, Chase stood up and walked out the front door without even saying a word. Destiny could hear his friends singing the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as soon as Chase hit the front porch. There was friendly banter, the slap of high fives, and then the screech of car tires. Depressed, Destiny leaned over the couch, parted the curtains, and peered out the window just in time to watch the metallic blue Mustang pull away. Without Chase. Chase stood at the curb and waved at his friends as they drove off to the biggest ball game of his life without him. Great relationships require great sacrifice. It’s just a ball game, he thought. But she is not just a girl. Chase had made the mistake before and he wasn’t about to do it again. He knew that to be really good at what you do, you have to spend TIME doing it, even when it seems inconvenient. Chase had been distracted by frivolous things in the past. He didn’t want to be haunted by missed opportunities to do the right thing again. His focus wasn’t on what he could get out of his job—his focus was on what he could put into it. When Chase reentered the house, he found Destiny crying even harder than before. But this time, they were tears of joy. She ran up to him and buried her head into his chest. Chase gently put his arms around her. He didn’t have to tell her he loved her. She had just seen it.

Love’s Little Lesson

The single most destructive thing you can do in a relationship is NOTHING. You have to continue doing all the special things you did to win the heart of your partner once you are in a committed relationship. You deserve to be loved just as you are, not as your partner is hoping you to be. The Three Abilities of Love o Vulnerability – To love at all is to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to be open up all aspects of your life if you want to experience true love. o Reliability – You partner has to trust you in all circumstances and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are committed to making the relationship work. o Availability – In order to be a really good partner, you have to spend TIME doing it, even when it seems inconvenient. Great relationships require great sacrifice.

 

The Moral of the Story is…

1. Of the three abilities of love—vulnerability, reliability, and
availability—which one do you struggle with the most? Why?

2. Would your partner know that you loved him/her even if you never verbalized it?

Managing Expectations
Expectations are just resentments waiting to happen.

A job isn’t one of those things that you have to walk into with all the answers. In fact, if you do, you are doomed for failure. After about ten months on the job, Chase and Destiny began to realize they were no longer in Kansas anymore and that there wasn’t a yellow brick road to follow. The new partnership feeling had worn off and the job was becoming a lot of work. While they were still happy to see one another, they were starting to annoy one another with their little idiosyncrasies, and they were struggling to communicate. If they were going to create a long term and successful business, they had to figure out a way to overcome some of their recent disagreements. Chase realized men and women were simply, naturally, profoundly, unquestionably, and thoroughly different—not one better than the other, just different. It had become obvious from their very first interview. Women don’t think simply, and men simply don’t think. While Chase was making a list of all things he needed to do—Rose, check. Arrive early, check. Reservations, check. Fly zipped, check.— Destiny was weaving all his actions together. Well, if he brought a rose, that must mean that he is serious about commitment. And since he arrived early, he must be taking this interview seriously. While one action had nothing to do with another in Chase’s perspective, they were all interrelated from Destiny’s point of view. This is where the confusion began. Chase was very compartmentalized, check-list focused, and task oriented. He would create a list of things that needed to get done and check them off one at a time as they were accomplished. Project A had nothing to do with Project B. On the other hand, Destiny believed everything was connected and interrelated. She would create a list and accomplish each task in relation to how it affected all the other tasks. Project A had a profound effect on Project B, and it needed to be

