Sunday, March 15, 2015

Relationship tips from Korean dramas

Featured dramas: Jumong, Empress Ki, Faith, The Moon that Embraces the Sun, Dong Yi, A Jewel in the Palace, The Princess’s Man, Jejoongwon, Yi San, The King’s Doctor, Painter of the Wind, My Love From The Star, Queen Seondeok, Chuno, Six Flying Dragons, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, and Saimdang, Light’s Diary.

Creating or maintaining vibrant relationships between men and women and husbands and wives has always been what this blog is all about. I thought it would be fun and informative to link to my previous discussions or to discuss some new topics by using as illustrations some scenes and dialogues from my favorite Koreanovelas. So, here we go ...

Men are terrible mind readers

In “My Love From The Star” (Episode 18), Cheon Song-yi tries to get Do Min-joon to marry her. She drops numerous hints, but he fails to understand what she’s really trying to say.

Cheon Song-yi says: “With utilities and rent, the money flowing out is no joke. I heard that electric bills are progressively taxed these days. And I am now paying rent monthly. You are just next door. We should eat often together like this and sleep ...”

Thinking that she wants to borrow money, Do Min-joon replies: “What did you just say? Tell me clearly so that I can understand.”

Women, listen! If you want to spare yourself from a lot of heartaches or frustrations, always keep in mind that men are terrible mind readers.

In “Chuno (The Slave Hunters),” the female slave named Chobok has fallen in love with her fellow slave Eop-bok, who’s the sharpshooter in their rebel group. Through her words and actions, she tries to let Eop-bok know how she feels. In Episode 14, Chobok sprains her foot while running to warn Eop-bok and the other slaves as they prepare to ambush a group of nobles. Later as they walk along at night on a deserted street, Eop-bok sees her limping, and to her delight, he then gives her a piggyback ride.

Later, in Episode 16, Chobok teases Eop-bok about giving her another piggyback ride.

Eop-bok: Did you hurt your leg again?

Chobok: Must I hurt myself to have you carry me?

Eop-bok: Then, is it your back?

Chobok: (sighs and then walks off)

Eop-bok: (still clueless) So, what else is hurting?

In Episode 12, Hyewon (who has fallen in love with Taeha) begins preparing lunch for Taeha and his men. But Taeha finds out about it and tells her that his men are professional soldiers who have cooked for themselves on the battlefield. Hyewon replies that nothing can replace a woman’s touch in the kitchen. When Taeha insists that she leave the kitchen, she finally says, “You're so clueless. I just want to do something with my hands for you.” With a sheepish smile, Taeha then leaves.

“Queen Seondeok” (Episode 36) gives us a tragic example when a woman assumes that the man whom she loves can read her mind. When Kim Yushin is forced into a marriage with a member of Mishil’s clan, Deokman tries to stop the marriage by telling Kim Yushin that she loves him: “Must I give up on you? Just because I never told you so, do you think my feelings for you are just feeble voices in my soul?”

The kind of man women really want

In “Faith” (Episode 6), the Fire Lady asks Choi Young (played by Korean superstar Lee Min-ho), “What’s the key to have a woman’s trust like that?”

In “Empress Ki” (Episode 15), Wang Yu goes to the Yuan capital as a conquering hero. After he charms Empress Tanasiri and the Empress Dowager with his music and poetry. the Empress Dowager tells him, “Brave and sensitive. I see why the ladies can’t resist you.”

There you have it, straight from the Empress Dowager’s mouth as to the kind of man that women really want. But perhaps, the title of Joyce Landorf’s book published in 1975 sums it up best: “Tough & Tender, what every woman wants in a man.”

In “A Jewel in the Palace,” we have such a man who’s brave and sensitive, tough and tender. He’s Min Jung-ho, the love interest of the drama’s heroine, Jang Geum. In Episode 31, Jang Geum and Min Jung-ho help each other in driving off the Japanese pirates who invaded Jeju island. In a tender moment afterwards, Jang Geum tells Min Jung-ho: “But you always understand me — my skills ... my will ... You always understand me for who I am as a woman and as a human being.”

“Chuno” (Episode 11) also illustrates for us that women want toughness and tenderness in a man. As they rest after escaping from Jeju Island, Hyewon tells Taeha: “Women do not covet that much. There is one thing they truly wish for ... for men to always act with resolve, unchanging in their ways.”

That’s toughness.

Taeha then takes Hyewon’s hand and replies: “For the rest of my days, you have my undying fealty.” But Hyewon pulls her hand away as she says: “Things like fealty are for men to discuss. They are not what a woman wants to hear.”

Later, in Episode 12, Hyewon says to the 4-year old Prince Gyeongan about Taeha: “Men are quite peculiar, aren’t they? ‘I love you, let us live together ...’ How nice it would be to hear such words.”

