Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

human emotions

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money and marriage

It was reported that Michael Jordan and his new bride signed a prenup. (pic: bet.com)

The rich are different from you and me.

Couldn’t help thinking of this quote when I read about Michael Jordan’s prenuptial agreement with his new bride, model Yvette Prieto.

It was reported that should the couple end up divorcing, she will receive $1 million for every year that they stay married. And if the marriage lasts for 10 years, she will receive $5 million per year in the event of a divorce.

It was also said that the prenup will protect Jordan’s huge fortune.

I guess $1 million is small change to Jordan, in comparison to his total wealth.

Well, what about us regular womenfolk? What do we get, after a year, or several years of marriage. Let me count the ways.

The first year of marriage, he tells you on Valentine’s Day: “This is your day. You don’t have to cook” So we eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As the years go by, the Valentine dining out treats dwindle to two, then one. In some years, the treat metamorphoses into one of those standard heart-shaped box of candies.

The first year, he is all attentive to your words. As the years go by, a husband seems to lose the ability to hear the questions that you ask. Often,you have to repeat two, or even three times, before you get an answer or some kind of response.

Unlike Yvette Prieto, for regular womenfolk, you bank account may or may not grow during marriage.

But, then again, some things do grow in the relationship/bonding account: things like a shared history, and someone who knows your idiosyncrasies, and more importantly, someone who tolerates them.

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Simplicity in nature can be translated into simplicity in our daily lives.

The bamboo – its heart is empty.

It has become my friend.

The water – its heart is pure.

It has become my teacher.

by Po Lo-t’ien

Bamboo symbolizes humility and simplicity, and water purity. And I love the beauty and wisdom of this poem when I came across it recently.

Along the journey of life, I have met people who assess and treat you on what you are – your position, bank account or where you live. And, on the other side, there are those who, like the bamboo, reach out to you on your humanity, just as another person.

(pic: cepolina.com)

The bamboo’s way is tons better. I’ve found that when you approach others with an open mind, paradoxical as it sounds, this attitude brings both tranquility and adventure. When one has less material requirements  to “filter” or view an acquaintance or another individual, the simplicity brings with it a certain kind of relaxation. And at the same time, it enables you to get to know a wider range of people, which equals more fun.

Divesting the mind of material judgements and self-serving motives can be a tough task, but I believe it  is worth pursuing.

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Can love be distilled into a formula? Can a numerical figure help you keep your marriage happy and thriving?

Dr John Gottman, a research psychologist at the University of Washington, seems to think so. Recently, I read about his work in an article on relationships.

Dr Gottman has studied marriages for over twenty years, and has discovered a formula that is almost guaranteed to make a marriage successful. In all close relationships, there will be both positive and negative interactions. Positive interactions that keep the marriage thriving include compliments, fun, shared activities, expressions of love and co-operation. But there will also be negative interactions such as disagreements, hurt feelings and complaints.

Gottman’s formula is to apply the ratio of 5:1 between positive interactions and negative interactions. That is, for every negative interaction, there needs to be five positive ones.

Gottman observes that spouses who have five time more positive interactions to every negative interaction are highly unlikely to divorce, and that marriages which are headed for divorce show slightly more negative than positive interactions.

This is an interesting theory, and one that makes sense. As in all human relationships, a positive interaction give good feelings to both the giver and the recipient, and makes the recipient more willing to take the action again.

I don’t mean to be sexist here, but I have observed that with some couples, the husband is very nice and polite with friends and visitors, but is gruff and brusque with his wife. Hm…

It also make makes me think of a negative interaction like complaining or nagging. Okay, this time it may apply more to the wife. Sometimes, when one starts complaining, the activity takes a life of its own and you just can’t stop. In fact, you yourself don’t even know where you’re going or running with your words, but you just feel compelled to go on!

But back to Dr Gottman’s easy-to-remember secret of marriage. So next time, when you want to snap at your spouse, perhaps it might help to visualize or recall the 5:1 ratio. It might go a long way in strengthening the relationship.

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