How to be a Better Listener

When I entered the relationship I am in I kind of naively assumed that I was a good communicator because I was highly educated, I could communicate with my wife in two languages and I was in the process of learning my wife’s native language.

Being able to communicate with my foreign wife in three languages certainly helps but good communication is a lot more than that.

The ability to switch from one language to another when talking to her helps me to convey what I am trying to tell her in an accurate manner but that is just the tip of the iceberg because the foundation of excellent communication is listening.

All relationship experts say that and they are absolutely right: few weeks after my wedding day my inability to give my wife presence of mind and listen to her started to creep in and snowball to the point that it became very corrosive.

Actually the fact that I could communicate with her in three languages only made things worse because I could not use the language barrier as an excuse.

Here are three common weaknesses that I have and that, I guess, a lot of people have:

Lack of presence:

One of my main weaknesses is the tendency to go into Fantasy Land when someone else is talking.
It does not just happen with my wife. It used to happen when I was in school: I used to do well in school but I wouldn’t listen to anything the teachers said, the only reason I did well is because I used to study a lot at home but that entailed working twice as much.

This weakness spilled over into other areas of my life including marriage.

Now, while in school I could afford to ignore what the teachers said and still manage to pass the exams, because I could study the textbooks, marriage doesn’t work that way: there is no textbook where I can study what my wife says to me and, therefore, I have to listen right then and there.

When I became aware that my lack of presence was the source of a lot of problems, and that my efforts to learn my wife’s native language counted for very little, I started working very seriously to conquer this weakness.

I began to force myself to listen not just within the household but in every situation.

I don’t go to school anymore but I attend meetings, seminars, courses and listen to audiobooks while driving.

So what I did to improve my ability to be fully present was repeating out loud what I just heard in each one of those situations.

For example if I listen to an audiobook while driving I take five minutes or so when I stop the car to repeat out loud the gist of what I heard while driving.

When I go to a meeting or a seminar I approach the speaker telling him two or three specific things I appreciated.

I practiced these things for about six months and I started noticing great improvements even within my marriage and my family life in general.

We interrupt:

Another major weakness I have is the tendency to think about what I am going to say next while someone else is talking, and again this doesn’t just happen within the household but also when I go to a meeting or a seminar: while listening to a speech I think about the speech I am going to give.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a book entitled “Communication Miracles for Couples” by Jonathan Robinson that says that when someone else is talking to us and we are focused on what we are going to say next it is as if we were saying something like: “What you have to say is so predictable and such a waste of time that it’s not worth my waiting a few seconds, and what I have to say is so important that, in order to not waste my precious time, I’m going to cut you off.” (Chapter 8).

This sentence hit me so hard that I felt a huge sense of shame and started working very seriously on my ability to honor and acknowledge what my wife, or other people for that matter, are saying.

We defend or justify:

Another weakness I have is the tendency to defend or justify rather than fully listen to and acknowledge what my wife is trying to tell me, and all the more so because, more often than not, my wife doesn’t just reveal to me her deepest feelings but rather she vents them on me (and Filipinas are rather emotional women).

The problem is that when someone is venting and the other is defending or justifying no one is really listening.

So I’ve learned that someone has to break this negative pattern where nobody is listening and I have developed the habit of fully listen to my wife when she becomes emotional. I don’t do it perfectly, sometimes I lose my cool but I am trying.

We minimize or dismiss what our partner says as emotional or outlandish:

Sometimes my problem is that I dismiss what my wife says as emotional or even outlandish.

My wife is Filipina and sometimes she comes up with suggestions and ideas that are rather emotional and far-fetched.

I once heard the phrase “try to turn frustration into fascination” and, within certain limits, I am now trying to get curious rather than dismiss even the most outlandish things she says.

Even if my wife comes up with viewpoints that sound way too emotional, crazy and outlandish like for example when she says things like “I am sick and tired of living in this country, I miss my home let’s move to the Philippines for good next week (even if she knows that we don’t have the resources to make this move in one week)” I try to give her attention and honor her viewpoint and her suggestion.