That’s tenderness.

Love must be tough: relationship tips for singles

In “My Love From The Star” (Episode 11), Cheon Song-yi tries pathetically to win back Do Min-joon’s affections by offering to him her shoes that he had fixated on in Episode 4.

Dr. James Dobson, in his bestselling book “Love Must Be Tough;” offers some guidelines for single men and women. One guideline, which Cheon Song-yi should have known, goes like this: “It is of highest priority to maintain a distinct element of dignity and self-respect in all romantic encounters.”

In Episode 18, Cheon Song-yi’s best friend warns her about planning a wedding when Do Min-joon hasn’t even proposed; her best friend says, “I can’t help but notice that you have zero dignity.”

A man should always look into a woman’s eyes when speaking with her

Some men (okay, a lot of men!) look away when a woman is speaking to them. Why do men do this? Because they are thinking of the next thing they want to say. Worse, some men (okay, okay, a lot of men!) speak to a woman without looking at her.

Men, listen! When speaking with a woman, always look into her eyes. Why? She will think and feel that you are really paying attention to her.

In “Empress Ki” (Episode 10), Togon makes that same mistake with Tanasiri. (Or was he simply not interested at all with Tanasiri?)

In “Faith” (Episode 6), Choi Young boldly goes into the bad guy’s headquarters to save Eun-soo. He tells the bad guy that he’s rescuing Eun-soo because he loves her. Later on, Eun-soo teases Choi Young as to when he began to fall in love with her. She says, “You didn’t even make eye contact with me.”

In “Jumong” (Episode 73), the Koguryo alliance between Jumong’s Damul Army and Sosuhno’s Jolbon nation is at a breaking point on the issue of who will be the monarch. Jumong simply wants to restore Ancient Josun and to let Lord Yuntabal and Sosuhno lead Koguryo. Because Sosuhno loves Jumong, she wants him to reign as monarch. But Jumong’s and Sosuhno’s officers and soldiers are just about ready to battle each other on this issue.

To solve the impasse, Jumong asks Sosuhno to marry him so that they can rule Koguryo together as Emperor and Empress. But at first, Jumong makes the mistake of not looking at Sosuhno when he asks, “Will you marry me?” But on the second time around, Jumong finally looks into Sosuhno’s eyes and repeats his proposal. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Emotional word pictures

In “Dong Yi” (Episode 28), the title character, played by Han Hyo-joo, tries desperately but fails to give to King Sukjong the evidence proving the innocence of deposed Queen Inhyeon. Exhausted and brokenhearted, Dong Yi finds a safe place outside the palace and begins to play on a haegeum her hauntingly beautiful melody. The sound reaches King Sukjong who was roaming the streets that night. In Episode 29, King Sukjong and Dong Yi are finally reunited after months of separation, and he tells her: “I was so afraid I would never see you again that my lungs have collapsed and my heart has melted.” Wow, talk about emotional word pictures!

Don’t isolate yourself relationally

In “Queen Seondeok” (Episode 25), Deokman rejects Kim Yushin’s affections because she wants to focus only on becoming Silla’s ruler. In Episode 55, she asks Bidam rhetorically: “If I must stake my all to achieve it, how could I ever love anyone?”

In “Faith,” Eun-soo explains why she has never fallen in love: “Even if my heart seems to be open, it stops and stops.”

In “My Love From The Star” (Episode 1), Do Min-joon explains the relational principle that has guided him throughout the 400 years that he has been here on planet Earth. He says:

“400 years ago, I came to a foreign planet. Ultimately, I’ll be leaving. And I won’t be able to take anything with me. If it’s hard to bear when it’s lost, then I should have never have it in the first place.”

Thus, except for his friendship with lawyer Jang, Do Min Joon has refused to be involved in any kind of relationship, much less fall in love with a woman.

So what happens? Queen Seondeok loses Kim Yushin, one of Korea’s greatest generals, and becomes hopelessly attracted to Bidam, who leads a rebellion against her. Do Min-joon finally falls in love after 400 years and puts himself in mortal danger in protecting Cheon Song-yi. Eun-soo falls in love with Choi Young and becomes torn between staying with him and returning to her own time.

John Eldredge describes the dangers of disowning our desires:
Our hopes are deeply tied to our real desires, and so killing desire has meant a hopeless life for too many.

David Whyte calls this the ‘devouring animal of our disowned desire.’ It is the reason behind most affairs in the church. The pastor lives out of duty, trying to deny his thirst for many years. One day, the young secretary smiles at him and it’s over. Because he has so long been out of touch with his desire, it becomes overwhelming when it does show up. The danger of disowning desire is that it sets us up for a fall. We are unable to distinguish real life from a tempting situation. We are fooled by the imposters. Eventually, we find some means of procuring a taste of the life we were meant for. (The Journey of Desire. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, p. 66.)

