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Bio Page

I am Norman Csarni. I grew up in Hungary, a communist


dominated country. I was 25 years old when I came to the
U.S. in 2000, and like many of my predecessors, I was in
pursuit of the “American dream”. As I passed by the Statue of
Liberty, the tears welled up in my eyes as my mind filled with
hope for a better life for me and my bride, Victoria.

Victoria and I struggled through many hardships as


newlyweds in a strange country, but through these difficulties,
we forged a healthy and happy marriage. I may not have a
string of degrees to impress you with, but by working through
our own marital difficulties and experiences, I wholeheartedly
want to help others keep their marriage alive. I created this
website as my personal mission to improve the national
“Successful Marriage” ratio.

Successful marriages require not only skill but also lot of


hard work. I have done an extraordinary amount of research
into the field of marriage as well as using my own experiences
to provide you with helpful tips, funny videos, rate yourself
tests and blogging capabilities on this website.

Victoria and I have been happily married 10 years and have


two lovely children. We want to help you do the same.

Www.buildmymarriage.com

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Contents
Course Introduction..........................................................................................................4

Lesson 1 Revisiting marriage.......................................................................5


Motivation (or Triggers) For Marriage...................................5
Aspirations for Marriage........................................................6
Misconceptions of Marriage..................................................7
Marriage................................................................................8
Ideal Married Life Draft Plan.................................................9

Lesson 2 Conflict Areas in Marriage...........................................................10


Common Conflict Areas......................................................10
Conflict................................................................................11
Classification and Types of Conflicts …..............................11
Sources of Conflicts............................................................12
Conflict Continuum and its Elements..................................13
Conflict Map........................................................................14

Lesson 3 Blocks to Ideal Married Life.........................................................15


Blocks to Marriage..............................................................15
Some Blocks to Marriage....................................................17
Real Blocks to Marriage......................................................18
Improved Ideal Married Life Plan........................................20

Lesson 4 Act Right on First Step.................................................................21


Marital Conflict Resolution and Management Process.......22
Marital Solutions.................................................................24
Complete Ideal Married Life Plan.......................................26

Lesson 5 Talk, But Walk the Talk................................................................26


Talk and Listen...................................................................26
Communication..................................................................27
Active Listening..................................................................27
Paraphrasing......................................................................28
Probing...............................................................................28
Feedback Giving.................................................................29
Re framing..........................................................................29
Framing..............................................................................29
Effective Communication....................................................29

Lesson 6 Keeping the Old Flame................................................................31


Old Flick.............................................................................31
Same Old Feeling..............................................................31

Closing Remark..............................................................................................................36

References......................................................................................................................36

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Course Introduction

Keeping your marriage is a long cycle. Courtship to marriage however is


longer. Thus, it is better (and easier) to keep your marriage than to make
another.

In Happily Married! A Myth? Or..., you will learn to keep your marriage (or save
when it is troubled). You will undergo six (6) lessons. You can get helpful tips
and indicative success (or failure) checks for you to know if you are applying the
lessons right.

Counselees are preferably married couples. Happily Married! A Myth? Or... e


Book however also welcomes unmarried couples, lovers, and even individuals.
Togetherness is the key to marriage. Thus, online program highly suggests
counselees to undergo all six (6) lessons together. Solely completing lessons
together will already nourish your companionship. If you rarely spent time
together, this is the best time. Individuals may take the lessons in solitary.
However, they are encouraged to share lessons with their spouses, partners,
lovers, and to-be partners.

This e Book highly discourages lesson skips. You should undergo lessons in
order. This chronological approach will ensure in formulating your ideal yet
practical married life plan. We shall use a simple and experience-based
teaching, counseling and mentoring methods to draw right reflection points.
There will be click talks (equivalent to lectures) to provide you the needed
directions, but it is the question-guided discussions that will provide you custom-
fit married life plan.

Part 2, Lesson 1 to Part 7, Lesson 6 is all about making your married life plan or
right direction in marriage. Part 8 is personal mentoring and acting on your
married life plan.

So, keep your ring and do not tie another string. Celebrate your marriage
and be Always Happily Married!

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Revisiting Marriage

Solutions to problems are often basic. Thus, we will revisit the basic concept of marriage in
Lesson 1.

Core Point!

Re-understand the concept of marriage.

Output
Your ideal married life draft plan

Reflection…

Motivation (or Triggers) For Marriage


Did you remember when you and your spouse first talked about marriage? Why did you end
talking about it?

Could the following events suddenly trigger you to consider marriage?

• attended a nice wedding;


• talked with a happily married couple;
• regularly saw your parents quarreled;
• carried a cute baby of a good friend;

Did marriage just pop up? Did you also think about it when you still did not have a partner or
after you lost your partner?

A friend started to think about marriage when his family continuously quarreled. He was
motivated to start a family that is different from his family. He wanted to prove he could be a
good father and husband. He was determined not to repeat the same mistakes that his
parents did. Marriage was his entry point to correct mistakes of his parents at his own terms.

Another couple planned about marriage because they wanted to have many children. They
simply wanted to have a big happy family. They even joked of having a complete football
family team.

Most single women I talked with really planned of getting married before age 30. Fertility is
their motivation. Some men think likewise. They wanted to see their children finish college
while they are still young. Sadly, more couples today only talked and planned their marriage
after the woman was pregnant.

All of them have good grounds of marriage. Humans are bound to be better like my friend.
Children complete marriages. It is obedient to the holy scriptures of going forth and multiply.
Fertility is an inevitable science that both men and women need to consider.

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However, are they good grounds for marriage? Were our motivations that started the talk on
marriage enough to justify that it was the right time to marry? Was meeting Mr. Right or Ms.
Right the right signal to marry? Was it the simple idea of sharing your life to someone that
married you?

It is important to discuss the primary motivations (or triggers) of marriage because it will revisit
the roots of your marriage. Understanding the roots will offer solutions to long-standing marital
problems and ideas to nourish the married life more.

Marriage should encompass the past, present and future. Understanding the roots is the
addressing the past. Reflecting on the ideal married life is shaping the future. Both the past
and future determines the present condition of marriage.

Aspirations for Marriage


Therefore, we shall also look to and more importantly, create the future. We shall however
review first how you see your married life before wedding. We shall re-examine if you hold the
right plan. We shall study if both your past and future are consistent. Whether right and
consistent or not, we shall check if you still hold those married life plan.

The main discussion and reflection process will revolve around the following focus questions:

• How should your married life be?


• What is a happy or successful marriage?
• Should it always be a happy married life?
• What should be the center of a lasting marriage?
• What are your understanding and misconceptions on marriage?

When you and your partner started talking about marriage, were the following your usual
discussion points?

• number of children to raise;


• school and college course your children will study;
• house, car, appliances, furniture, etc.;
• travel destinations and frequency;
• work, business, income, saving;
• wedding ceremonies;
• parenting styles;

To most couples before they were married, marriage is a stage where two people decided to
settle permanently together. They often see successful married life as synonymous to a
happy and financially stable married life. Married life is often centered to family, children, and
finances.

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After we re-assess your past, we will ask the same questions again. We will try to assess if
our original motivations, aspirations, and plans hold the right concept of marriage. We will
discuss the usual misconceptions of marriage. We will then make or revise your ideal married
life plan.

Did it ever motivate or trigger you to consider marriage because you simply love your
spouse? Did you ever aspire or plan how to communicate? Did you ever plan your roles in the
family? Did you ever plan how to keep your marriage?

Click Talk

Misconceptions of Marriage
The usual misconceptions of marriage rooted from the misunderstanding of marriage. This
misunderstanding eventually created the skewed motivations and aspirations for marriage.