It has been said that intimacy is into me see and if the person I am in an intimate relationship with says something outlandish it is as if a part of me were saying that. So, for the sake of into me see it is much more effective to get curious and find out the underlying reason why she is saying that crazy thing and try to grasp where she is coming from.

By practicing this I have learned to listen with genuine attention even to other people who say even the most woo-woo and crazy things.

For example few days ago I listened to a guy who claims that only a selected race will be saved and that God created all other races just to destroy them at Armageddon no matter how hard they try or how well they behave.

This guy is saying things that my mind dismisses as crazy and very outlandish but, because I have learned to listen attentively to whatever my wife says even when she is driven by strong emotions and she says strange things, I am listening to this guy with respect and honoring what he says.

So, yes, being able to speak my wife’s native language counts for very little and, in order to become a better communicator, I have had to work very hard on my listening skills and, as a result, my marriage (as well as my communication with other people) has improved dramatically.

The Importance of a Regular Overnight Date or a Romantic Getaway With your Spouse

I am married to a woman who comes from a country where the extended family culture is very strong.

My wife and I live with my mother-in-law and my stepson and spending quality time with my wife alone without any distractions is very hard when we are at home. So having a regular overnight date or, at very least, a little getaway as often as possible is the fuel of our relationship as a couple.

My wife and I try to spend a date afternoon together at least once a month.

The city I live in is surrounded by thousands of places that are ideal for a romantic getaway: we’ve got lakes, the sea, medieval towns and villages, almost perfect weather so living in Rome helps a lot.

We do have plenty of “family time” at home, because Filipinos have a very strong family culture, and we also have a very active social life: we go to Filipino social gatherings very often as a family and we invite people to come over.

So opportunities to be together as a family abound.

We also have plenty of time together as a couple because every day I take my wife to work, the two of us alone, and we spend the whole evening in our bedroom where we do indeed enjoy plenty of intimacy.

But even so the very fact that we live with the extended family in one house (which is without a doubt a great privilege and a great source of joy) makes it necessary to physically remove ourselves, once in a while, from an environment that cannot really give a couple the opportunity to experience 100% couple time without any pressures or distractions.

So, as I said, we try to regularly get away from the routine and carve out time for the two of us alone.

But spending an afternoon together, even if we almost do it on a weekly basis, is not enough either.

To really function as a couple we need to have an overnight date or a long weekend together at least every two or three months.

Again, the beauty of living in Rome is that we have so many off-the-beaten track ancient towns and villages, that are not as famous as places like Florence, Siena or other mainstream tourist spots (but they are no less interesting and beautiful), where finding a cheap apartment online is very easy.

For example my wife and I recently found a cozy apartment in the town of Arezzo, not far from Florence, and we paid something like 30€ per night, peanuts indeed.

But we don’t even need to go to another region to have an overnight date: we recently rented an entire farmhouse near Lake Vico, only 50 km away from Rome, for more or less the same amount!

Although my wife is Filipina and for most Filipinos ancient streets of cobblestone and romantic street lamps of medieval towns, or even rustic farmhouses, don’t mean very much, as they prefer modern shopping malls and fast-food restaurants, I have discovered that, in the end, that kind of environment creates an amazing atmosphere where even a woman who grew up close to a city filled with skyscrapers and mega-malls can fully enjoy incredible vibes with her European hubby.

Arezzo, Tuscany
Afternoon getaway at Lake Albano, very close to Rome
Afternoon getaway in Ostia Beach
The ceiling of our bedroom in a farmhouse near Lake Vico

When a Relationship is Driven by Rules Rather than Love

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 when it comes 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, for example I hadn’t asked myself the question “what if my Filipino wife wants her mother to live with us? Will I be able to adjust to the Filipino kin-group culture?”.

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.

The positive thing is that I eventually decided to learn more about how relationships work and I stumbled upon a principle that worked wonders for my relationship:

the principle is contained in a phrase that I heard in one of the many videos on relationships that I watched and the phrase was “do I want to be right or do I want to be in love?”.

