Month: November 2017

5 Love Languages Part Three

Something like 70-80% of divorces are initiated by the woman. Google why women divorce and these articles will show up.

– The Good Men Project article lists infidelity, boredom, fantasizing about others, wanting equality of work, and women’s expectations for more as main reasons.

– A collective Huffpost therapists piece lists being taken for granted; having the same argument over and over; not being satisfied with their sex life; not enough talking and connecting emotionally; and having outgrown their partner and seeing divorce as the only way of putting themselves first again.

– says it’s often about losing connection when the kids are grown; a realization that life is finite and slipping by, especially in middle age where caring for elderly parents brings new stresses that often test a couple’s coping skills.

Just summarizing this sampling tells us something of what might be going on. Connection is our greatest need. For most men, it’s enough to be respected let alone be loved.  Love’s meaning is different things to different people.

And it is here where 5LL and its ilk are wholly inadequate. For it’s not about love at all. Leave love to the poets I say, the secret to good marriages has more to do with lust.


Listen to me here: everyone wants to be someone’s chosen. And in most cases, it is women who do the choosing and orchestrate things so you end up pursuing her.

Nature affords preciousness to women not accorded to men. She has twenty of years of reasonably safe fertility; you have twice that or more. There’s a 90 year old farmer in Rajasthan who fathered a little girl in 2007 at age 90.

And yet, it is you she chose, for your power and your ability to conquer her soul. And for this, she has given herself completely to you, revealing bits of her mystery in the process.

Just because she has children, and perhaps a job and other responsibilities, does not diminish, in the least, who she is as a sexual being. Of all the men she could have chosen, you were it. It was your power as a man which gave you access to her body and mind, to her inner world.

This is what captivated you, captivated you both in each, your power and her mystery. This must always be honoured.

Each time I take my woman sexually, the clock resets to zero. The pursuit then starts all over again: the teasing, the flirting, the complimenting and the rest of the way we play the game between us. I date her for the first time again and again.

Though we realize we’ll give in to each other in time, it is never taken for granted. I must earn her once more; just the same way I did when we first dated. That is a truer basis for the pair-bond cycle and one which all men should keep in mind.

She is your Queen.

Missus and I did the 5LL test. What we found was most of the questions were things we already did. On any given day I could have answered differently to the 30 questions. She said the same thing.

Sometimes, I could use a pat on the back, other times a little help with a chore. Whatever. No one needs to tell us we need to encourage each other, help each other out, hold and hug and love each other physically or spend time together. So many questions she said she wanted to answer “both” but had to choose one.

She went Quality Time 10; Physical Touch 8; Words of Affirmation 7; Acts of Service 5; Receiving Gifts 0.

I went Acts of Service 9; Physical Touch 9; Words of Affirmation 8; Quality Time 5; Receiving Gifts 0.

Looks like today I needed to spend time with her, say nice things and touch her. She sure liked it when I accompanied her to the phone store to upgrade her I-phone this morning, entertaining the kids in the truck for an hour while she took care of her business.

When she finally finished she was pretty impressed I had gotten her a coffee at the McDonalds while we waited. Does that count as a gift according to Chapman? I suppose it’s at least partly the little things, you see.

We might take the test in a month and get new results, but following the usual, significance for men, emotions for women, generality. Obvious to me perhaps but I concede not to everyone.

As it was, my little girl has stomach flu and has been vomiting all day. It was a bit of an “all hands on deck” time as we both attended to our sick child, her taking the lead. As the baby whisperer, I backed her up and put our four year old boy to bed.

The other implication of 5LL is that you can’t figure out how to treat your lady well on your own. That you are so clueless something as basic as encouragement, hanging out together, helping each other and remembering to get her a coffee is beyond you.

In my opinion, it’s a bit of a red herring. The real issue is to treat that woman of yours like you did when you first met and leave 5LL as a cute Facebook post without discounting it altogether.

Better still, remember Gottman’s 7 principles and dream together. Often.

Maybe you have children or are planning to, or maybe you don’t. Each other’s investment in rearing offspring will factor in your attraction to each other. I know I based my acquiescence to missus at least a little bit on how she spoke about her own upbringing.

Above all, remember your relationship or family is a consequence of your personal power as a man. It’s what gets you access to her mystery.