Often, these motivations and aspirations are external to couples like children, family, finances.

Motivation should first be internal, not external. It should not be the events outside you. It
should start from you and your spouse. Motivation should first nurture your relationship with
your spouse. Relationship with your children, family, and friends are secondary. Marriage, in
the first place, is all about you and your spouse, not your children, family, and friends.

You were not married to your children, family, or friends, but to your spouse.

Did you witness that most failed marriages started wrongly before wedding. Separated
couples were just married because of pre-marital pregnancy. They were (forcibly) married to
just parent the child. Some were also wrongly married because of family pressures and
conditions. One extreme case is the family-initiated forced and arranged weddings. Some
couples married because of simple envy to happily married couple-friends and pressures from
societal norms.

On the other hand, happily married couples were married because of sheer love for each
other and nothing else external. Love kept their marriage.

There are however, long-standing marriages, but they were not happy marriages. Couples
coerced to live together because of their children, family, and societal pressures.

Another misconception is happy marriage as always or mostly happy marriage.

Happy marriages are not always happy. They include sacrifices, conflicts, and failures. Happy
marriages do not entirely equate to family, financial, professional successes. There are
successful professional or business couples with stable finances and good children. However,
the couples separated. Some may still live together, but they are not happy in each others
company anymore.

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Their children, family, societal norms, and money hold them, not love. Without these
externalities, they could have easily separated. Sacrifices, conflicts, and failures are part of
life. They make us better and happy.

Last, happy married life often emphasized romantic love and sexual fulfillment. Though
romance and sex are essential in marriage, they are not the foundation. Love creates both.
Without love, romance and sex are just not possible. If it is possible, it is not too authentic and
lasting. Romance and love are definitely spices to marriage. However, they should not be the
prime motivations and aspirations of marriage.

Marriage
What is marriage then? How do cultures, states, and religions differ and relate on marriage?
We ask.

Western cultures like Roman, Greeks, Europeans, and Americans universally define it as a
mutual agreement and social union for specific motives (politics, exclusive sexual access,
inheritance) and different reasons (spiritual, religious, sexual, legal, economic, and
emotional). Marriage can happen without legal and religious substance. History tells us that
some western cultures even include same-sex, polygamy, and polyandry to achieve motives.

While most cultures consider marriage as mutual agreement, most states popularly define it
as legal contract. Marriage legitimizes family and obligations.

On the other hand, most religions see it as a sacred vow between a man and a woman.
Marriage is a sacred sacrament and gift from God to Christians. Protestants regard marriage
as a glorification to God, not a sacrament or covenant between spouses and God. Anglicans
believe it is a commonwealth of state, church, and family. While marriage is a bond directed
by God to Jewish, it is a sacred, religious, and social duty for Hinduism.

Marriages vary across cultures, states, and religion, but they hold common grounds at a
surface with minor exemptions.

• marriage is a union of two people;


• wedding ceremony, either civil or religious, formalizes marriage;

Islam still practices polygamous marriage, but the number of monogamous Muslims is
increasing. Same-sex marriage is gaining news coverage, but it is still a minor call. There are
mutual agreements between two people without wedding ceremonies. They are not called
marriages today. They are cohabitation.

The two universal elements make and define marriage. However, they do not make lasting
and happy marriages. Wedding ceremonies do make millions of couples, but they do not
make many happy couples.

Marriage is definitely not merely about union of two people and wedding ceremony.

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Marriage is a lasting (beyond death) pledge between two people that requires shared
unconditional commitment and love in all life experiences. It is the best way to grow together.
It is an intimate partnership of life and love. It requires openness and honesty. It also
demands faithfulness, even if couples are in a polygamous state. It is not only a duty to a
pledge. It is a celebration of a rare gift.

Marriage is all about the following essential values:

Commitment Love Faithfulness Partnership Openness

Honesty Intimacy Growing All experiences Celebration


together

These values will guarantee lasting happy marriages in any culture, state, and religion. They
encompass pre and post-wedding ceremony. Marrying your spouse because you love him/her
is not enough if you did not commit to love him/her for the rest of your life. Committing to love
your spouse is neither enough if you were married for inheritance.

Each value can create lasting marriages, but compounding all values above can build happy
marriages. A faithful yet not intimate spouse can simply sustain marriage, but not keep a
happy marriage. Thus, it is important that you and your spouse possess all values.

Ideal Married Life Draft Plan

Lesson 1 suggests you to draw your ideal married life plan according to the concept of ideal
married life or essential values. Below is a reference to start with.

Concept of Ideal Married Life Activities (Strategies)


(Objective)
Open communication Talk regularly
Committed couples Being faithful
Good parents Play with children
Good citizens Participate in community activities

We suggest including your ideal family life in the plan because married life includes your
children. Including activities in the community level, as couple or partners, would be a bonus.
Marriage, simply, is not just an affair between two loving individuals, but with children, family,
and community. Marriage does not only have personal purpose, but also social purpose.

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Conflict Areas in Marriage

I remember my parents violently quarreled before. They shouted each other and broke things.
I did not figure the reasons, but I know my mother cried and my father was drunk. It was sad.

Core Point!

Identify and understand the usual conflict areas in marriage.

Output

Conflict map or common conflict areas in your marriage, their nature, and effects

Reflection…

Common Conflict Areas


We often heard and saw couples in divorce, separation, and marriage annulment cases.
Some just ended their marriage without legal actions. Hostile interactions and vigorous
disagreements commonly manifested conflicts. However, there are also candid confrontation
and problem-solving interchanges. Conflict can be violent and subtle, costly and cheap. Some
can be happy and sad.

What do couples usually fight?

The common conflict areas in marriage are:

• Finance/money: Couples often argue on financial direction and priorities. “Should we


purchase car first or house?” “Should we send our children to this school or that
school?” “Should we buy a new sofa or not?” “How much should we save?”
• Parenting: Couples often argue on differences of parenting styles. “Should we
physically punish or just talk to children who commit wrong?” “Should we let children
play in dirty playground or just at home?” “Should we hardly discipline children or not?”
“Should we teach children household chores or not?” Should they play with
neighborhood children or not?”
• Extra-marital Affair: Husbands often commit this affair, but wives are increasingly doing
the same.

Why do these marital conflicts exist? Why do couples argue on finances and parenting
styles? Why do spouses have extra-marital affairs? What really are conflicts? What cause
them? What comes to your mind when you hear the word conflict?

To understand and resolve conflict, specifically marital conflict, we must understand the
general definition, types, sources, and elements of conflicts.

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Click Talk
Conflict
Conflict is an existence of differences and disagreements within, between, and among
individuals or groups and structures which have devastating effects on an individual or
individuals, on the society or on the whole of nature, if unmanaged or unresolved.

The definition implies that conflict is part of life because of the existence of differences. Life,
for one, is diverse and full of differences. Conflicts are necessary evils. They exist for a
purpose.

It further conveys that conflict is not devastating or harmful at all, if only managed or resolved.
For a peace worker, conflict is not an absence of peace, but an absence of solutions. Finding
solutions is one of the purposes why conflicts exist. The process of finding solutions itself
encourages dialogue, which connects people and prompts human creativity.

Marital conflicts therefore are normal, only if managed or resolved. They are inevitable
parcels of married life that could even strengthen marital relationships and keep marriages.

Classification and Types of Conflicts


Life is diverse that there are different types of conflicts. However, they are classifiable into
four (4).

• Inner conflicts – within a person;


• Interpersonal conflicts – between persons;
• Social conflicts – between groups;
• Structural conflicts – in the structures of society;

Inner conflicts are personal ones. Though they are contained to one self, they still cause
harm, if unmanaged or unresolved. Your spouse struggling to defeat his/her own weaknesses
can harm his/her behavior. In the process of his/her personal struggle, his/her odd behavior
like temper can indirectly or directly irritate and harm people around him/her.