examined. Chase used each project to convey solutions; Destiny used each project to better expand and understand their overall relationship. To compound the problem, Chase and Destiny had fallen into a common trap—they had a tendency to speak in absolutes. You ALWAYS do that. You NEVER remember to clean up. I TOLD YOU that would happen. Men speak to convey SOLUTIONS. Women speak to understand RELATIONSHIPS. How unfair! How could Chase and Destiny expect to encourage one another when they were constantly worried about being right? How could they expect to build a deeper sense of vulnerability and trust when they were constantly getting beat down by the hammer of hindsight? They had yet to learn that you don’t have to prove someone wrong to say what you know is right. This had placed some unnecessary stress on their relationship. Chase had read many books on managing expectations and they all said the same thing—communication is the most important part of any relationship. But he was learning that this wasn’t the case. Chase and Destiny knew they spoke different languages, were from different planets, were clams and crowbars, buffalos and butterflies, or whatever clever comparison you want to use. But communication was not their problem. Forgiveness was. They had learned that they communicated differently—they had not learned how to forgive. And if you don’t forgive, how can you ever move on? Most of the time, neither of them wanted to ask for forgiveness. But the more they thought about it, the more they realized the futility of being Communication is not our problem. Forgiveness is. right. What do you get for being right in a relationship? Nothing. Nothing except the other’s contempt. So many people wreck their

partnerships because they are too stubborn to examine the possibility that they may be wrong. In essence, there is no right or wrong person in a partnership. You are in it together, and you are both either right or wrong TOGETHER. So why try to disprove the other? Deep down in their hearts, both Chase and Destiny knew this. And slowly but surely they were learning to overcome their pride. A shining example of a breakdown in communication and the opportunity to forgive came one afternoon when Chase and Destiny were walking hand-in-hand through the mall. As they walked out of Neiman Marcus, a thought occurred to Destiny. Without even filtering it, she blurted out, “Did you realize that, as of today, we’ve been working together for ten months?” They both smiled at one another and continued walking. An awkward silence fell upon them. Destiny began thinking to herself: Should I have said that? Maybe I scared him. Does he think I have some expectations about where we are or where we are going? Chase was thinking: Hmmmm. Ten months. Love isn’t love if there are conditions to it. Destiny was thinking: And where are we going, anyways? We have never officially talked about it, and I don’t know if I’m ready for anything serious, either. I mean, I want family, 2 or 3 kids, maybe a house in the city—or the country—but do I want that now? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Intimacy? Chase was thinking: Ten months. Let’s see…that means we’ve been working together since…September, October, November…November, that’s right. Hey, Robert has still not coughed up that $20 that he owes me. I knew the Cubs were not going to pull out the last game in the series!

Embrace our differences— don’t simply endure them. Destiny was thinking: I’ve upset him. I can see it on his face. Maybe he is feeling trapped. I know I call him a lot but I just want to hear his sweet voice. He just means soooooo much to me. I can’t help the way I feel. Chase was thinking: Robert better not give me any excuse about how the Cubs would have won if Sosa was healthy. I’m not cutting him any slack and I’m not going to do a double-or-nothing with him. Destiny was thinking: I’ve pushed him too fast. I know it. Look at him. He is agonizing over it right now! And all because of my romantic fantasy! I know there is no such thing as the perfect life, a yellow lab, and a white picket fence. I’m so selfish…I don’t even deserve him! Chase was thinking: And if he says one more thing about Sosa using performance-enhancing drugs, I’m going to tell that son-of-a… “Chase,” Destiny interrupted. You don’t have to prove someone wrong to say what is right.

“Uh…yes,” Chase replied, as he tried to switch back into partner mode. “I’m so sorry,” she started as her eyes began to well up. “I never meant to push you…but…well...” Destiny began sobbing incessantly in the middle of the mall. “What?” said the surprised Chase. He began looking around to see what in the world could have caused the tears.

“It’s my fault, not yours. Please, please don’t worry about it,” Destiny sobbed. “I just care…sometimes too much. I don’t need a dog and I don’t care about a white-picket fence…” “A white-picket fence?” said Chase. “Maybe we should just…well, you know…give it time. See how things go.” Destiny said. At this point, Chase didn’t know whether to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’—in fact, he really didn’t know what the question was, or if there was a question—but ‘yes’ seemed more optimistic. “Yes,” stated Chase, hoping that he didn’t just agree to buying a dog or building a fence. “You really feel that way?” asked Destiny as she wrapped her arms around Chase’s neck. Sensing that he was heading the right direction and wanting to stick with his original answer, Chase responded, “Yes.” “Great!” said Destiny as she buried tearful face in Chase’s chest. As they stood there embracing in the mall, Chase had the feeling that something important had just happened, but that it was probably incomprehensible for his pea-sized mind. So instead of trying to clarify, he just continued to hug her. “I’m sorry” is as powerful as “I love you.” When Chase dropped Destiny off at her house that night, Destiny went inside and called five close female colleagues. The conversation between Chase and Destiny was monumental and they had to have an emergency retreat to discuss it. She explained the conversation over and over again as the group tried to decipher every word, sentence, and feeling. They left no stone uncovered as they analyzed the meaning and timing of the talk and the possible future between the two. They continued to discuss for months on end, never really reaching any conclusion but never getting bored with it, either. (One of the girls even