“The man who takes time to speak with a woman has the inside track to her heart”

In “The Princess’s Man” (Episodes 1 and 2), the female lead character Se-ryeong wants to learn how to ride a horse, despite the bruises she’s gotten from her failed attempts to mount her father’s horse and the subsequent whippings she’s gotten from her tradition-bound mother.

One day, she successfully mounts the horse, and the horse takes her on a slow ride around the marketplace. But then the horse gets spooked and races towards a cliff. Se-ryeong is rescued by the male lead character Kim Seung-yoo. Leading Se-ryeong back to the palace, Kim Seung-yoo asks her why she wants to learn how to ride a horse despite her fears.
Kim Seung-yoo: Why even make the effort when you’re so daunted by it ...

Se-ryeong: How could men comprehend a woman’s heart?

Kim Seung-yoo: If that man happened to be your teacher, would it not be feasible?

(After a short period of silence ...)

Se-ryeong: Is it true that riding in such vast spaces liberates your mind?

Kim Seung-yoo: Only if you ride fast enough to feel the wind.

Se-ryeong: No matter how daunting, I’d like to feel that. Women are plagued by solitude after marriage, unable to walk past their gates. So I should make precious memories to help me endure all that.

In Episode 7, Se-ryeong and Kim Seung-yoo begin spending time together and reciting poetry with one another.

In his classic book “His Needs, Her Needs,” Dr. Willard Harley says that “the man who takes time to speak with a woman has the inside track to her heart.” How much time should a man spend talking with the woman whose heart he wants to capture? Harley recommends 15 hours a week.

The biggest mistake men usually make when listening to a woman unburden herself

In “The Princess’s Man” (Episode 5), Se-ryeong tells Shin Myeon, the capital prefect: “Speaking my mind relieved me a great deal. It feels like confessing myself to a close friend.”

Guys, remember this: When a woman talks about her problems, she isn’t necessarily seeking solutions to them. Avoid giving solutions to her problems, unless she specifically asks for them.

Eldredge in his book “Wild at Heart, Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul” puts it this way:

“… The most terrifying question any man ever asks his woman: ‘What’s wrong?” After that it’s all mystery. A woman doesn’t want to be related to with formulas, and she certainly doesn’t want to be treated like a project that has answers to it. She doesn’t want to be solved; she wants to be known.”

Guys, all you really have to do is to listen using what counselors call “reflective listening.” How? Look into her eyes when she’s speaking; never turn your eyes away. Nod your head from time to time as a signal that you’re listening. Ask her to explain what she means; this will encourage her to express herself more. These things aren’t that difficult to do, right?

Blaise Pascal in Korean dramas: “The heart has its reasons which reason does not know”

In “The Moon that Embraces the Sun” (Episode 11), King Lee Hwon (played by Kim Soo-hyun) and shaman Weol are walking together on a deserted street at night after having watched a puppet play. King Lee Hwon starts criticizing everything about the writer and the play, especially the fictional romance between the King and the court lady, which he derides as being unrealistic. But Weol defends the play by saying, “It’s a story that could happen in real life.... Sometimes there are no logical explanations to human relationships.”

In “A Jewel in the Palace” (Episode 25), Jang Geum’s adoptive mother notices the closeness between Jang Geum and Min Jung-ho. When Gang Duk-gu (Jang Geum’s adoptive father) protests by saying that Jang Geum is a court lady, she says, “What nonsense?! Have you ever seen a man and a woman having reasons for liking each other? There’s no reason for love.“

In “Six Flying Dragons” (Episode 15), Moo-hyul notices that Boon-yi has become depressed after Bang-won’s wedding. When Boon-yi (a commoner) pretends that she doesn’t love Bang-won (a high-ranking nobleman), Moo-hyul sees through her and says, “A person’s heart usually does what it wants, so it doesn’t consider things like status or circumstance.”

In “Jumong” (Episode 17), Sosuhno sets aside her merchant’s pragmatism and risks her life in order to save Jumong who has been captured by bandits. Later on, she reflects on why she risked her life:
“I used to treat affection as another kind of deal. I wondered whether it would profit me. Logic would’ve prevented me from going to the hideout. I said I went to make a deal but there was no logic behind it. I only wanted to save Prince Jumong.”

Gifts for women should be sentimental (or practical and sentimental); gifts for men, practical

In “Jejoongwon” (Episode 17), Seok-ran gives Hwang Jung a stethoscope for his medical studies.

Later on, Hwang Jung gives Seok-ran an engagement ring with a floral design. He chose the design because it will always remind them of their time in the mountain when they tried to find a witness who could prove the innocence of Seok-ran’s father. In the mountain, bandits shot at and chased them all through the night. When everything seemed bleak, they came upon a field of azaleas that gave them hope.

