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♥ Finding The ONE ♥

Who wants to get married? You should have attended last night's "Finding the Love of Your Life" seminar-workshop organized by SFC Central (Makati) & East in cooperation with the Single Young Adults of Sanctuario de San Antonio. (Thanks for the invite, Kuya Nicky, Ate MK, and Kuya Rico. ^_^)

It was really a great experience for me and Mae as we were both affirmed of our recent decisions. :) And personally, it has given me a clearer understanding of the what's and the why's I've had before. :) But this isn't going to be about me. Sorry, I'm not gonna tell my story here (though I may inject some comments based on personal experiences. :D). Rather, this post is made for those who want to learn. :) I have always believed that blessings are meant to be shared. I was blessed last night, and it will make no sense unless I share it and let others experience it as well. And so, if you want to learn, be enlightened (I mentioned about this seminar to a friend and he replied, "Dapat nandun ako para mabuksan na ang mga mata ko."), and be blessed (hopefully), read on (but please prepare your hearts and minds, some points may be contrary to your ideals). :)

Ready? :) Let's talk about marriage. :)

First we must have a common understanding of what marriage is. (Some points here are taken from my TOB notes.)

According to Dr. Allan, marriage is supposed to be the source of love and intimacy in the world. There is no other way to procreate but through marriage. It is a sacred union between a man and a woman, and as Father Joel explained in the TOB, the marital vow is the perfect representation of what love is - free, total, faithful, and fruitful. (Read my blog on the characteristics of Christian Love here.) And of course we already know that it's a lifelong commitment. With marriage, there is no retirement ("For better or worse, 'til death do us part."). It's not a job from which you can easily resign and just quit when you can no longer take the things that are happening between you and your spouse. The person you marry is supposed to be the one you're going to spend the rest of your life with. That's why, you cannot just marry someone. You have to choose well. :)

Do you believe in unconditional love? Yes? I do, too. :) But at this point (for those who are still seeking. ^_^), as Dr. Allan explained, unconditional love will get you in trouble. Why?! Remember that you need to choose. And in order to do so, you must have conditions, you must have a criteria. (Agree?! Agree! :D) Thus, unconditional love applies after marriage, and not prior to it. :)

"Okay. I want to get married. And I want to have a happy and lasting marriage. What should be my criteria then?" We can only answer that if we know the predictors of marital happiness. :)

(And now we do, thanks to Dr. Allan & Ms. Maribel. ^_^)

Predictors of Marital Happiness

1. Similar Core Values (Check! :D)
2. Emotional Maturity (Super Check! :D)
3. Authentic Love (Mega Check! :D)

"A good match is like a table with 3 legs. Remove one and things fall down."

Assumption 1: You know what you want.

What are you looking for? Physical Qualities, Personality Traits, Interests. (I made a list of these back in high school. Unfortunately, I was blinded by false love.)

What are the "core values" - the "non-negotiables" that you are looking for? (Here's mine:

To guide us further, here's a list of important issues that need to be addressed and some recommended non-negotiables:

Core Values Applied to the Following:
1. Love
2. Money
3. In-Laws
4. Children
5. Faith
6. Communication
7. Sex
8. Career
9. Lifestyle
10. Time Management

Recommended Non-Negotiables:
1. Fidelity
2. Responsibility
3. Can listen; can share his/her feelings
4. Can "fight productively" with me (It's okay to fight, but make sure you learn something.)
5. Same religious beliefs
6. Similar (or at least compatible) dreams and aspirations
7. Similar educational/socio-economic background (I guess this is really true, right friends? :D)

Assumption 2: You have what it takes to be married and stay married.

It takes two mature people for a relationship to be successful. That's why we are told not to marry early (still a kid). :) But they say that wisdom does not come with age, right? Right. But with age comes experience. And with experience (assuming you learn from it) comes maturity.

Emotional Maturity
1. Able to balance dependence - independence. Can give generously and receive graciously.
2. Has outgrown competing and comparing.
3. Has resolved hostilities.
4. Is flexible and adaptable.

Past Hurts That Affect Maturity:
1. Parents' separation
2. Parents' infidelity
3. Abandonment. Neglect.
4. An unhappy adoption experience
5. Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse
6. Alcoholism, illness, suicide (by you or a family member)
7. Past failed relationship

We're done with two predictors of marital happiness, similar core values and emotional maturity. Here comes the third: authentic love. (This is exciting. :D)

There are THREE (3) stages of love namely:
1. Romance
2. Disillusionment
3. True Love

Romance is also called the "honeymoon" stage. This is usually the first few months (or year). During this stage, everything about your partner seem to be perfect. It just feels great!

As the relationship progresses, you will eventually discover the flaws of your partner. This is disillusionment. It is during this stage that you have frequent misunderstandings and quarrels. But you need to pay attention because this is an important stage. You cannot love an illusion. Therefore, disillusionment is good. :) (Because you are able to see and (eventually, hopefully) love your partner as he/she is. No pretensions. No illusions.) True love is a positive fruit of disillusionment. :)

Assumption 3: You have choices - good ones.

But what must you do so that you have choices? Three words resounded during the evening: Flirt with Finesse. :)

Want to know more? :) Attend the next seminar. :D (Kidding aside, there will be a follow-up post. ^_^)

Anyway, let me end by sharing marriage tips (and some more comments) from The Love Institute. :)

Marriage Tips
1. Get married in your late 20s. Work toward personal maturity - to being Ms. / Mr. Right. ("We not only look for the right person. We wait to become the right person." TOB)

2. Marry your last lover not your first or your one and only one. You deserve to choose the best. (!)

3. Three (3) years courtship (boyfriend-girlfried) before marriage - authentic love. (Remember the stages of love? ^_^) Long distance relationships are very risky. Avoid them. (Well, it really depends. But according to Ms. Maribel, communication and physical contact are important especially during the getting-to-know period. She further stressed that couples should spend time with each other at least 4 times a week.)

4. Prepare for marriage a year before the wedding date. Attend the 2 weekend seminars on Personal Growth and the 2 weekend seminars on Relational Growth, as marriage preparation seminars. (Contact The Love Institute)

5. Plan to have your own home; do not live with in-laws, parents, or siblings. If you need to rent, invest on rental, it is not an expense, it is an investment for a good marriage. :)

6. First year of marriage for couple adjustment only; helps build happy memories. Have first baby in 2nd year of marriage; learn the Mucus Ovulation Method to manage fertility.

7. Be active parents during the first 7 years of each child; flexible career of one parent preferred.

8. Prepare a couple budget, and give each one a monthly allowance. Have also the family budget.

9. Weekly couple fun date, sharing of dreams, aspirations, joys and pains; 3 times a week chats at home. (Again, communication is important. ^_^)

10. Weekly home management meeting. (Yes, this is really important.)

11. Simplify lifestyle to make time for self-care and couple relationships, later for kids too.

12. Dream home by 12th to 15th year of marriage to reduce financial stress.

13. Dream to have the ff:
    a. a loving marriage
    b. a happy relationship with your children
    c. a couple spirituality

14. For Marriage Maintenance, either have:
    a. monthly Marital Support Group (join CFC! :D)
    b. attend Relationship talks, or
    c. see a Marriage Counselor during your wedding anniversary month

There. I hope you were able to learn something. :)

Mae and I (and the rest of the 160 participants, I guess) were truly blessed. :) This is truly a worthwhile investment. :)

Soul Sisters with relationship experts and happily married couple Dr. Allan & Ms. Maribel Dionisio :)

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