When inner conflict-influenced behaviors harm another person, interpersonal conflicts then
occur. Conflict hereto grows bigger especially if two persons have wide differences of
personalities. This is the common marital conflict.

Social conflicts include more than two persons. Family feuds are social conflicts. When
families of couples involve themselves in domestic family problems, a bigger problem
explodes. The conflict between in-laws is popular. Family feuds often aggravate smaller
conflicts especially when family tradition is the root cause.

Structural conflicts are bigger conflicts. They are often beyond ones control. They are not
mainly rooted from people, but from unchanging systems, traditions, and practices that people
made. When your spouse is against with your family traditions like “big” Christmas
celebration, it becomes a structural conflict.

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The four (4) classes of conflicts are not certainly linear. They are cyclical and intertwining. A
structural conflict like unacceptable family culture or social conflict like noisy relatives might
trigger inner or interpersonal conflict.

Sources of Conflicts
Now we understand the nature of conflicts, what cause conflicts to occur? Apart from the
principle that conflict is part of life, conflict roots internally and externally. They are generally
divided into five (5). They too are cyclical and intertwining. Each source may affect one or
more sources to create conflict.

Relationship problem occurs because of the presence of strong negative emotions of


involved persons. Your spouse’s temper and impatience could strike a small talk to an
argument.

Data problem is misinformation. Either the absence or lack of data causes this problem. The
absence or lack of data might not trigger conflict, but the presence of wrong and irrelevant
data. The abundance of data can also cause data problem, as information overload often
complicates situations. Misinterpretation of data can also spark data problem. Gossips of an
extra affair could strike a conflict between you and your spouse.

Structural conflict relates to factors external or beyond control to conflicting parties.


Geographical distance, lack of resources and time, laws, systems, and traditions are few of
the structural elements. Conflicts rooted from these structural limits often are difficult to
resolve. Home mortgages and credit card debts are often causes of family problems.

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Values differences are conflicts caused by the contrasting values of involved parties. Values
are beliefs that people use to define which is right or wrong, good or bad, worthy or unworthy,
just or unjust. Differences of values do not necessarily cause conflict. However, conflict arises
when people force their values on others. Arguments on the right parenting style could
happen when your spouse presses to tolerate your child rather than to discipline.

Interest problem occurs when one or more parties believe to sacrifice others’ need to satisfy
their own interests or needs. Marital problems could happen if your spouse wants to buy a car
while you want the house.

These sources or causes of conflict are again not linear. They are cyclical and intertwining.
Values differences could start a conflict by influencing contrasting interests and sparking
heavy coercive negative emotions. Structural problems, given its complexities, could strike a
data problem to couples and initiate misunderstandings.

Conflict Continuum and its Elements

Understanding the nature and causes of conflicts is not enough to resolve conflicts. Couples
need to assess the intensity of a conflict. Conflict continuum is a tool to assess that intensity.
Understanding the conflict continuum will offer couples the strategic and appropriate
interventions to resolve a conflict.

Use of a go-between or a INDIFFERENCE Cooperation


third party

WAR PEACE

Undeclared war Indirect expression of Openness Personal Cooperation


(litigation, annulment) resentment (nagging
silence, letter of protest

At the middle of continuum is indifference. The absence of any response to a conflict


characterizes it. Either the effect of conflict is very insignificant or the cause of conflict is
beyond control to the people involved.

Towards the left is the indirect expression of resentment. It can be in the form of nagging
silence. Indifference could also take this form of silence, but it does not aim to resolve the
conflict. Here, the aggrieved person or spouse ignores the other person/his/her spouse at all
means. Your spouse may not cook you food or ignores you in bed. He/she might not talk to
you in days or often stays out of the house. Organizations or groups show this resentment
through letters or subtle protests. The nagging silence aims to push the other person to make
the first move to resolve conflict. The intensity of conflict is still raw and small. It can already
be big but not explicitly expressed yet.

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When indirect expression does not work, involved parties now use a go-between or a third
party to intervene to resolve or facilitate resolution of conflict. This third party is the bridge
between conflicting parties. He/she will primarily channel communication. He/she will clarify
emotions and thoughts. The third party will have the parties understand the nature of their
conflict. A brother, sister, relative, or friend of your spouse may be his/her go-between to you.
In some few case, your eldest child. The aggrieved party often uses go-between. However,
some offenders use third party to clear themselves from the conflict.

If conflict is still unresolved, parties go to litigation, formal forms of conflict resolution or any
non-violent expression of anger. This is the undeclared war. Your spouse might be soliciting
legal advices or emotionally answers you back now. Emotional tension is brewing full at this
stage.

War follows when conflict is not resolved or parties did not reach a compromise. Emotions
finally flare up at this stage. There are violent exchanges, consequences, and retaliations.
Your spouse might be throwing house things or be hitting you physically.

Towards to the right is peace. First stage is openness. At this stage, parties are willing to talk
about the conflict. Either or both you and your spouse calmly approach each other to express
emotions and ask particularly the root causes and potential effects of the conflict.

In cooperation, parties literally cooperate to resolve the conflict. Here, you and your spouse
talk about solutions to your problem.

When parties find possible solutions, they willingly patch their personal differences to execute
the identified solutions. This is personal cooperation stage. In this way, you and your spouse
become one and achieve peace.

Going through the click talk, we see that conflicts are indeed important. The process of
conflict resolution does not only spark creativity in finding solutions, but also encourages
communication and personal cooperation or becoming one, which marriage espouses.
Conflict, in fact, maximizes human relationships if only parties are willing to resolve and
manage them.

Understanding the overall nature of conflicts will help you find solutions and gradually improve
your ideal married life plan.

Conflict Map

Lesson 2 suggests you to identify and describe your common conflicts with spouse and trace
its effects and causes

Conflict Nature of Conflict Effects of Conflict Causes of Conflict


Areas
Finance What to buy or not Partial income disbursement No shared financial plan
Parenting How to discipline children Confused children Different childhood experiences

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Marriage is a conjugal union. If you do not have shared values and interests, you would
certainly have regular marital conflict. Though there are irreconcilable differences, they do not
offer valid reason for not having shared values. Marriage carries the value of giving way to
one another, which can provide common grounds for disagreements. Communication is
essential in drawing shared values and acceptable solutions on particular conflicts.

Blocks to Ideal Married Life

Dark philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche pointed once, “It is not lack of love, but lack of
friendship, that destroys relationship.” Is it?

Core Point!

Find the real blocks to ideal married life or root causes of failed marriages.

Output

Your improved ideal married life plan

Reflection…

Blocks to Marriage
Now you understand the basic concept of marriage and conflict, we will start assessing your
marriage at this lesson. We will improve your ideal married life plan by looking deeper the root
causes of failed marriage.

What really destroys marriage?

Is it really the differences in values and interests? Did you just marry the wrong person? Is the
family of your spouse the real culprit to your ideal married life? Are we just living in a society
where divorce cases are increasing? Did you and your spouse start wrong in marriage? Is it
the illness of your spouse? Are there just many temptations that promote extra-marital
activities? Is it the increasing demands of work or business? Are you impatient and hot-
tempered? Is your spouse naturally silent and reserved type? Are you and your spouse just
geographically distant?

Are they the real blocks to a happy married life?

Well, there are couples who have irreconcilable differences. Yet they are still happily married
more than 30 years. One couple has a very talkative sociable wife and a silent reserved
husband. However, they are still enjoying each others company. They never shared the same
interests. They seem to be wrong person for each other, but they are not.

