Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Good relationships; Great relationships

I and SO watched 'Why did I get married 2' this past weekend. It took us ages to watch because we kept talking about the movie. There were some interesting points raised in the movie and it made me think about what makes a great relationship? Is there something like a great relationship? Is it too lofty to think that after the honeymoon phase, two years, five years from now we would only tolerate each other. Will we always be in love and love each other?

I've decided to note the lessons I learnt from all the characters. 

Patricia (Janet Jackson)

The strength in vulnerability. She was the character that I related to the most out of the 4 women. I tend to want to be 'strong' by always acting as if I've got it all together. People come to me for advice on a variety of things including their relationships so its always been hard for me to scream 'I need help'! At the beginning of our relationship I learnt how detrimental keeping your partner out was. Effective communication should be the foundation of all relationships. It takes strength to admit that you need someone else. To allow someone else into your life to show them the good, bad and ugly. I'm learning how much I need people. I don't want to keep things in and just snap with disastrous consequences. Hmm...

Sheila (Jill Scott)

Leave the ex and the excess baggage that comes with it. When one has been in a bad relationship the temptation to punish the new partner for the wrongs of the past can be strong. We need to let go and move on. I learnt that SO is SO and while there are some ways in which I think all men are the same, my SO is my SO. Unique in his strengths, unique in his weaknesses as well. He isn't going anywhere because the ex left. He's here and he loves me.

Angela (Tasha Smith)

The importance of TRUST in a relationship. Because of the nature of his job, SO is big on confidentiality. Some people say if you trust the person you're with you should give them unlimited access to everything. Email passwords, phone passwords e.t.c. I think different, I think if he can trust you with his money then he trusts you...lol! No, I don't have the password to his phone or email account and he doesn't have mine either. I don't have anything to hide but we just don't roll like that. If at anytime he needs to access my email account I'll give it to him. I remember the first time he gave me his charge card to make a purchase, it was such a small thing and yet such a big thing as well. I learnt that while its important for both men and women to speak to each other with respect, its so much more important for a woman. Speaking to men not shouting at them and if we must shout we should do it within the confines of our own home. Trust is such a strong thing in keeping two people together when it is there and yet so fragile that it is easily broken. 

Dianne (Sharon Leal)

Good relationship....great relationship. This was the one I and SO had the longest discussion on. On the surface we had a great looking couple. They looked and sounded fabulous, great jobs, great kids, great house in the suburbs. SO asked me why I thought despite having a great husband, Dianne had an 'emotional' affair with a colleague at work. I don't really know. I just assumed it was the 'sameness' that often occurs when you have been with someone for a long time. I haven't gotten there yet so really can't comment on it. What I do know is that its more difficult to build a tower than it is to fall from it. This morning we had a long chat. I've never been of the opinion that being in love and loving your spouse prevented you from being attracted to someone else. Its about fireproofing our relationship. No one hopes for a fire but we keep a working smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher just in case. There's this scene where she brings flowers home without a card and lies to her husband about it. We discussed what we thought was appropriate to tell or not tell your spouse. He asked me if I would bring flowers home given to me by another man..I think it depends. Depends under what circumstances they were given. I hope I can always be in my right mind enough not to accept gifts from someone I know admires me. These days I'm a bit more careful in how I relate with members of the opposite sex. If I think they're interested I just move far. SO says, 'don't smell something you're not going to eat, don't do lunch, don't go by, stay as far away from the edge as you can' and I think the same.

I think it was a wonderful family movie to watch. It made me think. I'm really passionate about enriching romantic and marital relationships around me. It just kind of came to me this morning. I really would like to help people see that love and marriage are beautiful words and can still be relevant in the 21st century. We've all made mistakes. I want to learn from mine and grow from mine.

Keep learning..

Update: Week 1

Week 1: 80 kg : (

I wasn't careful with my diet this week. I still had a high carbohydrate week. I think I set myself up to fail by surrounding myself with the wrong things. Anyway there is salad in the fridge now and hopefully I'll eat that instead of something else.

On a positive note I've started my workout regimen. Pilates today for the first time in about a year and 1 hr 3 times a week on my Wii Just Dance 2. Some of those dance steps are dope!

Anyway I'll keep at it and hopefully I'll have better news soon. I need to be 70kg by summer 2011.

I'll keep at it.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Journey: Where I am, where I want to be

One of my favourite books is Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People'. I try and read it once every two years. This reminds me I need to read it this year. After my Bible, it must be one of the few books I read regularly. I love the second habit which is to begin with the end in mind. What separates humans from other animals is our imagination. We can think, we can reason, we can imagine. In my imagination, I am limitless. This second habits reminds me of the power of visualisation, to be able to see myself not as I am but as I hope to be.

