Lenny Ravich
Successful Relationships

Successful Relationships

February 1, 2023

Hi and welcome back. I’m 86 years-old Lenny Ravich and author of the bestselling book, “Everlasting Optimism” and humorist keynote speaker in Hong Kong and London.

My cardiologist told me “I have good news and bad.” “Gimmee the bad news first,” I moaned. “You have to have an angioplasty immediately.” “So what’s the good news?” I anticipated. Without looking up from his computer he said, “If things don’t work out, and since you are 86, there’s a chance you won’t die young.” He actually said that.

Love Language

After reading Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” I have come to the conclusion that to have a successful relationship with anyone you have to be an excellent listener. I can watch television and listen to my wife at the same time but she needs the eye contact. She claims I’m not listening even if I can repeat what she had said back to her word by word. She needs to feel really listened to. That’s her love language. She has 36 more, but don’t tell anybody.

When my kids rage at me, I try not to answer and defend myself. I attempt to remain curious as to what they are saying and how they feel. If I could only release the need of having them see the world my way.  So I try and stay calm and blurt,” Wow! Tell me more ” How else can I learn to be in a successful relationship if I don’t pay attention to their anger, fear, sadness and joy? That could be their love language.

I told my wife she is perfect. If she’s not, It’s MY problem.

When I was newly married, I bought my wife a bracelet to show her my thanks. She didn’t respond the way I had hoped. I asked her why she wasn’t satisfied. She said that she related with excitement and love via flowers. From that day on, birthdays or wedding anniversaries are celebrated with flowers. What a relief! Flowers are so much cheaper.

Kids Will Make You Wiser

When my son called me to tell me he had auditioned for a corner on a Prime Time TV program and didn’t get the contract, I thought I had empathized with him by telling him that I was very sorry. For days he wouldn’t talk to me. I asked him why the silent treatment. He said, “You really didn’t care about my disappointment. If you were actually concerned you would have invited me out to talk about it. (What a narcissist! Just kidding. No, really. He got it from me.)

I understood right away that I had given him what I thought was my undivided attention, but that is not what he wanted. I pleaded, “Teach me what you need from me to know that I love you”.  And he did. I think I am on the path to learning his love language. Well, not actually. He’s a tough one. I’m still struggling.

Double Promising

When I was in therapy I had a regular time slot every week. One day I received a call from my talent agent asking me to audition for a movie. The hour of the screen test was exactly when I had an appointment with my counselor, so I called her up to tell her that I needed to break our engagement and added, “I know that you have kept this hour for me so I will pay you even though I can’t come.” I was absolutely shocked at her response. “What am I, a hooker? You’re going to pay me for the hour? And what about keeping your word?” I held the phone in silence as my mouth went dry. Then I said, “You sound like too many people in my life. I’ve got to work this out. I’ll be right over.”

I kept my appointment and never went to the audition. This shrink had hit on the number one element that was screwing up my relationships; double promising. I would make a prior arrangement and then if something more attractive came along I would call the first party and cancel. I had more people mad at me than Genghis Kahn. I couldn’t understand why. I thought that what I was doing was perfectly normal and even allowed others to do that to me.

This is living without boundaries and a relationship that has little or no boundaries is not going to be successful. From that one transaction with my therapist, I cleaned up my act completely and never double-promised again.

As I tell my audiences in London and Hong Kong: “Most characters in the Bible are flawed. I just happen to identify with them.” A lot.

Thanks for reading and be sure to peruse my next week’s blog “Choosing Optimism”


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