As the nation pauses to remember and celebrate what would be the 100th birthday of former president Ronald Reagan, the therapist/relationship coach in me has been reflecting not on Reagan the politician but on “Ronnie” the beloved spouse of Nancy. For those of us who remember the times of their time, what stands out even more than President Reagan’s wit, strength of personality and great optimism, is the devotion he had to his wife. Yes, he loved his children- but there was something about Ron and Nancy together that was unique, especially amongst those who hold office. Consider other charming, popular presidents and their marital relationships. How about John Kennedy or Bill Clinton? Even presidents who seemed to have solid marriages- George W., George H.W., Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon- did not exhibit the chemistry that the Gipper and his First Lady had.
Of course, what contributed heavily to how well they fit together was Nancy’s complete devotion to her husband- his dreams and aspirations were also hers and where he led, she happily followed- content to be in the background as long as it meant being with him. Even Michelle Obama, who has put her career on hold to be First lady and First Mother, will most likely return to her own career at a later date. As First Lady she has been active in her cause of childhood obesity and appears to have her own agenda, style and distinct personality. Not so for Nancy, who was always at her husband’s side- looking adoringly at him.
If you have never studied the pictures taken during their years together, consider taking special notice during this time of remembrance. In virtually every shot Nancy is looking adoringly at her husband. Pictures that show them as a young family, baby in arms, or children in tow, formal shots at White house functions, casual shots of them relaxing- there is a sense that they are the only two in the room or in their own little universe.
One has to wonder what helped to keep this bond between them so strong- through elections, temptations, and the extreme demands placed on the time and energy of the leader of the free world. Perhaps it had to do President Reagan’s mastery of communication. What could be a greater turn on to a woman than being with a man who verbalizes openly, candidly and with humor and patience? What’s not to love? This was a man she could actually have a heart to heart conversation with- and I’d bet that he gave her his undivided attention when she was speaking to him. Be still my heart, and the hearts of all those women out there who long for a deep, uninterrupted talk with their significant other.
To the guys out there- take a page from the Gipper’s play book and get her to fall more deeply in love with you. Look at her when she talks, don’t get distracted by your phone, the TV or something/someone else in the room. Let her know you heard what she said by paraphrasing it back or responding in a specific, on topic way. The way to her heart and to a more satisfying intimate relationship could very well be down a path you have been doing your best to avoid.