Louis Bodnar

Our 5th Anniversary

For this our 5th Anniversary, here is my concept of the spirit and essence of relationships on this planet as the Good Lord’s intended them to be. It is my One, Two, Three, Four of Intimate Human Relationships, now simplified to 1+2+3+4 = 4LIFE!!!!

I first gave this presentation 44 years ago in 1976 after being in law practice for five years in Oklahoma City. I was 31 years old. It was to a large group of high school graduates, at The Masonic Temple in Guthrie, Oklahoma, all recipients of Masonic Scholarships, which I had also received as a graduating senior from Lawton Senior High School in Lawton, Oklahoma.

The Scottish Masonic Scholarship had, in large measure, allowed me to attend Oklahoma State University, from which I graduated in 1969, and the Oklahoma University Law School from which I then graduated in 1972. As an alumni recipient of this scholarship, I was asked to speak to over 2,000 graduating seniors from all over Oklahoma that were 1977 scholarship recipients.

This, our 5th Anniversary post is a drawing together all prior posts not only to show in one post the essence of 4LIFE but also is a Celebration of Our 5th Anniversary, my wife, Joan’s and mine!

4LIFE Theory of Human Relationships Summarized

The start and spirit of my “One, Two, Three, and Four” theory of Intimate Human Relationships (referred to in this essay simply as “4LIFE”) is the “Self,” which is the ONE in 4LIFE.

So here for my readers, friends and family is 1+2+3+4 = 4LIFE: The ONE in 4LIFE, is the “self,” and refers to an individual human being with the Good Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ in that individual’s heart.

One of 4LIFE

As the ONE in 4LIFE, the “self,” refers to an individual human being with the Good Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ in that individual’s heart and soul that begins the circle of life for that individual at birth.  Who can look in the face of a newborn child and deny the existence of God?  In ONE, if there is no spark of life given by our Creator, then there is nothing…

Before I describe the TWO of 4LIFE, I’ll digress to tell you about some feedback that I previously from a good friend and reader of El Paso Sunrise. She said that, in a certain conversation between Steven Vandorol, the lead character in El Paso Sunrise, and another character in the book, a woman, Steven, in Chapter 35, starting on page 229, describes 4LIFE to her, his date in a restaurant, but she was totally confused and didn’t get it at all!

My reader friend was likewise confused and didn’t get the theory either, although she did enjoy reading the dialogue in the book!  Neither the character in the book, nor my friend, understood what Steven, the character, was talking about, or what I’m trying to say in this, my own theory!

Anyway, I didn’t think my theory was Rocket Science!  Just guessing as to why the confusion…Well, it’s just my opinion, but I think that confusion may be just what I call “blinders” which lots of folks in this world have – but that’s another conversation for another day!

For the woman character in my book, my showing of her lack of understanding and confusion was intentional!

So again, let’s see if, in this post and the previous series of essays about 4LIFE as a whole, I can try to simplify so it’s understandable to all, both male and female readers!!  The feedback made me realize that I had to simplify the presentation of my theory much, much more! If something is understandable to me, as the author, it may not necessarily be understandable to a reader.

Blueprint of 4LIFE

For simplicity’s sake, here is the “blueprint” of 4LIFE to guide my readers, so here is

4LIFE Simplified

One – Self
Two – The two and only important things on this planet: survival and the quest for emotional intimacy.
Three – “How to” have emotional intimacy with another person is to have the very three important traits of commonality, sharing and LOVE between them.
Four – The four-part definition of Love!

Two of 4LIFE

El Paso Sunrise, a NovelAgain, from my first “blog,” My Journey, and I’ll quote: “The Two in “4” represents the two and only important aspects of life in our world, survival and an individual’s quest for emotional intimacy with other individuals, the top being between a man and a woman as created by our Lord between Adam and Eve to begin the human experience. The product of survival and doing that well is peace and serenity, while the product of the quest for emotional intimacy is happiness and joy.”

In summary, the TWO of 4LIFE is the two and only important aspects of life in our world, survival and an individual’s quest for emotional intimacy!

Three of 4LIFE

The next part will be about THREE!! And I previously challenged, and I’ll now again challenge my readers, to turn my theory into a one-sentence statement!  Let’s try to do just that together, okay Readers??

I’m already formulating that one-sentence statement that everyone can understand as to the meaning of this, my theory!

The THREE in 4LIFE represents the “how-to” an individual connects with another to gain “emotional intimacy” in that relationship. The answer is that there must be three ingredients between them to begin an upward progression in intimacy for that particular relationship to be ultimately successful.

Those three ingredients are commonality, sharing, and love. A commonality between two individuals means that they have similarities in character, morality and life experience. It is so much more than a superficial “liking” the same things! For example, “You like Dr. Pepper too??! Wow…” It’s a commonality in morals, ethics, upbringing and culture, family relationships and life experiences.

For another example, that is why during the monarchy period of world history, the parents choose the marriage relationship partners. In many countries of the present-day “rest of the world,” ROW I call it, parents still choose the marriage partners! This is why in a Christian nation of America, the United States of America, two kids growing up next door to each other, then marrying, will have the best chance for a lasting, committed and successful marriage relationship!

