Ep. 18 - Podcast Thumbnail

#18 – Playing the Long Game

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Ep. 40 - Podcast Thumbnail

It’s another solo-cast with Andrew Love, as he talks about the path he took to getting married, his victories and struggles in his marriage, and his recommendations for how you can overcome your own struggles!


Episode Transcript:

Andrew Love: Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Love, Life and Legacy. This is Andrew Love. And today’s episode is just gonna be me – solo podcast with me – giving my testimony about my marriage and my situation and how my wife and I have overcome a lot. And honestly, it took us years for us to hit our stride. And I would have missed out on all the glories of year seven where it’s about to be our eighth anniversary, and every good thing that you could imagine started happening only at year seven. And I didn’t know what lovemaking was until year seven. I didn’t know what God and transcendental sex was until year seven. And I would have missed all that if I didn’t know what commitment was, if I gave up too early, if I gave up when the times got tough. So this is a message for you if you’re in the beginning of a relationship, if you haven’t yet formed a relationship or if you’ve been in a long term relationship. It’s for all of us to be able to look at ourselves and be like, how can I recommit to my commitment of loving my spouse or my future spouse? And I hope you enjoy it. I tried to get as personal as I could without getting graphic or creepy or anything like that just so that you could really benefit from all the hard labor that I’ve put into making love work in my relationship with my beautiful wife, Leon. Enjoy.  Hello, everybody. Andrew Love is in the house. And today is going to be really interesting. I am kind of on the fifth and a half floor of a very nice property here in Malaysia, just outside of Kuala Lumpur. And I’m looking out into Kuala Lumpur. I feel like I’m stalking it from afar, and it’s very beautiful. And I wanted to escape the echoey room. That was in another episode. So I’m outside. So if you hear a scooter because there’s a lot of those out here, or a bird, or if you hear a female screaming, it’s just me running away from giant bugs. Because I, oh my goodness gracious, I’ve seen some big bugs out here. Anyway, so I’m out here in Malaysia, and I wanted to record this solo podcast episode, entitled The Long Game, Playing the Long Game, something like that. And the reason being, that we are so socially kind of formed into a thought process that leads us to believe that love, like all things needs to be immediate and we’re very prone to quitting on love and quitting on people, when we don’t get what we want, and this is causing mayhem, in my opinion in our society, because people are giving up on love. I’ve, I’ve heard many sentiments from all over, you know, people just saying that love is fake. There’s no such thing as love or, or there’s this ambivalence towards love and people or the hookup culture is 100%, about denying the entire entity of a human being and just focusing on their body, which is like the least of a human being. Because that’s the one thing that’s absolutely going to get discarded. Right. Ideally, your character, your heart, your spirit, your love, that stuff that’s eternal, but your body definitely gets old; you can’t fight that. You can try if you live in Silicon Valley, and you’re one of these tech guys that think that they can create some sort of lozenge that can make you live until you’re 200 years old. Great, still gonna die. That’s the whole point. Dying is not bad, but it’s what we do with our bodies and whether our bodies are vessels for our hearts and our minds and our spirits, or whether we just let our bodies run the show at the detriment to our eternal lives. So I’m going to try not to rant and I wanted to really speak from experience. Did you hear that motorcycle? It’s like a mile away. It’s a very loud motorcycle.  I wanted to talk about my own personal experience because it’s going to be something that everybody runs into at some point. And if you don’t know what to expect, if you don’t see it coming and if you don’t have anybody to talk to, it can tear you apart. And that’s, you know, when you, when you’re in a relationship over the long term, you sees some crazy stuff. You see some crazy stuff that you yourself initiate, you know, some behaviors that you didn’t even know you had inside of you or bubbles up to the surface. But you also see this other person that you’ve committed to acting in a way that doesn’t make sense sometimes. And unless you make a habit of seeking resolution instead of running away from problems, and then it’s going to be a heavy burden. And for a lot of people, it’s going to feel like too much, and it’s going to feel much easier to just want to quit. So I really wanted to make sure that everybody out there understands that, you know, love is an eternal game. To be, it’s like a muscle that needs constant exercise, and it can become atrophied in this world very