created an online chat room so that other women could help them explore the relationship.) Chase went home and gave his roommate the standard response for every interview—It went great. In the male world, ‘great’ is the allencompassing response, whether you just got promoted or your car flew off a cliff and you and your partner had to swim to safety. However, one afternoon, many months after the incident, Chase stopped lifting weights and turned to a mutual friend of his and Destiny’s and said, “Did Destiny ever own a dog or have a white-picket fence?”

Love’s Little Lessons

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Expectations are just resentments waiting to happen. Love isn’t really love if there are conditions to it. Men and women are simply, naturally, profoundly, unquestionably and thoroughly different. Embrace the differences, don’t just endure them. Men’s thinking is very compartmentalized and task-oriented—they use it to convey solutions. Woman’s thinking is very connected and interrelated—they use it to understand overall relationships. Both modes of thinking are important and need to be utilized by each partner in a relationship. Communication is NOT the most difficult part of a relationship. Forgiveness is. While it is important to understand that men and women communicate differently, it is even more important to know how to respond when communication breaks down. You don’t have to prove someone wrong to say what is right.

The Moral of the Story is… 1. “I’m sorry” is as powerful as “I love you.” What do you need to ask for forgiveness for from your partner?

2. It is easy to think that the breakdown in communication is on our
partner’s side, not ours. But what can you do to open the lines of communication? (If you don’t know, ask your partner.)

Making Money
Love is chess, not checkers. You can’t just jump one another—you have to think five or six moves ahead.

Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. Men, in particular, think about it all the time (some studies say once every 9 seconds). The more they can make, the better the job must be, the more they will chase after it—and the more they can brag to their friends. Unfortunately, money has become the most common Sex has become the most measurement of success common measurement of in the workplace. Like every other red-blooded success in a relationship. mammal, Chase wanted to make money, too. But unlike previous partnerships, he didn’t want it to be the focus of his job. As good as it felt to make money, Chase had some bad experiences with it in the past. He was a virgin for a long time—not making a penny until he worked part-time with a couple girls in college—and he quickly realized money adds a whole new layer of complexity to the relationship. On nearly every single job, money was the number one reason for conflict. If one person wanted it, the other didn’t. And if one person got it, the other wanted more. What was originally designed to be an incentive for working tragically became the reason for it. Chase wanted a deeper, more intimate connection with Destiny than just a shared bank account. He wanted to share his heart. But Chase struggled with greed. He had been seduced by easy money in the past and was afraid he may go astray again. Chase remembered Britney. He hadn’t known Britney more than twenty four hours before they started ringing the cash register. And Tara. Tara’s long luscious

Sex was originally designed as a benefit to a committed relationship. Tragically, it has become the reason for it. legs made even rich men empty out there pockets. What about Danielle?

Danielle was so tempting that few men had the virtue to withstand her seduction. Each relationship was tempting in different ways, but each outcome was the same. Chase walked away broke, financially and emotionally. Everyone has their weaknesses, and Chase’s was money. When he started thinking about money, he became hot and bothered. Not just a little hot and bothered, but wrapped in tinfoil, lying under the launch pad of the space shuttle hot and so utterly bothered that his left leg would go numb and he’d develop a facial twitch. It was a serious issue. Chase knew that he had to learn how to weave his desires and passions into a healthy relationship, or he would destroy his partnership with Destiny.