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A 5-year old couple has the father of the wife strongly disagreed on their marriage. The father
did not attend their wedding in the first place. The husband often gets insults from the father.
His in-laws disallowed him to enter their house. Yet the couples remained to be happily
married.

A parent of a friend started wrong in their married life. His father was a priest and impregnated
his mother at 18 years old. His parents married when my friend was one year old. His mother
did not finish college and did not have work. Only his father worked at hardware stores,
construction companies, and schools. Yet, his parents will be celebrating 35 years of marriage
with successful and happy children.

A famous orchestra conductor suffered Alzheimer’s disease. He absolutely forgot everything


in life except playing piano and the name (only) of his wife. He correctly calls his spouse but
never remember anything about his spouse. He suffered long years of grave illnesses before
losing his memory. Yet, they are still happy together at 70 years old. They most enjoyed each
other when the husband plays piano in the church.

Extra-marital affairs are increasing. In fact, there are two women for every man in the globe
now. With the greater geographical mobility and wider communication reach, couples are
more exposed to more temptations. Yet, a friend’s couple-friends still are happily married for
10 years.

One husband is in Florida because of his philanthropic work. His wife is in California because
of a movie shoot. They are often geographically distant and bring their children with them.
They both have excessively demanding work and business. They sometimes just see each
other every weekend. They are a commuter couple. It is an increasing social trend and the
Jolie-Pitt

couple is one of the millions of commuter couples. Yet, this couple is still (and popular) happily
married with happy children.

Divorce cases are indeed increasing. However, there still are couples in odd settings who
happily kept their marriages. The increasing trend is alarming, but it does not disprove that
there are effective values that keep marriages. In fact, there are living proofs of happily
married couples to prove them. We already discuss the concept of marriage in Lesson 1.
Thus, it is just too appropriate we shall understand the real blocks to marriage to prevent
more divorces. It is just time to revert the pattern.

What then are the real blocks? How these blocks relate to the basic concept of marriage and
ideal married life?

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Click Talk

Some Blocks to Marriage

Many literature's and speakers already cited factors to successful and failed marriages. A
priest once talked in a Christian wedding ceremony. He advised the newlywed couple that
neglect destroys marriage. Neglecting God and your spouse is the biggest block. He specified
ways not to commit neglect. He proposed to stay together. Always spend time and talk
together. Pray and learn to listen to prevent neglect. His advice was good, but he did not
specify universal values that block marriage, only ways that can and cannot be applicable to
all couples. Commuter couples can simply not stay together always, but some of them
managed to be happily married. Some couples just do not pray, but they still are happy
couples.

Another literature cited that pride, selfishness, and indifference are the real blocks to
marriage. Pride in marital relationship can be refusal of making the first move to resolve a
conflict. Not listening to your spouse is another form of pride. Pride makes us reject our
spouse’s ideas and suggestions, deny mistakes and faults and unapologetic. Pride often is
the intermediate, not root, cause of unresolved conflicts.

Selfishness or self-centeredness focused much on self. It only pursues personal satisfaction


and growth. It is not conjugal and inclusive of your spouse. It does not respect others. Often, it
is inconsiderate of consequences that may affect others. It generally fails to look to the needs
and desires of your spouse, even at the expense of your own needs and desires. This is the
exact opposite of love because love does not seek its own interests. It does not give oneself
away to another person. Selfishness does not also breed shared sacrifices.

Indifference is being careless and passive. It often carries irresponsible behaviors, as it never
considers consequences and effects to others. Selfishness and pride fuel indifference.

The three factors seemingly are the real blocks to marriage. They are however not. They are
just intermediate causes to failed marriages. Self-centeredness may closely count, but even
happy couples practice self-centeredness in the form of personal growth. The difference is
they share their personal growth and respectful with each other.

Some also cited double standard of morality, economic pressures, hedonistic mentality, false
values, and adultery are root causes of failed marriages. They are not. They are more of
consequences of unpracticed “essential values” in marriage.
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Real Blocks to Marriage


What then are the real blocks to ideal married life? What was the universal concept of
marriage again?

Marriage is a lasting (beyond death) pledge between two people that requires shared
unconditional commitment and love in all life experiences. It is the best way to grow together.
It is an intimate partnership of life and love. It requires openness and honesty. It also
demands faithfulness, even if couples are in a polygamous state. It is not only a duty to a
pledge. It is a celebration of a rare gift.

Tracing back to the universal basic concept of marriage, we will find the essential values to
marriage.

Commitment Love Faithfulness Partnership Openness

Honesty Intimacy Growing All experiences Celebration


together

Not acting them out creates and reveals the real blocks. They are the opposite of the
essential values to marriage.

No Indifference Unfaithfulness Self- Close


Commitment centeredness

Dishonesty Un-intimate Personal Some Hardship


growth experiences

Among all real blocks to marriage, absence of commitment is the most critical. Without
commitment, other essential values are hardly doable. Even if other values are present like
love, couples would definitely not sustain a longer happy married life without commitment. For
one, commitment makes unconditional love. When you do not commit, you eventually do not
act on other essential values.

Commitment makes the big difference in marriage. It dispels any ugly situations in marriage. If
you were committed to your spouse, you would all be willing to do everything. You would
mend any marital conflict immediately. You would solve any family problem at all cost. You
would be open to be selfless and go out from your comfort zone to be one with your spouse.
You would strongly face any challenges in your family. You would even learn to love your
spouse even if you do not love him/her first. You would creatively find ways to spice your
routines or spend time with your spouse amidst heavy work. You would dismiss any
temptations like adultery.
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Commitment was the real factor why the couple with a very disapproving father lasted for 5
years. Commitment held the famous commuter celebrity couple together despite their regular
geographical distance and load of works. It was also commitment that kept the couple whose
husband was formerly a priest.

Hate is never the opposite of love. It is indifference. You may hate your spouse’s temper, but
you can still love him/her. Hate still connects you to another person, but not indifference.
Indifference is not transcending. It does not extend oneself to another person. It does not care
and respect other people. However, an ugly attitude, hate still carries a sense of care and
love. Your hate over your spouse’s temper may manifest concern. Expressing your hate on
his/her temper simply signals your spouse to change it. This expression is part of the process
of becoming one with your spouse. Thus, without it or with indifference, you and your spouse
would never grow together.

Love made the happy married couples. It kept the wife to stay with her husband with
Alzheimer disease. It was also love that her husband still remembered her name. Love also
kept the couple with irreconcilable differences. Without love, they would never understand
each others differences and often clash. Love indeed is the greatest of all. It drives people
against all odds. It dispels differences in values and interests. It even transcends societal
structural like geography, traditions, systems, beliefs, and norms. This is however not the love
that is entirely emotional. Such love is temporary, often found during courtship and
honeymoon. The love that keeps marriages carries commitment.

Unfaithfulness often is the direct cause of adultery or extra affairs. Absence of commitment
and love fuel this. Faithfulness however could exist without commitment and love. Women
naturally are faithful. Evolution shaped their faithfulness. According to evolutionary
psychologists cited that women are hard-wired to be faithful to men because men provide
their children. Our female ancestors invest on children because women have limited
reproductive capacity. In fact, there are rare cases of women with two or more partners.

Unfaithfulness is the regular issue for men. Even if they dearly love or committed with
someone, men still are often in extra affairs. If men (and women) could always be faithful,
there will be no divorces, separations, failed marriages, and broken families.

Self-centeredness follows absence of commitment as the most critical block to happy


marriages. It is often the root cause of conflict. It makes irreconcilable differences. It makes
indifference's. It does not breed love, which does not seek its own interest. It discourages
giving oneself away to another person. It hates sharing and respect for others. It is never for
selflessness. Self-centeredness is the great antithesis of the concept of marriage—becoming
one or union of two persons.