much. Because, you know, to use that analogy, we have a sedentary lifestyle, you know, people working on their computers all day, and it’s doing some bad stuff to our bodies. But also with isolation with pornography, with people being disconnected from their hearts and from their souls, their very souls, I see a lot of spiritual sedentary lifestyles where people say, oh God doesn’t exist. And then, but they haven’t prayed in two years and they haven’t sought after a deep response to the questions that your heart and soul have. You’re not going to get those questions easily. You got to dig deep. So, love is such a rich and powerful topic, but it’s also scary sometimes because with love and with commitment comes some stuff that you have no answers for until you go through it. No, no, no amount of reading books will satisfy that part of you that just needs to live through certain experiences. And so I’m going to get more specific, okay, because I’m speaking in generalities, maybe because I’m on a rooftop and I’m feeling zen. But specifically, you know, I was married and blessed. And if you don’t know what it means to be blessed, it’s a marriage ceremony. But it means much more than just “I’m committing to you”. It’s like two eternities committing to each other in front of a massive community, in front of friends and family, in front of everybody, together with other people, that, hey, we’re committing our eternity to one another for the sake of making this world a better place. That our marriage, the health of our marriage, is, in a way, a litmus test for how the rest of the world is doing. Because if we’re doing well, then we have bandwidth galore to help other people and if we’re struggling, then we’re not going to be able to give much to this world. And how can we expect, you know, North Korea and South Korea to unite or the Middle East to be peaceful if we can’t create peace in our own minds and in our own hearts and in our own houses? So I got, I committed to that. It’s a big, it’s a lofty, you know, ideal and I committed to that with my now wife whose name is Xu Younga. She’s from Mongolia – a totally different background than me. And you know, we got… that was eight years ago and it, like, I just don’t even know. Like, I we spent about seven to eight months kind of dating; it’s called a matching process but it’s really getting to know each other and learning, can I commit myself to you. And in that time really trying not to get physical, trying not to get too emotionally involved, but really asking deep questions, which is the exact opposite of our society. Because typically, you know, when you date, the first thing is you do get, you get physical. That’s what’s Tinder is all about that. You’re physical first. And it’s, it’s a horrible thing for our souls. I mean, I grew up in that culture, the hookup culture. And it, it was not healthy for me or for anybody that went through it. It’s not good practice for marriage. It’s not good for anything other than just feeding it an immediate need. But it comes at a great expense. And so we went the opposite way. We spent eight months getting to know each other and asking each other deep questions and I just wanted to do some recon with this person before I give you my promise which I wanted to mean my life, right? I want to give my life to you. I hope you guys can hear that scooter. That’s life here in Malaysia. It’s, it to me the commitment of offering my life should feel like life or death because I want this to work more than anything. I want to create a family that can withstand the test of time. But you can’t just give that promise lightly. So we spent, you know, good, good part of a year getting to know each other. And so that when we commit, we can commit with our whole selves. Our mind knows clearly what we’re committing to our heart feels ready and our spirit is just itching to go, you know, itching to make this happen. And so we did that. That was eight, eight years ago, almost, almost to the day, it’s like two weeks shy of eight years. And up until that point, I’d never been in a relationship that lasted more than you know, a year or two. Regardless of how much fire my relationship started, they all fizzled out and ended in just terror and people acting terribly – myself included. Um, but I, you know, went through this training process. Total abstinence. No porn, no masturbation, no nothing for years. So that I could reclaim my mind and my heart and my spirit so that I could offer those things to my wife when the time was right.  