What is the “ay” Marker in the Tagalog Language?

In Tagalog there is no such thing as the verb to be.

In many Western languages we use the verb “to be” in such sentences as:

“I am Italian”

“I am an office worker”

I am a husband”

“She is my wife”

“Rodrigo Duterte is the president of the Philippines”

“Mocha Uson is a politician”

And so on

In Tagalog these sentences would literally read:

“Italian I”-Italyano ako

“Office worker I”-Empleyado ako

“Husband I”-Asawang lalaki ako

“My wife she”-Asawa ko siya

“President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte”-Presidente ng Pilipinas si Rodrigo Duterte (I have explained how to use the marker si before a personal name in my post about markers in Tagalog)

“Politician Mocha Uson”-Pulitiko si Mocha Uson

The order of all these sentences can be switched by using the marker ay.

So, for example, the expression Italyano ako can be flipped like this: ako ay Italyano

Pulitiko si Mocha Uson can be switched and turned into: si Mocha Uson ay (ang isang) pulitiko

The same kind of switching can be done when using verbs

If, for example, I am using the verb to go in a sentence like pumunta ako sa Pilipinas (I went to the Philippines), I can flip that sentence and say: ako ay pumunta sa Pilipinas

Or, if I say something like nagbabasa ako ng isang aklat (I am reading a book), I can switch it like this: ako ay nagbabasa ng isang aklat

Just remember that ay is just a marker that switches the order of the sentence and has nothing to do with the verb to be, as there is no verb to be in Tagalog.

Ay can also have another meaning: you can hear it in a sentence like ay naku!

In this case ay basically means oh, and the whole expression ay naku! means something like oh my goodness!

I hope this clarifies what ay means in Tagalog.

Rules and Expectations vs Love in a Multi-ethnic Marriage

I am in a relationship with a Filipina and this kind of relationship is the epitome of how conflicting rules and expectations that are not openly discussed before getting married can lead to serious problems.

The “Culture Shock Philippines” book by Alfredo and Grace Roces says that “when the alien culture behaves contrary to their expectations some people become frustrated and antagonistic”.

In the Western world we have a set of expectations related to family life, raising kids, budgeting and so forth that are radically different from those of the average Filipino.

Generally speaking a Westerner wants to get married to share his life with his wife and kids alone and independent from the extended family while, by and large, Filipinos want their parents to continue to live with them in the same house compound or even in the same apartment.

A Westerner may want to save up any extra money he has while his Filipina may want to send all the extra money to the Philippines to support her relatives.

And the list could go on for hours.

On top of that every human being has his or her personality and set of rules about what needs to happen for him or her to be happy.

For example, in order to feel a sense of connection with my wife, I need to spend a weekend together at least once a month and I need to go on a date once a week.

All of us have a set of requirements that our spouse has to meet to make us feel fulfilled but, more often than not, we get married not bothering too much about finding out what our rules and our spouse’s rules are and we assume that we will figure things out down the road somehow.

We sort of understand that there might be conflicting rules and expectations in the marriage but we are so blindly in love that we sweep the problem under the rug. This is at least what I did initially.

I didn’t precisely identify what my own rules and expectations were in all the major areas of life, nor did I really bother to go deep and carefully investigate what my wife’s expectations were in those areas. I only had very fuzzy ideas not a clear and detailed picture.

And, sure enough, I had not considered to what extent I was willing to flex some of my expectations.

Because I had failed to consider these things I found myself in a position where my wife’s expectations and mine were a lot different in many areas and that I was everything but ready to flex my rules.

But, eventually, as I have said in some other post, I decided to know more about how relationships work and it dawned upon me that the only way a relationship, in which there are conflicting rules, can work is if we decide to sacrifice being right for the sake of being in love.

(I know I am getting a little bit repetitive with these concepts but repetition is the mother of skill. These ideas are easy to talk about but applying them day in and day out is a little harder, therefore I need to remind myself…and in the process share these ideas)

I was absolutely convinced, and I still am, that many of my rules and expectations (especially when it comes to budgeting money) are quote-unquote right, but when a relationship is driven by expectations, needs and desires it suffers and that, if in order to feel good a lot of things need to happen, there are going to be conflicts on an ongoing basis, especially in a multiethnic marriage.