Self-centeredness never encourages unity. It breaks oneness, which prevents clashes of


differences in values and interests. Self-centeredness is the prime reason why couples often
argue on financial directions and parenting styles. (This is why this e Book highly
recommends couples to follow lessons and formulate one married life plan together.)
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Marriage should be a partnership. Partnership still recognizes personal growth. You and your
spouse can act your real self in marriage. Such growth however should be inclusive,
respectful of others, and consistent with your marriage direction. You do not have to be
talkative if your spouse is talkative. You still can be silent. However, when time requires you to
talk, you should talk. Besides, other people can help you personally grow. Humans are social
being. We evolve because of our relationship to people around us.

You can grow together differently. Your differences however should be complementary. If you
are good in money, then you manage your family finance. If your spouse is good with kids, let
him/her discipline your children. However, these unique family roles due to unique
personalities should not inhibit your spouse to suggest on financial management. Likewise,
you can still parent your children.

Being close and dishonest are bottom line blocks to marriage too. You might commit and love
each other to keep your marriage, but being close and dishonest will not create an authentic
happy married life. You and your spouse would definitely be living a life of lies.

Openness and honesty are essential in the process of becoming one. They will unveil real
self, real causes of problems and effective solutions to happy marriage life.

Marriages often fail because couples only stay together on happy days. They immediately
break when problems occur. Happy marriages are not always happy marriages. Happy
marriages should include all life experiences in life—sickness, poverty, etc.

People often commented that marriage finally stops the joys in life of a single. Marriage
seems to be a hard life. However, it is not. People should celebrate it. That is why people hold
parties after the wedding ceremony to commemorate real celebration of life. Marriage is in
fact an easier life because you will share all experiences in life with someone.

Improved Ideal Married Life Plan

Lesson 3 suggests you to consolidate nature of common conflicts and concept of ideal
married life. This will improve your ideal married life plan.

Conflict Areas/ Nature of Concept of Ideal Married Activities (Strategies)


Conflict (Issues) Life (Objective)
Poor communication Open communication Talk regularly
Adultery Committed couples Being faithful
Differences in parenting styles Good parents Play with children
Financial problem Financially stable Financial planning

Marriage is a process, not a state; a beginning, not an end; a threshold, but a goal. In any
process of starting and accomplishing a goal, there is always conflict due to diversity of man’s
values and interests. Conflicts are necessary evil and parcels of life. Conflicts constructively
develop man, human relationships and eventually married life only when we deal and manage
them well.
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Knowing and understanding the roots of your marital conflicts is the first right step in planning
and achieving your ideal married life plan.

Act Right on First Step

At this point, we will clearly understand marriage and conflicts. We eventually drafted a new
or revised ideal married life plan. However, we probably do not have concrete ways to do our
plan.

Core Point!

Know the first right steps in your ideal married life.

Output

Your complete ideal married life plan

Reflection…

First Right Steps


Now we understand the basic concept of marriage, conflict, and real blocks to happy
marriage, we will then understand process and conditions of finding solutions. Of course, we
shall discuss concrete and doable solutions. How should you solve and prevent marriage
blocks and conflicts? What are the right processes to solve the conflict?

After completely assessing the nature of conflict, should you immediately talk to your spouse?
Should you delay dialogue after an hour or overnight or a week? How should you talk to your
spouse? Should you first be the speaker or listener? What are your interests or concerns to
raise in the conversation? Should you directly talk to your spouse or your spouse’s friends or
family? Should you need a third party intervention to resolve your conflict with your spouse?
Should you just need a counselor or psychiatrist, mediator, lawyer?

What are the solutions and preventive mechanisms to existing and potential conflicts? What
are also the ways to enhance or strengthen good practices in happy marriages?

What are the ways to keep (and save) your marriage? How to be always happily married?

We will discuss possible solutions (also preventive actions) to common and recurring
marriage and family problems, from long-term to plain, romantic and kinky.

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21
Click Talk
Marital Conflict Resolution and Management Process
Understanding the nature of conflict is not sufficient to resolve marital conflict. We should also
have the right processes to solve conflicts. The right processes will be instrumental in finding
the best solution/s. A comprehensive diagnosis of the conflict would just useless if you take
the wrong process of solving the conflict. Thus, it is essential to the first right steps in your
married life.

Illustrated below is the complete process of marital conflict resolution and management:

Understand Determine Identify Relate


the nature type of source of initial
of marital marital marital findings to
conflict conflict conflict essential
values

Agree best Brainstorm Know right Assess


solution all possible process to intensity of
solutions solve marital
conflict conflict

If the issue between you and your spouse is about parenting style, the whole process will lead
you to the best solution.

You should first understand the nature of issue or conflict before going into the process of
finding solutions and solving your marital conflict. Say, should you introduce or teach your
children to play violent computer games? If you disapprove on teaching your children to play
such games while your spouse approves, is the different parenting style affecting your
relationship as couples? Is your conflict disturbing your children and other people around your
family? Who else are involved in your conflict? What triggered you and your spouse to argue
on introducing or teaching your children to violent computer games?

Then you determine the type and source of marital conflict. Is it purely an inner or
interpersonal conflict? Do you personally have bad experiences with violent computer games
that you disapprove them? Did you just read or heard a study on the adverse effects of violent
computer games on children? Have you and your spouse been arguing on different parenting
styles? Has your spouse been opposing your parenting style since the birth of your children?

If it is an inner conflict, where did this start? Is it a problem of values? Did you just grow up
without computer games? Is it a data problem? Was the study on violent computer games
reliable and valid? If it is an interpersonal conflict, is it purely a difference of values between
you and your spouse? Is it an interest conflict? You simply do not want to buy computer
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22
games because you wanted to buy a new set of golf clubs. Could it also be a relationship
problem? Did you and your spouse been arguing on family concerns before the computer
games issues occur?

After digging the causes of the conflict, what then are the essential values involve? Is it an
issue of self-centeredness or absence of partnership? Have you and your spouse not
reconciled differences in parenting? Is it also an issue of honesty and openness that you have
wide differences in parenting? Did you ever talk everyday about current studies, news,
events, etc.? Did you leave old arguments and conflict unresolved because they are not
healthy to the family?

In the diagnosing the conflict, you would gradually understand and find possible solutions to
the conflict. However, the process of suggesting and executing the identified solutions with
your spouse is another critical step.

Unplanned actions of resolving conflict on the wrong conditions could aggravate conflict.
Thus, you assess the intensity of the conflict. Check if the level of tension between you and
your spouse is low. Also, check if you and your spouse have the willingness to confront and
drive the resolve the conflict. If these conditions are absent, immediately talking to your
spouse would simply worsen the conflict. How will you lower tensions? How will you increase
the willingness to confront and resolve conflict?

Your diagnosis of the conflict will not only suggest you solutions to the conflict but also right
steps to solve the conflict. The nature of conflict, like involved parties, could suggest you
people to talk with first. The type and source of conflict could suggest you to talk to your
spouse’s parent about how he/she grow up without computer games, if the conflict is an inner
conflict and problem in values.

Here are some suggested right steps or responses according to sources of conflict:

Sources of Conflict Suggested Steps or Responses


Relationship • Listen and respect each other
problem • Establish an environment with positive human connection
Interest conflict • Know each other’s interest
• Find the best alternative or common ground of your different
interest
Data conflict • Help each other in finding the right information and valid source of
information
• Level off in interpreting information
Structural conflict • Identify externalities or events beyond your control
• Accept externalities
• Do not blame each other
• Try to overcome or control externalities
Values conflict • Orient each other of personal values and their sources
• Find a common value

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Most importantly, relating the conflict diagnosis to essential values to marriage will provide
you solutions that will also rebuild and strengthen your married life.