Your body is writing a check your heart has to cash. Chase knew that when he started making money with Destiny, for all practical purposes, he was in bed with her. He knew that his body would be writing a check that his heart and mind would have to cash. He knew that with every dollar he received, he would be making more and more of a commitment to the partnership. Chase was familiar with the New Economy model of making money. Make as much as you can, as fast as you can, and move on. Loyalty to one partner is a thing of the past. Everybody has their own personal best interest in mind. The old rules don’t apply. As tempting as the new model sounded, Chase had personal experience with it and understood the repercussions. While it gratified an immediate hunger for acceptance, it left you thirsting for lasting significance. Chase still had scars from waking up in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar house and wondering what his life had become. Unlike some of his ultra-conservative friends who devoted their lives to non-profit organizations, Chase didn’t feel that he had to completely abstain from making money. He wanted to at least enjoy making a living! But in order to have a purpose-driven relationship with Destiny, Chase knew he was going to have to wrestle with a few very important questions…

When should I start making money? In his past relationships, Chase always tried to make at least a little pocket change on the first interview. A little kiss, a little rub, or a little somethin’-somethin’, and the old Chase thought he was on track to a new job. Sometimes he even hit the jackpot on the first interview, mostly with girls from the Office. But as he examined his string of unsuccessful partnerships, he began to notice a disturbing trend. There was a lot of physical intimacy but very little emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is often just Physical. Making money always felt great, especially in a new partnership, but the feeling never lasted very long. Like a drug addict, the next hit had to be quicker and better for the high to last as long as the previous. Soon Chase found himself changing partners more than a collegiate square dance team. And when the high wore off, Chase felt worse than when he started. By focusing less on what he could get out of the relationship and more on what he could put into it, Chase realized that commitment always had to precede money. Getting and keeping a job was like climbing the rungs of a ladder—with each step higher there was more responsibility and care needed. The first rung was ‘holding hands’—it took very little commitment to step onto the ladder, but you have to at least be willing to take the risk. The second rung was ‘kissing’—in order to get a peck on the cheek or a kiss on the lips, you better be willing to exclusive explore that relationship. The third rung was ‘making out’—by this point, your partner is expecting you to sign at least some short term employment contract. And so on and so forth until, well, jackpot. Chase and Destiny had both struck the jackpot in previous relationships only to find themselves bankrupt only a couple months later. They knew that commitment had to come first, and in their opinion, lifelong commitment had to come before you can make the really big money.

We hunger for significance, not sex. Chase looked at the people around him. Most of them were rich by worldly standards but empty inside. People who think money will do everything may be suspected of doing everything for money. They are the same people who make finding a lifelong partner so hard. They appear to have a higher purpose, but in the end, it is only about the money. Chase and Destiny were fighting their urge to run up the ladder. They wanted to make lots of money together, but they were patiently taking one rung at a time, adjusting to the height, preparing for the climb, and taking steps together. Chase didn’t kiss Destiny until he was hired, and they were cautious about moving too fast. Chase didn’t just want Destiny—he treasured Destiny, he honored Destiny, he adored Destiny. He wanted what was best for her, and he knew that it was a slow, steady climb. How much money should I ask for? Like most men, Chase had asked for too much, too early in past relationships and often scared possible employers away. And when the employer did agree to the big monetary contract, Chase often found the job to be too easy and quickly moved on to a bigger challenge. It was a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenario. But as Chase examined his heart, he realized it wasn’t about the money. It was about the passion. Money only became a focus in his life when he wasn’t passionate about the job he was doing. If you truly love what you are doing and who you are doing it with, the money will certainly be good. In fact, you will probably make more money than you ever imagined! At least that is what most happily working couples say. Intimacy and commitment must ALWAYS go together. Making money had become far too easy. Momma Chase used to say, “It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment to make money.” But he didn’t think that was the case anymore. Making money was just