I was absolutely convinced, and I still am, that many of my rules and expectations (especially when it comes to budgeting money) are right but I have discovered that, more often than not, one has to let go of most expectations and rules for the sake of being in a constant state of love.

I have come to the conclusion that, 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.

How to Stop Arguing in a Relationship

Few days ago I wrote a post where I shared the idea that I have chosen to operate from to avoid arguments.

The idea is that my wife and I are on the same boat or the same (relation)ship so arguing with my (relation)ship mate can only cause the (relation)ship to sink even further.

Well, while this idea is nice on paper, there are times in which heated arguments do happen in my relationship and the ship metaphor flies out of the window.

Usually I am hardly the one who initiates the argument, as I am a rather peaceful person.

My wife comes from a culture where people are a little more mainit ang ulo or hot-tempered than the average Westerner so arguments do take place despite my best intentions.

LEAVE THE SCENE IF POSSIBLE

It has been said that it takes two people to have an argument so an easy way to avoid arguing would be removing myself from the situation and going somewhere else to wait for the storm to pass.

But, as it has also been nicely said, sometimes you cannot avoid the storm and you have to learn how to dance in the rain.

There are many circumstances in which I cannot simply leave the scene of the argument and I have to face my wife’s upset head on.

Because, as I said, Filipinos are very emotional they easily and quickly jump to wrong conclusions if I come across in a way that triggers their emotions so it happens quite often that I do or say things that are not inherently wrong or offensive but come across as such.

My natural tendency was to prove myself right and my wife wrong by defending and justifying so the argument would go on forever.

I have discovered two very effective ways to deal with my wife’s strong emotions and face her upset head on when there is no possibility to run away from it by going somewhere else.

JUST LISTEN WITHOUT DEFENDING OR JUSTIFYING

Arguments occur when she attacks and I defend or counterattack instead of just listening.

If I try to clarify what my wife said and immediately respond to her no one is listening and what we are doing is that we are arguing, even if I may have good intentions for trying to clarify.

I have noticed that if she attacks and I abstain from defending myself and making her wrong and just allow her to let off all of her steam I can aikido her lashing out.

The art of aikido is a martial art that consists of rendering the “opponent” harmless.

So by abstaining from responding I am creating an environment where the anger fizzles out instead of going on forever.

I just allow her to vent without interrupting. It doesn’t matter if I am right and she has completely misinterpreted my behavior. I just allow her to let off steam until she eventually stops. I don’t need to physically remove myself from the situation, I just kind of aikido her anger.

APOLOGIZE FOR THE IMPACT

However there are circumstances in which she won’t stop arguing until I have given her an answer.

In this case the best strategy is to apologize for the impact, not for what I did wrong, if I am convinced I was right, but rather for how I have come across to her. In Tagalog that would be “sori para sa dating sa iyo” (“I am sorry for COMING ACROSS that way”).

I must admit that sometimes that doesn’t work either because it sounds to her as a form of subtle blame, as if I were trying to say “it is not my fault, it is yours because I did or said the right thing but you misperceived it.

SOMETIMES ARGUMENTS OCCUR NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO

So, whenever my wife feels the urge to argue I try, if possible, to go somewhere else.

If this is not possible or practical, I try to aikido the argument by either trying to listen without interrupting or trying to let her know that I am sorry for my impact.

But there are times in which no one of these things work.

I cannot leave the scene because she wants to talk, I cannot just let her vent because she wants an answer and if I apologize for the impact she says that it was not just the impact but I did indeed say or do things with the wrong motive.

So what I have learned is that eliminating arguments for good is not possible in an intimate relationship.

The reality is that arguments do occur no matter what I try to do.

But what I can do is do the best I can to minimize them and, over the past five years, arguments have drastically diminished in my relationship.

I am aware of the fact that my wife comes from a culture where the average Filipino is more emotional than the average Westerner so I remind myself that she is doing what she knows how to do given the environment she grew up in.

I would love to be in a relationship in which there are no arguments and I would love to ditch arguments for good but this is not possible.