Stay powerful, she needed this from you then and needs this from you now.

The secret to relationships is to put lust first.

Do that and love will take care of itself.

Christopher K Wallace

© 2017 all rights reserved

If you have any  questions or would like to work with me, you can find information under advisement options on the main page. Thank for reading along.

5 Love Languages Part Two

According to attachment theory proponent and developer of Emotions Focused Therapy, Professor Sue Johnson from Ottawa University, there are two main inquiries we need answered in a relationship. Are you there? Are you with me? These both must be answered affirmatively.

To me, the first question speaks to the feminine need for presence, listening, and being there fully for your partner. The second question is perhaps more masculine, referring to being on the same team, and having each other’s back.

Answer these two questions in the positive and you’ve got a good basis for a love that will last.

I think most women are irresistibly attracted to men of power. Your status in your woman’s eyes is a key marker of her happiness in the relationship. Less important is how your power manifests itself, whether you are the boss, well-off financially, intelligent enough to show potential, physically strong or even the bad-ass type. Power signals to a woman certainty. If she needs it, you’ll be able to provide, protect etc.

Men are attracted to women for looks first, and stay with her out of loyalty. Part of that loyalty involves how well she’ll mother his children if that’s in the cards.  If she’s loyal, she becomes his standard. When he thinks naked, he sees only her.

It is a testament to his adaptability that a man can learn to love almost anyone when the conditions are right. Furthermore, a man with a loyal woman by his side will defend her to the death.

I think this fits Johnson’s two queries. She needs his presence and power; he needs her looks and loyalty, and there is some of each of it in both.

In my decades of observing couples and living my own relationships, I note there’s something of a well-honed bullshit detector in most women. After all women are generally more empathetic and better at reading emotions on a man’s face. If a woman senses a man is being weak for no good reason, she will either rub salt in the open wounds of his weakness or hold him in silent contempt.

At this point, sex is pretty much out. Sound familiar?

Over two-thirds of conflict in a marriage is “perpetual” according to John Gottman. He’s the guy who can watch a couple talk for 15 minutes and predict with over 90% accuracy if they will break up within five years. The rest of conflict, “resolvable” stuff, is challenging but small change comparatively… so savour those communication victories for the sweetness they are.

In his book, After the Honeymoon, psychologist Dan Wile says you are inevitably choosing a set of unsolvable problems for the next decades when you choose your partner. The problems you choose are the ones you can cope with.

So how do you survive this dead-end? You live, you learn, and most of all, you laugh about it.

I like to put stuff back where I find it, or keep things in predictable places. Saves time and makes me more efficient. I don’t want to spend my life relearning when I do regular things.

Keeping our stuff in the same places is less important to the missus. Not a priority. It’s sometimes like a treasure hunt to find stuff in the house. While mildly annoying at best, a bit frustrating at other times, it’s not a deal breaker.

I chuckle at her, wondering what she was thinking when she tucked my stuff away to the point where I think I’ve lost it for good. When I find it again, it’s like a reunion. Over the 12 years I’ve been with her, she’s gotten better. Just like I’ve gotten better with money under her influence, though still working on it.

No complaints here, I don’t want to jinx the progress.

Want to read a good book about how to make marriages work? I recommend The Seven Principles by the aforementioned Gottman. When approaching a solvable problem, follow these steps (my notes added):

  1. Start-up soft rather than harsh. (How many times does flying off the handle not work for us to learn not to do it?).
  2. Learn to use repair attempts. (Take a shot at a solution as soon as possible. Then, listen more carefully and try again).
  3. Monitor your body for how tense you’re becoming. (Emotion is predictive, not reactive, and from interoception, experience derived concepts and social reality).
  4. Learn to compromise (make a deal; you can make those right? Give a bit; get a bit; look for the win-win).
  5. Tolerate each other’s imperfections (they become endearing after a time. Who wants to live with a carbon copy of themselves?)

Gottman contends it’s a myth you have to resolve all your marital conflicts to survive and thrive in your marriage. The key is to be constantly working things out good-naturedly.

The other big key is to dream together. Pillow talk might be a bit cliché but a version of it is essential in all marriages. In fact, Gottman’s principle number 1 is the idea of a love map.  Nothing beats dreaming together for big picture peace.