So where do I see myself? In 2012? In 2020? In 2040? Time does fly. I look at my friends and how we have changed over the years. I thank God but I don't simply want to mark time on earth. I want to be better and keep getting better.

Physically, while I know I need to take better care of myself it just stops in my head. I have a science background and I know that I shouldn't do some of the things I do, eat some of the things that I eat and yet I still do it. I've always had issues with my weight. I was a big baby and I'm not sure there's ever been a time I could be considered a skinny git. I have a sweet tooth but its a bit more than that. I have a bad relationship with food. I comfort eat..its not only eating but eating the wrong things. According to my BMI, I'm overweight. I've recently been diagnosed with having polycystic ovaries (PCO) which is in itself a post on its own so I really need to be careful.

No matter how much I know I need to lose weight in my head, I rarely do anything about it. I was my heaviest sometime in 2005 when I weighed about 78kg. Actually scrap that I just got on the scale and it said 80kg! O my days! I'm really depressed right now. I've really overdone it now. This calls for drastic measures..lol! For me to get into the healthy weight zone I need to be at least 70kg. So that's my goal right now.

Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. So how do I get to where I need to be? The big goal is lose 10 kilos so I need to break it down

Specific: Lose 10kg of fat by Dec 2011
How: Reduction of calorie intake and increase in physical activity to burn those calories. 
Evaluate: Every weekend weigh in

Reduction of calorie intake; Low carb diet

  • Two meals a day. No carbs in the evening, salad and protein
  • No desserts and bread for the rest of February

Increase in physical activity
  • One hour of Just Dance on Nintendo Wii on alternate days
  • Walk for an hour on alternate days

Today is Day 1 and I have stuck to the programme but I'll see what happens at my next weigh in. I'm really down today : (

SO is going to laugh. He always says that I'm ok but I know its love talking. Apart from helping me manage my condition, a healthy weight would enable me feel much better about myself. I hope my next weigh in would make me smile.

The Journey

Love like life is a journey. Somehow you don't realise where and when you started but you just commit to taking it to its final destination. Today is Valentine's Day (groan)...lol! I'm not a Valentine's day fan. Never was and I doubt if I ever will be. A big difference between I and SO is what I call the 'mushiness' factor. SO is incredibly romantic and thoughtful. Unexpected gifts and surprises...which reminds me I must do a love languages post soon. I loved that book! I opened my door on Saturday to see a dozen red roses. I actually used to hate flowers. I mean from when you receive them, they're dying and I couldn't be bothered to put them in a vase and get rid of them a few days later. But I'm appreciating the 'I love you' behind it.

When it comes to Valentine's day I think it's an everyday thing. Maybe some couples need to take that day out to celebrate their love for each other but I find the commercial stuff behind it nauseating sometimes. Flowers, cards, chocolate, wine...for me my perfect day out is a day in with SO. We're so bad for each other, we can actually spend a whole day indoors with good DVDs, good food and just chat the day away. It may take about 4 hours to watch a 2 hour movie because we keep talking about it, debating and...well! I'm lucky because I always know that he loves me. I don't need a special day to remind me. For me its like how Christmas has become about gifts and turkeys etc. I just think the focus of some of these things have been lost.

My thoughts are so random, I was talking about journeys and now I've jumped into talking about Valentine's day. In a lot of ways I had a rough 2010. So many changes and things to deal with. Apart from my relationship with SO I think I've let myself slide in so many other areas. Physically, mentally, professionally I'm not just where I need to be. If I had to give myself a grade it would be a D+. One of my weaknesses is starting things without completing them. I want to take the different areas of my life one at a time and strategise, make goals and see them come to completion.

I need this year to be my fittest, healthiest year in every area of my life. Life is a journey and I'm raring to go. Live.love.learn. Live is not just about having breath but its about maximising each day and taking from it the very best that I can take. So the next few posts will be on the journey. I'll break it down into different areas.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Men vs. Women

Most people have read the book 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus'....I would guess that most of the people that have read that book are women...lol! I and SO have been talking about the differences between men and women. At the end of the day we both have to exist on one planet...right here on earth! While we academically acknowledge our differences we seem not to actually live with the understanding that we are different.

Sometimes when one of SO's friends calls him up for advice, he asks me for a woman's take on the issue. Because the truth is a lot of misunderstandings are simply that misunderstandings. I come to a conclusion without understanding the facts. I assume and I make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'. In a relationship I'm learning that men and women need different things. I haven't even scratched the surface of what men want or need but I believe that with a lot more love and understanding it doesn't have to be war. There can be peaceful co-existence between the sexes, it doesn't have to be a battle, we are on the same team.

