Arthur Ashe is credited with saying, “Trust has to be earned, and should come only after the passage of time.” That’s the conventional wisdom. We think of trust as something people earn from us.
But is that the best way to build trust?
Surface level trust is common. It happens all the time. But finding someone you can trust with your life is a much taller order. That kind of trust requires a more proactive approach.
In other words, sitting back and waiting for the guy you’re dating to earn your trust isn’t likely to create a deep sense of loyalty. If you want that kind of trust, you’ll have to build it on purpose as a couple. And how do you do that? By doing something that’s both simple and terrifying.
Any time you hit a brick wall and lose momentum, there’s a good chance you have run up against a bottleneck, a constraint that holds back your progress. When you find ways to remove those constraints, it becomes possible to make a lot of progress really fast.
The key is to identify the constraints.
Jessica owns a small salon. She built the business on her own from the ground up. At a few years in, she’s done well. Until recently, that is.
Her client schedule is booked solid. In fact, she also has a waiting list. She’s hit a critical point of growth. She can’t manage it all on her own any more. A bottleneck has formed. The bottleneck is the limited amount of time she has in a given work day.
Each year around Valentine’s Day, food and recipe magazines feature articles about aphrodisiacs. I’m sure you’ve seen them. The idea is that snacking on certain foods will put couples in the mood for something more intimate.
To be fair, the things we eat do produce chemical reactions in our bodies. In that sense, the notion isn’t that far-fetched.
The list of foods that get labeled as aphrodisiacs includes chilies, avocados, honey, almonds, pomegranates and even oysters. The most common explanation for their alleged libido-boosting power is a combination of antioxidants and vitamins your body relies on for sexual function.
So, what’s the problem? With one notable exception, there just isn’t much evidence that any of them work.
In fact, sometimes the origin of a food’s sex-drive-inducing potential shows just how unlikely the myths are. Take avocados, for example. The Aztecs dubbed the avocado “the testicle fruit” because of the way they hang from tree branches in pairs. That’s not exactly hardcore science.
But there’s more. Even if antioxidants and vitamins can create an effect on sexual desire, your body doesn’t absorb that stuff and put it immediately to work. While there is evidence that a man will be friskier the next day if he eats a meal high in saturated fats the night before, it’s unlikely that any snack will put him in the mood in the next few hours.
Except one. A very special kind of “magic bean.”
It’s the formula for classic romance. It’s why Harry runs to Sally in the middle of the night in When Harry Met Sally. It’s why Noah tells Allie, “We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you,” in The Notebook. And it’s why Mark makes his “just as you are” speech in Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Sometimes opposites attract.
We can easily fall in love with people who are very different from us. It’s common for us to be drawn to people who are very much like us in some ways, and very different in others. It can make for an exciting adventure.
And, it can also be trying.
As a relationship develops, we inevitably reach the point that we have to deal with those differences. Some of the very things that were interesting and cute at first have the potential to become real obstacles later. What do you do, then?
Traditional couple’s therapy says to work toward improving positive feelings and interactions by encouraging both of you to change. Break the habits that frustrate the other person, undermining your connection. Embrace the things that build the two of you closer. It’s a proven method.
But there’s another approach.