And so that was eight years ago. And then you know, that foundation, I bring that up because that’s my, that’s the only reason why I survived is because I spent that time prior to getting married, really learning to commit to myself and to my ideals. It’s really important before you commit to another person, that you learn how to commit to yourself and to your ideals and to God – who you understand God to be. And that evolves over time. And we all evolve, but I’m learning how the the act of committing and sticking to your commitments needs to come first, like you need to practice out first before you commit to another person. Geez, Luis. So, um, after we got married, things were pretty normal. You know, I worked hard. I was a pastor at the time. And so I worked really hard and my wife was okay with that. And I tried to encourage her to, you know, build a life, do whatever she wanted while I was away. But, you know, within, within half a year I think she was pregnant, you know, we were already in our 30s. And so for us it was like, you know, we wanted kids. We felt mature enough so we, we got preggers pretty fast. And so yeah within half a year she was pregnant. And our first son, everything was pretty normal, you know, pretty fine, that we had a great first birth. It was a natural birth. It was a little bit of a tug of war. A whole nother episode, how to deal with the war between midwives and nurses in a hospital. I was like a peace ambassador during my wife’s first labor. Kind of a disaster but we survived. And our first son was healthy. God, man. So, so happy. So blessed about, you know, that. And then we moved around a bunch trying to find out where to live. You know, my wife and I are both immigrants to America. I’m from Canada. She’s from Mongolia. And we’re both just trying to find where do, where do we fit in, because I guess we’re kind of oddballs in many, in many ways. And so we just were looking for feeling of belonging. So we bounced around a bunch. And then we ended up in Maryland, actually, of all places. I hadn’t even been there until I moved there. And I became a pastor for the second time, and then we ended up having our second kid. This was about three years after we’d been married, something like that. And then when my wife had our second kid, she really had a very, very difficult time. She had what most people would consider postpartum stress disorder or depression. But what I experienced and what she experienced and we’ve processed this, you know, it’s been years since that happened. But it was, it was a very spiritual, and I don’t know, as a spiritual problem as a mental problem, physical problem. Mongolians have a tradition after they give birth where they’re meant to not go outside, not shower, not do a lot of things for like a month after giving birth. And it’s just a time for mothers to rest and recuperate. But we didn’t really have a support system to facilitate that. And so she was up an at ’em and you know, she didn’t get to really eat the foods she wanted because she was in America, not Mongolia. And there’s a bunch of stuff that happened that contributed to my wife just basically, in many ways, losing herself, losing her mind. And she was very unavailable in every way, shape or form for the family for the good part of, you know, definitely a year solid of just intense, difficult, you know, my wife not acting like my wife. And then definitely two years, but then it went on, you know, in bits and pieces for three, four years where she just kind of lose herself. And so, I mean, I’m getting some stuff here. I’m just trying to give you context for what I’m, what I’m saying. Because during this time after our second son, I went from being a normal person to feeling fairly normal. You know, everybody’s version of normal is very different, but pretty routine, normal life, happy with my wife, happy with my life, happy with my kids. And then after our second son, it’s like, I lost my wife for a while and then I still had to make money. I still had to, you know, do something of meaning for this world. But at the same time, I had a wife that could barely take care of her herself. And so, and we were seeking advice and getting a lot of very different advice from different people not quite knowing what was going on, nothing really made sense. And pertaining to High Noon, it’s like our sex totally stopped. She was not up for it at all. She was not good company for herself nor anybody else for that matter. And I had to step up into overdrive and you know, be the mother and the father for a bit to let her go through whatever she needed to go through. And it sounds like I’m a saint, and some people might be like, oh, what a good guy. But I was, I was stressed. I was super stressed and I was in a ball of anxiety for a while. And I was, I was trying to cope with it and trying to, you know, really process it healthfully. Talking to people meditating, praying. But at certain points, it felt like it was too much and I also started to really get frustrated and start, in many ways, judging her for being weak because I didn’t understand what she was going through. But all I knew was that I was taking on the role of parents, both parents for two kids now at that point. And then in many ways a father to my wife who’s acting like a teenager, you know, she’s like, really unreliable, just really.  