In “Yi San, Wind in the Palace” (Episode 13), Crown Prince Yi San encourages his childhood friend Song-yeon to become a Bureau Artist, despite her being a female and a slave. He gives her a set of expensive brushes and lends her a book of paintings by a female Chinese artist.

Song-yeon, on the other hand, buys in Episode 32 a hat clip made of agate; as she leaves for Qing in Episode 33, she sends the hat clip to Yi San as a farewell gift.

In “Jumong” (Episode 23), Jumong gives to Sosuhno his mother’s jade ring. The ring was a gift to his mother by Haemosu, who’s the leader of the Damul Army and Jumong’s real father. On the other hand, from Episodes 48 to 62, Sosuhno uses all of Keru’s business profits to build a magnificent palace for Jumong and the Koguryo nation they are establishing.

In “Dong Yi” (Episode 23), King Sukjong kills a deer during a hunting trip. He orders his chief eunuch to have the deer skin made into scroll shoes for Dong Yi, a slave who has recently become a Lady Investigator. Dong Yi wears the shoes in Episode 30 when she enters the palace as a Special Court Lady and in Episode 38 when she is appointed as Royal Consort.

In “Chuno,” Dae-gil gives Hyewon shoes twice (during their early courtship days and in Episode 24). What’s more, he repeatedly gives her heated stones that keep her warm during winter; she keeps one of the stones with her even years later as a symbol of their love.

In “Empress Ki” (Episode 20), Wang Yu gives SeungNgyang a hair pin, telling her that if she wears it, it means that she loves him too and is willing to be his queen back in Koryo.

In “The Princess’s Man,” Princess Kyunghye loves the birds in her palace garden. But she had to leave the birds behind when court traditions compelled her to leave the palace after her wedding. Her husband Jung Jong realizes how lonely she is and how worried she is about leaving the palace with no one to protect her younger brother, the King. To cheer her up, Jung Jong buys several birds and places them in cages on the trees in their residence.

In “Six Flying Dragons,” Bang-won gives Boon-yi shoes in Episode 9 and an ornate, Ming hair pin in Episode 41.

In “The Moon That Embraces The Sun” (Episode 5), Crown Prince Lee Hwon escapes from the palace and visits the seriously sick Yeon-woo and gives her the phoenix hairpin (a symbol of the royal family) as a token of their love for each other. Years later, after they’re reunited in the palace, he gives her the other phoenix hairpin.

In Episode 20, King Lee Hwon tries to learn how to play the gayageum so that he can play it as a birthday gift for Queen Yeon-woo. But ... just watch the episode, okay?)

In “Painter of the Wind,” Kim Hong Do is a master painter while Yoon-bok is his student. Yoon-bok is actually a woman, but she has to disguise herself as a man to be able to enter the Dohwaseo (Bureau of Painting).

In Episode 9, Kim Hong Do competes against several renowned artists for the honor of painting the King’s portrait. His arch rival tries to derail him by stepping on his eyeglasses. But he wins the competition because of Yoon-bok’s help. Later on, he goes to the market with Yoon-bok to buy a new pair of eyeglasses. Yoon-bok chooses the right frame for him and even pays for the eyeglasses.

Kim Hong Do: I will safeguard these eyeglasses with my life until I die.

Yoon-bok: You definitely need to keep that promise. This is my present to you; you must not have it shattered or broken. (Pause) But why are you putting away the eyeglasses instead of using them?

Kim Hong Do: The glasses will wear and tear; I will use them only when necessary.

In Episode 13, Kim Hong Do gives Yoon-bok a pair of engraving seals she can use to mark her paintings. The seals contain the Chinese characters for “Hyewon,” the pen name that Kim Hong Do has chosen for Yoon-bok. The pen name is patterned after his own pen name, Danwon. He says to Yoon-bok: “From this moment in time, you are Hyewon and I am Danwon.”

In Episode 14, Yoon-bok gives Kim Hong Do a magnifying glass so that he can better see if there are clues in the painting of bamboos.

Princess Sukwhi in “The King’s Doctor” is hopelessly infatuated with Kwang-hyung but is almost clueless when it comes to giving gifts to a man.

When Kwang-hyun successfully treats her cat Dolly, she rewards him with rolls of silk. Now what would Kwang-hyun, a slave and a horse doctor, do with silk clothes? Then, after Kwang-hyun gets beaten almost to death, she brings him medicinal herbs (that’s good thinking!) and again, rolls of silk! Then, before Kwang-hyun takes the entrance exam to medical school, she gives him a special lucky charm chosen by her equally clueless royal guard. The charm turns out to be a woman’s underwear!

Fourth time around, Princess Sukhwi gives Kwang-hyun an almanac, which he appreciates. Now, she’s learning. (Princess Sukhwi gives Kwang-hyun rolls of silk twice, visits him at the royal stables, and even kisses him. But Kwang-hyun is too dense to know why she’s doing all these things.)