But I am happy because, by applying the methods I have mentioned in this post, I have been able to minimize arguments a lot and contribute to create an amazing environment in my love life.

What Women Want in a Man

The reason why I am addressing this topic is because I entered my relationship without having any clues about how relationships work and about how women think and what they really want.

I had to figure it out years down the road and this caused me a lot of unnecessary problems.

There is actually one thing I figured out before committing and that is that women are incredibly drawn to men who have plenty of options and don’t actually need a relationship to be happy.

I was that way at age 32, when I met the Filipina who 5 years later became my wife: getting married and setting up a family was the very last thing I wanted because my life was very very comfortable. I could afford to travel abroad up to three times a year, I was saving up for the future, I was engaged in a very rewarding international volunteer work and I had plenty of free time for my passions like hiking and a bunch of other things that were filling my life with a lot of pleasure.

So I was not really desperate about getting married, let alone having kids.

When I bumped into the woman whom I eventually married I basically told her that I liked her a lot but I didn’t want to give up my freedom.

What I started noticing was that the more I tried to push her away the more attractive I became which led me to draw my first conclusion about what women want in a man:

  • they want a man who is not needy and who has plenty of options

In other words they want a man whose life is much bigger than the relationship itself, a man who will not fall into the darkness of despair should his wife die or leave him, precisely because his life and life purpose are more than the relationship itself.

This was the first and only insight that I had about what women want in a man before even committing to my wife.

But apart from this early insight there a lot of things that I had to figure out by trial and error years down the road.

After only about one year of marriage, it became pretty obvious that I was not really meeting my wife’s needs.

I used to think that if I only could get my wife to give me a list of what she wanted then I would have given her everything she wanted on a silver platter.

I started to naively push my wife to spend long weekends together once in a while and I tried countless times, to no avail, to get her to use these opportunities to get clear about what we wanted from each other and I was suggesting to her to sit down and take pen and paper so that she would give me a list of what she really expected of me and I would do the same, such that we could get crystal clear about what we expected of each other.

This never happened (and never will).

  • I realized that women want their man to figure out what they want and they will never be the ones to give you a “grocery” list of the things they want so that you can effortlessly know what these things are and give them to her.

We did actually have plenty of long weekends together but I never managed during those weekends to get her to do what I thought was right, namely to get clear once and for all about what we both wanted and write it down on a “list”

So, after years of chasing my tail around in circles, the second conclusion I was able to draw about what women want in a man is that they want a man who has enough sensitivity to figure out for himself what they want and need. Directly asking them pushes them away.

Another insight that I have acquired is that for a woman

  • little things are more important than big ones

A little thing that drives my wife crazy, if I fail to do it, is that she wants me to always, and I mean always, close the lid of the toilet’s bowl no matter how early I wake up to go to work, how in a hurry I am because I have to rush to work and how many hours I need to work.

In my mind if I am making the huge sacrifice to get up early and support the family I can afford to neglect a little thing like closing the lid of the toilet’s bowl. Not so from the standpoint of my wife! The huge sacrifices I make for the family count for absolutely nothing if I fail to honor the little things that are important to her.

Another thing that, based on my experience, women want in a man is:

  • they want a man willing to give them emotional connection when they need it not when he is ready and they want a man who is willing to push aside even important things like necessary and urgent work

Last Friday night, for example, I received a very important WhatsApp message from a potential new client but, between 9 and 10 pm, I usually give my wife a massage. Well, she made it clear that in that moment the massage was more important than getting that new client…

  • Presence of mind: we got a new dog and my wife is trying hard to train this unruly dog and she needs me to watch if there is any cats around when we walk the dog but I forget and I forget and I forget and get distracted and she can’t stand it.
  • They want to be heard and they don’t want a man to give them solutions

and all the more so because my wife is Filipino.
She comes from a culture where men themselves don’t think in terms of solutions and are rather emotional so offering solutions to an emotional Filipina and trying to get her to think in rational terms when all she needs is emotional connection doesn’t work. It doesn’t work with a Filipina and I am assuming that it doesn’t work with women in general.