He follows it with 2. Nurture fondness and admiration; 3. Turn toward each other rather than away; 4. Let your partner influence you; 5. Solve solvable problems; 6. Overcome gridlock; and 7. Create shared meaning.

This bit about turning towards each other is a good point, also fitting Sue Johnson’s and her Emotions Focused Therapy briefly mentioned above. For example, rather than a guy getting freaked out about his gal’s relationships at work, it might be better to stand in front of her, gently touch her shoulders with both hands, look her in the eye with a slight smile and tell her you don’t want to lose her.

Turning towards each other sort of fits Chapman’s Love Languages. Knowing what missus appreciates just as she knows what I like can help make a relationship sail along more smoothly. That alone is not enough.

How do you overcome gridlock, those times when you’re both going nowhere on an issue? Gottman says you must be willing to explore hidden, root cause stuff.

It’s by uncovering and sharing the significant personal dreams you have for your life, as these unrequited dreams are most often at the core of what makes people stuck. He goes further to say endless argument is symbolic of some deeper difference crying out for attention before you can move on together.

So talk about your dreams, your aspirations together over a longer timeline.

Knowing this is such a precious gift.

Christopher K Wallace
©2017 all rights

5LL part three coming up. You’ll want to stick around for this.

5 Love Languages   Part One.

5 Love Languages? Give me a break.

I ask you: what kind of unfounded sorcery is this preoccupation with love languages?

It seems wherever I turn of late, in whatever forum, as soon as relationships come up someone asks the question: “what’s her love language?”

My, my, how far we men have fallen in just one generation.

Why in the hell would I want to know my wife’s love language? Does such a thing exist?  I have no intention of anticipating her every whim and desire trying to tailor my approach so that I become her best girlfriend in the process.  I know that’s an impossible dream. Wrong guy.

First out in 1995, Chapman’s book was rightly ignored for almost a decade and a half and did not take off until 2009. I’m not sure why… it took off at all. Oprah?

Only now, in addition to the original work, he’s also got versions for men, for singles, for teenagers, and for children, along with a 5 love languages book summary and a 30 day minute devotional. It may be out of control.

And all that’s in addition to another half dozen relationship books with his name on them. I’m pretty sure they’ll be an improvement. He’s an enterprising sort our Mr. Chapman, a marketing genius.

The author contends if only you knew your spouse or partner’s “preferred” approaches, magic between you will surely ensue. Fill her “Love Tank” by doing essentially what you do anyway, common expressions of devotion and appreciation for each other, only now named languages of love.


A kindly but fully indoctrinated soul on a post recently explained how he’s distilled Chapman’s game into the acronym CHAAP, with each letter corresponding to a 5LL equivalent , as in:

Compliments: 5LL Words of Affirmation

Help: 5LL Acts of Service

Attention: 5LL Quality Time

Affection: 5LL Physical Touch

Presents: 5LL Receiving Gifts

Is there research to back any of his claims up? Not much. The name is suspicious. (“You bought me a car? Now you’re talking my language, honey!!!”) Huh?

I suppose the good news is if your gal is the Receiving Gifts type, you can decide on the spot if that’s going to work for you longer term. (“I thought you wanted presence not presents, dammit!”) Everyone likes a gift, no exceptions. Duh..

Moreover, how many kids have a Love Language that includes Receiving Gifts I wonder? Isn’t that how Santa was created? Isn’t trading and receiving goods an imbedded trait in a culture dependent on each other for survival?

I think the idea of relying on 5 Love Languages as anything but a novelty pop quiz is weak. It’s the same kind of silly exercise we see on Facebook walls all the time. My friends and I find these amusing for the parts of them that are slightly true.

For example, only recently, I found out my dog personality in just a few moments of analysis: “You know about your loved ones’ needs very well and attack anyone who hurts them. The only way to get away from your power and strength is to never cross you. You’re as loving and as deadly as a Rottweiler.”

(Appeals to my protective instinct as a father and over-exaggerates the rest of it but I’ll take it on a slow Internet day).

Then I found out I was 31% undate-able, and 69% date-able. (Don’t remind my missus of what she already knows).

