Tag Archives: marriage

purple wednesday, with a story

Rainbow of colors
okay, so here’s my purple story.

many years ago, i bought myself a nice, comfy, fleecy track suit. i came home with it and proudly paraded it in front of my husband. he gave me one look and didn’t talk to me for two days.

at the end of the two days, i finally found out. you see, the track suit was purple. and purple was the colour of the very outspoken lesbians and feminists in berlin, where we had just moved from. it turns out that, clad all in purple, i was aligning myself with those man-haters and therefore man-hating my husband.  (logical, huh?)

reason #359 why, a few years later, i got rid of him and traded him in for a much better model.

and what’s all this purple about?

divorce: a ballad

he screams at her
and she screams back
he in this corner,
she in the other over there.
the children, they run back and forth with
“who will fix our toys?”

she screams at him
and he screams back
but only in their heads.
their mouths are silent and
their eyes don’t meet.

the children look from one and then the other,
they smell something, or is it feel,
they don’t know where to go.

he screams at her
and she screams back
and often in their dreams.
a thick and heavy web of secrets
lies gray between them
and dusty spiders leave a trail of poison
for woman, man, and child and child
to trip over and fall into.
it’s best to stay and not to move
and not to say a word.

everyday life, it forces them
to do some things together.
out on the street, a bag lady
walks up to them
and whispers to them
from between her gappy teeth:

“i see, guys, what you’re doing.
your hearts so heavy
and your brains so hot.
your child covered in wounds,
and this one, too.
i’m talking quiet
and probably you two can’t hear me.
but still, you need to know
that you don’t have to suffer just like this.
you want, or need, or think you have to
go your separate ways. and that’s ok.
but your paths need not,
really, they need not,
be strewn with broken glass.”

with that, she disappears
into the shadows.

the four come home.
melissa finds her trains.
katrina talks to mom.

he scowls at her
and she scowls back.
the creases down her cheeks
are maybe just a little softer
than an hour ago.

love every day

is it valentine’s day yet?  what?  i missed it?  drat!  yup, that was one of the things that fell between the cracks during my trip to europe.  what also fell between the cracks was telling you about an ebook that chelle kindly invited me to participate in.  as a gift to her readers on valentine’s day, she put together love everyday e-book.  a nifty idea, the book looks at marriage and romantic relationships through the lends of the little things we do each and every day: waking up and hitting the snooze button, drinking that morning cup of coffee, sitting through traffic, going to work, doing housework, grocery shopping, logging onto the internet.  some writers use these lenses as metaphors (“how do you fuel your relationship?”), others talk directly about the topic; for example i write about how the internet and marriage interact with each other.  you can download the book here.

two entries particularly caught my eye.  one was “what are you waiting for?” by pat flynn.  i like the urgency of the tone:

what are you waiting for?

a sign? something to happen that tells you it’s the right time?

signs aren’t always things that happen. more often than not, signs come from the things that don’t happen.

what are you waiting for?

are you waiting for permission? someone to tell you that it’s okay?

permission from someone else is never as important as the permission that you have to give yourself first.

complacency is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a marriage.  i like how pat challenges this attitude.

i was also impressed by lori lowe’s contribution, pour on love: how to love your spouse generously.  an excerpt:

gaining a little more happiness is like gaining a little more money; you always want more. but giving and receiving love generates fulfillment. there are myriad ways to show love, but we know love when we see it, hear it, read it, and feel it. love is in the details, the thoughtfulness, the caring.

when you act in a loving”even sacrificial”manner, you experience the paradox of giving. this is the secret your grandparents knew about: it is in giving that we receive. the joy and love you give returns to you. yes, it is risky to invest yourself fully …

how can you pour on love?

voraciously study your spouse. put as much energy into that research as in your career and hobbies. try to understand and participate in their interests as they change over time”recreational, musical, romantic, sexual and culinary interests. ask about your partner’s hopes, preferences, desires, dislikes, and fears. encourage their dreams. communicate your needs and desires as well. be the one who knows them best, and help them to know your heart.  …

do it without keeping score. do it without stopping. do it with love.

here are the other contributors to the book:

motivation, marriage and work relationships

as you can see, i haven’t been a very busy posting beaver lately.  i’ve been watching my energy level and need to put some things on the back burner.  every morning i come up with all kinds of wonderful ideas for blog posts but by the time i find a moment to post something, there’s not much left in the ol’ battery.

but let me just say a few words.  here are some things i’ve been thinking about.  motivation is one.  motivation is something i think about a lot.  how come there are sooo many solutions to problems out there (and more importantly, in here) and we don’t reach for them?  doesn’t that baffle you, too?  “there are more solutions than problems” said one of my clients today.  i totally agree.  what is it that doesn’t let us go for the solutions?  there is a lack of drive, of motivation.  how can that motivation be increased?