When you finally find the real causes, right conditions and right steps to address the conflict,
you and your spouse are then ready to brainstorm on all possible solutions. The whole
process of conflict resolution will leave you the best solution.

Marital Solutions
Love established and gave life to marriage. Without love, marriage cannot live and grow. This
love is not only romantic but also personal love that nourishes basic human dignity and
unselfish friendship. If you and your spouse do not fully grow as a person in your relationship,
then your marriage and family life will most likely fail. If your spouse dreams to be a visual
artist, then support him/her to have, at least, an art exhibit of his/her own even if you do not
like art.
Couples should foster this love together and faithfully. This love should not primarily be
“avoiding adultery,” but “trusting” each other permanently. Love should never be romantic,
self-centered, and individualistic. We believe romanticism is necessary but should not be first
element to achieve in relationship. Commitment, openness, faithfulness, friendship, and trust
precede romantic love.

Love should also encompass family and social purposes because marriage is not just unitive
but also procreative. Marriage does not only unite two (2) people but creates offspring, which
makes a family. Families, in turns, compose the community. Thus, marriage requires social
responsibility or love for others. For couples to produce good citizens, they should be
responsible parents first by becoming good couples. In this way, couples will love their
children and less likely experience parenting conflicts.

You can express love in many ways. We suggest the following below, but we encourage you
to think of ways more appropriate to your relationship. Think of first right steps that directly
promote essential values to marriage and address common marriage and family problems.

Commitment:
• Accept your spouse’s imperfections
• Condition yourself that it is more economical and time-efficient to keep your marriage

Love:
• Express your love everyday even in small things and simple ways
• Hold your spouse’s hand and kiss him/her everyday

Partnership:
• Take family roles that demand your personal strengths
• Trust your spouse of the choice of role

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Openness:
• Tell your spouse of events at the end of the day in bed
• Disclose your income and assets to your spouse

Honesty:
• Tell your spouse everything
• Make eye contact during conversation

Faithfulness:
• Trust your spouse’s decisions
• Never doubt your spouse

Intimacy:
• Have a romantic dinner
• Go out together without your children

Growing Together:
• Try learning each others interest
• Exchange roles once in a while

All Experiences:
• Physically stay with your spouse during worst days
• Share a good joke

Celebration:
• Celebrate your wedding anniversaries
• Have a wedding renewal ceremony

Finance:
• Ask your spouse for opinion on a financial problem and thank him/her for his/her
advice.
• Surprise your spouse of another saving account.

Parenting:
• Express confidence and interest in a decision of your spouse has made.
• Apply your different parenting styles to different child-rearing areas.

Communication:
• Ask them how their day went and really listen to the answer.
• Tell your spouse what you most admire about them.
• Study your spouse’s favorite music, movies, and hobbies and be prepared to discuss
any topic.
• Have a regular coffee or tea talk with your spouse in the morning.
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Relationship:
• Learn and share hobby of your spouse.
• Make a surprise visit to your spouse’s office, kiss him/her tenderly, and leave.
• Take your spouse to his/her favorite ice cream or dessert.
• Give your spouse a personal day off from children, chores, obligations...their own day.

We have readied 50 different tips in the discussion plate during coaching activities in Part 8.
We will suggest helpful tips from complimenting your spouse to playing footsie. We will also
share the science behind every solution and tip to appreciate them.

Complete Ideal Married Life Plan

Lesson 4 suggests you to complete your ideal married life plan. Indicate how often or
frequency in each activity
Conflict Areas/ Concept of Ideal Activities (Strategies) Frequency
Nature of Conflict Married Life (Objective)
(Issues)
Differences in Good parents Play with children Every day
parenting styles
Financial problem Financially stable Financial planning Every month
Adultery Committed couples Being faithful Every day
Poor communication Open communication Talk regularly Every meal

Talk, But Walk the Talk

There are many ways to keep our marriage. We will highlight communication though because
it is the key to further understand marriage blocks and find more solutions.

Core Point!

You will learn effective communication

Output

Effective communication

Reflection…

Talk and Listen


Among the first right steps to happy marriage, communication is most critical. Any relationship
should never miss communication. However, it should not just be any communication, but
effective communication.
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What is effective communication? Should clear delivery of messages enough to make
communication effective? How should couples communicate? Should couples always talk? Is
silence also a form of effective communication? How should couples encourage
communication? Can a talkative wife and a silent husband effectively communicate? What is
active listening?

If we will learn effective communication, then we are one-step ahead in keeping a happily
married life.

Before going into the click talk, we are going to play a game. You and your spouse will choose
either Mr. A or Mr. B. Mr. A’s role is that of a speaker. Mr. A will talk about his most memorable
or exciting event today. Mr. B’s role is that of a listener. Mr. B will passively listen to Mr. A, who
finds way to make Mr. B listen.

After the listening exercise, the person who took the role of Mr. A shall share his/her feeling
towards the person who took the role of Mr. B, the passive listener.

Switch roles. This time, Mr. B will be the speaker and Mr. A will be the listener. Mr. B will also
talk about his most memorable or exciting event today. Mr. A, however, interrupt Mr. B.

After the second exercise, Mr. B will share his/her feeling towards the person who took the
role of Mr. A, the noisy and interrupting listener. Mr. B will also share the pattern of thought
when Mr. A interrupted his talk.

Click Talk

Communication
Effective communication is the process of sending, giving, or exchanging information from
one person to another. It is transmitting intentions, desires, feelings, knowledge, experience,
and meaning between individuals and groups through language, visuals, audio and actions.

It involves more than the sending and receipt of messages. There is also an expectation of
understanding, acceptance, and necessary action.

It requires active listening, paraphrasing, probing, feedback giving, re-framing, and framing.

Active Listening
Active listening is the capability of one person to understand message of the speaker. It
encourages more communication because it builds and maintains respect from the speaker. It
gathers, checks, and filters messages.

As an active listener to your spouse, you should sit in a listening posture—upright, not
slouched. You should keep an eye contact. Listen with your left ear. Science says the left ear
is directly connected to the heart.
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It is important not to confuse listening with agreeing and evaluating. Hold yourself in giving
advices during the conversation. Try not to cut or interrupt your spouse’s talk. Let him/her
complete his/her message before paraphrasing and asking.

Paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is restating your spouse’s messages in your own words. It is repeating relevant
words, asking clarifying questions, and summarizing your spouse’s core message. Thus, it is
important to listen carefully to get key words and phrases. Do not worry on what you are
going to say next while your spouse is talking. Never do simultaneous analysis of your
spouse’s messages while he/she is still speaking. It would only make you miss relevant key
words and core messages. Eventually, you would fail in paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is important in effective communication. It will signal your spouse that you
authentically listen and understand him/her. It will also check your interpretation on your
spouse’s messages.

You can start your paraphrases with so what are you saying is…, in other words…, etc. If you
need to interrupt to clarify, politely say, pardon my interruption, what you are saying is…

You can also ask reflective questions to check and understand your spouse’s emotions. You
may state, what you feel is…, were you afraid or worried…, etc. Another paraphrasing
technique is asking clarifying questions like, can you clarify that…, do you mean…, is this the
problem…, etc.

It is also important to state your understanding to your spouse’s message. It encourages your
spouse to talk more. You can say, I see…, I understand…, that is a good point…, etc.

Summarizing all your spouse’s messages will filter, organize, and focus on core messages.
You can say, these are the key messages you have expressed…, what you feel about the
whole situation are…, etc.