no big deal to most people. The reason money had become so dull and boring was because it had become commonplace. It was available anywhere and everywhere, to everybody who was looking for it. Nothing was sacred. Nothing was admired. There was nothing to devote your life to. Chase was making minimum wage not because he didn’t want the money—that was far from the case—but because he wanted his job with Destiny to have meaning. Without meaning, money was pointless. Sex has become dull because it is so easily acquired. Chase’s friends were always bragging about the money they made and the different employers who were practically throwing themselves at them. Yeah, right! Since Chase had changed his view on working, he had begun to see how an 18-wheeler couldn’t have hauled that much fertilizer into a conversation. He used to be that guy bragging. He used to be that guy joking about how big his wallet was. He used to think it was cool to have a sugar-mama funding him on the side. But he realized that when people talk that way, they are just trying to hide the fact that they are lonely. They are crying out for acceptance. Destiny had taught Chase that potential employers don’t care how big your wallet is—that is just penny envy. Money is not nearly as important as meaning. And meaning can only be created when you own part of the company. If Chase wanted to be part of something bigger than himself, he needed to focus on more than just his paycheck. Should we talk about money? This issue was HUGE. In past relationships, Chase basically just started making money from day one. He and his partner had never talked about it. It created an odd and uncomfortable silence between the two of them because neither party knew what responsibilities came with the money. Instead of drawing them closer together, the money pushed them further apart until the relationship was dissolved. It was a miserable cycle that Chase had endured a number of times. With Destiny, it was different. During the interview process, Chase and Destiny talked about money. It wasn’t in the first interview, of course, but they slowed worked their way into the touchy subject. If they were

going to be joined at the hip, they needed to know what the other person expected and how money really turned them on. Chase, in his unevolved male wisdom, thought money would be the same driving force for Destiny as it was for him. Not the case. She enjoyed money like any Men often show love to get sex. Women have sex to get love. other woman, but she was more driven from what the money could buy her—intimacy. Destiny used money to buy intimacy with Chase. Chase used his intimacy with Destiny to get money. Only through conversation with one another did they learn that they were wired differently. The problem with money is that nobody is willing to talk about it. Whether employed or unemployed, nearly everyone is making it, but no one wants to talk about it. But if it is so important, shouldn’t some serious conversation take place before anybody makes a buck? What Chase didn’t realize was that the money he made in the past followed him into his new relationship. For the first time in his life, he realized that making money had repercussions. He had to sit down and explain to Destiny how much money he made in his previous partnerships. It was a gut wrenching conversation. He could see the disappointment and confusion in her eyes. He knew she was thinking— Will he do the same thing to me? Is he just in this for the money? As he revisited his past partnerships, he felt a heavy burden on his heart. He had done nothing to deserve the money he made in the past. He just took it for his own pleasure. Pleasure, when pushed to the extreme, shatters us like pain. As Chase was about to break down, Destiny broke in. She, too, had made money in the past. Through the tears and the pain, she shared story after painful story about the men she made money with. There was a reoccurring theme between the two of them…at the time, it made sense. It always makes sense at the time. It makes sense because it feels good. It makes sense because we want it to lead to more. It makes sense because it is a tangible way to feel the other person’s passion about the relationship. But money is a false hope. Money can’t buy true love.

When Destiny first started to share, Chase felt a sense of relief. At least he wasn’t the only one to make this mistake. But as she cried and cried, a terrible realization crept over his body. What if all the girls he made money with felt like this? What had he done to them? He had done it wrong in the past. He wasn’t going to do it wrong again. He learned a very, very important lesson that day. Pleasure, when pushed to the extreme, shatters us like pain.

Love’s Little Lessons

Intimacy and commitment go hand-in-hand—and commitment should always lead the way. If you are going to share the deepest level of physical intimacy, make sure you have the deepest level of physical commitment. While physical intimacy can be part of a relationship, it shouldn’t be the point of it. Men often show love to get sex. Women often have sex to get love. When you have sex in a dating relationship, your body is writing a check that your heart has to cash. The physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of our bodies are all interconnected. Pleasure, when pushed to the extreme, shatters us like pain.

