Staying Married In A Secular World Part II: The End Game

My wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last week. Nothing to shout about because it is not a silver or golden jubilee but nonetheless, we are still working on it – our marriage.

In the fast paced world we live in today, we often ask ourselves “what is the end game”? For a sustainable business, the end game would be to have referable customers to give good testimonials about our services to new prospects in hopes that they will end up being our customers.

What about marriage?

There are two possible “end game” to a marriage and they are:

a. Divorce

b. Until Death Do Us Part

For this post, I would like to write about one of the clear indications that a marriage is heading towards divorce even before it begins.

When we attended the marriage preparation course, the initial question the presenting couple asked us was whether we have signed any prenuptial agreement and if we did, they would not allow us to continue attending the course.

But of course we were young and so in love that we did not even understand what a prenuptial agreement was and let alone signed one. In hindsight, I am glad that was the case.

TRUST

I have come to understand that a prenuptial agreement is a contract with the “end game” in mind. There really is no point in getting married when either one of the two people agree to having a prenuptial agreement. This is a clear indication of one’s non-committal behavior towards the union. There is enough distrust in the relationship to afford an “what if” situation. Perhaps it is a lack of faith but whatever the reason, I am opined that it is best not to get married to a spouse who demands or even considers a prenuptial agreement.

A marriage is the commitment of two people who have made and will always make a conscious decision to love each other every single day of their lives until death to them part.

In marriage, we give ourselves fully to our spouse – a 100%. But a prenuptial agreement is 2% less. There really should not be Plan B or C in a marriage. We stick to our vows no matter what happens.

As we celebrated our 11th year together as husband and wife, I was reminded of that one question that helped me make the decision that she is the one.

“Can I TRUST her with my life?”

And like our wedding vows, the answer is YES!

If you are considering marriage at the moment, I hope your end game is Till Death Do Us Part. I wish you all the blessings and graces for an everlasting marriage!

You can read Part I by clicking here.

Quietly Growing

I’ve had these cactus pads for more than a year now and in fact, most from the initial plant has rotten away before I decided to salvage what seemed to be healthy. In some cultures, it is a taboo to keep cactus plants in living spaces because of their sharp thorns or spines that are believed to cause more “harm” than good. After replanting them in a bigger pot, I also re-positioned them to where they will be able to get more sunlight.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” ~ Matthew 13:8

The gospel reading last week talked about getting a good rest and this week the gospel seemed to be about growth.

I cannot help but to relate the readings to the situation I had with these cactus pads. Not only have I not planted them on good and suitable soil, they have been deprived of the nourishment they needed to thrive.

Just like how newborns need their sleep as part of growth, adults too need to rest so that our bodies will be able to rejuvenate and “repair” what is damaged. Spiritually speaking, we need to be still and in the quietness, reflect to find the inspiration we need to grow as a person.

I chance upon an article on my favorite self-help blog Pick The Brain and through it, found a TED talk by Susan Cain about The Power Of Introverts.

It is interesting how all the experiences in the past two weeks coupled with the discoveries of the article and video seemed to be intertwined and run in parallel.

We are so distracted in this instant gratified world that we have often forgotten to pause and invest some quiet time for growth.

I hope you will have a good week learning something new and worthwhile in your journey towards growth.

Friend

Here I am trying to recall and recollect what has taken place the entire past week. Nothing inspiring worth sharing because I am still coping with losing two people due to relocation. I still hope that one of them would resume his presence online as soon as he is settled at the new base.

Whatever it is, we are often lonely in different ways.

Last weekend, there was a huge Pride Parade at downtown Toronto and the topic of LGBTQ+ became a discussion (once again). One of the many things that is very difficult to define with precise certainty.

I think like most things in life, people in general are seeking acceptance and a sense of belonging. We are trying to fill the void in certain aspects of our lives.

Most of all, we are seeking for companionship and love.

We want to be heard, affirmed of our self-worth, and be valued by someone else.

We are now living a highly pressurized and challenging world where people are easily provoked. The more connected we are through the internet, the more disconnected we are in the real world. It is now quite difficult for us to hold a lengthy conversation because it has been reduced to “what’s in it for me?”, “what do you have that I need?”, or “how can you be of benefit to me?”. We seemed to have grown into this “selling oneself” culture whereby we are either selling a product, a service, or even prostituting ourselves just to get by in life.

In the end, we yearn for what is left of our dignity and self-worth. We become jaded as to what are our talents, values, morality, principles, ethics, and purposes.

If only we can all love a little more by being compassionate to one another. By understanding the fact that each one of us is seeking our spot in this huge planet – to be counted and valued. To also understand that often times, the level of wisdom and intellect of a person can be confined by the circumstances that are totally out of their control. We must love enough to know that for each person to come to his or her own, he or she needs time, the right opportunities, and guidance.

Therefore, if you come across a person not up to your standards or expectations, perhaps it is your opportunity to learn new ways of leadership and be the change he or she needs so desperately to turn life around.

As we begin a new day, let’s ask ourselves – Have you found LOVE today?

Visionaries

If you have lived through the 80s and 90s, I am quite sure you will agree with me that it was an era filled with visionaries. From music to cartoon series, their creators were the epitomes of creativity. The only problem they had was the lack of technological tools to bring their creation to a higher level. But that did not deter them from using all the resources available to materialize their ideas and visions.