On the downside, lack of commonality is the main reason that the highest percentage in failed relationships in our culture and divorce is cultural or racial differences.

Sharing, on the other hand, is the one to one contact between these individuals and includes the “good, bad and the ugly” all shared truthfully, honestly, and regularly. It’s honesty, understanding and the willingness to accept all that prior history, prior lives and experiences with all its attendant hurts, pain and emotions of those prior life experiences, all without judgment, criticism or anger. It’s a recognition by each that all that’s been before shaped that individual to the very present day of that connection between the two!

Finally, love is the emotion and feeling that binds them together as one.  It is both mystical and magical feeling and connection from one to the other that poets, artists, composers, and authors/writers have tried to define since Eve first offered the apple to Adam in Paradise.

How does one define LOVE, a word whose definition has eluded definition since the beginning of time? I think and believe that it’s a human “feeling,” a human emotion that is felt by an individual in their mind and heart toward another human being – the very basis of love is God and our Savior, Jesus Christ and Their LOVE for us human beings that He created in His own image.

Four of 4LIFE

Lastly, the FOUR in 4LIFE is the four-part definition of true and real love between two individuals and is applicable to all relationships from nodding acquaintances, to friends, to boyfriends and girlfriends, to husbands and wives – all human relationships between two individuals – and consists of: (1) passion, (2) tenderness, (3) commitment over time and the cornerstone of love, (4) self-love. As it’s been said, one cannot love another if one does not love oneself.

At this point, I would point out that all four are intangible “feelings” that we individuals have in our hearts, mind, and soul, especially feelings of passion and tenderness!

So here we go…and in our world ROW, Rest Of World, I call it, that’s all about “drugs, sex, rock & roll, and cell-phones” (some call them “smartphones,” but are they that really?) all of which are addictions or “enslavements,” and they are sometimes even called afflictions, aberrations, neurosis, layers of evil, or just plain EVIL – So, let’s de-emphasize all that and start the FOUR of 4LIFE, out of order, with:

(2) Tenderness

There is tenderness, a feeling to and about another human being, accepting the other person’s humanity, that they are human, that they have the same bodily functions, that they go to the bathroom, stink and have body odor, bad breath, have good days and bad days, mood swings, get tired, impatient and frustrated, hurt, and angry, just because just like one, the other is human as well! They are both just fallible human beings!

Examples of that feeling of tenderness toward another human being abound: when your wife is hurting or crying, taking her into your arms and holding her tight, or taking her sweet face in your hands and wiping the tears from her eyes. Listening to each other without distraction, worrying about the other, missing the other when they’re away!

Compassion is sometimes an expression of tenderness toward another human being or even an animal, a puppy dog that’s been hurt, or a bird…then there is…

(3) Commitment Over Time

Commitment over time is the tie that binds, the “till death do us part” in Christian marriage vows, and the “forever and always” of Christian marriage.

In today’s environment, in ROW, there is a predominance of fleeting hookups, one-night stands, and even in committed relationships, when the going gets tough, and work is required, it’s easier to end and go “wing-walking” on to other new relationships when the ugliness of promiscuity, pornography, and infidelity rears their ugly heads. (I’ll reserve “wing-walking” for another day’s conversation!)

The “till death do us part” in the Christian marriage vows should be finished by the saying “then together as one in paradise,” but is not, most unfortunately for our crumbling human condition.

(1) Passion

Back in order, then there is PASSION! Passion is much, much more than just sex! In ROW, passion is usually equal to sex. As is intimacy is thought to be equal to sex as well. Let’s define both “passion” and “intimacy.” The word passion is most often used in the story of The Passion of Jesus Christ and is the story of Jesus Christ’s arrest, trial, and suffering, at the hands of ROW, and ends with His execution by crucifixion and His Resurrection. The Passion is an episode in the longer story of the Resurrection! The word passion comes from the Latin word for suffering!

Passion is also the feeling of respect, pride and physical attraction to another and the excitement about that other person. It’s the, “I’m proud to be with this person, who I love, and I’m proud he/she is part of my life!”

And it’s also the physical attractiveness, the beautiful sunshine in her smile and beautiful soft eyes and face. The softness of the skin and feeling of touch. All are feelings toward another human being. It’s NOT defined as sex at all! Even in ROW passion is defined as a strong and barely controllable or compelling feeling or emotion, any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, such as love or hate.

Intimacy, ROW even defines it in terms other than sex or sexual, as a feeling of close familiarity or feeling of friendship, but only euphemistically referred to as sex.

And it’s also the mystery, the excitement, and feelings of, about and in the midst of the physical sexual experience. To know God — His sovereign power, His surprising mercy, His
sacrificial love, His satisfying friendship — is to hold the keys to sexual purity, even in a sex-crazed society. Especially in a sex-crazed society. As we set our eyes and hearts above, “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14) and more and more, we “know how to control [our] own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust” (1Thessalonians 5:14). We reject temptation like we know God.