  • They don’t like when you measure what they blame on you against what they are doing wrong or in other words they hate it when you make them wrong in response to their lashing out.

They can make you wrong all day long but you are not supposed to mention a single thing they did wrong.

This is, more or less, the list of things that, based on my experience with a Filipino wife and on my personal judgement, women want in a man, or at least what my wife wants in a man, which, I assume, applies by extention to more or less all relationships.

I will create a part 2 of this post should I come up with more insights….

Barbecue (BBQ) in the Philippines and Among Filipinos in Italy

In the Philippines it is all about food and the expressions kumain ka na? (“have you eaten?”) and kain ka (“have some food”) or “meryenda ka” are the expressions that immediately follow kumusta ka? (“how are you?”) when you visit a Filipino home.

This happens both in the Philippines and among OFW in my country.

Filipinos love food and every street in the Philippines is lined with food stalls and eateries.

Both in the Philippines and in my country Filipinos have social gatherings or salu-salo as often as they can.

In winter salu-salos take place indoors while between spring and autumn Filipinos who live in Rome take advantage of the fact that Rome has plenty of parks and that the weather is, more often than not, ideal to gather outside and mag-ihaw or prepare barbecue marinade.

The basic ingredients used to make barbecue marinade, at least the way they do it here, and the way my Filipino wife does it, are soy sauce, ground black pepper, lemon juice, banana ketchup, garlic, onion and brown sugar.

Filipinos just love it.

The problem is that, for most Filipinos here in Rome, BBQ is something that they cannot afford to do as often as they do it in the Philippines because they live in apartments and, although most apartments here in Rome do have a balcony or a terrace, chances are that neighbors will complain if Filipinos dare using their balcony to BBQ, as Italians like hanging their clothes on the balcony and they hate wearing “smoked” clothes.

The only Filipinos who can BBQ on their terraces or balconies are the ones who have the luck to live on the last floor of an apartment building, in a penthouse (that can be hard to find in Rome and pretty expensive).

A typical apartment building in Rome

What’s the solution then?

There is no other option then than either wait for warmer days and BBQ in a park or buy an electric grill, one of those that can even be used indoors.

My wife and I have one and it does its job, this way my Filipino wife’s cravings for BBQ are satisfied all-year-round…

El “FiliBOTErismo”

Ako ay ang Italyanong asawa ng isang Pilipina at interesado ako sa wikang Tagalog.

Halos binasa ko ang buong Tagalog edition ng “Noli Me Tangere”.

Maaari ko sanang basahin ito sa sariling wika ko dahil available ang Noli sa Italyano, pero binili ko ang Tagalog version sa National Book Store sa isang mall sa Maynila para mag practice ng Tagalog.

Binili ko rin ang “El Filibusterismo” at iyon ang next one in line na babasahin ko.

Ngunit napansin ko na, bukod sa El Filibusterismo, sa Pilipinas mayroon din “el filiBOTErismo” at mayroon maraming mga filiBOTErista na mahilig sa maBOTEng kwentuan…(biro lang)

Ang mga Benepisyo ng Pagligo sa Malamig na Tubig

Isa sa mga layunin ng blog ko ay upang ipakipag-usap ang tungkol sa kahalagahan ng enerhya at mabuting kalusugan upang tamasahin ang isang matagumpay na pag-aasawa.

Yamang ang pinakasusi para maging matagumpay ang isang romantikong relasyon ay ang pagbibigay kailangan na nasa posisyon tayo upang gampanan ang papel ng tagapagbigay.

Upang mangyari iyon kailangang ingatan natin hindi lang ang ating kalusugan kundi pati ang energy level natin.

Kahit medyo mahirap paniwalaan natuklasan ko na, ayon sa maraming dalubhasa, ang pagligo sa malamig na tubig ay nagluluwal ng maraming mainam na mga resulta:

  • Mas mainam ang sirkulasyon ng dugo
  • Mas malakas ang immune system
  • Mas madaling pumayat

At iba pa…

Hindi ako masyadong nagresearch pero sinusubukan kong gawin iyon at talagang gumagana: nadarama ko mas maraming enerhya at sa taglamig na ito hindi ako nagkasakit kahit isang beses bagaman naligo ako sa lawa mula noong Oktubre hanggang Enero!