The longer the list of requirements that our spouse needs to meet for us to be happy the greater the chance that our rules will be broken and, therefore, the more we are likely to suffer.

A Zen proverb says: “if you understand things are just as they are, if you don’t understand things are just as they are”.

I honestly struggle to understand some of my wife’s expectations and rules, especially the ones that are closely tied to her culture and background, but I have realized that, because things are just as they are and people are just as they are, the best and most rewarding way to go through an intimate relationship is by being driven by love rather than too many expectations and rules.

Does it mean to say that I passively cave in to all of my wife’s expectations and rules in order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in which there is nothing but love, flowers, rainbows and butteflies?

Not at all. What I have discovered is that, by creating an environment where I am more loving than attached to my expectations and strict rules, my wife is more willing and more likely to meet me half-way and we are more likely to find a loving compromise.

Ang Kweba ni Aguinaldo sa Biak na Bato National Park

Gaya ng maraming mga Pilipina, ang asawa ko ay hindi sobrang mahilig na mamasyal, lalo na tuwing umuuwi kami sa Pilipinas.

Dahil dito, tuwing umuuwi kami sa Pilipinas, gumugugol ako ng karamihan ng aking panahon sa Bulacan.

Nakarating naman ako sa marami pang lugar sa Luzon, pero Bulacan talaga ang aking pangunahing destination.

Gaya ng sinabi ko sa ibang mga post, ang Bulacan ay punong-puno ng mga liblib na mga ilog at waterfall, gaya ng Bulusukan Falls at Verdivia Falls.

Pero mayroon ang isang lugar na medyo kilala at historic pa: ang Biak na Bato National Park, malapit sa San Miguel, isang ilog na may maraming talon ng tubig at kung saan mayroon ang sikat na “Kweba ni Aguinaldo”.

Biak na “buto” sa Biak na Bato

Ang unang babala na ibinigay sa akin sa aking unang bisita sa Biak na Bato ay: huwag tumalon kung saan mababaw ang tubig.

Mayroon daw ang ilang bisita na medyo buwisita na naglasing at tumalon sila kung saan mababaw lang ang tubig at, bilang resulta, mayroon silang biak na buto.

Kaya kung may balak kayo na pumunta sa Biak na Bato huwag kayong maglasing kung may balak na tumalon.

Tumalon ako kung saan mataas ang tubig

Mataas ang tubig dito

Kung Papaano ang Kweba ni Aguinaldo ay Naging “Kweba ni Eduardo”

Pinatnubayan kami ng isang tour guide na batang-bata at, pagdating namin sa Kweba ni Aguinaldo tinanong ko siya kung pwede pumasok.

Sabi niya “bawal po Sir”.

Inilabas ko mula sa bulsa ang 100 pesos at tinanong ko muli kung bawal pa.

Sabi niya “ok po Sir”.

Binili ko ang karapatang pumasok sa kweba: akin na ang kweba!

Dahil dito ang Kweba ni Aguinaldo ay naging Kweba ni Eduardo!

Ang Aking Bahay Kubo at ang Aking Bahay “Kweba” sa Pilipinas

Nagpatayo kami ng isang kubo sa tabi ng bahay namin sa Bulacan.

Kaya mayroon akong kapwa bahay kubo at bahay kweba!

Ang aming kubo

Syempre biro lang itong bulol na post na ito.

Pero maganda talaga ang Biak na Bato at karapat-dapat ang Bulacan na tanggapin ang mas maraming bisita…huwag sana yun’ buwisita na tumatalon kung saan mababaw ang tubig dahil hindi mababaw ang level ng baso….

Visit Italy!

My blog is mainly about my relationship with a Filipina, the Filipino culture and mentality and the mindset that I have adopted to successfully deal with culture-shock. I share what I have learned by reading books on relationships, and not just multi-ethnic ones, because the psychology of a healthy relationship is the same whether you are in an interracial marriage or in a “normal” one.

And I also talk about the Tagalog language and I have published posts about places to see in the Philippines.

In my post https://italpinoy1967.com/2020/04/02/is-the-philippines-an-asian-country/
I have mentioned a number of good reasons why the Philippines deserves to be visited.

But what about my country?

