CORRIANE AND THEODORE decided to treat themselves to a famous restaurant in the suburb. They left home in their car feeling excited. He was driving and they were chatting happily when suddenly a man appeared on the road when they turned a sharp bend. Luckily Theodore was able to brake in time and the man was not hurt.
Corriane was shaken by the incident and blamed Theodore: "You are careless. What if you had knocked that man down?" Theodore wasn't happy with the comments; he kept quiet and pressed the accelerator hard.
"Why are you speeding up? Do you really want to cause an accident?" Corriane remarked. Theodore retorted: "Can't you just shut up?" "Shut up? Ok, if you want to hit someone, go ahead," replied Corriane as she turned away from Theodore and stared out the window. Both kept silent.
When they were somewhere near the restaurant, Theodore slowed down and mumbled to himself: "Which turn is it now? I think it should be the right turn in front." Corriane interjected "No, I think it is left." Theodore asked: "Are you sure?" "No, just my gut feeling," Corriane answered.
When the car reached the junction, Theodore decided to follow his own instinct and turned right. But after driving for a while, he said: "I think the restaurant is at the other side." Theodore looked into the rear mirror to ascertain no car was following behind and made a U- urn.After a while they found the restaurant.
"If you had listened to me just now, we wouldn't have wasted so much time," Corriane commented. "If you are so smart, you should drive next time," Theodore responded. The much anticipated meal, instead of being a happy one for the couple, was quite the opposite.
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IN SPOUSAL RELATIONSHIPS, as long as a does not involve social justice, we should not be too concerned with who's right or who's wrong; who wins or who loses. Even if we know that a spouse has done something imperfectly or unwisely, in order not to embarrass him or her, oftentimes it is better to "act blur". This is to give the spouse a chance to correct the mistake in his or her own time and way.
In many instances, people may already have realised their mistake and are trying their best to make amends. The smart thing for a spouse to do then is to show understanding and give emotional support rather than victoriously point out all the spouse's mistakes.
In the above example, Corriane, instead of pointing out to her hubby that he had taken the wrong way and wasted some time - as if he wasn't aware of it - should focus on something else so that he would not be embarrassed by his mistake. Corriane could "act blur" and turn attention to positive experiences, like the beautiful greenery and the scenic view, by saying, "What a beautiful and enchanting place this is! Being here makes me feel so special."
Theodore would then be less preoccupied with his mistake and so can enjoy the drive. The end result would have been very different: Husband and wife went for a romantic meal in a suburban restaurant and looked forward to another similar experience.
Though married, individuals still have their own personal likes. Husband may like to smoke and wife may like to indulge in sweets. After marriage, husband and wife may try to cut down on their indulgences, perhaps due to health concerns or wanting to be considerate to each other.
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However, sometimes one would still like to give oneself a "treat". In this case, the husband could take a puff when the wife is not around or when he is with a friend. Or the wife could also occasionally indulge in an ice-cream. It is unnecessary for one spouse to "force a confession" out of the other when this happens. We must always respect that our spouse has the ability to judge right and wrong or what can be done and what can't be done.
Spouses should "allow" each other some "freedom". Even for more serious matters, if they happened a long time ago and things have already changed, it is better to let bygones be bygones.
For example, it is unwise for a spouse, especially for newly married couples, to ask the other about his or her past sexual experience. "Have you done it before? With whom?", " Who is better?" â€¦ Even if one knows about the spouse's past experiences, what would he or she want to do with the information? Feel jealous or angry? What is truly important is the present relationship and not the past.
Even in a matrimonial relationship, each party should be allowed some privacy. For certain matters, not knowing is much better than knowing. Even if you know, it is sometimes totally okay to "act blur". In fact when you act blur, you love smart!
(Father Henry Siew, parish priest of St. Anne's Church, is the spiritual director to Mandarin marriage Encounter Weekend.)