Probing
Probing is asking questions to elicit more relevant data and clarify messages from your
spouse. Ask different types of question, but it is preferable to ask open-ended questions. Ask
the 5Ws and 1Hs (what, why, where, when, who, and how).

However, ask one question at a time. Let your spouse answer each question. Give your
spouse time to answer and never hurry. Show patience. Though you should fill in silence
instantly, letting silence simmer awhile will give your spouse a time to think. If necessary,
reinforce your spouse’s answers verbally and/or with body language to signal him/her that you
are after right information. Do not confuse however probing with leading questions.

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Feedback Giving
Feedback giving or feed-backing is confirming and correcting messages. It is also giving data
or information to a person to change or reinforce his behavior. It specifically gives
suggestions, comments, ideas, and new thoughts after a dialogue. Apart from feedback
confirms and corrects, it also validates.

As possible, it is important to start with positive examples and anecdotes. Clearly describe a
certain behavior and consequences of such behavior. Give specific examples. Use “I”
messages instead of “you” messages. However, check for clarity of your understanding.

Re framing
Re framing is translating complex messages that are difficult to understand into neutral, clear,
and useful messages.

It is therefore important to listen intently to capture the core messages and reframe them to
understandable statements even to other listeners and observers. Ignore unnecessary
messages, cluttered statements, and juxtapose of irrelevant information. Cut long statements
of your spouse into short and simple messages.

Framing
Framing is stating messages into helpful messages that could generate agreements,
understanding, and solutions to conflicts.

Framing requires neutral and open messages. It focuses on varying and common interests of
conflicting couples.

Effective Communication
Communication is a tool, not the key, in any relationships. You can talk to your spouse without
openness, but you cannot communicate without openness. Communication is a two-way
process. Talk is monologue while communication is dialogue. A talk just informs.

Communication informs and builds human connection and relationship. A talk would just be
plain talk while communication is both talk and action.

Communication will only be effective when it builds, sustains, and rebuilds relationships.
Thus, marriage and family life really needs effective communication.

To be effective, you and your spouse should share each others thoughts, ideas and feelings
openly and regularly. You can talk in every meal or when necessary. You can email, phone
call and instant message, but a personal talk is the best way.

Both of you should be conscious to communicate your messages short, simple and specific.
This way, you will avoid miss-communications especially nowadays when there are overload
of information.

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Avoid being narcissist or too self-centered. Learn to listen actively. Active listening is simply
not cutting your spouse talk. It also understands the message of your spouse. Selective and
passive listening is also listening. They are however not active listening because they do not
capture all the messages of the speaker, only the messages that suit the listener. It is shortly
a biased listening, which could also produce miss-communications

Practicing active listening can encourage open communication. To encourage more talks and
understand messages clearly, ask the right questions in the right time and paraphrase the
messages of your spouse.

Most important in effective communication is being open. Without an open mind (and heart),
you would simply not share and understand thoughts, ideas and feelings. Criticisms would be
harsh to you and you would not likely construct or find the best solutions.

Talk is essential, but we should walk the talk. Acting on what we discuss will make the
difference. In sum, effective communication is actually talking and listening from the heart. It is
integrating what you think with what you feel. It is also channeling what you think and feel with
how you act.

As a speaker, you should do the following:

Speaker

• Speak from your heart and mind;


• Share your story, either positive or negative;
• Feel your feelings;
• Do not give advice;
• Keep an open body posture, arms and legs uncrossed;

As a listener, you should do the following:

Listener

• Look at the speaker;


• Do not interrupt;
• Focus on understanding and accepting;
• Determine the need at the moment;
• Keep an open body position, legs and arms uncrossed;
• Lean a little forward towards the speaker;
• Check your emotions;
• Suspend your judgment;
• Prioritize listening

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Keeping the Old Flame

We believe one size does not fit all. That is why we design Part 7, Lesson 6. This lesson will
facilitate solutions that fit your unique marriage life. We will talk about the “old flame.” We will
attempt to revive, fit, and apply them now.

Core Point!

Revisit your basic experience on relationship before you were married

Output

Your ideal but more practical married life plan

Reflection…

Old Flick
We often hear couples reasoned lost love for divorce. Is there really such thing as lost love
between couples who consciously married each other because of love? Is it lost love or lost
effort to love?

If there is lost love, is it really lost? Can you and your spouse revive it? Can you and your
spouse re-track to the courting and/or honeymoon stage?

Try reflecting on the following questions:

• How did you and your spouse fell in love?


• How were you attracted to your spouse?
• How did you court your spouse?
• What were your usual activities together before?
• What can you still do together?
• What did you enjoy doing?

You would realize that there is no such thing as lost love. Love is always on the air, ready to
hit people with open hearts.

Click Talk

Same Old Feeling


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31
We emphasized that solutions to problems are often basic. Eventually, we revisited the basic
concept of marriage and reflected on basic marriage conflicts, blocks, and effective
communication skills. Now we will revisit the basic building block of your relationship before
you were married.

Why revisit the pre-marriage and honeymoon moments? This is simply when your relationship
with your spouse was built. If you started as friends, then you might revive that friendship, if
lost during married life, because it eventually brought you together. If you bonded with your
spouse before with weekend dinner exploration, then do them again. If you courted your
spouse with poetry, then write him/her again a poem.

Reviving the old flame is reliving the old passion. It is rebuilding your relationship like newly-
weds.

Divorce should never be an option. For one, it defeats one essential value to marriage—
commitment. Divorce breeds more divorces. According to studies, children with divorced
parents will most likely repeat divorce practices of their parents. Though there are
considerable “good divorces,” they still are traumatic to children. They leave children alone
and emotionally unsafe and insecure.

Moreover, fatherless or motherless children often experience early puberty. According to


evolutionary psychologists, this early puberty most likely leads to early pregnancy and creates
unstable relationships, which are two of the precedents to divorces.

Divorce also triggers psychological confusion to children. Divorce parents simply do not share
principles and values.

Thus, divorce is not an option in marriage. It is either you keep it or save it. Better yet,
strengthen it.

Doing so, you and your spouse should keep the old flame. Attract each other again to keep
the old flame again. Court your wife and flirt to your husband like the old times.

By the way, how did you court and flirt each other before marriage?

If you could remember, you strived to find each others similarities. You often asked each
other, friends, and families about your spouse’s interests. When you found one or more
interests that are similar to yours, you started to discuss them with your spouse. You even
acted on their interests or did them together. When you found your spouse loves rock music,
you also started sharing your rock music record collections with him/her. You even bought two
tickets of a rock concert. Well, didn’t it work out well? Yes! Like simply seeks like.

Express your desires to your spouse. Hysterically express them similar when you were in high
school. Show those emotions that once gave you sleepless nights in younger years. Those
honest and fancy acts certainly turn on your spouse.
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Attraction signals and triggers arousal that is requisite to good sex. This explains why good
sex fades as married life ages. Attraction simply faded beforehand.

Look. Stare. Keep an eye contact to your spouse. These non-verbal communications simply
get attraction. Did you notice sparking attraction from your wife before when you started
staring at her? Did you also remember attracting your husband when you were playing your
hair or exposing your neck? Well, yes! You also did other naughty preening to your husband
like lightly nibbling your finger. Did you laugh loud when you successfully busted and teased
your wife before? Yes, they get attraction. That is why you ended up as married couples.
Thus, do those non-verbal communications again.
Be beautiful and groomed again. Dress and look good similar when you were dating your
spouse before. Being beautiful surely attracted and will still attract your spouse. Humans are
hard-wired to be attracted to beautiful people.