Oh, and I have an asshole quote: “I’m not an asshole. I am actually one of the nicest people you will ever meet. You’re just pissed because I can see through your bullshit.”

(I help people see through their stories and rarely piss people off doing it).

I’d put Chapman’s theoretical foundation on love languages in about the same category as these: cute, entertaining, and perhaps helpful to a degree, but casting a wide net with limited foundation.

Seems to me Chapman is taking obvious heuristic and repackaging it as if it’s the Shangri la of relationships, an ultimate panacea for what ails marriages, men, teens, and children.

And, well, everyone else too by the time he’s done. My advice is to skip the books and take the online test one time. That will tell you all you ever need to know.

I figure it’s only a matter of time before pictures start appearing of gullible souls flashing bookshelves with Chapman’s Complete Collection, all nicely arrayed by order of importance (or half read).

Anyone who studies these things knows an approach like the 5 LL is at best a way of getting people talking, and, at worst, a stretch into balderdash.

Should you try and be more sensitive to your partner’s needs? Duh. Does that need an answer? Should we try to understand each other in general? Again, stupid question. In what some call the age of empathy, this is yet another example of empathy run amok.

And that’s the problem with empathy in general. In a recent book, Yale University professor Paul Bloom cautions us by saying “if you are absorbed in the suffering of others, you’re less able to help them because achieving goals often requires inflicting short-term pain.”

Better to have something like compassion, or a version of cognitive empathy. That is, as Bloom continues, the “capacity to understand what’s going on in other people’s head, to know what makes them tick, what gives them joy and pain, what they see as humiliating or ennobling.”

Right about now you might be thinking, “Aha! That’s exactly what 5LL does!” Well, yes and no.

It’s just that 5LL is like the Myers-Briggs test given out all over corporate America: replication is weak and unreliable.

One day you’re an ESFI and a month later you’re an MBTI. In the same way, people’s life contexts change, and circumstances and maturity over time mean trivial preferences like those found in 5LL no longer hold up. They are a lousy way to go about things except on a very short term basis.

Relationships, and especially the differences between men and women, are challenging enough without imposing a “here-today, gone-tomorrow” rule of preferences, set like a trap to go off when you least expect it. What guy needs that aggravation? (“But I thought you liked chocolates sweetie? I’m on a diet asshole!”)

As human beings we are categorizers and meaning-makers. 5LL is a lot like following the Horoscopes: a little obvious bullshit for everyone.

Stay tuned. In 5LL parts two and three, I’ll speak to what really works in a relationship.

Christopher K Wallace
©2017 all rights reserved

Need help with this stuff? You can reach me at under advisement options



Today is All Saints Day in the Catholic and related traditions. It’s a day to remember those who have preceded our departure from this world. It’s a day to remember the dead.

I recall clearly the first time I came across this event. It was some thirty years ago when I was first in recovery from severe addictions and a life on the streets. Though no doubt I’d been trained as an altar boy to attend the service each November, my youthfulness did not allow me to take in how profound the day really was. A decade or so later it was different.

And by on the streets I don’t mean I was homeless. Far from having no place to live, I had many. In fact, one year I had thirteen addresses. Try getting your taxes done chasing mail at that many places. That may have been the year I stopped filing for a while.

No, on the street wasn’t a reference to no place to live. It just meant a place other than jail.

I was out on my own at age 15. My father suffered burnout at his job and decided there wasn’t room under the same roof for two roosters. Since it was his roof, I was out. What followed was more than a decade and a half of decline, a descent from living in a rooming house and holding a job to eventually living completely off the avails of drug trafficking.

I remember my room on Gilmour Street clearly. Drab and dreary, I had used furniture and a two burner hot plate stove. No fridge, so I put my milk for tea out on the window sill in winter’s cold to keep, subsisting on Clarke’s Stew and Kraft dinner, peanut butter and jam when I could. More than once I had to kick down the door of the communal bathroom in the middle of the night and evict the rubbies holed up there, one curled up drunk in the oversized bathtub, another on the floor in front of the toilet, whilst they protested my disturbing their sleep.