Also in “The King’s Doctor” (Episode 4), Kwang-hyun takes off his straw sandal and puts it on Yongdal’s foot. Deeply touched by the gesture, Yongdal (aka Jinyung) keeps and treasures the sandal years later, despite having become the sole heiress of a vast fortune.

In “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds” (aka “Love in the Moonlight”), Kim Yoon-sung buys and gives to Ra-on the dress and overcoat that she looked at longingly at the store. On the other hand, besides giving Ra-on an eternity bracelet, Yi Yeong reunites her with her long-lost mother.

In “A Jewel in the Palace” (Episodes 12 to 14), Jang Geum loses her sense of taste — a devastating thing for anyone involved with food. Min Jung Ho encourages her by lending her medical books to read and even writes a poem for her. He himself pores over medical books to try to find the cure for Jang Geum’s condition; he also consults a doctor.

Jang Geum eventually recovers her sense of taste, and she wants to show Min Jung Ho her appreciation for everything that he has done. Her best friend Yeun-seng tells her to give her heart. And so Jang Geum goes to the kitchen late at night and prepares some food. When she meets Min Jung Ho, she says: “As I cook food, I always hope that the person who eats my dish would smile. I hope that my appreciation would be well-expressed through this.”

In “Saimdang, Light’s Diary,” Lee Gyeom gives several gifts to Saimdang through the years.

As teenage lovers in Episode 4, he gives her a precious Ming ink stone for her paintings. In Episode 5, he orders his bandit-friends to clear the mountain roads so that Saimdang and her children can travel at ease.

In Episode 6, as he rediscovers his talent for painting, he gives her his painting of a mother dog and its puppies. In Episode 11, he places lanterns all along the path in the woods that Saimdang uses to get to her paper mill.

In Episode 20, Saimdang finds out that her husband Lee Won-su has taken in a concubine. In anger and disappointment, she paints a deep red canvas with nothing on it. Lee Gyeom later sees the empty, red canvas and senses that Saimdang is going through deep emotional distress. After he buys back all of Saimdang’s painting that Lee Won-su and his concubine sold off, he paints a peony flower on the red canvas. After seeing the flower and reading Lee Gyeom’s letter, Saimdang breaks down in tears.

What a woman really wants

In “Chuno,” Seolhwa is a gisaeng who wants to change her ways after falling in love with Dae-gil, while Wang-son is a player and a slave hunter. In one scene, Seolhwa tells Wang-son that he really doesn’t know what women want, but Wang-son retorts that, more than Joseon’s king, he knows what women really want.

Max Lucado, one of my favorite writers, said, “A man can spend a lifetime with a woman and yet never gaze into her soul.”

Dr. James Dobson in his book “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women” (page 65) says:

“Women yearn to be the special sweethearts of their men, being respected and appreciated and loved with tenderness. This is why a homemaker often thinks about her husband during the day and eagerly awaits his arrival home. It explains why their wedding anniversary is more important to her, and why he gets clobbered when he forgets. It explains why she is constantly ‘reaching’ for him when he is at home, trying to pull him out of the newspaper or television set; it explains why ‘Absence of Romantic Love in My Marriage’ ranked so high as a source of depression among women, whereas men would have rated it somewhere in the vicinity of last place.” (Living Books; copyright 1975 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.)

John Eldredge, in his book “Wild At Heart, Discovering The Secret of a Man’s Soul” (page 182), says in a memorable, very poetic way what every woman wants:

“… the deep cry of a little girl’s heart is am I lovely? Every woman needs to know that she is exquisite and exotic and chosen. This is core to her identity, the way she bears the image of God. Will you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me?”

Dr. Larry Crabb, on the other hand, perfectly describes in his book “Men and Women, Enjoying the Difference” what a woman really wants:

“A woman wants to know that the deepest parts of her being are richly enjoyed by a man who will therefore treat her with tenderness and look at her with delight, someone who will enjoy her because she is enjoyable, and not because of a manipulative desire that hopes to get from her what will bring pleasure to him.

“But women have learned to be skeptical. Every little girl has discovered that not everything wonderful about her will reliably be enjoyed. Some of who she is will at times be ignored, despised, demeaned or selfishly used. In a fallen world, she learns that offering all that she has to another runs the risk of rejection and abuse. And because she too is fallen and therefore committed to her own well-being with no thought of dependence upon God, she figures how to minimize the risks by hiding the tenderest parts of her soul and avoiding an honest look at her ugly parts.

“In order to survive in a world where people carelessly hurt her and use her for their own purposes, she learns to cover her delicate nature with a hard crust, a toughness that is always on alert for dangers. When she is by herself long enough to reflect on what she really wants, she becomes at least vaguely aware (sometimes acutely to the point of despair) of how nice it would be if someone were tough for her.