Michael Jackson was definitely a visionary that has set a very high standard in the music industry. The people behind the Generation 1 Transformers (1984) animated series are definitely a group of visionaries as well.

Today, I somehow see a trend that we no longer able to create new things like how it was back in the 80s and 90s. We are remaking many of these amazing creations of the past by merely innovating them using the technological capabilities available today. I guess we don’t need to if we are still able to make good profit out of the old ideas – a “quick fix” at best.

Isn’t that all of us in this world currently filled with instant gratifications?

Today, we even have a label and term given to short attention span – ADHD. I kind of wonder if such an illness is a sickness of the modern world – one that is cultivated through time and have infused or ingrained into our genetic makeup.

If we apply instant gratification onto life, we really should have been dead the moment we are born. That may sound a little morbid but don’t it make sense if you think about it. We are always talking about “the end game”. The end to life is really death, no? If we want the end results so badly all the time, death is the answer.

This culture of death is doing humanity no good. It kills creativity because it gives us no time to be still and creative. It leaves us no room for retreat and reflect let alone rest and relax.

All our time are spent manufacturing the generic and conform to the norm.

What vision is there in uniformity when creativity means creating something out of nothing?

Split Second

I usually spend my idle time thinking about life. The trip this week has given me a few opportunities to reflect on life and my outlook of it. There are times when I felt that I have taken a lot of things for granted and have been ungrateful of the blessings in my life.

And as I reflected further and drilled down into the miniscule aspects of life, I realized that how great of a change just one second in time can bring to our lives.

In other words, in a split second, many things can happen be it good or bad. In a split of a second, I’ll probably be born into a life without choices – freedom of religion being one. In a split of a second, I might be in a plane crash or an accident. In a split of a second, I may die in my sleep.

As such, the first order of things for me whenever I visit a foreign land is to always be still in the presence of God and to give Him thanks for another day of life.
This is not a show of my holiness or the lack of. Infact, I am far from a holy person by any standard. Afterall, I am just a human with imperfections. It is just me believing that in all things uncontrollable, there is a God.

We tend to overthink and overanalyze things. We want to get an explaination and justification for everything in our lives. What we cannot see or touch is usually doubtful.

As we wind down for the weekend and on my flight back home, one statement came on strongly and I think it is worth sharing. I hope it puts into perspective why some of us believe in the divine.

“If we can explain for certain the randomness of death then, we can clearly define the existence of God.”

Impulsive

For some reasons, the topic of fluidity and spontaneity has been on my mind this entire week. It also brought to mind a disappointing moment in my life many years ago.

It is only human nature to remember hurtful moments the most and one particular incident when I was a young lad stuck until today. Someone once labelled me as “impulsive” and denied me the opportunity to progress further in an organization I was a part of in high school. He explained that it was an undesirable trait.

Fast forward almost 20 years later, I realized that being impulsive is not a flaw but like any other trait, it can be advantageous. I realized that many of us are procrastinators always looking out for opportunities to delay certain tasks or working towards our goals.

Being impulsive is good when one have the “do it now” attitude. Of course there are times when I looked back and regret some of the impulsive moments but otherwise, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when things turn out well.

Thus far, being impulsive has allowed me to try many things and to react faster during crucial moments especially in situations when decision making is needed in a short time frame.

I like to think that being impulsive afford me the label of being the “crazy ones” just like the quote (below) used by the late Steve Jobs in one of the campaigns. To be able to try new things without the worry of failures (we worry about that later).

Being a “crazy one”, I often look back in life and can proudly say, “I’ve been there and done that. No regrets!”

Containers

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine shared an article about how to win at living life. I can only summarize it as “keep going and keep growing”. I can totally relate the article to something that I had read many years ago in one of the many “self help” books during my days of self discovery. 

In that particular book, it was written along the lines that one is built to retain what he or she deserves. In other words, at any one point of our lives, like a container of different sizes, we are able to retain certain amount of riches and fortunes.

The book further gave a few examples of millionaires that bounced back after a bout of bankruptcy to be where they were before or better.

Like what the article suggests, when we grow as a person, our pot of wealth grows in parallel. No matter what happens to us, we will be able to get back to the spot we “belong” unless we shrink ourselves or unable to retain our strength to endure through the temporary hardship.

There were a few instances in my observation of the corporate world that I became very frustrated at how imbalance the hierarchy is. For example, there were times when I thought that some people in higher positions do not deserve being where they are because of all the “not walking the talks”. I do not know about you but I get really frustrated when the talkers are earning much more and having better lives than the hard workers. Being that idealistic person that I am, I feel that it is very unfair for those with valuable skills to be placed under the purview and at the mercy of those without substance. Often times, their talents go to waste under the incompetent and aimless so called “managers” (not leaders).

So, the question really is, how can the hard workers grow to eventually take over as good leaders at the top of the “food chain”?

It is probably time to be still and listen to the desires of my heart. The noises and distractions seemed to cloud my vision once again. I cannot be floating aimlessly without a direction in this river of life. Sometimes, we see with our eyes, reason with our minds but forget to listen to our hearts.

Have a good weekend…