Funny thing is that when men and women have issues we turn to our friends of a similar sex as us to try and interpret what the 'darn ole fool' is up to...I use that term as a joke...lol! We ask our girlfriends to help us interpret a man we married and probably know better than them. Its not a problem to share with friends but at the end of the day maybe a man can give you a better clue as to what's going on with hubby than another lady. Just saying.

Men and women often use the same words...'I love you', 'I miss you' which could mean very different things. SO says men need to be respected, honoured and appreciated as the 'first among equals'...first among equals, what does that mean. We are Christians and we adhere to the Bible tenet that the husband is the 'head' of the home. By head we do not mean ruler or tyrant but a loving leader. I read somewhere that men need to be satisfied...in their bellies and a little under their bellies. SO agreed with this one so wholeheartedly that I almost burst out laughing. In every book written by a man for women to have better relationships they talk about food and sex. So I guess its pretty important. I'm not a great cook...but I'm learning. I'm used to cooking in a certain way but SO is very well travelled and loves good food. So world cuisine, here we come. I love that he gives a helping hand in the kitchen but I'm determined to be able to 'throw down' there. When I make something he likes he raves and raves about it for ages so its worth it just for that smile.

I pray to be able to satisfy my husband with whatever he needs as long as it is in my power. So when the time comes..Victoria's secrets and all...well bring it on. Although I haven't been serious about working on my body I know that losing a few pounds will help me feel that much more physically attractive. SO rolls his eyes whenever I talk about losing weight, bless him but for me I know its love speaking but I'm really going to try this year to stick to healthier eating habits.

Women need security. A woman needs to know a man will honour her above all else. That's love to a woman. She needs to know she is the only one and that you've got her back. She needs him to provide, protect and pursue. That's not too much is it? Most women need romance, the unexpected messages during the day, helping her out with the dishes at night when you know she's had a hard, long day. Well, its the little things that count. I still like to believe a woman would take a man that really loves her over money. I may be wrong.

I love watching movies with SO because we always find something to talk about afterwards, sometimes we pick up on different things and it helps me find a glimpse into how things work on Mars. Understanding your partner's culture and language goes so far in bridging gaps between you and them. Definitely worth the time and effort.


I'm always wondering how I should write on this blog. Like a 'Dear Diary' or something else. It's not like anyone is reading it, I just find writing my thoughts therapeutic. However, knowing myself I'm sure I will soon share it with someone at least but I think that thought is holding me back from sharing everything and really being bare faced. So I'm going to try harder to be honest and open. It begins with being honest and open with myself.

This post is about the 'ex', like I described in my last post...there is always that 'ex' you thought for sure you would spend the rest of your life with, the one you chose your children's names with, the one you thought was the ONE. The one when it ended you went into severe depression because you couldn't contemplate life without them. The one that when you think about in a few months or years time while you do wonder what life would have been with them, you still smile because you're happy where you are now and know it was for the best. Hmm, so many memories.

K is one of my oldest friends, male, female otherwise. I was friends with his younger brother first and we became closer friends when we both found ourselves relocating to a different country. In a lot of ways, K was an older brother...we sort of fell into our relationship. It was a very slow attraction, we didn't start formally dating until about 7 years after meeting each other. On my end I wasn't someone who really believed in dating and having boyfriends/girlfriends. I always thought relationships were important and should be taken seriously. I knew his family, he knew mine and honestly I just thought it was better and safer to go with someone you 'knew'.

We had issues, which relationship doesn't? The problem was that we couldn't ever discuss things through. The two problems I think that finished us from my end was acceptance and communication. At the end of the day I think there was a person I wanted or needed him to be and I couldn't accept the person that he was. The biggest lessons I learnt about myself in that relationship was to make a commitment to who a person was not what I hoped them to be. This isn't to say that we should not make people adhere to a higher standard but that we should be ready to accept them as they are. I also realised that I was a very impatient person...I want things done the way I want them when I want them. When you have to deal with yourself that's ok but when you have to deal with someone else it isn't as easy.

I was also scared because I saw so many similar traits between K and my dad. Its funny isn't it when you make up your mind to avoid something that you end up being it. My parents have had a difficult marriage and while I don't expect mine to be the same, its about learning from their mistakes and moving forward. So while he initiated the break up which honestly as a girl was a bit demoralising....lol! I decided to accept the offer. He did try to come back later when in his words 'the reality hit him' but I had learnt to live without him and the truth is that it is better to be single and happy than to be in a relationship and unhappy. I realised that unfortunately while I did love him it apparently wasn't enough to accept him unconditionally. 

