Many of us gagged upon reading the manipulative games touted in The Rules. We yearned to be authentic with the men we dated, but found that by sharing our feelings toward a man too early, he went poof. We never knew if it was out of fear or boredom that the chase was over.
Enter the book The Spiritual Rules of Engagement by Yehuda Berg, a kabbalah*-teaching man who uses these ancient teachings to tell women how to behave in matters of the heart.
Generally, I like his approach, coming from a spiritual perspective. He corroborates what I’ve read from Alison Armstrong and others: A woman’s job is to receive and a man’s job is to give. His goal is to make her happy and her job is to let him. He is happy when he pleases her.
Now before you think this book is really just teaching women to be divas (not goddesses!), he says that women are the relationship managers. If we expect and allow men to do this, no one will be happy. He uses the metaphor that the woman is the relationship CEO and the man is the applicant for the job (when dating) or the employee (when in relationship). Just like in a job, you don’t let the applicant control the meeting place, time or flow. When he offers when and where to meet, you suggest an alternative time, date or place just to show him you aren’t passive. You ask him the majority of the questions, answering briefly any he asks you before asking him another.
If his behavior doesn’t pass muster when dating, you don’t try to change him, you just decide he doesn’t have the right skills and/or attitude for the job. Berg doesn’t say if, as with a probational employee, you tell him what he’s doing well and what he needs to do differently to perform to your standards.
He does, however, say women shouldn’t order men around, but instead should ask them to do things, adding “for me” at the end of the sentence. So don’t say, “Honey, please take out the trash,” it’s “Honey, please take out the trash for me,” as then he’ll be happy to do this since he knows it will please you.
A core message is a woman will never be happy if she depends on a man to make her so. The happier a woman is with her life before and during a relationship, the more the right man will want to be with her. I agree with that.
After reading this book, I see I’ve been too nice in budding relationships, too flexible, too accommodating. I thought I was being in receiving mode, but it could be seen as too placating. I’ll try being more assertive next time and see what happens.
* The ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and using esoteric methods (including ciphers).