   

The Moral of the Story is… 1. Do you think you have to touch a person’s body to touch their heart?

2. Do you think it is important to talk about sex and sexual boundaries in a dating relationship?

Promotions
You don’t have to push or pull on love. It will take you where you need to go.

“Where should we go from here?” asked Destiny charmingly as she held Chase’s hand. Good question, thought Chase as he peered out the car window. Chase and Destiny had been working together for a little over two years and the question struck a chord inside of him. It was a question Chase certainly had on his mind as of late, but he hadn’t been able to put words to it. He liked…okay…loved working with Destiny, but it was hard for him to imagine being ready for a promotion. Chase and Destiny had just finished another very productive day together. Up at 6 o’clock, Chase met Destiny at her place for their Even when the FEELING of love fades, the COMMITMENT of love should grow strong. morning exercise. Because Chase was not making much money, the morning jog was a good substitute for a cold shower. After the run, they had a full breakfast together back at Destiny’s place. An hour or so later and dressed for a day of work, they got together to review the projects for the day—letter to Chase’s ill grandmother, water the vegetable garden, return emails, pay monthly utility bills (Who uses this much electricity, by the way?), etc. Chase and Destiny worked diligently on their projects throughout the morning so that they could play with the kids in the afternoon. It was hard to pass up playing in the park. It meant even more now that Chase and Destiny had memories there. It was a good day. In fact, all of their days together had been good. That was what made Destiny’s question so incredibly hard to answer. Chase had always wanted a relationship like this, and now that he had it, he didn’t know what to do with it! When dreaming about the perfect partner, Chase always imagined he would just wake up some magical morning and just know—just know that the girl in front of him was ‘The

One.’ But love had sprinkled him with a different kind of fairy dust. Instead of just waking up to a storybook ending, he woke up to a storybook beginning. As he pondered his future with Destiny, he could barely remember life without her. Yet the question of love still loomed— Was she the One? A month was a long time. A year was a long time. But forever?! That was…well… eternity! From this perspective, the weight of the question took on a whole new meaning. Chase wasn’t just deciding on one girl; Marriage is a way of life. he was deciding on a way of life. This was the decision he had started to make the day he walked out of the Office. As Chase reminisced on their last two and a half years together, he realized there were too irreplaceable ingredients that made their partnership special. Faithfulness and Patience. Chase and Destiny had remained faithful to one another. They were not just monetarily exclusive, but they were completely, unquestionably, undoubtedly, 100% faithful to their relationship. When two people become one, it isn’t the money that binds them. It is their commitment to share the good times and the bad times, the joy and the sorrow, the highs and the lows, the passion and the pain. Chase had dedicated himself to Destiny. Destiny had dedicated herself to Chase. Even when the feeling of love had dissipated in rough times, the commitment of love remained strong. They had decided with both their hearts and minds to work together. The single greatest problem that Chase had learned to overcome while working with Destiny was his urge to compare. How did his job stack up against his friends? Could he be making more money with the girl down the street? Was there something better? His urge to compare was vocational cancer and could have destroyed a perfectly good relationship. If Chase didn’t focus solely on Destiny, how could he nurture and develop the relationship into the one of his dreams? True commitment has no back-up plan, escape route, or plan B. It is rooted in a faith that screams ‘I’d rather fall for you than fly with anyone else.’ Chase wasn’t visiting with any other employers or looking for any other jobs in case this one went bad. He was completely faithful to the cause. And he knew that Destiny was, too.

