Seven Key Ingredients to Happily Living and Loving Together
Finally a relationship book that deals with real life and real love. Written by a couple who have found (and worked at!) a true and lasting love, Perfect Combination teaches the 7 key ingredients to live and love together, all while keeping it 100% honest.
This book is like sitting down at the kitchen table and having that couple you admire tell you everything: the good, the not-so-good, and what you need to know to triumph in love while still remaining true to who you are. In Perfect Combination, Jamillah and David take you behind the scenes of a relationship put to the test: working side by side 24/7; the day-to-day financial worries that can stress any pair; and a painful, but ultimately happy journey to having their first child.
Each chapter in the book tells real life stories in a unique conversational style, with Jamillah and David playing off each other with honesty, harmony and a healthy dose of humor. Each section ends with a key 'ingredient' that sums up what any couple can learn to transform their own relationships. It is also packed with practical tips for "cooking up" love and romance.
If you think this book is about some "perfect couple" that never have a fight or haven't overcome serious struggles, you're in for a surprise. Being a "perfect combination" doesn't mean never having a conflict... it means working together to answer the questions: What is Love? What is Romance? What is Marriage?
Jamillah & David have:
- Each suffered with past relationship-sabotaging behaviors they found hard to let go
- Battled themselves and each other about what was important in their past
- Struggled to figure out that mutual appreciation is more important than gender roles
- Helped each other through hurting times on the way to becoming a family
- Learned you've got to let yourself learn love lessons, even when you don't like the lesson
Men, you'll recognize yourselves in David's struggle to drop his suspicious nature and eventually sacrificing his fear of vulnerability by choosing love above all. You'll smile to yourself when you read David admitting sometimes he expects Jamillah to read his mind and know what he wants.
Women, you'll see yourself in Jamillah's painfully honest struggle to realize that she could let herself be cared about and cared for without it being a sign of weakness. You'll cheer her courage as she leaves a comfortable corporate job to help them both live out a dream.
And you'll discover many more powerful stories and lessons when you read Perfect Combination.
Interview with Jamillah and David Lamb
1. “Love like kids act like adults” is your motto. What do you mean by that?
We have all been blessed to see how openly and beautifully children love, without fear of rejection or embarrassment. Seeing this, we can’t help but break into big, broad smiles when a child expresses their love. Despite these broad smiles, however, most of us turn our own love lives into a Quentin Tarantino movie and “get medieval,” “get even,” and “get over”. We forget to love the way we once did, instead we build massive, reinforced fortresses around our hearts to protect us from hurt. Complete with moats (baggage from past relationships) and knights (friends and family who, filled with their own past relationship baggage, advise us to protect ourselves and not open ourselves). Unfortunately, while we believe these fortresses protect us, in reality they are prisons that imprison our love and leave us unable to genuinely give and receive love.
We say no more, it is time to make the greatest prison break since Shawshank Redemption.
Here’s an example, we playfully call this the screaming greeting. When a small child is happy to see you walk through the door, you don’t have to guess about it the joy comes out as their little voices rise and they run and hug you. Now have you ever come home after a long-day at work and greeted the one you love without any greeting at all or worse yet a grumpy greeting, each of you distracted by the mail, the work day, the television, the phone or the thousand and one other things that distract us. Well—stop it! That is merely a façade another way of putting a fortress around your heart to protect yourself, but instead has turned into a prison inhibiting your love. Next time the one you love comes home after a long day of work greet them with the enthusiasm that your love deserves: run up, hug them and shout out your love for them. It will shake off the blues and bring you closer, you will find yourself cheered up and longing for them even more.
2. How do you keep the spark in your relationship?
Loving Like Kids is a living, breathing philosophy for us. We go on spontaneous dates—doing what we want to do in the moment, and we have no limit on public displays of affection (no matter how embarrassing.)
3. What are your fundamental tips for making a relationship work in your opinion?
First, Let Your Past, Be Your Past. One of the keys to being happy in a relationship is to be in that relationship. We all carry emotional baggage from past relationships around in gigantic duffel bags and oft-times those past relationships poison the current relationship we are trying to have.
You can never see the potential of your future, if you are always viewing it through the lens of your past. One of the most complementary things that someone has written about Perfect Combination was that the book inspired them to not make the next person pay for the last person’s mistakes, but instead to always put their best foot forward in a relationship and to leave the baggage behind wholeheartedly embracing a new opportunity to “get it right”. That is our message – that love and happiness are not elusive. They are accessible, but they begin with a ready, willing and able self, strong enough to make the journey and take the trip.
4. How did you meet?
We actually met at work. David worked in the New York office and I worked in the California office.
Yes, one week after starting work I noticed a picture of the company’s retreat from the year before, and my eye immediately went to Jamillah. Something told me she was going to be my wife. I know that love at first sight is a Hollywood cliché, but for me it was a very real experience.
A month later we had our company retreat in California and David and the rest of the New York staff came out to California. I have to admit that when I saw him there was instant electricity.
It took her ten years to admit that!
5. Now I know you two are in love, but like all couples there have to be disagreements sometimes. How do you handle disagreements?
Many relationships fall apart because the couple doesn’t know how to handle disagreements. We have seen couples explode over something as small as which movie to see on Saturday night. What we’ve found is that it’s not the things you disagree about that break couples up, but the ways in which couples disagree. We urge everyone to take Dr. Martin Luther King’s advice and “learn to disagree, without being disagreeable’.
6. What is the quality you like most about the other?
His sense of humor and youthful attitude. He keeps me laughing, all the time. And his belief in and support of me.
Her sweetness. People say you end up marrying someone like your parents and for us its true, even though that was not our intention, but the first time I walked into Jamillah’s apartment and saw a painting of trees that she had worked on, I thought, this is really bizarre, because my mother is one of the great tree painting enthusiasts in the world.
It’s true, and I don’t know how it happened, but David is a blend of both my father and step-father – the good parts.
And her support of and belief in me.
7. Most people think that working together actually will doom their relationship, but for you two, working together has made it stronger. How has this come about?
Originally we planned to produce our play, Platanos Y Collard Greens, for one weekend. We both had full-time jobs and thought that it would be a fun thing to do on the side, but when the audiences came that first weekend, they fell in love with the show and it took over our lives.
Suddenly we were managing a company of twenty actors and dealing with drama on and off-stage. We had to learn how to manage people and not let the stress of doing that damage our relationship. Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends & Influence People became a handbook for managing people and surprisingly we learned things that improved our relationship, one very important thing we learned is that people crave appreciation. When we first began working together we didn’t appreciate that fully and would sometimes take each other for granted without even realizing it. Once we learned this lesson in business we began making sure that we showed each other how much we appreciated each other, and it made our relationship better.
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