The Golden Rule: It is probably a coincidence that my last name is Sherlock, but this has turned out to be one very long investigation that has lasted 26 years to date. I sometimes think if only we had a built-in Black Box Recorder, like those found on all commercial planes, and also had the mandate to investigate every failed relationship, then maybe we could reduce the high marital failure rate that exists in the western world today. Well, maybe we do have a built-in “Black Box” that is called “desire”, and maybe we were all offered the mandate to investigate our desire in the context of following the Golden Rule by treating others as we desire to have others treat us.
I think that the more we can explain and define how we desire to be treated, the more we can consciously treat others according to the same standards. This is nothing new; it is just putting into action what is required from the Golden Rule. How can we treat others as we want to be treated if we don’t exactly know how we want to be treated? As you can see, finding this out could be a lifelong process and has been the catalyst for this book. The general pattern now seems to be that we get to know each other, learn how we like to be treated, and then once we realise that we are not suited as friends or possible partners, we complain about it and them. I propose that we learn how we prefer to be treated first and then share those preferences upfront. If anything, it could save us a lot of time and heartache. Who knows, I may have rediscovered an ancient way to find your soul mate. If you set out to discover this information on your own, you could end up like me, reaching the age of 50 before being able to explain your desires. Or you might profit vicariously by my becoming aware of and learning to express my desires, and save yourself a bundle of time and energy.
Time to Treat Myself: “I will treat others the way I would like to be treated” is known as the Golden Rule or the Law of Reciprocity, as per Hugh MacKay’s comment in What Makes us Tick. I call it the Golden Treaty, since it is all about how we treat each other. But as simple as it sounds, it seems like the devil is in the detail. For example, ask me to simply answer how I would like to be treated and I might say, “Give me lots of money, chocolate cake, rub my feet and scratch my back when requested.” So, does that mean that I should treat others in the same way? Well, maybe. This is obviously going to take some time to work out. It is almost like we have been granted three wishes, and we need to come up with the very best of wishes that will have the most important impact on our own and also other people’s lives. Rethink Perfect is about determining how I would like to be treated. It represents what I call “my relationship treaty” or the consideration that I am seeking from my mate – a kind of guide as to how we would treat each other in our relationship. If I were a penguin, it would be my reply to her squawk and peck that she sends in my direction during our mating cycle or courtship, hoping for correspondence.
How I got to this Point: It would be remiss of me to continue if I did not mention how I got to this point in my thinking. My heartfelt thanks go out to my “ex”. Not so much my ex-wife, but my ex-perimental relationship. It was some 12 years ago, in August 1998, that I agreed to help a young woman stay in Australia, if she would help me test all my theories on love and relationships. What a deal, I thought. How could I resist, considering that I had been working on my concepts for some 13 years at that point and had never had a chance to test them in a relationship? So I accepted her offer and we spent the next 2 years testing my ideas/concepts. Well, I have to be honest: they failed me miserably. I had to rethink them all and basically start from scratch. In August 2000, 2 years to the day after we began our experiment, we parted company. Kate achieved Australian residency and I got my incredible experiences, which included so much data that I could have written a book on this alone.
The most important thing that I learned was this: when I asked her how I should act when she was complaining to me irresponsibly, she replied that I could simply say, “Thanks for letting me know that you have a problem, but now can you talk to me in a way that is going to encourage me to help you”. As soon as I heard this, I knew I had found something special. But it is only now, some 10 years later, that I truly appreciate what she taught me.
So I guess I have learned two valuable lessons:
1. That the value of conversing is not necessarily apparent at the time, but may be revealed much later. In my case, some conversations have instructed me as long as 40 years later. Wow!
2. That feedback can be split into two parts during the conversation: into content. i.e.. “Thanks for letting me know” and into delivery, i.e., “Can you talk to me in a way that will encourage me to help you”. It is only now that I am really starting to see the value of this in the context of conversing and feedback, and how it is a vital part of this whole concept of Rethink Perfect.
