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Have you noticed that when you throw a ball for a puppy he happily runs over, picks it up and returns to you and you then pat him on the head, make a fuss of him and tell him what a clever dog he is? His tail will wag wildly. He just loves appreciation and will happily sit there waiting for you to throw the ball again.
Personally I have a habit of forgetting where I leave my reading glasses. One day, when I was searching for them, one of my wife Yuyun’s young relatives found them and returned them to me. I thanked him and said “Wow, what a smart boy you are.” His chest swelled and his face beamed hearing some words of praise. You know, I don’t think that we don’t really change. We just get older. I love that very appropriate saying “The only difference between a man and a boy is the cost of his toys.”
So how does this apply to our relationship? Well, in 2003 I left the UK and went to Indonesia, where I met and married my wife Yuyun. Several times a day I tell her how beautiful she is, how much I love her and how lucky I am to have her love. This has the effect not only of showing her that I appreciate her but also of making her WANT to be beautiful with the result that she always tries to look her best. I make a point of never taking her for granted. Whenever she makes a meal for me, I kiss her and thank her. Whenever she comes over to kiss me I thank her also. The words “thank you” if spoken with sincerity can work wonders. We never bother with Valentine’s Day. Why wait for one specific day a year to express your love?
How about communication and understanding? I always remember some of my relatives in the UK having a spat and the husband shouting “What the hell is the matter with you?” to which his wife replied “You know very well what is the matter!” But he didn’t…because he did not understand her. Everyone is an individual with different desires and needs. You have to discover what these are in your partner. Remember “Those persons who love roses will have patience with their thorns.” Yuyun and I have spent hours talking about our childhoods and past lives. After all these years I have a pretty good understanding of how her mind works. For instance, she came from a very poor family that sometimes did not have enough money to buy food. As a child she had no toys or dolls. As she grew up she would look at other girls who were better off and wish that she could have a cell phone or nice clothes like they had. The result of this is that today she has an inner drive to be recognized and looked up to. Now, at the age of 28 she has three cell phones and a cupboard full of dolls, making up for her disadvantaged past! Thus I understand what drives her and cater to it. Because I understand how she never had any money, I let her handle all the family finances. SHE has the bank account and debit card giving her a sense of power. We are not rich by any means, living solely on my retirement pension. This she understands and is never extravagant. We will go shopping for clothes for her, she will spend $20 and will return home happy.
I suppose you could call this consideration. Both Yuyun and I are considerate. If we see someone pushing a motorbike we will stop and see if we can help them. If we see children crossing the street, we will make sure that they get across safely. This is our nature. I’m not sure that anyone who is not considerate can change their nature but maybe they can force themselves to consider the feelings of their partner. Yuyun for instance likes constant attention. She regularly wants to be hugged and loved. I like to keep my brain active, so spend some considerable time writing computer programmes and solving the most difficult Sudoku puzzles. This takes a lot of concentration, trying to remember a series of numbers in my head and I hate to be interrupted. However, when Yuyun wants attention or wishes to talk, I immediately put the thing aside and give her my full attention. If you reject someone’s love enough times, then they will stop trying and maybe go to someone else.
I really believe that Yuyun thinks like I do inasmuch as I am so contented with our relationship that I have absolutely no interest in any other woman. I can honestly say that this is the first time in my life that I have felt that way. Yuyun in fact, although she never gets angry with ME, becomes furious when any other men try to hit on her, as they regularly do! “I have a husband who loves me,” she berates them. “What do I need you for?”
I should mention that someone’s culture will obviously have some bearing on how they think and act. Here in Indonesia it is the custom to remove one’s shoes when entering a house. Thus many people wear sandals which are easier to slip off and on. When we leave someone’s home, Yuyun precedes me and bends down to turn MY sandals facing outwards so I don’t have to do it. When I told her that I didn’t really need her to do that she answered: “Please don’t stop me from doing something that shows that I love you.” Today she still does this! When we go shopping SHE insists on carrying all the packages. When she has a really heavy one I have to force her to let me take it. She does not expect or desire for me to help her in the kitchen with the cooking or cleaning. I am her Mr. Fixit when any appliances or vehicles give problems. Actually I CAN fix most mechanical and electrical problems as I was trained in that but when I do, Yuyun is so proud of me. She thinks I am a real genius and tells all her friends how clever I am. She is not interested in equality. She wants to be a woman and wants me to be a man. She initiates wrestling matches with me in order to prove to herself that I am stronger than she is. She wants me to protect her from anything that scares her. She will tell me when she wishes to go out somewhere and ask me if that is OK with me. She knows that I will say yes but likes to ask me anyway.
Sex requires consideration also. How can you know what pleases your partner if you don’t ask? When I was a young man, I used to ask every girl that I met what she liked and when and how she liked it. I built up a knowledge base far in excess of my friends and they could never understand how I managed to go out with such beautiful women when I personally was not at all handsome. When you love someone, there is a great deal of pleasure in giving pleasure to your loved one. Yuyun and I sleep together in what is called the spoon position, hugging each other all night. After all these years I find her just as sexy as when I first met her. Part of this maybe is because she keeps herself in such good condition. She never goes to sleep without removing her make up and taking a shower. Her body and her breath are always sweet smelling. We really live more like a couple of lovers than husband and wife. Yuyun wakes up at about 5am with a beaming smile that stays with her all day. She leaps out of bed, skipping and dancing while I try to drag myself out. I don’t know how she does that. She tells me it is because she is always happy, day and night. I can wake her up in the middle of the night, take her out on the motorbike in cold, pouring rain and she will STILL be giggling and laughing…even the couple of times we slid off the bike into the mud. How can you NOT love a woman like that? Because of this I never get annoyed with her. I DO get angry with situations but never take it out on her personally. Whenever I start ranting and raving about something, she just smiles and says “Remember I love you,” and that just breaks me up and I start to laugh with her.
So, the above is MY secret to a lasting relationship. Maybe you can find something there that will improve yours.
I am from Sheffield in the UK and have lived in several other countries including France, Canada, USA, Bahamas, Jamaica and Colombia. I am now living in Indonesia which I personally believe is the best of the bunch. I am married to a local girl and we are so happy together that we started a webpage to introduce Western men to Indonesian women our webpage Yahoo Messenger ID is exbrit69