Chase and Destiny had also learned to become a patient couple. A good Love is patient. Love is patient. Love is patient. relationship isn’t conceived overnight. It is developed over a number of years through deep personal communication, honesty, and intimacy. The thought that played over and over in Chase’s head was how the job market taught employees to look for immediate gratification. Look for the benefits. Check the salary. Make quick decisions. But nearly every memorable moment that Chase had shared with Destiny was a result of them working through a problem together. Because they were both faithful to their job, they had been able to develop a patience that kept them from making poor decisions. Chase compared his patience with Destiny to the perseverance he needed when running. When competing in a race, there was always a time when he would catch a terrible stomach cramp that would start to slow him down. At this point, he had one of two options. Stop and quit the race, or run through the pain. Every time he ‘ran through the pain’ he found additional strength and a second wind on the other side. He found that he was stronger than he originally imagined and that he was able to endure much more than he thought. He took this same approach on the job. When things got tough, he ‘ran through the pain’ and always found Destiny’s open arms on the other side. Love is a CHOICE, not simply a matter of CHANCE. Growing up in a southern Baptist church, Chase had heard the apostle Paul’s message on love a thousand times. But until he met Destiny, he could never really grasp the significance of the statement, ‘Love is patient.’ There was something incredibly special about a patient love. Chase had said and done stupid things on the job. But because Destiny was a patient partner, she was not quick to jump to conclusions. Her patience served as a protection against wrong judgments as clothes do against the cold. Chase never intentionally meant to hurt Destiny, but because he was learning how to relate to her, he often said things that

hurt her feelings. And vice-versa. Their patience protected their maturing hearts. Chase knew he and Destiny could take their relationship to the next level. He knew that Destiny was the partner he had been hoping for. He knew she was ‘The One.’ Chase learned how to ‘Stay Put’ and in the process, he found himself. And when he found himself, he found his Destiny. She helped him peel away the last layers of insufficiency, regret, pain, fear, and skepticism that kept him from being the man he had always longed to be. She was the mirror he could look into every day of life and be reminded that it was okay just to be himself. Chase didn’t know what his future would hold, but he knew that he didn’t have one without Destiny. Turning back to Destiny, Chase said with a newfound confidence, “Destiny, I love you. And I’m ready to take this relationship to the next level.” A little taken aback, Destiny smiled and responded, “I love you, too. And if you are ready to take this to the next level, I’m ready. But…” “But what?” interrupted Chase. “Well, I was just asking where you wanted to go NOW. We can’t sit in the theater parking lot all day.”

Love’s Little Lessons

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Even when the feeling of love fades away, the commitment of love should remain strong. When you choose to marry someone, you aren’t just committing to a person. You are committing to a way of life. There are two irreplaceable ingredients in every successful relationship: faithfulness and patience. You have to be faithful to one another and to what you believe. You also have to be patient in order to develop deep levels of communication, honesty, and intimacy. Love is patient. Love is patient. Love is patient. Comparison is a cancer. Don’t ever compare your relationship to anyone else’s. The only measurement that your relationship should endure is to who you are and to what you believe.

 

The Moral of the Story is… 1. Do you think there is just one person out there you can marry or do you think there are a number of possible people you can marry?

2. Why do you think that couples who have been married for 25+ years end up in divorce?

Personal Business
When you learn to love, you will be loved.

Where does the story go from here? Well, that is up to you. A good love story is an unfinished story and the magic pen of passion never scribbles The magic pen of passion never scribbles the same tale twice. the same tale twice. Where a better book would begin, mine must end. Whether or not I’ve ever experienced a love this soaring, this moving, this passionate, God only knows. Perhaps I have only imagined it. But my calling isn’t to finish this story. The rest of the story has to be written by you as you work through the challenges of love…as you Chase after your Destiny. I have certainly not said all that is true about love and work, but all that I have said is true. Relationships, like geology, are the study of pressure and time. And if you want your relationship to be as precious, rare, and brilliant as a diamond, you will have times when you think you can’t go on, when you want to throw your hands up in despair, when you want to give in and give up. Don’t. God’s delays are not necessarily God denials. Hold on, hold fast, hold out. The pain that you feel will produce perseverance; perseverance will produce character; and character will God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials. produce hope. And hope NEVER disappoints us. It is only through hope do we learn to pour love out over all aspects of our lives. And when you learn to love, you will be loved. We all struggle with the same things in one degree or another. We are all searching for seamless continuity in our lives. We tend to gather at extremes, hoping, often praying, for balance. But love doesn’t behave