Though that room cost me only $13 per week, I often panhandled in front of the Hitching Post tavern at Bank and Gilmour. Every Wednesday, I’d take the #1 Bank and Heron to my father’s home to report in and get my stipend of ten dollars, my allotment until age 16. I had the wrong clothes and a big chip on my shoulder, drifting from job to job. From making sewer pipes to working jackhammer on a road crew to warehouse work at a cleaning supply place and a swimming pool supplier. I went through many jobs. I lacked structure after dropping out of school and losing touch with all my friends and family.

It was also a time of counter culture, where I overturned my religious roots while the Vietnam War and Nixon’s white house played out on the airwaves. There was a certain nihilism to the times along with the threat of an imminent nuclear attack during the cold war’s prolonged stalemate. I didn’t expect to see age thirty. That was also the consensus among my peers.

After meeting new big brothers out on the street to replace the ones I had left behind, I drifted into drugs. I entered the black market trade just as Canada’s immigration policy opened up its borders to influences from around the world.

 On any given Friday, you could walk down Montreal Road in Vanier (a square mile of crooks we called it) and buy the best of any of drug producing country. Ottawa was “hash capital” we often said, fed primarily through the port of Montreal. The Edgewater and Mapes in Pointe Claire were key points of contact while the influx of immigrants to Ottawa, descendants of Phoenician traders from the Mediterranean, facilitated things so that a full complement of the world’s drug offerings were available.

Branded hashish like Black Pakistani, Green Moroccan, Blonde, Brown and Red Lebanese, water-pressed Kashmiri, and the strongest Afghani from Mazar Sharif could be had from peddlers accosting your walk every few yards along the route. For more, you’d go just off the main drag and down a few steps to the basement tavern La Broue, where you could buy anything in any quantity. There the guys would all lift the table and reach under its center and pull out bags of quarter pounds of everything available.

My rule was if I stuck with hash, I’d never go wrong. I had good intentions. Ten years later I had been carrying a gun for many years and was actively dealing harder chemicals, fully immersed in the criminal element. That’s the problem with this sort of thing. The fistfights and taking sides in informal gangs as a teenage punk soon give way to the serious gun play of adults fighting life and death over turf as an organized crew.

Sure I did some time for shooting people and was shot in return. I’ve been hit with ball bats and hit back. I took knifings and broken bones in stride. I gave as good as I got.

But this one day I sat in a little Anglican church on James Street, not far from where I had started my life on the street a decade and a half earlier. If only I had been able to foresee the future I was about to live, but it doesn’t work that way. I was in church trying a version of the religion I’d been brought up on. It was Christianity and I was prepared to give it another shot.

That day the priest gave a little speech about the dead, about the importance of remembering on this special day reserved for them. We were invited to think of their names, to reflect on their lives and departure to a better place, and to light a candle and say a prayer for their souls. I knew I had lived, survived, where many others had not. This weighed on me deeply.

Daydreaming away in my pew, I began to think of all the people I’d known who were no longer with us. I began to count how many candles I’d have to light, asking myself, should I light one for each of them?

I thought of Tommy, shot in the back a few blocks away escaping police, he dies while jumping the fence in what was coincidentally my sister’s backyard. Tommy and I had peeled potatoes in prison, where he used to sing in a high falsetto, “Big boys, they don’t cry aye aye” and make me piss myself laughing.  Speaking of pissing, he told me once “You know something Chris, a cold beer on a hot summer’s day is like little angels pissing on the end of my tongue.” That’s always stuck with me as the most apt description ever. I’ve thought of Tommy often in summer since.

I thought of Dave who died the day before he got out of prison. He was this handsome dude with Popeye arms who had been my partner for a while. He’d rob banks and I’d drive and we’d deal drugs and he’d do rips. He had a lazy eye and had an amazing insight to how the street worked. It was he who helped me escape after I’d been shot and stumbled out into his Lincoln. He first thought I was over-amping on some really good shit, until I showed him I was plugging a hole in my chest with my finger to prevent the air from hissing out. He apologized as he dropped me off at the Riverside, telling me he was sure I understood he couldn’t stick around. By then all I could do was nod in agreement as each breath filled my lungs with more blood, kneeling on the ground before the emergency doors while he peeled off as attendants rushed out to get me. Dave didn’t live through the getting out party thrown for him by the guys in Collins Bay Pen.