Italy is well known as a world-class tourist spot but, because tourism has massively been impacted in a negative way by the Covid-19 crisis, Italy will need plenty of tourists once this crisis is completely over.

In this post I simply want to share a few pictures of my country to kind of entice you to consider visiting it, if you haven’t done it yet.

What I like about this country, apart from it’s history and culture (that would require a separate blog to talk about), is the incredible variety of landscapes we have. We have got pretty much everything: lakes, mountains, an amazing coastline, historic sites and, probably, the best food (even though I consume it in moderation because I am into healthy eating).

Take a look at the following pictures (I have got a lot more pictures stored on various computers and devices but these are some of the ones I have on the one I am using to write this post) and make up your mind…

Lakes

Lake Como in Northern Italy
Lago di Vico near Rome
Trevignano Romano by Lake Bracciano, near Rome
Lago Trasimeno in Umbria

The Sea

The Amalfi Coast
Clear waters in Southern Italy
Sabaudia near Rome
Capri Island
View from a trail in the Amalfi Coast

Food and Drinks

Mountains

Gran Sasso d’Italia, about 100 km East of Rome

Backdrop view of Mount Vesuvius from the cable car to Monte Faito near Naples

Ancient Cities and Towns

Arezzo, Tuscany

The Spanish Steps in Rome
Parco degli Acquedotti in Rome

What else?…..

Cultural Fatigue in a Multi-ethnic Marriage

My relationship with a Filipina has taught me that there exists a kind of fatigue that is heavier than physical and mental fatigue put together. It is actually a kind of fatigue that drains your physical, your mental and your emotional energy.

I am talking about “cultural fatigue”, the kind of fatigue experienced by someone who is in a long-term relationship with a person (or a group of people) who belongs to another culture.

I think the expression cultural fatigue is more appropriate than culture shock as, the word shock kind of conveys the idea of a jolt, like and electric shock, something that lasts for a few seconds and then you get over it (if you survive it).

The word fatigue kind of conveys the idea of a prolonged strain and that is precisely what keeping score day in and day between two entirely different models of the world is: a prolonged strain, a very heavy fatigue that lasts for a very long time and it drains all of your energy.

I like how the “Culture Shock Philippines” book by Alfredo and Grace Roces describes this fatigue on pages 4 and 5: “cultural fatigue is the physical and emotional exhaustion (so there are two components to it: physical and, most importantly, emotional, and the book, instead of using the term tiredness uses the really fitting term “exhaustion”) required for long-term survival (the expression “long-term survival” means that you don’t just experience an initial shock or jolt) in an alien culture. Living and working overseas (or being married to a Filipina, even in your own country) generally requires that one must suspend his automatic evaluations (for example we in the Western world automatically assume that once you get married you leave your parents for good and form your own family unit, we also assume that you first pay the rent and the bills and if you have money left then you buy a car not viceversa, and the list of “automatic evaluations” that a Westerner must suspend could go on forever)…and he must supply new interpretations to seemingly familiar behaviour (like getting married and forming a family of your own which the Westerners interpret it in a way and Filipinos in a radically different way) and that he must demand of himself constant alterations in the style and content of his activity (notice the expression constant alterations: this is an ongoing and a very prolonged effort, not just a “jolt”)”. The book goes on to say that “this process consumes an enormous amount of energy”.

I like the expression that a Westerner must suspend his automatic evaluations or, in other words, in order to thrive in this kind of relationship and to be able to withstand a very prolonged fatigue, a Westerner cannot be stuck in his automatic perceptions that are the result of his upbringing and exposure to the Western culture.

An interesting point that the “Culture Shock Philippines book” makes on page 7 is that the solution of the cultural conflict lies, in fact, in the arena of “perception” rather than in a locked battle between irreconcilable values. What this means, as the book says on page 6, is that Filipinos value pretty much the same things as Westerners (family, honesty, sincerity and so on), it is not as if Westerners have a certain set of values while Filipinos have totally different values.

The values are the same, it is just that such values as family, sincerity etc are viewed and perceived from different viewpoints and this, of course, calls for an outstanding ability to suspend, as the book says, one’s automatic evaluations and be ready to experience constant alterations in the style and content of one’s activity.