like a pendulum taking measured swings at our beliefs; it acts like a wrecking ball, removing all barriers in defiance with the ‘truth.’ When someone asks you “Do you love me?” they are asking “Do you see what I see? Do you feel what I feel? Do we share the same truth?” When you respond with a ‘yes’, you obliterate the difference between giving and taking, having and needing, life and death. You create an island of certainly in a heaving sea of uncertainty. The questions of love can’t be answered with a Q&A dating book, a relationship guru, a self-help manual, or a 19 ½ step personal improvement program. In fact, the questions of love cannot be answered by anyone but you. Like a toddler interviewing for a senior level executive position, we are all totally unqualified for the world of romance. Each relationship is new. Each situation is unique. And our prior experience, no matter how diverse, cannot prepare us for the job we are about to accept. Fortunately, all our experiences, good and bad, help us define the gap where love ought to be. Even though we can’t decide when this gap will be filled, we can decide how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love will be when it is there. All of our experiences help us define the shape of the gap where love ought to be. Wherever you are in your relationship, be all there. There is no greater gift. It is where you are meant to be. “How will I know when it is love?” you ask. You’ll know it’s love when she doesn’t think she is cute wearing a ragged old pair of K-mart sweatpants and a FCA t-shirt. It’s love when she calls you ‘googily-bear, Shuga, or Pooh.’ It’s love when she turns into a jungle gym around all the kindergarteners at church. It’s love when she shouts in a library and whispers in a concert and turns right from the left hand lane and turns leftovers into an alright meal and runs when the floor is wet and walks in the 100 meter dash for success and smiles and laughs and reminds everyone that we are all going to be okay. You’ll know it’s love when she rolls up her Cache pants, kick off her stilettos, and dives headlong across a water soaked tarp while the neighborhood kids chant medieval water-war cries. It’s love when she

devours two Jimmy Dean chili dogs at the ballpark while ‘quietly’ telling the pitcher that his mother is a man. It’s love when she nearly starts a forest fire trying to microwave a Tombstone pizza. It’s love when you gaze at her, step back, and take a deep breath—in awe that such a wonder should even exist. You’ll know it’s love when you feel her twitch right before she falls asleep and how she never remembers drooling on your chest. It’s love when she can miss Michael Jordan walking right next to her but spot a 3 inch-by-5 inch shoe ‘Sale’ sign a hundred yards away. It’s love when you hear her pray for those who have done nothing but cause her heartache. It’s love when she reminds you that our world isn’t too big, our dreams are far too small, and our differences pale in comparison to our similarities. You’ll know it’s love when she can tell what colors match indigo and plume. It’s love when she would rather dive on the concrete and catch the football than let ‘those SOB’s win the game.’ It’s love when she cares for gay people, straight people, tall people, short people, skinny people, fat people, black people, white people, people without homes, people without families, and people without hope. It’s love when you know that if you blink, you may miss her do something you’ll never see again. You’ll know it’s love when it is not a pink elephant, we-are-the-world, kumbaya feeling, but rather a calloused-hand, damaged heart, dreamsmeet-reality passion. Most importantly, you’ll know it’s love when it cascades over your heart like a warm shower. Real love will help untie things that are knotted up inside and tie things that are dangling loose. When you feel like you are doing exactly what you were made for…then it is love. Then you are Chasing after your Destiny.

Love’s Little Lessons

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The magic pen of passion never scribbles the same tale twice. Your relationship will be unique, different, and exciting in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials. Don’t ever lose hope. When you tell someone you love them, you obliterate the difference between giving and taking, having and needing, life and death. You create an island of certainly in a heaving sea of uncertainty. You can’t decide when you will fall in love, but you can decide how long, how wide, how high, and how deep that love will be when the time comes. You’ll know you are in love when he/she is all of those remarkable little things that you never even thought of. When you are doing exactly what you were designed to do, you’ll know it is love.

The Moral of the Story is…

Love is your Destiny. Chase after it with all your might.

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