Tutal tinutularan ko ang mga Pilipino at nagdadala ako ng kaunting pampainit (pero hindi kaunti-container…)

Sa isang lawa na malapit sa Roma sa araw ng Enero 21…ang lamig!

Perché la comunità filippina di Roma è particolarmente toccata dall’eruzione del vulcano Taal

L’immagine di copertina della testata online della comunità filippina di Roma “Ako ay Pilipino”

La foto di copertina di “Ako ay Pilipino Roma”, sulla pagina Facebook della summenzionata testata, è l’emblema della preoccupazione della vasta comunità di persone provenienti dalla provincia di Batangas, che vivono e lavorano a Roma, per ciò che sta accadendo e cosa potrebbe accadere nell’area che circonda il vulcano Taal (che è situato nella provincia di Batangas).

La comunità di Batanguenos (abitanti di Batangas) è, probabilmente, la più grande comunità filippina qui a Roma e conosco centinaia di persone di Batangas che vivono qui.

Migliaia di Batanguenos lavorano qui sin dai primi anni ’80 e molti hanno costruito case in stile italiano su una collina situata nella periferia della città di Mabini, che, proprio per questo motivo, è stata soprannominata “Piccola Italia”. Oltre 6000 persone della popolazione della città di Mabini, composta da circa 45.000 persone, si sono trasferite in Italia.

Migliaia di altre provengono da luoghi come Balayan, Batangas City, ma anche da luoghi molto vicini al vulcano come Talisay o la città di Taal.

Dal momento che il vulcano è eruttato senza dare molto preavviso (solo 6 ore), al contrario del Pinatubo che aveva dato segnali di una possibile eruzione diversi giorni prima, la situazione è molto imprevedibile e delicata ed è assolutamente comprensibile che gran parte della comunità filippina di Roma sia in grande allarme.

In una relazione sentimentale è meglio essere in pace o avere ragione?

Astenersi dal far valere le proprie ragioni a tutti i costi e creare prima intimità è una delle cose più efficaci per avere un matrimonio felice

È stato detto molte volte e in molti modi che se sei in una relazione intima devi costantemente porti la domanda: “Voglio avere ragione o voglio essere in pace in questa situazione?”

Perché l’insistenza sull’avere ragione ostacola l’intimità.

L’autore di un libro intitolato “Communication Miracles for Couples”, Jonathan Robinson, dice qualcosa di molto interessante in quel libro (purtroppo non esiste una versione italiana del libro): “La cattiva notizia è che, se vuoi una relazione felice e amorevole, dovrai rinunciare a qualcosa: la tua insistenza sull’ avere ragione. Quando insisti di avere ragione, ciò che comunichi indirettamente al tuo partner è che lei o lui ha torto. Semplicemente non puoi insistere sull’avere ragione (che è una forma di accusa) e avere intimità allo stesso tempo. Credimi, ci ho provato. È come cercare di avere contemporaneamente il buio e la luce nella stessa stanza. La buona notizia è che, se sei disposto a lasciar andare le tue ragioni puoi facilmente sperimentare un livello molto elevato di amore, armonia e appagamento nella tua relazione “.

Attaccare e accusare le persone con cui si ha una relazione crea separazione mentre se si sceglie di essere in una condizione di amore e pace e di lasciar andare la necessità di avere ragione si crea intimità .

Quando scegliere di essere in pace e in una condizione di amore piuttosto che nel giusto è complicato

Nel mio caso particolare applicare questo principio è particolarmente complicato. Io sono sposato con una filippina e, un occidentale sposato con una donna che viene da un paese in via di sviluppo, è fondamentalmente sposato con una donna che gestisce la sua vita secondo la stessa mentalità che è responsabile del fatto che il suo paese si trova in una condizione di arretratezza socio-economica.

