Try to look beyond physical beauty

Dear Maggie,

I wrote you in search of advice a while back and your words of wisdom have had a profound effect on my situation. Iím functioning far better in all aspects of my life and am much happier. Thank you. But as life progresses, I am well aware that weíre faced with ever changing, never ending challenges. It keeps us going but is harrowing at times.

Earlier this week, I came to terms with the fact that something is nagging at me. As I was driving between jobs constant thoughts of my wife raced through my head. Usually, I think about her and miss her while on the job. But this was different. I was feeling preoccupied and troubled.

Although we seek a significant other in our lives for emotional support, itís invariably physical attraction which ignites the flame. Thatís a fact of life. And The Man from Greene is no exception to this rule. Time to cut to the chase. Hereís the dilemma: Although I greatly value many of my wifeís attributes both inside and out, the aesthetic beauty of her hands attracted me first and foremost. Strange, but true. However, recently I have complaints relating to this very important issue. Her busy schedule and our hectic life have apparently taken their toll. The dry, rough skin on her hands has been completely turning me off. Even worse, sheís constantly breaking the really long nails that she used to have and waiting for them to grow feels worse than watching a pot boil. Holding hands is just less pleasurable these days. Furthermore, her back scratching ability has been seriously impaired.

Should I try to take over additional household tasks? I am already more than helpful around the house. Iíve told her of my concerns, perhaps better described as complaints, but she basically tells me itís just part of life and to deal with it. She blames dish detergent, the kids, just using her hands a lot in daily lifeÖ.the list goes on.

Am I being unreasonable? Whatís a man to do? Please help!

The Man from Greene

Dear Man from Greene,

I love a man whoís as honest as you are about things. Thatís really admirable, and I do have some suggetions.

First, get the woman a dishwasher, if she doesnít have one already. Thatíll keep her hands out of detergent. You can also start looking for dishwashing liquids that are noted for being gentle on hands. Have her use cooler wateróit doesnít have to be scalding hot. Watch our for any products that use alcohol as a base. And it wouldít hurt to take turns doing dishes either.

Hereís some more fun stuff, though. Get her a gift certificate for a manicure now and then. Itíll be fun pampering for her, will earn you some brownie points, and will help with the dry hand issue. And this next one is crucialóif you donít do another thing, do this oneóFind a Mary Kay Dealer and order her the ďSatin HandsĒ set. Itís the most amazing product Iíve ever tried. It includes a hand scrub, and a couple of lotions that leave my hands soft as silk. I love this stuff. Long nails arenít really practical for a busy mom, but if itís essential and she misses them as much as you do, she can always get acrylics.

Okay, now we get to the internal things. You know, we change as we age. Things get less firm, less moist. Things start to sag. Things start to wrinkle. I want you to start, every day, looking at the women you see everywhere you go, especially the older ones, and finding something beautiful about them. Every last one of them. The sparkle in their eyes. The wisdom in their words. Their pride. Their smile. The light that surrounds them. I want you to start noticing and making lists (mental or literal ones) of the things you love about your wife that have nothing to do with the physical. Because the physical stuff is temporary and constantly changing. I know you already know all that, but we all need reminding.

What we are, all of us, are eternal spirits, extensions of our Source, temporarily occupying these bodies. The internal part, though, thatís the real ďusĒ and it never ages and never dies. The physical attracts us to one another, yes, but thereís far more lying beneath the surface. Thatís the part we fall in love with, whether we realize it now or not.

Best to you both,


Note to readers: Todayís letter writer was also the winner of our Spring drawing for a free, autographed copy of my latest novel, LOVERíS BITE (currently #22 on the NY Times Bestseller List.)

Now we begin again. If you want a chance to win an autographed copy in my next drawing, send in a letter I can use for the column! All submissions go into the hat, and Iíll pull one out at the beginning of August.

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