Good Sex Is About God. Knowing God alone will not only help us avoid sexual sin, however. We have allowed Satan to seize far too much real estate in the bedroom. Knowing God not only arms us against Satan; it lights the marriage bed on Holy fire. After God made the first man and woman, but only after they sinned against God and were corrupted by Satan, God’s words to the couple were “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

Enjoy one another. Have sex like you know God. Fill the earth with the fruit of your love for each other, procreate and multiply by the fruits of that union, your children! Then raise those children staying committed to each other for them to also have the best chance for peace, serenity, happiness, and JOY in their adult lives as well.

If we gladly obey all that God has said about sex, within the promises of a covenant before God, he gives sex a depth the world has never known.

In any given marriage, there may still be major challenges to overcome, because sex, like everything else, is part of the fabric of a sin- broken world. I think and believe that sex is the basis of all evil in this world – all the afflictions, aberrations, neuroses and layers of evil, just as it is the basis of all good as well, for the children are products of a good, God-sanctioned marriage!!

But if we have sex like we know God, sex is about so much more than the mechanics of intercourse. It’s about God — seeing God, hearing God, enjoying God’s Blessings. As we count each other more significant than ourselves in marriage, outdoing each other in showing honor, we discover intimacy and a story so much more satisfying than all the other ways we’re tempted to use sex.

We experience something better than what pornography and impurity, infidelity, lust, adultery and perversion, all ever promised us. One need only look at the supermarket tabloids to see what sexual perversion has wrought for Hollywood and Washington, DC!!

Sex between a husband and a wife who know and enjoy God anticipates heaven like very few things do. It leads to that spark of life, the children, as GOD intended, to be enjoyed by the young in the procreation and carrying on the human race.

The feelings of exhilaration and excitement and fun! But then we get older. We get to be seniors. We age and our bodies and the physical capacities decline – but the feelings of passion and intimacy still remain in a 4LIFE relationship and are replaced by closeness, warmth, affection and caring!

Each giving to the other and not expecting anything in return. Each giving and receiving constantly filling each other’s daily life with tenderness and passion!

God’s love means giving all to the other and not expecting anything in return! I used to think that a marriage or relationship was like a bridge over a river with the man and a woman standing on each side and a relationship was them meeting exactly halfway. I now know that that “halfway” was an expectation and that in a good relationship each partner should give by going all the way to the other side all the time, every time.

(4) Self-love

Lastly, and back in order is the cornerstone of love — “self-love.” The cornerstone of LOVE – self-love – the definition of self-love is having passion, tenderness, and commitment with oneself.

So, in reverse order and in an attempt to close our own individual circle of life, that started with the “self,” is self-commitment. In that self- commitment, a lifetime commitment to one-self, when the going gets tough, we don’t just check out. We face the pain of an obstacle and by our own choice continue on living. We don’t commit suicide and we don’t take the coward’s way out and sell our soul to Satan.

We just suck it up and jump over that obstacle fence by grabbing our own bootstraps, as I’ve often said, by our own God-given freedom of choice, because that is sometimes the hardest thing to do!

Self-tenderness is the recognition that we are human that we have our own limitations or foibles. That we can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound like superman. That we have good and bad days, have moods and ups and downs. Get angry laugh and cry. It’s that acceptance of our own limitations.

Self-passion means that we as individuals, matter. Personal knowledge in our hearts that each of us matters! That one is proud of oneself, without hubris or ego, of who we are, or by own choice of what we’ve become! Its self-esteem, confidence coupled with peace of mind – self-respect.

4LIFE TheoryAll to close the circle of life and end back with the ONE of 4LIFE and self again as a rainbow that seen from the right angle above shows a full circle of 360 degrees. In closing our own circle of life, the circle of oneness with self that may be the hardest because we are human beings and are products of all that has gone before. All the experiences, pain, pleasure, horror inflicted first by parents, then by the rest of the world, our acquaintances, friends, good and evil.

And it is a circle that each of us, imperfect and flawed human beings that we are, cannot fully close and either Satan or the Lord will ultimately close for us!

Learn More About the 4LIFE Theory

So, we’re done! We have the full definition of 4LIFE! Any questions, readers?? I’d love your feedback!!

Now that we’re done, I’ll ask again: are you readers any closer to a one-sentence statement of the simple equation: 1+2+3+4 = 4LIFE????

I am and HAVE the 10-word, one-sentence statement…BUT I’m not going to give it away just yet!!

Readers, you all will just have to read my continuation novel, El Paso Sunset, a Novel by Louis Bodnar, to be published and launched in El Paso, Texas as well, by Morgan James Publishing in the Fall of 2020!!

Stay tuned! After all, the two novels taken together ARE also a grand and timeless story of personal transformation, passion, great love, friendship, and intimacy!!!! And a RELATIONSHIP between Steven Vandorol and Vanessa Carson, the two main (fictional)

All as we, my wife Joan and I celebrate our 5th Anniversary of our upward progression of our relationship, marriage, intimacy, and true love! Until I met Joan, I didn’t think myself capable of this much intimacy and love forever and always and 4LIFE!!!!