My grandpa was a farmer and in his life he experienced a great deal of physical fatigue but very little mental fatigue, I studied hard my whole life and experienced a lot of intellectual fatigue and (at least when a was a teenager) very little physical fatigue. Since I married a Filipina I’ve been experiencing cultural fatigue, a combination of both physical and intellectual (and, most of all, emotional) fatigue, something a lot heavier and trickier than any other form of fatigue, this is, in fact, the ultimate fatigue.

How Soon is too Soon to Get Married?

(for some strange reason I moved this old post to the draft section so I am republishing it)

I remember talking to a young Filipina who was 20-21 years old and asking her if she was still going to school or working and she said “no, I work to support my husband and my child in the Philippines”.

I was rather taken aback that she was already married and she even had a child: I actually thought she was 16-18 years old, in fact she looked very young.

A lot of Filipinos get married and have children pretty soon in life. I know a lot of buntis or pregnant 18-25 year old Filipinas and a lot of very young Filipino couples who have kids before they even get adequate qualifications and a proper job.

I am not judging anybody, I just want to share my thoughts on the subject because I am an advocate of strategic thinking and moves.

I think one of the best strategic moves I have made in my life was my decision to take my time before getting married.

I got married at age 36 and I don’t regret at all waiting that long.

Few months ago I went through the Facebook profiles of some of the girls I was badly in love with when I was a teen-ager, and even in my early 20’s, and, by observing the stuff they post, I realized that the kind of person I am now, my top values and priorities, has absolutely nothing to do with what these women have become and marrying one of them 30 years ago or so would certainly have turned out to be a disaster.

What this tells me is that when I was too young my emotions were too wishy-washy and I was definitely not in the position to choose a person for life.

Also, I would have missed out on a lot of amazing trips around the world and adventures that have enriched my life beyond measure and that I could hardly have made had I chosen to get married (let alone having kids) in my early 20’s.

It is true that I still travel as a married person, and I have been to the Philippines a few times with my wife, and to a couple of more countries as well, but I used to travel abroad up to three times a year before getting married, while now it only happens once in a while. And, when I go to the Philippines with my wife she is more inclined to visit friends and relatives than to go on some adventure.

I would have also missed out on the opportunity to have a meaningful share in an international volunteer work that I did for years that has also added meaning to my life while now I have to work secularly a lot more.

I would also have missed out on the opportunity to come up with a crystal clear life purpose and find out what my life is about. Figuring it out years down the road when you work hard and have kids is tricky to do and exposes one to the danger that husband and wife who got married too soon discover a life purpose and adopt a set of values that are entirely different than that of their spouse, so I think it is better to be in a relationship with a person who has already found out who he or she is and what he or she wants out of life. When you are too young your core ideas and values are too fuzzy.

On top of that I am in an interracial marriage which requires long years of groping for a bridge and, therefore, requires a lot of emotional intelligence and maturity to cope with culture-shock and I am sure that in my early 20’s I was just not prepared for those challenges.

I think that waiting until I was 36 to get married has definitely been a wise move.

One of my pre-marital adventures: swimming in a cold lake near the Arctic Circle around age 30

Kung Papaano Harapin ang Asawang Babae na Mainit ang Ulo at May Buwanang Dalaw pa: Bagong Unawa

Tayong lahat ay naghahanap ng sagot sa iba’t ibang mga tanong.

Ang ilan ay malalim, katulad:

Bakit naririto tayo?

Ano ang layunin ng buhay?

At iba pa

Personally, nasumpungan ko ang pumupukaw-interes na mga sagot sa mga katanungang iyon.

Pero mayroon ang isang malalim na tanong na nasa proseso pa ako para masumpungan ang isang maasahang sagot.

Ang tanong ay: paano pwede kong harapin ang asawang babae na mainit ang ulo at may buwanang dalaw pa?

Ang isang mas malalim pa na tanong ay: paano pwede kong harapin ang asawang babae na mainit ang ulo, may buwanang dalaw at malapit ang menopause?

At ang isang higit na malalim na tanong ay: paano pwede kong harapin ang asawang babae na mainit ang ulo, may buwanang dalaw, malapit ang menopause at kulang ang pamilya sa pondo?

Ito ang aking ikatlong post tungkol dito at marami pa ang darating dahil lagi naghahanap ako ng mga sagot.