So I can truly thank Kate from the bottom of my heart for two of the most valuable and trying years of my life. Although I would not like to have to relive that time with nothing but the tools that I had then, I do believe that I am finally ready to try again with my latest ideas that form this book, Rethink Perfect.
The Social Trend Verses Diversity: In 1988, when I was 28, I wrote this poem in New Zealand in my quest to understand the mating cycle:
The penguin male sits upon the shore
The mating cycle begins in earnest.
She arrives in early spring,
to make her yearly conquest
A call, a squawk, a thrust of their beak,
This drive within to correspond.
To find the perfect partner,
or renew an everlasting bond.
Unceasingly these winds unwind
as male and female weld.
Instinct is the perfect way,
the social trend upheld.
But what of man and womanhood
As their beastly ways unfold?
Instinct is the perfect way
and this should we uphold?
What and where is the social trend?
And does the greatest number rule?
What squawk and thrust should I make?
Has instinct become the fool?
A “treaty” is defined as:
1. A formal agreement between two or more states in reference to peace, alliance, commerce, or other international relations.
2. Any agreement or compact.
I guess the closest thing to a relationship treaty today is the vows that are said and signed for in a marriage or matrimonial ceremony. I have been working on my pact, accord, or treaty for some 26 years and hopefully I am pretty close to signing off (metaphorically) on it. It’s turning out that I am considering a treaty without a pact, an agreement without a signed document, or what is known as a non-binding agreement – what I call a Rethink Agreement.
Some people might scoff at my efforts, but I say if airliners crashed as often as relationships do at present, then I doubt if anyone would risk air travel. Rethink Perfect is about realising that something that breaks on average around 50% of the time is far from perfect and needs some serious overhauling. If people chose their so-called life partners more carefully, as though it were a life or death decision, then I think more people would put more effort into finding their own relationship treaty, or use an existing one such as Rethink Perfect.
Rethink Perfect is my relationship treaty that I propose to use with my partner to peacefully co-exist; first, as a way to moderate any disputes with each other, and then to move forward and build a prosperous life and family together. It is my treaty or “squawk and peck” that I have chosen to find my mate or more so, help her to find me.
I also think that this form of treaty is transferable to other relationships in my life, such as with any offspring she might have in the future or with my siblings and parents. It may even be possible that it can be used in my business partnerships and with my boss or employees. At this point, however, all of this is an art not a science and this treaty needs to be tested, proved and improved.
I consider Rethink Perfect to be the essence of quality equality. As a work in progress, it is how I would like to be treated and how I would be willing to reciprocate with someone. It is the culmination of over 50 A5 journals filled with my thoughts on relationships, my experimental relationship and of countless conversations with people, about what they think makes relationships tick or crack.
Rethink Perfect is about being willing to look again or reconsider any thought on relationships at any time, with nothing being solid or allowed to form a dogma. No one concept is above reproach, with everyone and idea open to be questioned.
Rethink Perfect serves as my mating cycle, my mating cry, which will hopefully repel the ones that are not suited to me and attract the ones that are, out of the vast array of choice that we all have in this globalised world that we now live in. Below is the beginning of a conversation that I think we need to have. With Rethink Perfect in place, it will allow us to enter into such conversations and who knows what results we will uncover.
Who Should Initiate? One question that has had me stumped for years is who should initiate with whom? That is, should the man take the initiative or the woman? Now, when I ask this question, most people tell me that either one can and does initiate, and that it is equally done nowadays. At least they admit that in the past, it has been expected that the guy will make the first move.
So now it is apparently equal. Well, even if this were the case, I believe that it is incumbent upon the woman to initiate or at least take a more proactive role in selecting and I will explain why.
I am talking about the mating cycle here. Couples get together with the long-term goal of eventually producing a family. In this situation, I think it would be far better for a woman to initiate than a man since, in this situation, they are forming a partnership to have a child or children. She physically has the children, and he is the assistant child producer. She takes 9 months to produce the baby, and he spends 9 minutes and any assistance that he contributes during this production process.
