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Equipping Parents For the Culture War

Guest: Rebecca Hagelin

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May 13, 2016

Have Some Self-Respect



Something changes the moment one of the two romantic partners begins to fear that the other may be slipping away. He complains about who she was with last night and whines about not being given enough attention. He parks his car near her house at night and spies on who's coming and going. He blows up frequently and makes impossible demands. These signs of desperation quickly snuff out a romantic spark before it can grow into a flame of love. The key issue to understand here is the importance of respect in romantic affairs. It is the fuel that feeds the fire.

I heard of a young man who overlooked that simple principle. He was determined to win the affection of a girl who refused to even see him. He decided that the way to her heart was through the mail, so he began writing her a love letter every day. When she did not respond, he increased his output to three notes every twenty-four hours. In all, he wrote her more than seven hundred letters--and she married the postman.

Romantic love is one of those rare human endeavors that succeeds best when it requires the least effort. Those who pursue it the hardest are the most likely to fail. And speaking of people who try harder, no one beats a guy named Keith Ruff, whose love affair became the subject of an article in the Los Angeles Times. The headline read, "Man Spends $20,000 Trying to Win Hand of Girl Who Can Say No." This is the story:


A love-struck man holed up in $200-a-day Washington hotel has spent, at latest estimate, close to $20,000 demonstrating to his beloved that he won't take "no" for an answer to his marriage proposal.

On bended knee on Christmas Day, 35-year-old Keith Ruff, once a stockbroker in Beverly Hills, proposed marriage to 20-year-old Karine Bolstein, a cocktail waitress at a Washington restaurant. He met her in a shoe store last summer. The pair had gone out a few times over a two-month period before the proposal.

To his proposal, she looked down and said, "no."

Since then, Ruff has remained in Washington and demonstrated his wish that she reconsider by sending her everything but a partridge in a pear tree. That may be next.

He is, he thinks, "close to spending all of my money. I'm not an Arab sheik." The tokens of his affection include:

A Lear jet, placed on standby at the airport, "in case she wanted to ride around."

Between 3,000 and 5,000 flowers.

A limousine equipped with a bar and television, parked outside her door.

A gold ring.

$200 worth of champagne.

Catered lobster dinners.

Musicians to serenade her.

A clown to amuse her younger brother.

A man dressed as Prince Charming, bearing a glass slipper.

Cookies, candy and perfume.

Sandwich-sign wearers walking around her home and the restaurant where Bolstein works, conveying the message "Mr. Dennis Keith Ruff LOVES Ms. Karine Bolstein."

Balloons, which she promptly popped. "What else would she do?" said the undaunted Ruff. "The house was so full of flowers there was no room to walk around."

For her father, a basket of nuts and $300 worth of cigars "to pass out to his friends at the Labor Department. It may sound goofy, but I like him."

For her mother, flowers at the French Embassy, where she works. "I don't think her mother likes me. She called the police," Ruff said. "But I'll keep sending gifts to her also. How could anyone be so mad?"

For both her parents, a stepladder, "so they might look at the relationship from a different angle."

Unsurprisingly, Ruff said he has "a very, very strange monetary situation." He has not worked in some time, describing himself as being of independent means. "I don't care how many job offers I get. I'm not interested in any of them," Ruff said. "I'd rather think about her than sit at a job." He said he will spend his last dime and will beg for money if he has to, that he will keep on trying for 10 years, 20 years. "I'll ask her to marry me 50,000 times.”

"It doesn't matter how many times she says no. I will do everything in my power that's not absurd or against a reasonable law. I wouldn't stop if she became a nun. I've never felt this way before!"

Bolstein, meanwhile, said she is flattered, but too young to get married. She also said the house looks like a funeral parlor.

Ruff said, "I don't want to force her to love me, but I can't stop. Maybe this makes her nervous, but at least she gets to smile along with being nervous. Anybody would like it somewhat."

Ruff said many people he talks to are skeptical. "People would say my love is strange," he said, "but our whole society is falling apart because of the way people love. What is dating? Some guy putting his paws all over you?

"My friends in L.A. know how many women I've gone out with. I didn't like being a womanizer. I believe in the old values. I found the woman I love." Ruff said he spends a lot of time in his hotel room planning what to do next and occasionally crying. Bolstein, meanwhile, has been getting asked for her autograph where she works and has had a drink there named after her, a concoction of gin, vodka and rum entitled, "She Won't."

Ruff said Bolstein called him once. "But I hung up on her. I didn't like what she said. Reality, to me is disturbing," Ruff said. "I'd rather close my eyes and see her face.

"Fantasy is where I'm living. I'm living with hope.”

"And some very big bills."


There are several things ol' Ruff needs to know about women, assuming Miss Bolstein hasn't gotten the message across to him by now. He could cry in his hotel room for the next fifty years without generating the tiniest bit of sympathy from her. And that jet airplane doesn't mean a hill of beans to her, either. Very few women are attracted to sniveling men who crawl, who bribe, who whine and make donkeys of themselves in view of the whole world. Tell me, who wants to marry an unambitious weirdo who grovels in the dirt like a whipped puppy? Good-bye, romance! Hello, poorhouse.

On a much smaller scale, of course, the same mistake is made by singles in other places. They reveal their hopes and dreams too early in the game and scare the socks off potential lovers. Divorcees fall into the same trap--especially single women who need a man to support them and their children. Male candidates for that assignment are rarities and are sometimes recruited like All-American athletes.

From Dr. Dobson’s book Life on the Edge. Request this resource HERE.

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