So I was just, I was in over my head, and I really needed comfort, and I couldn’t get that from her. And so that’s the reason, the real reason why I’m talking about this is not to talk about myself. I hope that you never have to go through this. But in that moment, basically, I felt like, wait a second – I did not, I didn’t sign up for any of this stuff. You were like… my wife was not like this when we met. During the seven months, she was never like this. And I felt like you know what, this is kind of a ripoff. I didn’t, this is not as advertised. You know, she’s a different person. I can’t handle this. I’m not, I didn’t want to be a single parent, you know? It was really, I had so much frustration and anger inside of me and it was eating me up. And it was, it was really hurting our marriage because I just had to keep moving things forward. That’s what I felt at the time and, and I wasn’t able to really give her the care that she needed, because I was just trying to take care of two kids and everything else. And I, so it was like, it was really messy. And I was so frustrated because this is not my image of a happy marriage or a happy life. And it wasn’t, again, it wasn’t just two weeks; it was it was a solid year and a half, two years-ish, where, you know, we tried different things. We started to move around. We started to travel more as a family, just trying to get out of our routines. And we’d have these spikes where things would work well, and then, you know, we’d hit these walls of frustration because it doesn’t matter where you travel, you’re always the same person and the same stuff will come up. So although environment change did help, to some degree, we traveled with our own selves. So the things… we experienced many cycles that were the same. And so, it was like, I had it, I was done. I was absolutely done to be frank, like I was, I was done, I had no answers. I had no kind of love in my heart for my life at that, just like, I, I believe deeply that, you know, in eternity and in God, and that life is a gift and I, especially having kids, I never thought about suicide. I just couldn’t bear putting that weight on my own children. But at the same time, I’d like, I was like, I give up. I I don’t know, what am I supposed to do because I kept on trying everything. And it seemed like the more that I struggled to make things work, the worst things got. And again, if you’re newly married, or if you’re a young, young puppy love, you know, you’re experiencing puppy love and yet… or if you’ve just had nothing but a beautiful, easy time of marriage, then I’m not saying that this is going to be everybody’s experience. But I’m giving you this, this kind of testimonial, as a way to say that even when times get tough, and usually I would assume I haven’t met anybody yet, who’s had an easy go of every aspect of their life, especially with marriage. For the vast majority of humans marriage is at some point, it’s a test of your will, to go to the very edge of your ability to love and push your heart further and further. And so I reached the limits of my own ability to love many times in our marriage. And here’s the essence of what I want to impart in giving this testimony is the only thing that got me through, the only thing that got me through was not my tenacity. It wasn’t… anything to do with me, per se, other than the commitment and my belief in the commitment that I had made to my wife, and to God, that I take full responsibility for my marriage and for my wife. And if you look at it, even just in marriage, in sickness and in health, that’s a part of the commitment that you’re making is even when you’re sick and that could be physically, mentally, spiritually; when you are unwell, I am here for you. And it’s the last thing we want to do, people, okay? When you have nothing left to Give, and you’re being asked to give, it’s like, it’s like squeezing a rock and expecting water or juice or something delicious to come out of a rock and it’s not gonna happen. That’s how it feels.  But when you really have a commitment, and you really believe it with your whole heart that you, that you want this commitment, that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make that commitment come to fruition, miracles can happen. And the greatest miracle of all is the miracle of growth. And seeing that you are able to overcome challenges you can’t even imagine. Because look what people are dealing with. There’s sickness, you know, there’s all sorts of sickness, people are getting sick with all sorts of stuff. There’s mental diseases. There’s what happens when you have a kid that’s sick or born with some sort of a defect. There’s all sorts of things that can happen. Hearing that causes a lot of people who cannot commit such fear, they cause such fear to exist in them that they just try to avoid commitment altogether. And I’ve been to, I’ve talked to so many people who are afraid of getting married, and they won’t say, off the bat, oh, I’m too afraid to get married. They’ll say, marriage is dumb. Or they’ll say things like the hookup culture is great, and it’s good enough and why do we need to commit and then blah, blah, blah? That’s them saying “I’m afraid”. Because if you ask them, would you rather wake up with a different person every day that you don’t care about and that doesn’t care