“Deep within her being, she longs for an advocate, not a tyrant who would control her life with strength, but an advocate whose strength on her behalf would free her to go off duty and to express more of who she really is. She longs for an advocate who would enjoy her and give her the hope that she could invite people into meaningful relationships with the confidence that there really was something about her that could be enjoyed.”

Relationship tips from “Jejoongwon”

“Jejoongwon” is a totally underrated 2012 drama that has not been shown by GMA7, TV5, or ABS-CBN. But it has a cult following among netizens worldwide (count me as one of them). This drama is a fictionalized account of the people involved in establishing “Jejoongwon,” Korea’s first hospital of Western medicine, and among its stars is Han Hye-jin, the female lead in “Jumong.”

A woman listens not only to a man’s words but more importantly, to his tone of voice. As Naoko tells Baek Do-yang: “When the tone of your voice changes, I can’t do anything all day!”

What makes a woman insecure

Naoko becomes jealous of Seok-ran. After an emotional outburst by Naoko, Seok-ran tells Baek Do-yang: “Sometimes, you’re very warm, but other times, you can be cold. That can make a woman insecure.”

Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!

In “The Moon that Embraces the Sun,” King Lee Hwon and his half-brother Prince Jang-myung have been pining for Heo Yeon-woo whom they believe has been dead for the last eight years.

In Episode 9, shaman Weol (who is actually Yeon-woo) encourages Prince Jang-myung: “Forget the young maiden who is in your heart. Open your mind to a new relationship. Don’t try so hard to hide your true feelings behind a smile. Hiding your true feelings and living under a disguise will only give you heartache.”

In “Six Flying Dragons” (Episode 9), after they escape from Hamju and arrive in the capital, Bang-won notices Boon-yi’s worn-out, straw sandals and buys her a pair of silk shoes. In Episode 14, they confess their love for each other, despite the wide difference in their social class (Bang-won is a high-ranking nobleman, while Boon-yi is a commoner). But, in Episode 15, Bang-won gets married for political reasons to Min Dakyung, who’s also a high-ranking noble. Boon-yi moves on symbolically from her love for Bang-won by taking off the shoes.

For me, the most emotionally intense farewell between lovers in a Korean drama is that between Jumong and Sosuhno in Episode 40. Jumong goes missing after a battle with the Han and its allies. Giving up hope that Jumong is still alive, Sosuhno marries her bodyguard to escape Prince Daeso who is harassing her to become his concubine. Later on, Sosuhno meets Jumong again and she bids him farewell:

“I can’t afford to cling to the past and dwell in sadness. What’s the use of lamenting over our crossed fate? It won’t be easy to forget about us but I’m going to try. Please give up on me and go on with your life.”

I love this corny stuff!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Love and respect: deepest needs of husbands and wives

There’s a joke that goes this way: A young girl came home after school. When asked by her mother what she learned that day, she excitedly began talking all about their lesson on Snow White, the seven dwarfs, and the handsome prince. Since the mother had a lot of things to do and already knew the story, she interrupted her daughter and asked, “And so what happened, did they live happily ever after?” The little girl answered, “No, that’s not what happened. They got married!” 

Okay, okay, I know some of you are wondering what the joke about Snow White and her prince is all about. Despite the dreary statistics on live-in relationships and annulment cases, 95% of today's singles still deeply desire to be married, as Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott report in their book “Relationships.” As John Eldredge put it in his book “The Journey of Desire,” men and women were created for intimacy. Or as the Bible puts it, “Marriage is honourable unto all.”

What the world needs now is love ... and what else?

For those of you getting married this month or contemplating marriage sometime soon, I highly recommend the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Emerson was a pastor for some twenty years but has since 1999 been conducting, with his wife Sarah, seminars on marriage for audiences worldwide. The thesis for his book and seminars is found in Ephesians 5:33 which says, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” As Emerson explains in his “Love and Respect” website,

”You may remember how the Beatles sang, ‘All you need is love.’ I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of ten marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband's need for respect. This Love and Respect message is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs -- respect. And the husband can fulfill his need to be respected by giving his wife what she needs -- love. Does this always work? No. But if one is married to a person of good will, I would bet the farm that it would work!”

Without love, she reacts without respect; without respect, he reacts without love

What Emerson teaches based on Ephesians 5:33 is that love is the wife’s deepest need and that respect is the husband’s deepest need. But the problem couples encounter in their marriage is what Emerson calls “The Crazy Cycle.” Without receiving love from her husband, a wife reacts without respect. Without receiving respect from his wife, a husband reacts without love. And “The Crazy Cycle” goes round and round …

Emerson’s website offers two videos explaining what the Crazy Cycle is all about. You can either download it to your computer or view it in your browser.