Ang isang kapaki-pakinabang na sagot na nasumpungan ko kamakailan sa iba’t ibang mga blog ay:

Bawat komunikasyon sa pagitan ng dalawang tao ay ang isang maibiging pagtugon o isang sigaw ukol sa tulong

Malalim talaga!

Maliwanag na kung sinasabi ng asawang babae sa kanyang lalaki na siya ay “walang kuwentang tao, bobo, inutil at iba pa” hindi yata maibiging pagtugon iyon.

Kapag hindi maibiging pagtugon ibig sabihin na sigaw ukol sa tulong ang nasa likod ng galit na iyon.

Kaya ang isang matalinong asawang lalaki ay dapat maghukay at hanapin kung nasaan ang sigaw ukol sa tulong imbes na tumugon nang may galit o tumakas para mag-inuman kasama ng mga kabarkada.

Medyo mahirap gawin iyon at hindi ako mahusay dito pero ito ang palatandaan ng pagkamaygulang.

Tama ang sinasabi sa picture na nasa itaas (credit: Definitely Filipino): dapat mag-isip bago kumibo at ang dapat isipin ay kung nasaan ang sigaw ukol sa tulong ng asawang babae na mainit ang ulo at may buwanang dalaw….

Kung Bakit Mabuting Asawa ang mga Italyano

Ako ay Italyano, marunong akong mag-Tagalog at Pilipina ang asawa ko.

Maganda ang Italya at masarap ang buhay ng mga Pilipina na may asawang Italyano at bihirang nagiging sawa sa isang Italyano ang asawang Pilipina ng isang Italyano.

Bakit? Dahil tapat na tao kami.

Ang dahilan kung bakit ang bansa namin ay tinatawag na Italy ay na dito kami ay may tali upang itali ang mga asawa namin sa aming puso at kapag nakatali na hindi na iiwanan.

Bweno, medyo nagbibiro ako…pero may punto at may kaunting katotohanan sa likod ng biro.

Itali ninyo ang inyong sarili sa isang Italyano at makakarating kayo sa pinakamagandang bansa sa mundo kung saan lagi (o halos lagi) sumisikat ang araw, masarap ang pagkain at…. maraming tao ay may kaunting….mana.

Magandang tanawin sa Italy

Magandang tanawin sa Italy

Magandang tanawin pa more sa Italy

The Traditional Bahay-kubo and the Filipino Concept of Space

When I visited the Philippines for the first time I spent one month there and, as I said in some other post, because my wife was not particularly interested in going on some adventure, like most Filipinos whom I know here in Italy (and, in fact, during my first visit to the Philippines I only managed to see the One Hundred Islands, Tagaytay, Manila and some rivers and waterfalls in the Sierra Madre Mountains and that was it), we spent most of our time there inviting friends and relatives over and, basically, staying home most of the time.

And I spent that time trying to observe as many details as I could to gain some understanding of the culture and the mentality of the Philippines.

In my blog I often talk about a fundamental difference between the Western world and the Philippines: we in the Western world value privacy while the Philippines it’s all about pakikisama or togetherness.

This difference is reflected in the way houses are built in the Philippines and in the West and, while in the Philippines, I had plenty of time to observe how the way houses are built in the Philippines really reflects the pakikisama culture.

In the Philippines there are both traditional bahay kubo and modern-style houses, and basically modern houses in the Philippines follow the original pattern of the traditional bahay kubo.

The Bahay Kubo and the Single Room Lifestyle

The traditional bahay kubo follows the Southeast Asian tradition of having a single-room environment where all family activities happen.

Bahay kubo near my wife’s house

Modern Housing in the Philippines

The rural bahay kubo evolved into a more modern house, usually made of concrete and hollow blocks (like my wife’s native house in Bulacan) with a metal roof on top, where much of the one-room lifestyle remained basically intact.

Our house in the Philippines

The one in the picture above is my wife’s native house in Bulacan.

What’s interesting about this house is that the balcony runs along the exterior of the upper floor linking the various bedrooms to each other and to the salas, and, because the windows have no blinds, anyone who is watering the plants or hanging clothes on the balcony can see everything that happens in the bedrooms.