about you? Or wake up with somebody who loves you more every single day and is committed to loving you until the end of eternity? And they’ll do anything for you. And that you can practice being that person for them. Which one would you rather? What do you think they’re gonna say? Of course, everyone deep down inside wants that. Of course, but our world causes us to be very skeptical that that’s possible. But when you commit, and you don’t expect it, anything of it. Like that, that was part of the problem is I had expectations that things were going to be smoother than, than they were and that caused me more tension. But with the beauty of this is that when you commit, you will find love where love was invisible before because you’re looking for it. You create it. It’s not a passive thing. Like when most people get married, most of my friends it’s like because they’re in a good happy place and things are going well so they get married. But when things get rocky, then they start to question. And when the momentum is saying divorce and it’s, it’s very easy to buy into that. But when you first commit and then, let the feelings come as they will. Because feelings come and feelings go. Emotions are all, you know, they, they’re very misleading. They’re all over the place. But when you have a commitment, that commitment is a container to be the incubator for love to grow and thrive. Word! Did you hear that? Love is the incubator. And so when you play the long game, expect challenges. You don’t need to hope for them or wish for them because they’ll be there because we all have many imperfections and they will pop up and they will cause us to either want to quit or, or, or I don’t know, just go away from the commitments to run away from the commitments we have. But that’s your exact opportunity to grow.  I just wish that everybody could understand this. I wish that we had been taught this when we were growing up and most people aren’t. Honestly. Most people are either taught a very lofty ideal and not given any tools to fulfill it. And so they start to, in many ways resent that ideal, which is why you see people running away from religion who were brought up in religious households because they can’t make sense of, you’re asking me to be this, but I can’t. So what am I supposed to do? Well, forget about you and these ideals. Or you’re just not given any ideals at all, kind of like me growing up. It’s just like, I just had to figure it out. And that’s a disaster, too. But you can save yourself so much heartache, so much pain, when you learn how to form ideals based on the person that you deeply want to be. And then understand that it’s a process. And if you want a happy family, it’s the same. Forming the vision of what it means to have an amazing family that you love and invest, that you’d be willing to invest everything into – takes time. In the beginning it’s kind of vague and it’s just like you see smiling faces when you close your eyes. A happy family. And then you’re traveling on your own private jet and blah, blah, blah. But that over time gets refined, and what it means to be a joyful, happy family. You know, for me right now our kids were sick recently, and just them being super healthy spiritually, mentally, physically, is like, I’m happy. I’m extremely happy. We don’t have to be doing anything other than them just being healthy. You know? So your definition changes over time.  But here’s the thing: has as it really, you know, to get into sexuality, too – that’s what High Noon is really, really all about; is helping people to have a radiant sex life. It’s so important to understand that sex changes over time, too. Every aspect of our relationship evolves over time, and when it becomes stagnant, that’s a, that’s a big problem. And you will either lose something because it just erodes and dies, or you have to evolve and bring new vitality to it. And that’s the same with your sexuality as well. So many young people, they have no idea what real sex is because they were raised to believe that it’s porn, and porn is like the furthest thing from wonderful sex. And I grew up also looking at porn, and I had all these ideas growing up, and I even, you know, I dated and I had sex outside of marriage, and it was all so fake. It’s all so ridiculously fake. And I really had to reorient myself over a period of time, unplug myself from how society perceives sex and how it portrays sex, and reformulate a vision that included God. I really felt the need to do that and then start again, fresh with the Blessing. And so you know, we’ve been blessed, like I said, in the beginning for almost eight years, and it took seven years for us to really hit our stride sexually. As a husband and wife to really feel like we’re creating something that is beyond ourselves, that is, that is greater than the individual parts. Because it’s not to say that we were having terrible sex or anything like that, but it wasn’t transcendental sex. And maybe once or twice it was like accidental where we had like a deep spiritual transcendental experience while we’re