Breaking out of “The Crazy Cycle”

Emerson discusses in his book two other cycles which he calls “The Energizing Cycle” and “The Rewarded Cycle.” In “The Energizing Cycle,” he advises husbands and wives that “his love motivates her respect, and her respect motivates his love.”

In the “The Rewarded Cycle,” Emerson states that a husband should love his wife regardless of her respect (or lack of it), and that a wife should respect her husband regardless of his love (or lack of it). Okay, okay, I know “The Rewarded Cycle” sounds like Mission Impossible to you. Well, just read Emerson's book and find out how a husband can truly love or how a wife can truly respect regardless of what his or her partner is dishing out.

Acronyms for a great marriage

In several chapters of his book, Emerson discusses his acronyms for a great marriage: C-O-U-P-L-E-S and C-H-A-I-R-S. The C-O-U-P-L-E-S acronym is meant to familiarize men with what their wives need and how to show love to their wives. It stands for Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty and Esteem.

On the other hand, the C-H-A-I-R-S acronym sums up for women how they can show their respect for their husbands, and stands for Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship and Sexuality.

Emerson’s website also offers several i-Pod downloads and free web videos like How Can I Respect That?, I Can Never be Good Enough, Pink & Blue, Cracking the Code, Tough Love, and He doesn't Deserve It!

Emerson’s book (reprinted in the Philippines by the Church Strengthening Ministry and readily available in OMF Lit, Back to the Bible Bookstore, PCBS and National BookStore) is a little bit expensive at 350 pesos, but hey, if you want a great marriage, 350 pesos is nothing, right?

So if you are getting married sometime soon, I suggest that you go and buy Emerson’s book and browse his website, so that you can live happily, even after marriage, okay? okay?

Monday, November 28, 2011

The KC-Piolo split: Basic things a woman wants from her husband or boyfriend

KC Concepcion admitted last week in an interview with Boy Abunda that she has broken up with Piolo Pascual. When asked why, KC said in the vernacular, “May mga hinahanap ako na napaka-basic lang na hanapin ng isang babae sa isang boyfriend, sa isang lalaki.” KC refused to reveal details about what these basic things are that a woman wants from her boyfriend. But days or weeks from now, she might feel freer to talk about these things.

Well, I believe Dr. James Dobson, John Eldredge, and Jenet Jacob (in that order) have said better than anyone else what a woman wants from the man in her life. In page 65 of his book “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women” (Living Books; copyright 1975 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.), Dr. Dobson says,

Dobson What wives wish husbands knew about womenWomen yearn to be the special sweethearts of their men, being respected and appreciated and loved with tenderness. This is why a homemaker often thinks about her husband during the day and eagerly awaits his arrival home. It explains why their wedding anniversary is more important to her, and why he gets clobbered when he forgets. It explains why she is constantly “reaching” for him when he is at home, trying to pull him out of the newspaper or television set; it explains why ‘Absence of Romantic Love in My Marriage’ ranked so high as a source of depression among women, whereas men would have rated it somewhere in the vicinity of last place. (emphasis by boldfacing supplied)
Next to Dr. Dobson, John Eldredge states in poetically insightful terms what every woman wants. In page 182 of his book “Wild At Heart, Discovering The Secret of a Man’s Soul” (Thomas Nelson Publishers; copyright 2001), Eldredge says:
… the deep cry of a little girl’s heart is am I lovely? Every woman needs to know that she is exquisite and exotic and chosen. This is core to her identity, the way she bears the image of God. Will you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me?
Next to Dr. Dobson and Eldredge, Jenet Jacob, a social science fellow of The Heritage Foundation, best sums up what women want. She says, “Men’s ability to emotionally connect is the most important factor when women evaluate the quality of their marriages.”

Emotional connection is achieved through conversation and the sharing of feelings, thoughts, ideas and plans between a man and a woman. I remember one sermon by Ptr. Chuck Swindoll in his “Insight for Living” radio program where he mentioned that women love it when men show emotional vulnerability, some cracks in their armor.

Most women would say that their number one problem is trying to make their boyfriend or husband open up and share things with them. When it comes to this issue of emotional connection and sharing, most of the time men come out looking like they are more to be blamed than women. As the title of a David Clarke book puts it, men are clams, women are crowbars.” Women, it seems, are perennially trying, cajoling, pleading, pressuring, nagging their men to open up and share their feelings.