The “Salas”

The bedrooms do not open out into a corridor, like most houses here in Italy, they open out on a very large salas (dining room) where all the cooking, eating and kwentuan (chit-chatting) take place.

No Ceiling

Another interesting detail is that there is no ceiling sitting on the tops of the walls, there is only a metal roof and so there is a gap between the roof and the tops of the walls.

My wife explained to me that the reason why there is no ceiling is because this way the air conditioner (there is only one in the house) can circulate the air around the whole interior. The only thing is that this way air is not the only thing that circulates but even what people say “circulates”.

I am not sure that this has anything to do with air conditioning because I have seen a very similar structure in other Filipinos houses that have no air conditioning, no ceiling almost anywhere.

House Compounds

On top of that the house is not an individual building but part of a house compound where the rest of the extended family lives and in between the various homes there is a communal space where salu-salo (parties), kwentuan (and sometimes inuman) and other family activities take place.

Communal space between the houses that form a house compound

Here in Italy rooms open out into a corridor and there are closed doors and a ceiling

Rows of apartment buildings in the outskirts of Rome: there are no house compounds in Italy and each family unit lives in its own house

So, yes, the way houses are built in the Philippines reflects the culture of limited privacy and togetherness, while the way houses are built in the West reflects how us Westerners cherish privacy.

Marrying a Filipina entails being willing to understand and accept these differences and being willing to find a loving compromise.

Come risolvere i problemi di comunicazione nel matrimonio

Uno dei miei obiettivi in questo blog è condividere idee e strategie che mi hanno immensamente aiutato a portare il mio matrimonio ad un livello molto più alto.


Io sono in un matrimonio interrazziale e questo tipo di relazione è particolarmente complicata, in quanto, oltre alle sfide che caratterizzano qualsiasi tipo di matrimonio, il matrimonio multietnico presenta tutta una serie di altre sfide legate allo shock culturale, e quindi ho deciso di leggere regolarmente quanti più libri possibile su come avere una relazione che funziona.

Uno dei libri che mi hanno aiutato immensamente a migliorare la mia vita sentimentale è un libro in cui mi sono imbattuto un paio di anni fa, scritto da uno psicologo americano di nome Jonathan Robinson.
Il libro si intitola “Miracoli di comunicazione per le coppie” (al momento non credo esista una traduzione in italiano ma per chi conosce l’inglese vale veramente la pena leggerlo).

Come afferma il dottor Robinson, la maggior parte di noi è più a conoscenza di come riparare un’auto che di come funziona la comunicazione efficace e, purtroppo, pochissime persone investono tempo di qualità nell’apprendimento di come comunicare efficacemente con il coniuge.

La cosa veramente notevole di questo libro è il fatto che, applicando i suggerimenti che si trovano nelle primissime pagine, si possono immediatamente iniziare a notare cambiamenti incredibili nella propria relazione, anche se la relazione ha sofferto a lungo delle cattive conseguenze della scarsa capacità di comunicare, che è la ragione numero uno per cui molte relazioni falliscono.

In realtà spesso i problemi di comunicazione non vengono fuori nel lungo periodo ma si manifestano subito: all’inizio della mia relazione ero un pessimo comunicatore e, come generalmente fanno gli uomini, ero solito dare consigli a mia moglie senza prima aver messo a fuoco e capito a fondo i suoi sentimenti.

Le tre A che rafforzano la comunicazione

Il libro sottolinea l’importanza di dare al nostro coniuge 3 cose assolutamente indispensabili affinché il nostro coniuge sia disposto ad aprirsi e ad ascoltare quello che abbiamo da dirgli: riconoscimento, apprezzamento e accettazione.

C’è un passaggio interessante nel primo capitolo che dice (come ho detto il libro è in inglese quindi cercherò di fare una traduzione più accurata possibile): “Se il tuo partner è molto turbato, la chiave per convincerlo ad ascoltare quello che hai da dire è dargli una notevole quantità di riconoscimento, apprezzamento e accettazione (in inglese tre A: Acknowledgement, Appreciation e Acceptance).
Le tre “A” sono come depositi nel conto bancario di autostima del tuo partner. Quando dai al tuo compagno le tre “A”, il suo “saldo” nella sua banca di autostima aumenta temporaneamente. Man mano che il suo saldo bancario aumenta, il tuo coniuge diventerà naturalmente più amorevole, più generoso e più capace di ascoltare. Pertanto, quando il tuo partner si sente stressato, la cosa migliore che puoi fare è effettuare un “deposito” sul suo conto bancario di autostima. Quasi come per magia, egli diventerà più ben disposto verso di te. Siccome è più capace di ascoltarti con amore, anche tu ti sentirai meglio. Il ciclo distruttivo sarà finito ”.