It has been awkward..losing the relationship meant losing a friend. I was really close to his parents and was not able to relate with them anymore. I didn't know what to say, his mother's passing away last week hit me really hard. SO has asked me before if I still love K.  I can't say I don't because I do. There is a way in which I always will because he is like family. Irrespective of what our siblings do, we get upset with them but they remain family. That is how I love K. The love I have for him enables me realise that I am not the best person for him because eventually I may just nag him to death. I needed something different and so did he.  Loving SO and being with him has shown me that.

Some people are of the opinion that one should not keep in touch with their 'ex's' and I guess for some its a good thing so they can move on. Don't allow an ex to be an extra person in your relationship. My friend O is so close to his ex-girlfriend that her husband is uncomfortable with their relationship. I understand what he means about staying friends..after all your ex is a person but keeping things in perspective. I'm learning that in life answers are not always black or white...or right and wrong. There are different circumstances and we just have to do what we know to be best under those circumstances.

What happened two weeks ago could have escalated into a major problem if I and SO didn't have a good relationship to begin with. But I'm learning that on my end I'm going to be open and honest about everything that has to do with K with SO. He really has nothing to worry about and so I want my actions to assure him of that. 

Keep living, loving and learning.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Getting it wrong; Trust

So many things have gone on in the past few weeks and its just funny that when I can't actually write until I have dealt with it all. I'm sure I've mentioned previously that both I and SO are 'quiet' people meaning we withdraw into ourselves when we are upset. Its how we manage not blowing our tops off but it does mean we create a wall where we seemingly shut the other person out. Communication is not merely about speaking, we can talk everyday, you can even lie next to your partner with their breath on your face and be so far away from them emotionally that you are thousand of miles away. Only God knows our thoughts. SO can sense from the sound of even a text message that something is up but it is my responsibility to tell him exactly what's up.

A few weeks ago I and SO had a discussion about honesty i.e. should you tell the other person everything? Should you shield them from things that may hurt them if they knew about it? I've always been one for 100% honesty between partners but what does that really mean? There could be a situation where something is said to one or the either partner in confidence and to tell would be to break a trust. In such instances I feel that as the situation does not concern me he doesn't need to tell me. I shared something I read in a book with SO about a man encountering his ex on a business trip and not sharing the information with his wife. Nothing happened between him and his ex but she's that ex...the one who's all legs (that's how I described her) so what was he to do? SO says well it depends on your partner, some women would say they want to know but they don't really. I thought he should have told his wife that he saw his ex because if his wife found out there would be hell to pay. 

Hmm, this blog is about honesty. I always say we live and we learn. We learn most from the mistakes that we have made. I got a call to say that a close family friend passed away. She wasn't sick so it was quite a shock. While she is a close family friend, she is also the mother of my ex...that ex. The one you thought you would marry and even practised your new signature ex. I and him are a story for another day and another post. I was shocked and sad at the news of her death. Our relationship has spanned just about half of my life and while I was in a relationship with her son I could really call her a second mother. I told SO it was a family friend's mum that passed but didn't mention the ex part. I just didn't want to bring the past up, didn't want him to misunderstand actions I would have to take. I thought I was protecting him.

I went to visit him with my mum, we cried together. There are very few people in the world who understood on some level how he was feeling and despite everything I was one of them. I also needed to be near people who knew her and who loved her. I told SO I would be going there after work to 'check up on him, make sure he eats etc'. I noticed he sounded a bit odd and sometime in the early hours of the morning I received a message..'Is he your ex?'...I looked at my phone...I couldn't lie and so I said 'Yes'. He responded 'Don't you think that is a material omission in the information you gave me?' and it was true. I knew I would have to be there for K (why do we use labels like ex???) and I didn't want him to think that there was anything going on because there isn't and I will explain why later. But not saying everything made it seem like there was something to hide when there wasn't. 

He said it was ok to visit but why did I feel the need to go back again? etc. I explained, he said he understood but I knew he was upset. I decided not to go, he said that I should if I needed to but I decided not to. A few days later I apologised. I was watching BET and I heard a man talking about love and respect. He said that there were two different things. So many people get love but they don't respect their partner. Respect means not doing anything that hurts the other person....that struck me deep. I didn't apologise for going to see K...I apologised for not putting all the cards on the table. On my end my actions made perfect sense but I didn't really consider how he would feel. I tried to turn the situation around and wondered how I would feel if I found out that he went to visit a 'friend' who was also an 'ex'. Honestly, it wouldn't hurt me but I would wonder why he couldn't say.

I love him and definitely don't want to do anything to hurt him. Trust is such a strong thing that binds two people together and is yet so fragile and easily broken. In this instance my 'prior record' didn't make this a crack. We always tell each other where we'll be especially when we have to deal with members of the opposite sex on our own. Its not about policing each other but we keep each other accountable. I trust him absolutely and I know that a little bit of doubt can start unravelling the cords..

Well we live and learn. Just wanted to share that.