Always be near and together. Long distance relationships just do not work well often. This
explains why extra affairs with workmates occur. Proximity is still the best way to win your
spouse again. Remember when you had sleepless nights when you missed a day not seeing
your spouse during courtship or early years of relationship. Your regular visibility most
probably turned on your spouse. Always give time together. Always be there with your spouse
again. Nourish companionship. Be together especially in crisis. Togetherness simply is the
key to marriage. If you are commuter couple, try to be together even every weekend. Always
be near with rare random absences and distances to miss each other.

If chocolates and sweets produce endorphins, a feel-good fluid in our body, calling each other
sweet names likewise does. That is why honey, sweetheart, sugar, baby, dear, and other
more are so popular names among lovers and couples.

Always keep your spouse happy. Remember when you tried reading all joke books or
watched stand-up comedies and comedy TV series. You wanted to be funny and humorous to
your spouse before. Do them again. Your humor certainly attracted your spouse to you.
Laughter and happiness create attraction. Who does not want humor, anyway? Laughter is
indeed the best medicine.

Always compliment similar when your courted your spouse before. Compliments never fail to
uplift people. They connect people together. Say the good things about your spouse, including
the small good ones. Tell him/her he/she is wonderful when you wake up in the morning.
Notice your spouse’s cute fingers, body scent, and hair. They say it takes 20 positive words to
outweigh one negative word. Compliment your spouse daily but sincerely. Look at him/her
when you compliment. Compliment like complimenting your children. Do not just compliment,
but also thank your spouse. Gratitude is another good value that gets attraction.

Human touch also releases endorphins. Remember when you and your spouse first held
hand. It was euphoric. You had sleepless nights cherishing that moment. You did not even
wash your hand that touched your spouse’s hand. You smelled at it the whole night. You even
re-enacted how your spouse held your hand. You felt best after you held hand together.
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Touch simply gets attraction. It also comforts, heals, and motivates people. That is why a
simple tap at the back is necessary in work teams. That is why body massage sells too. So,
go and touch your spouse every day.

Most importantly, befriend your spouse. Remember, you wanted to befriend your spouse
when you first met him/her. Friendship definitely connected you both. Friendship is essential
in any relationship. As for Friedrich Nietzsche again, it is the lack of friendship that destroys
relationships, not lack of love. Notice the level of closeness you had with your best friend. It
was limitless. You and your friend shared everything. You exchanged and borrowed each
others things. You were honest with each other. You even criticized without offending your
friend. You often bullied each other. You accepted each others imperfections and differences.
Yet, you still went out together happy. You even enjoyed small and stupid things together. You
defended each other from all odds. You laughed and cried together without self-reservations.
Happiest marriages are built on good friendship. So, befriend your spouse as if you first meet
him/her.

Old ways may not fit today anymore, but you can always put a twist on them to preserve the
essence of those old ways. If you once run long distance together, you can do long walks
instead. If you send your spouse snail mails before, you can do send her instant messages
now. Forms may differ through time, but the essence of activities you shared together before
lasts.

These re-shared old moments will certainly refresh your marriage life.

This lesson still suggests you to improve your ideal married life plan, as you think more
activities together with your spouse. Below are suggested activities to spark attraction again.

1. Express confidence and interest in a decision your spouse has made.


2. Share your dessert by eating it with one fork.
3. Did you have a special song when you were dating? Call them and sing it to them
during the day.
4. Make a surprise visit to their office or home and kiss them tenderly.
5. Play footsie under the table.
6. Tell them a joke, no matter how corny you think it is.
7. Ask them how their day went and really listen to the answer.
8. When you go to sleep or wake in the morning, spoon, and snuggle with your
spouse.
9. Kiss your spouse and say I love you, before going to sleep.
10. Write and recite a corny/cheesy poem.
11. Learn and share his/her hobby.
12. Brag on your spouse in front of others.
13. Sit down in your spouse’s lap or encourage them to sit on yours.
14. Compliment them on their clothing, shoes, or jewelry.
15. Call them just to let them know that you were thinking of them.
16. A neck or shoulder massage is nice.
17. Take them to their favorite concert or event.
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18. Dance with your spouse.
19. Tell them that you would choose them, if you were doing it all over again.
20. Ask them for their opinion on a problem and thank them for their advice.
21. Talk in bed while playing or caressing their hair.
22. Fall asleep in each others arms.
23. Encourage your spouse to drive safely, because you love and care so much for
them.
24. Take a walk on the beach (preferably during a sunset).
25. Have a tickle "fight" (but be gentle and do not tickle until it hurts).
26. Say you are sorry with sincerity, for a mistake you have made.
27. Tell your spouse how they have changed your life for the better.
28. Compliment your spouse on your favorite part of their anatomy.
29. Play Twister or Touch Football and let them win if necessary.
30. Spur of the moment, take them for their favorite ice cream or dessert.
31. Tell your spouse what you most admire about them.
32. Reminisce about when you first met, recalling happy and sweet moments.
33. Thank your spouse for supporting you through a challenging and tough time in your
life.
34. Kiss fingertips and nibble ear lobes.
35. Dig out your wedding album and reminisce together.
36. Make and take your spouse a cup of coffee or tea in the morning.
37. Give them a personal day off. No kids, chores, obligations...their own day.
38. Straighten his tie, finishing with a kiss.
39. Help her with her zipper or buttons, with love.
40. Bake together, kneading the dough, while smearing flour on each other.
41. Steal a kiss in the elevator when no one is looking.
42. Express confidence in your spouse’s ability to make a difficult decision.
43. Listen to your spouse’s worries and offer to help.
44. Make your spouse’s lunch and insert a little love note.
45. During the day, send your spouse a text message using your own special love
codes.
46. Write a love note to your spouse on the bathroom mirror.
47. Kiss the back or your spouse’s neck while they are reading, on the computer,
cooking, etc.
48. Let your spouse know that you will miss them during the day and cannot wait to be
with them at night.
49. Research their favorite music, movies, and hobbies and be prepared to discuss
any topic.
50. Prepare a bubble bath for your spouse, complete with lighted aromatherapy
candles, Ghirardelli chocolate, their favorite music, and sparkling cider.

Keeping the old flame will spark attraction again. Attraction is essential in marriage, but it is
not sufficient to keep marriages. You need commitment, love, faithfulness, openness, and
honesty. You have to live them together in all experiences of life. Most importantly, always
celebrate your married life.

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35

Closing Remark
When you are done with all the lessons, start again. Reflect again and update your married
life plan! You might have missed essential points. Read this e book every year.

Going through all lessons, we will be surprise to find marriage as follows:

• Basic (lesson 1)
• Internal (lesson 1)
• Grown on inevitable conflict (lesson 2)
• Built on values, taught during our kindergarten (lesson 3)
• Simple to handle (lesson 4 and 5)
• Natural (lesson 6)

There is certainly no secret formula!

Again, there is no secret formula and we can always be happily married.


So, keep your ring and do not tie another string. Celebrate your marriage and be Always
Happily Married!

Thank you! Norman Csarni


References

F. Padilla, Families, 1997.


M. Gressor, “The Science of Love,” Reader’s Digest, February 2007.
E. Marquardt, “New Reasons to Stay Together,” Reader’s Digest, February 2007.
S. Harrar and R. Demaria, “The Love You Want,” Reader’s Digest, February 2008.
M. Haselton, “How to Pick a Perfect Mate,” Reader’s Digest, February 2008
Gerry Roxas Foundation, Basic Counseling, 2003
Integrative Learning International, Promoting Family and Community Peace, 2003
J. Edelman, “Mediation,” Tao of Negotiation, 1994
M. Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie, 1998

Copyright © 2000-2010. All rights are reserved and no reproduction or


distribution of this publication can be made without express written authorization
of the authors.

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