I have written in various posts that actress Angel Locsin is the most beautiful woman in the universe. This conviction is somewhat being shaken after I have watched intermittently several episodes of a game show hosted by Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad and Willie Revillame. In the past few days, during commercial breaks of the early evening news programs I watch (Channel 7, Channel 2, CNN and BBC), I have switched the television to Channel 5 simply to watch Shalani.
Shalani first came to public attention before the May 2010 elections when news stories reported that she was the girlfriend of then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino. (One website alleges that Shalani’s mother died when she was young, her biological father is a well-known banker, and the persons she has come to know as parents are her uncle and aunt.) A few short months after the elections, however, we have come to know of the breakup of their relationship. Cyberspace has been filled with stories, rumors, etc. about the reasons for the breakup; both Shalani and PNoy however have kept silent about the issue.
Love must be tough
During the game show, Willie would oftentimes tease Shalani about her broken relationship. It is amazing to watch how calm Shalani is during these times. I don’t know if Shalani has ever read Dr. James Dobson’s bestselling and award-winning book “Love Must Be Tough”. If she hasn’t read this book which has sold three million copies as of this date, I highly encourage her (and other single guys and girls out there) to read it. This book discusses primarily the tough love approach to marital infidelity but the chapter titled “Loving Toughness for Singles” deals with sixteen suggestions on romantic relationships for single men and women.
(Dr. Dobson is the founder of the “Focus on the Family” ministry. I first came to know about Dr. Dobson in 1981 or 1982 when I read his book “Dare to Discipline”. I was then a brand new English teacher in Dona Aurora High School in San Mateo, Rizal. Since that time, this book has sold more than three million copies.
One other book by Dr. Dobson I have read and which you might be interested in is “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women”. More than two million copies of this book have been sold. Dr. Dobson’s opening words in this book “Women have needs that men do not understand” really jolted me. Dr. Dobson, for example, says that men do not know what women go through during menstruation or pregnancy.)
Sixteen suggestions for single men and women on loving toughness
The basic principles in human relationships, according to Dr. Dobson, are:
 “It is of highest priority to maintain a distinct element of dignity and self-respect in all romantic encounters.”In the chapter titled “Loving Toughness for Singles”, Dr. Dobson enumerates sixteen suggestions that will help singles to “conform to the principles of loving toughness in matters of the heart.” You can read online the complete suggestions part 1 and part 2 from the Arcamax website. Ever since I read this book eight or nine years ago, the suggestion that has really stuck in my mind is no. 11 which states: “Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you cannot live without.” The suggestions that apply to Shalani in her situation right now are numbers 6 and 7. Well, here are Dr. Dobson’s suggestions:
 “We value that which we are fortunate to get; we discredit that which we are stuck.”
1. Don’t let a relationship move too fast in its infancy. The phrase “too hot not to cool down” has validity. Romantic affairs that begin in a frenzy frequently burn themselves out. Take it one step at a time. (Note: Please read my post “Love Potion No. 9”.)So, who do I think now is the most beautiful woman in the universe - Angel Locsin or Shalani Soledad? Hmm, let me watch Shalani’s show tonight and then I will let you know ...
2. Don’t discuss your personal inadequacies and flaws in great detail when the relationship is new.
3. Remember that respect precedes love. Build it stone upon stone.
4. Don’t call too often on the phone or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you.
5. Don’t be too quick to reveal your desire to get married -- or that you think you’ve just found Mr. Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you’ll throw him or her into panic.
6. Most important: Relationships are constantly being “tested” by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling back from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival.
In each instance, the question being asked is, “How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one: “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs.
7. Extending the same concept, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers. The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he or she handles that crisis. If the hurting individual can remain calm, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. It often happens that way. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything.
8. Do not depend entirely upon each other for the satisfaction of every emotional need.
9. Guard against selfishness in your love affair.
10. Beware of blindness to obvious warning signs that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted, hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc.
11. Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you cannot live without.
12. Beginning early in the dating relationship, treat the other person with respect and expect the same in return.
13. Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness!
14. If genuine love has escaped you thus far, don't begin believing that “no one would ever want me.” That is a deadly trap that can destroy you emotionally! Millions of people are looking for someone to love. The problem is finding one another! (Note: Please read my post “The One and Only ”)
15. Regardless of how brilliant the love affair has been, take time to “check your assumptions” with your partner before committing yourself to marriage.
16. Sexual familiarity can be deadly to a relationship. In addition to the many moral, spiritual and physical reasons for remaining virgins until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages as well. Though it’s an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect “easy” women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word. It’s pronounced “NO!”