making love, but it was very, like circumstantial or just random. And I, one of the first time that it happened, I remember being like, well, how do we do that again? Like, what, can I do that again? What happened, you know? But now honestly, since we hit year seven, there is a level of openness that my wife couldn’t attain with her heart. She needed to learn. She’s never trusted anybody in the entire universe as much as she trusts me. And so she was never able to open her heart up the way she has with me. And that was something that took a long time of not just me talking and not just me listening, but of me proving over and over again that she can really rely on me. And from that she could really give me her whole heart, her whole mind, her whole spirit and her whole body. And when that happens, she just became like a phoenix in terms of her, her own sexuality. And our closeness is just like, it’s so deeply profound.  I can see, my God, what, what sex is in movies is such a joke. It is honestly like a turd, when it could be a steak, like the most delicious steak you’ve ever had. Or if you’re a vegan, the most delicious bean curd – or whatever vegans eat – that you’ve ever had, versus a turd on the ground. That’s that’s what we’re being presented with. And you can’t understand this until you invest in creating a love that is so deep and profound, that when you make love, you’re literally making it. You’re creating it together through investing in each other in mind, heart, spirit, and in body. And then I swear to you, transcendental lovemaking is like, it’s, it’s something totally different. Because it’s like God shows up and then, and then you both go to a different place, and it doesn’t mean that it’s gonna happen. Disclaimer, like, I’m not trying to sell you something. I just know that it’s available, I’ve experienced it. But I also know that it takes time and trust. And then by having more sex with more people actually leads you further away from true sex, real sex, honest sex, which is heavenly sex. Which is something that you know, learning how to even believe in God by yourself is one thing; learning how to have God exists within a couple takes time because you both believe in God in very different ways. You can’t avoid it. People are brought up differently. We have different perceptions. So formulating what God is as a couple is a totally different experience. So that, it’s all good, and it’s all, if you understand, if you’re in it for the the voyage, the journey, then it’s, it’s – nothing is lost. But when you’re after short gains and temporary satisfaction, it’s, you’re going to be in for a world of pain, a lot of trouble. And so I just implore you guys: play the long game. And Sammy and I, you know Sammy. You’ve heard him on the podcast. I proposed the idea of the Long Game for the podcast and he is like haha, because you know, phallic symbolism, blah, blah, blah. But I want you to please, if you’re listening this far, you’re doing great. Please, for the love of God and for the love of humanity and for the love of yourself and for the love of love itself, play the long game. If you’re in a relationship, don’t panic when times get tough. And if you’re in a dry spell for sex, do not worry, do not panic. I went through dry spells for months and months and months with my wife when she was going through hell. And in the beginning, I felt like I was dying. And then I remembered I’m playing the long game. And it was okay. It stopped being about my needs. And it started to become about our love that we were creating. And you know what, me helping in say, year four of our marriage came back and my sacrifice came back in spades in year seven in my marriage. Like in spades where my wife just thanked me so much endlessly for that, and she did not thank me at the time for the investment I made but she thanked me years later and she could see, she could see who I was. So please play the long game. Do not worry, do not panic. Surround yourself with a good support team. Find love beyond your own physical capacity. Love with God. And you’ll see a love that humanity has never existed or it has never experienced. And you’ll experience the love making that is transcendental and so beautiful. You can’t even, you can’t even imagine it. So don’t even try. Just start building something together with your spouse. And if you’re single, it really starts now. Again, like I said, you have to unplug yourself from what society paints as what sex is because it’s all the fakest thing you can imagine.  So, build a healthy relationship with sex, build your own sexual integrity. If you’re single, that means really controlling your sexuality so that you can give it when the time is right, when God is really there. Okay, so I’m gonna stop ranting. Thank you guys so much for listening. I hope this was helpful. We can go deeper if you want, or this can be a one-off, depends on what is needed. We’re just trying to create content that really helps. So God bless you and I will talk to you later.


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