Lisa Sharkey: Now that Valentine's Day is upon us, we're all feeling the Hallmark pressure to be the ultimate romantics and say the things we're thinking (or even the opposite of what we're thinking) to our significant others.
But what if there is nobody you can call your soulmate? How do you really attract that special someone into your life? Here to answer my top five questions about romance -- whether you're married, divorced or a single parent who has never been hitched -- is Arielle Ford, author of "The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction."
Romance, Happiness, and Love: Answers from Arielle Ford
Juggling Romance and Motherhood
HELP! I have lost my ability to be romantic about the same time I discovered I was going to be a mother. What can I do to get it back and put my marriage back on track -- and in time for Valentine's Day, of course?
Arielle Ford: Ever heard of "fake it till you make it"? You may not feel very sexy (tired, sleepless, possibly exhausted), but try this anyway: Make a date with your husband, take a long bath, and spend a little time with your eyes closed recalling a particularly hot night of passion. Slip into a favorite outfit and find a quiet corner to sit on his lap and make out. Whisper in his ear and ask him to do all the things that turn you on. Willingness and enthusiasm count for a lot with men. Make the effort -- the results just may surprise you.
How important is acting in a romantic way to all-over happiness? When I try, I feel like a big fake.
Arielle Ford: Here's what is important in a relationship: Connection. Communication. Loving Kindness. Attention. Appreciation. Compassion. Often when people say they want romance, what they are really asking for is attention ... they want to be reminded that they are loved and appreciated. I believe we are each responsible for our own happiness, and we must also be the guardian of our partner's happiness. We can't make them happy, but we can certainly try to provide a loving space for them to reside. When they are off-track, rather than demand that they make changes, we can simply model behaviors that will show them an easier path to a happy life. Find simple ways to express your gratitude and appreciation for your partner rather than thinking of big grandiose "romantic" gestures. At the end of the day, we all want the same things: to be seen, to be heard, and to be loved.
My partner is not exactly the most thoughtful when it comes to flowers, jewelry, gifts, and cards. So I am always feeling like my expectations are not met. How do I drop hints, or should I just give up on the whole thing?
Arielle Ford: Expectations are a sure path to disappointment. We were raised in a culture that has brainwashed us to believe that receiving gifts, flowers, or jewelry means we are loved, cherished, and valued. There are a few ways to deal with this: one is to be very direct and ask for what you want from a place of heart vulnerability -- it would look like this: "Honey, I know you love me and you want me to be happy, and this year for my birthday it would make me really, really happy and I would feel really, really valued if you would buy me something special (you can be specific if you'd like)."
Another option would be to buy these items for yourself and sweetly show them to your partner and explain how much you adore the item, with the suggestion, "Just in case you don't know what to buy me for Christmas (or whatever holiday), I'd love to have this in another color." You get the idea. Making your partner wrong for not being able to read your mind won't make either of you happy.
Celebrating V-Day with Loved Ones
Arielle Ford: Since the core message of Valentine's Day is about love, show your kids how to give more love to those around them rather than get caught up in the romantic stuff. Bake cookies in the shape of hearts and bring them to elderly neighbors, or make Valentine's Day cards for friends, relatives, and teachers. Be creative, and remember that the lesson is this: love is about giving, sharing, and caring.
Finding Your Soulmate
Is there really a way to attract that special someone into my life? I am always harried, never have any time for myself, and focus all day on working and raising kids, ALONE! Where can I go to find my soulmate?
Arielle Ford: You don't have to go anywhere, but you do have to invest a little time, attention, and intention to knowing what kind of partner and relationship you are seeking. Let me tell you a story: My friend Peggy was a divorced, stay-at-home mom working in a home office with very little face-to-face contact with people. She lived in a residential neighborhood filled with families and, to her knowledge, not a single unattached man. Peggy decided the following: My soulmate and I are going to meet easily, effortlessly, and perfectly. This, in fact, became her daily mantra, and she developed an unwavering emotion of faith. One day shortly thereafter, she went for a walk with her dog, Noelle. After catching sight of another dog on the front lawn of a neighbor's house, Noelle bolted over to say "hello" to this new dog in the neighborhood. The moment the dog's owner walked out of the house, she thought, Hmmm . . . he's handsome! They started chatting, and in the middle of the conversation, she thought: This is the kind of guy that I would like to be with. He seemed gentle, kind, and caring, and he obviously liked dogs. From that point on, she stayed open to the way that Mr. Right would show up in her life, resisting the urge to "make something happen," and having faith in the universe, its timing, and its wisdom.
Then, one snowy winter morning, her doorbell rang, and there was her new neighbor, asking her to take care of his dog because his doggy babysitter wasn't available and he had to go to work. When he came to pick up his dog that afternoon, Peggy invited him in for coffee, and the rest, as they say, is history. They fell in love and married two and a half years later.
It's not your job to know how or when or where you will meet your beloved, but it is your job to set clear intentions and to put out the cosmic welcome mat by opening your heart and mind to all possibilities.
You can learn a whole lot more about Arielle's Soulmate Secret by ordering her book, The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction, and visiting her website, soulmatesecret.com.
|Lisa Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development for HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. Sharkey also served as Senior Producer for ABC's "Good Morning America." Lisa and her husband, architect Paul Gleicher, completed one of the country's first total eco-houses, a "green" brownstone in Manhattan where they reside with their three children. They are the authors of "Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire" and have a website, DreamingGreenBook.com.|