It is her baby, for all intents and purposes. She has the right to abort if she so chooses, even if he does not agree. If they split up within the first few years, it is she that would get the bulk custody of the child. She does by far the most amount of work during the pregnancy and so rightfully deserves this recognition. No one could argue with this, I don’t think. So she is responsible for production and he is the assistant. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, that she would advertise for her “assistant’s” position to be filled? And that she interview the candidates to make sure that he is going to be suited for this very important position?
So she advertises and he responds. How does this play out in the mating cycle? I am not sure, but I do not believe that guys going up to as many women as they can and playing the numbers game is not going to achieve the appropriate result for such a mating cycle and could explain why a lot of relationships end up breaking. I think that when a man initiates it is only for one reason: sex for pleasure. It can’t be sex for producing his offspring as they are not his they are hers. When a woman initiates, it could be for one of maybe three reasons: sex for pleasure, sex for producing her offspring, or both. This will always keep a man on his toes, as he would never really know her end goal at the time. When a man initiates, it should be pretty obvious what his end goal is. He may not even realise this, but believe me, men cannot have a child. (Well not when this book was written).
Understanding this, I have been reluctant to initiate and have waited patiently over the past 25 years for a woman that understands what I consider to be her part in the mating cycle. Most people have scoffed at this, predicting that I would be waiting a long time. They have been right so far, but at least my concept has kept me out of trouble to date. And somehow I find it difficult to believe that just because the majority may believe in something different to me, does not make them more “right”, by virtue of numbers. It could very well be the blind leading the blind into the broad ditch.
The Cost of Sexual Relations: I think that if everyone had the conversation about the true costs of having sex, that we would all be a lot more cautious about choosing our sex partners. So what are the costs? Well as Clair Weaver reports in her article The Problem with Marriage and Relationships, Sunday Telegraph January 13, 2008:
“It is estimated that in Australia some $100 million per month is lost in settlements due to the failure of marriages or cohabitation relationships. In the US, it is estimated that this figure is around $1.5 – 2 billion per month, and worldwide the figure is upwards of a staggering $10 – 15 billion per month. This constitutes the world’s largest ongoing financial and social catastrophe.”
These figures are the financial costs borne chiefly by the men in divorce settlements. Untallied are the social costs to women that have to bear the main burden of bringing up their children after the divorce. But most importantly, the emotional costs borne by her children in dealing with such breakups are not included. Imagine if all of the social costs of a breakup were fully discussed before a relationship even began. That is, before we had sex. Maybe this is one way to curb such catastrophic social and financial costs associated with matrimonial breakups.
There is one way, however that I think us males can have our own offspring or progeny, or at least become a more equal contributor and bear a lot more responsibility for child birth. That is, to hang around and contribute financially, intellectually and emotionally to the child’s upbringing. Now of course this happens today but maybe it is occurring for the wrong reasoning. That is, out of obligation and commitment rather than understanding or “love”. But imagine if you both agreed that he would contribute for at least nine years. That is, one year for every month she spends pregnant. After this time the relationship could be renegotiated and they both could decide if they still wanted to remain in the relationship. That it takes some 9 years for the family to adopt the father into it, if he pulls his weight. If this were true and a valid understanding of the mating cycle, then it would give us men, a “real” reason to be supportive. Saving women from trying to create “unreasonable certainty”, by getting us men to acquiesce in the name of “commitment” and ultimately compromise ourselves. All under the banner of so-called “love” and “matrimony”.
(Matri – mother, mony – state of, or condition).
As reasonable as this sounds to me, it is obviously quite a radical proposal and I am sure that some of you will want to disagree with my reasoning. Great! But maybe the time has come to rethink a tradition that has been considered perfect and therefore neglected for far too long. With the poor state that matrimony is in today, maybe a few radical ideas need to be put out there and with the help of Rethink Perfect and its rules of engagement, the real conversation can begin. So please contribute to the discussion, by going to my website Rethinkperfect.com and add your descent or endorsement.
Your feedback is always worth considering.
We know very well what we need, but sometimes we not always know very well what we want. – Although there isn’t a right or possibly a wrong way to create a condolence letter, you can find accepted principles you should observe.