Il motivo per cui il nostro partner è spesso riluttante ad ascoltare ciò che abbiamo da dire è perché non riusciamo ad immedesimarci in ciò che egli sta provando e diciamo cose che non tengono conto dei suoi veri sentimenti.

In passato ho commesso questo errore troppe volte: in molte occasioni ho detto o fatto cose che hanno creato resistenza e risentimento in mia moglie (mia moglie proviene da una cultura caratterizzata da un alto livello di emotività), cose che dal mio punto di vista erano di poco conto ma che invece per mia moglie erano fonte di irritazione e ho minimizzato la sua irritazione con espressioni del tipo “ma dai”, “falla finita”, “ti arrabbi troppo facilmente per cose di poco conto” o qualcosa del genere.

Il concetto che il dott. Robinson trasmette nel suo libro è che se il nostro coniuge è arrabbiato, invece di respingere o minimizzare il suo  turbamento o la sua irritazione dobbiamo onorare e riconoscere pienamente il suo diritto di sentirsi turbato.

Il Dr. Robinson offre uno strumento di comunicazione molto potente chiamato “formula di riconoscimento” (in inglese “acknowledgment formula):

MI SEMBRA DI CAPIRE CHE TU….

IMMAGINO CHE TU TI SENTA VERAMENTE….

MI DISPIACE CHE TU TI SENTA COSÌ


In questo modo, invece di minimizzare e ignorare i sentimenti del nostro coniuge li stiamo ONORANDO, RICONOSCENDO E VALIDANDO e questo rende il nostro coniuge molto più propenso ad ascoltare quello che abbiamo da dire.

Oltre al riconoscimento, il libro parla di altre due qualità che sono l’ Apprezzamento (che significa apprezzamento specifico, poiché l’apprezzamento vago e generico fa poco effetto) e Accettazione.

Io, come ho detto, sono in un matrimonio interrazziale e la cultura di mia moglie è caratterizzata da molte cose che sono difficili da accettare per un occidentale, ma se voglio che il mio matrimonio prosperi non posso demolire l’ambiente che io stesso ho scelto di sposare. La cultura filippina è quella che è e l’unico modo in cui posso aspettarmi di avere un matrimonio che funziona è accettare la cultura del mio partner così com’è senza resistenza.

In qualsiasi tipo di matrimonio è indispensabile riconoscere e accettare che il nostro coniuge è quello che è e non quello che NOI VORREMMO CHE FOSSE.


La formula delle tre A ha creato miracoli nel mio matrimonio e il mio consiglio per tutti coloro che hanno una relazione intima è quello di imparare a praticare Apprezzamento, Riconoscimento e Accettazione e penso che “Miracoli di comunicazione per le coppie” del Dr. Robinson sia una grande risorsa per imparare a praticare queste tre qualità assolutamente indispensabili per il successo di una relazione sentimentale.

Le quattro R che distruggono la comunicazione

Un concetto che ho appreso da Tony Robbins è quello delle quattro R da evitare, se non vogliamo compromettere i buoni risultati ottenuti praticando le tre A.

Il concetto è che se abbiamo detto o fatto qualsiasi cosa che provoca la minima Resistenza o irritazione nel nostro coniuge, dobbiamo subito agire per evitare che troppa resistenza accumulata porti il nostro coniuge a provare Risentimento.

Se il risentimento va avanti per troppo tempo si rischia di arrivare alla situazione in cui dal risentimento si passa al Rigetto, che è la fase in cui marito e moglie diventano dei semplici compagni di stanza senza sentimenti.

E infine dal Rigetto si passa alla Repressione che è l’anticamera della separazione perché è la fase in cui ormai si rinuncia a lottare.

Praticando ogni giorno le tre A e stando attenti alle quattro R si possono veramente ottenere risultati eccezionali nel matrimonio.