I thought of young Mikey, who died while sitting in a chair in my living room while I slept in the bedroom. He showed up one night with his partner to pay off a drug debt. When I told them no more hash until Monday, they wanted to party. My gal and I and another couple were doing heroin. Mike and his partner were chippers and had done it plenty of times. I told them to help themselves and they did. At one point, I advised Mike’s spoon was too full and took some of the Persian Brown heroin out. He may have added more when I wasn’t looking. While I was in the bedroom nodding off with my gal, the other couple and Mikey’s partner let him die right in front of them. He was cold and blue in the morning. What a waste, he was such a good kid.

I thought of Greg, who was part of the couple there that night. He ended up getting busted for heroin and was facing prison. His girlfriend started dating one of the narcs on the team that investigated him and he spiraled into depression. He had this really nice red Trans-Am he let me drive whenever I wanted. We lost touch after his bust but one day, just before he was to start his sentence, he drove that car into his mother’s garage and left the engine running. She found him, cherry red lips and all, dead and cold.

I thought of Charlie, a good old boy from up the valley in Pembroke, son of a cop. Chuck was handsome and had a winning smile with brown curly hair, an improved Gino Vanelli look to him. He was funny and a brother to me. But he was a wild man: fast cars and fast women, and the drugs and booze that went with it. He died on Conroy Road after hitting a train in the fog in the wee hours. With him in the pickup was a gal who was getting married the next day and another dude, all gone in a fiery death. The debris went up the tracks several hundred yards.


My list went on and on. I sat there a long time after mass was over, taking time to think of the dozens of people who had perished from what was really drugs and booze. Sure, some were shot enforcing for others, for revenge, even under contract, but all were related to the drug trade. I’m not sure if making drugs legal back then would have helped any of my friends. All I knew is I had lived where many had not.  Call it survivor guilt if you like.

It’s been several decades since the day I sat in on this Christian tradition we call All Saints. If we believe we are all forgiven our trespasses while here, and eventually make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, then the occasion has even greater meaning.

Something tells me if this were even only partly true, I’d have to spend some time in purgatory first. In fact, I expect I’d see many of my friends there, still doing time, never having been able to rectify things while alive to make it through the Pearly Gates. I’m not opposed to a reunification.

If you call me tomorrow and ask me how I am, it’s likely I’ll tell you the same thing I tell most people when I’m asked. It may sound flippant, or a little woo woo for some, part of that positive thinking personal growth overreach we commonly see lately. But each day, I wake up and find myself breathing I consider it a gift. It’s what I’ll tell you tomorrow: I got to wake up and give it another shot at life. Many didn’t make it overnight.

Though I’ve long abandoned a strict commitment to religion, I still appreciate many of its charms. I respect half of us are probably hard-wired to believe in a power greater than ourselves. Indeed, for a long time I’ve co-opted a Christian prayer, giving it an agnostic twist. I like to say each morning, “This is the day the universe has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I know that alone is probably grounds for a sentence to purgatory. I’ll take my chances.

It is my little invocation, the manner in which I set myself to gratefully take on the challenges of the day.  See, my intentions are still good.

But there is something to be said for the traditions of the church. Its great Cathedrals, its ornate décor, the high ceilings with frescoes of various biblical scenes. The chanting and singing together as a congregation, the rituals of birth, marriage, death and burial. There is that sense of awe, the idea that some things are best left unsaid, or that cannot be expressed with words alone.

This is a calling within us all I think. I feel the same way when I look up to the clear night sky and allow my mind to drift among the stars. Words don’t have the kind of reach to adequately describe what we can contemplate in that instance. All things are possible is the message I get.

And there is reflection, a gentle reminder to think of those whom have passed before us, however their journey ended. We do it to honour not only their memory, but also to reaffirm our own commitment to this existence.

Perhaps then, it’s a day for all souls, the living and the dead.  This is worth remembering. After all, each of us lose cherished ones in our time here. 

Today, I share my soul cake with you.

Christopher K Wallace


All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints, is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. (from Wiki)

Roman Catholicism; Eastern Orthodoxy; Anglicanism; various Protestant denominations;

All Hallows Day, Solemnity/Feast of All Saints

White (Western Christianity); Green (Eastern Christianity)

Church services, praying for the dead, visiting cemeteries, eating soul cakes November 1