i’m also mulling about a 7-part relationship model, comprised of physical, sexual, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and cultural aspects.  obviously, that goes for romantic relationships.  not entirely sure why i keep insisting on separating the physical and sexual aspects.  will the model hold true for non-romantic relationships as well, say, for friendships?  and why don’t i have a financial aspect?

talking about romantic relationships.  some of you are probably familiar with the work of john gottman, one of the most important researchers in the area of marital relationships (my blogging friend from coffeeyoghurt talks about it here).  i’ve been wondering how to apply his findings to work relationships.  among other thingsm he talks about the “four horsemen” that herald a breakup or at least a major crisis in a marriage – criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.  probably i’m not the first person who’se been wondering this; maybe i’ll have time one of these days to check it out.

so there it is.  a few things to ponder.  hopefully i’ll have something a bit more substantive to say soon.  in the meantime: peace and love to you all!


valentine’s day, yes and no

man and woman embracingcontrary to some ideas that have been floating around that valentine’s day is an invention of hallmark’s, valentine’s day has been around for a long time.  valentine’s day is a day of fertility, of the first stirrings of spring rising up, the seeds waking up, ready to sprout with the first warmth of the sun. it’s fertility for humans, too – and what is that all about? this fertility and love get lumped together – and why? is that what love is all about? in my (sometimes) wise old age i can’t say anymore that love is about romantic love, or at least the official version of romantic love: alex meets chris, they spark, their bodies and hearts yearn for each other, and the cumulation of it is a french kiss under the moonlight.

(sidebar: there is a theory that romantic love is an invention of the western medieval world. i am not a social historian but i find that difficult to believe. perhaps the way the stories of romantic love are told is a relatively new invention but it seems ludicrous to me to assert that the stirring of hormones did not produce romance, or something like it, among couples the world over since time immemorial. just look at the bible, the gilgamesh epic or the bhagavad gita.)

so if we look beyond that, what do we find? one thing that valentine’s day as a fertility rite makes me think of is the attraction of opposites that brings forth new life.

there is the obvious of man and woman coming together to create a child.

what else is there?

a pair of opposites i’ve been musing about lately is “yes” and “no”. if we use traditional symbology, we could see “yes” as the female principle and “no” as the male.

what happens when yes and no come together?

for one thing, they balance each other out. “yes” only is without boundaries: the mother – all-loving but also devouring; all-allowing but also surrendering to the point of obliteration.

“no” only is hard, small and single-minded: the father – guiding but also all-demanding; all-protecting but also exclusively jealous. (and yes, i am aware how limited these descriptions are; there are many more layers.)

what else happens when “yes” and “no” come together? what child might they bring forth? the nodding, embracing, resplendently smiling “yes” coupling with the boundary setting, individuating, protecting “no”, embracing, entwining …

contemplating this, i see movement, the movement of the “yes”, bounded by the “no”. “yes” wants to expand forever, “no” says, wait a sec, let’s not go into the dangerous jungle, let’s stay on the road.

and then these ideas arise: indecision, doubt, uncertainty; the words “maybe” (which garfield suggested) and “perhaps”. are they the children of the union of “yes” and “no”?

if so, this young child has so many possibilities, as every child does. indecision could mean wishy-washiness, or it could mean the wisdom of not rushing into rash decisions. doubt could mean mistrust but it could also mean healthy, awake scepticism. uncertainty could mean unsteadiness and it could also mean a comfortable awareness of the fact that nothing in life is ever certain, that life is in, and is a constant flux.

my personal hope is that this is a child of love, that “yes” and “no” find each other with their eyes open and embrace each other not only in the heat of spring passion, but also by – saying “yes” to each other, by seeing, calling forth and enhancing the goodness that each offers.

what would you wish for this child?

what polar opposites would you like to come together?

image by nick thompson

more chinese love poetry

some posts back, i had started to offer a few more chinese love poems when i got interrupted by an angel … remember?

well, today you can finally read those poems. this time, i’ll just tease you with incomplete poems – go to the original sites to enjoy the full versions.

a song of changgan
by li bai
my hair had hardly covered my forehead.
i was picking flowers, paying by my door,
when you, my lover, on a bamboo horse,
came trotting in circles and throwing green plums.
we lived near together on a lane in ch’ang-kan,
both of us young and happy-hearted.
…at fourteen i became your wife,
so bashful that i dared not smile,
and i lowered my head toward a dark corner
and would not turn to your thousand calls;
but at fifteen i straightened my brows and laughed,
learning that no dust could ever seal our love

a dream at night
by mei yao ch’en
in broad daylight i dream i
am with her. at night i dream
she is still at my side. she
carries her kit of colored
threads. i see her image bent
over her bag of silks. she
mends and alters my clothes and
worries for fear i might look
worn and ragged.

chance
by xu zhimo
i am a cloud in the sky,
a chance shadow on the wave of your heart.
don’t be surprised,
or too elated;
in an instant i shall vanish without trace.

an illustration for chinese love poems

(image by mckaysavage)