La mentalità filippina è caratterizzata da molti aspetti che ostacolano il progresso del paese e, ad essere onesti, anche il progresso socio-economico di molti filippini che vivono in paesi più sviluppati. È quindi inevitabile che il coniuge occidentale si senta di essere dalla parte della ragione in tutte quelle situazioni (tipo la gestione del budget) in cui la mentalità del coniuge che viene da un paese meno sviluppato rischia (tra virgolette) di “fare danni”.

Come nel caso del matrimonio multietnico, molti altri matrimoni possono essere caratterizzati da situazioni in cui uno dei due coniugi può obiettivamente avere “ragione” in determinate situazioni (ad esempio se l’altro partner si mostra irresponsabile nella gestione del denaro, è incline a fare debiti, fuma, beve ecc.) e, pertanto, questo consiglio, che spesso si trova nei libri che parlano di relazioni, di preferire il ‘volemose bene’ all’avere ragione, può sembrare irragionevole e difficilmente applicabile.

Del resto non è forse vero che il vero amico e compagno è colui che aiuta il partner a migliorarsi? Non è forse vero che se io entro in una relazione devo creare valore aggiunto e aiutare il mio partner a diventare una persona migliore? Se chiudo un’occhio su cose che non vanno nel mio partner in nome del ‘volemose bene’ che contributo sto dando alla sua vita?

Perché un tono accusatorio rende la comunicazione nel matrimonio inefficace

Jonathan Robinson continua il suo ragionamento dicendo “il fatto di sentirsi dalla parte della ragione può gradualmente insinuarsi nell’intero modo in cui le coppie parlano tra loro” e questo è il punto: scegliere di essere in pace piuttosto che avere ragione non vuol dire ‘volemose bene’ e chiudere gli occhi di fronte a situazioni che vanno corrette ma semplicemente rendersi conto del fatto che essere costantemente focalizzati sulle proprie ragioni e sui torti del partner crea emozioni negative che portano poi a comunicare con un tono costantemente accusatorio che non porta da nessuna parte e produce, come unico risultato, quello di chiudere la mente del proprio coniuge.

Cosa significa realmente scegliere di essere in pace piuttosto che avere ragione

Nel mio caso particolare, almeno come io ho capito il concetto e come io sto cercando di applicarlo, rinunciare alle mie “ragioni” in favore della pace e dell’intimità vuol dire coltivare la capacità di aiutare il coniuge a crescere e adottare degli standard leggermente più da “primo mondo” senza usare un tono di accusa, che renderebbe inefficace il modo in cui dico le cose che devono essere dette e chiuderebbe la mente della mia moglie straniera e la renderebbe ancora più radicata nelle abitudini che io considero poco costruttive, tanto più perché i filippini sono un popolo particolarmente incline a chiudere la loro mente quando sentono che qualcuno gli sta facendo la predica.

Quindi, come marito italiano di una filippina, sono giunto alla conclusione che, indubbiamente, la mia responsabilità è quella di essere il vero amico che tira fuori il meglio dalla sua moglie straniera e l’aiuta a separarsi dagli aspetti della sua cultura e mentalità che ostacolano il suo progresso come persona. Sento di avere la responsabilità di aiutare mia moglie a fare ciò che è giusto, ma devo trovare un modo per farlo venendo da una posizione di amore, intimità, connessione e ‘rapport’ e prestando particolare attenzione al modo in cui comunico la cosa che, a mio avviso, mia moglie dovrebbe cambiare.

Dale Carnegie nel suo libro “Come trattare gli altri e farseli amici” scrisse che “se vuoi raccogliere il miele non devi dare un calcio all’alveare”.

Quindi, lungi dall’essere un invito a chiudere gli occhi di fronte a problemi seri del coniuge e gestire le situazioni alla ‘volemose bene’, il principio di cercare di essere in pace piuttosto che avere ragione vuol dire coltivare l’arte di far valere le proprie (oggettive) ragioni venendo da una posizione di apprezzamento, empatia, amore e intimità e rendersi conto che cercare di convincere il proprio coniuge a fare la cosa giusta attaccando, incolpando, offendendo e insultando non produce risultati.