Why KC and Piolo’s relationship didn’t work out: KC is an F while Piolo is a T

Let me guess why KC and Piolo’s relationship didn’t work out. I don’t know much about KC and Piolo; truth to tell, the only entertainers I liked, when they were still child stars, were Nino Muhlach and Aiza Seguerra (okay, okay, I have to add Matet to the list). But it seems that KC is an F (Feeler) while Piolo is a T (Thinker). America’s most beloved family counselor, H. Norman Wright, in his book “Communication: Key To Your Marriage” (published by Regal Books, A Division of Gospel Light) says about F’s and T’s:
One of the most typical relationships that develops is between a male T and a female F. This connection has the most potential for creating divisiveness and long-term problems. T’s need to think about and analyze their emotions. They bring to a marriage emotional control and reserve that can limit intimacy. They want to understand intimacy, not experience it, while an F wants to share openly and experience intimacy.

If a couple doesn’t learn to connect emotionally, they’re at risk for either an affair or a marriage breakup. The bonding material of a marriage is emotional intimacy. F’s hunger for warmth, sharing and closeness, and without this dimension, they can end up feeling lonely. They like the inner strength and security of a T but not the perceived emptiness.
Hmm, KC is beautiful and talented, and she is now free … Do you know her contact numbers?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A promise kept: What are words if you really don’t mean them when you say them …

Summary: Robertson McQuilkin and Chris Medina are marked by great differences in age, career, educational and religious background. Robertson, in his 70’s, is a former missionary to Japan and university president. Chris, in his 20’s, is a long-haired barista, songwriter, band leader, and American Idol Season 10 contestant. Despite their differences, Robertson and Chris are marked by the same remarkable integrity of character. At great personal sacrifice, they are keeping their promise to the woman they love – Muriel for Robertson, Juliana for Chris.

Robertson and Muriel: A promise kept

Robertson McQuilkin A promise keptTwenty one years ago, Rev. Robertson C. McQuilkin left his work as president of Columbia International University in South Carolina to take care of his wife, Muriel, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Before his work with Columbia, Robertson and Muriel served as missionaries to Japan for 12 years (1956-1968). Their story, chronicled in “A Promise Kept” by Tyndale House Publishers, has inspired countless number of people. You can read online or download the first chapter of the book.

In the video below, you can hear Robertson’s deeply-moving explanation on why he resigned as president to take care of his beloved wife. In an article by David Boehi, Robertson reflects on his life with Muriel:

“As Alzheimer’s slowly locked away one part of my Muriel, then another, every loss for her shut down a part of me. Ministry was changing, of course, from less public to more private. There was another sense of loss, however, an ache deep inside, as I watched my vivacious companion of the years slip from me.

“Even in this loss, however, I made a wonderful discovery. As Muriel became even more dependent on me, our love seeped to deeper, unknown crevices of the heart. Though she never knew what was happening to her, as I cared for her she responded with gratitude and cheerful contentment.

“It was no great effort to do the loving thing for one who was altogether lovable. My imprisonment turned out to be a delightful liberation to love more fully than I had ever known. We found the chains of confining circumstance to be, not instruments of torture, but bonds to hold us closer.

“But there was even greater liberation’s. It has to do with God’s love. No one ever needed me like Muriel, and no one ever responded to my efforts so totally as she. It’s the nearest thing I’ve experienced on a human plane to what my relationship with God was designed to be: God’s unfailing love poured out in constant care of helpless me.

“Surely he planned that relationship to draw from me the kind of love and gratitude Muriel had for her man. Her insatiable —even desperate —longing to be with me, her quiet confidence in my ability and desire to care for her, a mirror reflection of what my love for God should be.”
You can listen to and read about Robertson and Muriel’s life from these resources by Family Life:
Part 1 - My Decision, Part 1: Seminary president Robertson McQuilkin faced the toughest decision of his life. Hear the moving story of how he responded to God and his wife of many years, Muriel. (MP3; PDF)

Part 2 - My Decision, Part 2: When his wife’s health deteriorated, seminary president Robertson McQuilkin came home to care for her. Hear how and why he made this important decision. (MP3; PDF)

Part 3 - My Decision, Part 2: Many things have changed since former seminary president Robertson McQuilkin came home to care for his wife Muriel, who suffered from Alzheimer's. Hear how God met them in their hour of need. (MP3; PDF)

Part 4 - Our Future: If you’re caring for an aging or ill loved one, you’ll find encouragement in the lessons learned and lived by former seminary president Robertson McQuilkin. MP3; PDF)
Chris and Juliana: What are words if you really don’t mean them when you say them …

chris medina juliana ramos before the accidentChris Medina auditioned for American Idol Season 10 at the suggestion of his fiancée Juliana Ramos. They have been together for eight years and engaged for the last three years. They planned to get married two years after their engagement. But on October 2, 2009 (two months before their wedding) Juliana suffered a traumatic brain injury, severe skull fracture, and multiple fractures to her face in a car accident. She was in a coma for one and a half months. Chrischris medina juliana ramos chose to stay in the relationship and since then, together with Juliana’s mother, has been taking care of her.

In an American Idol profile, Chris said, “I was about to make vows just two months from the accident … through thick and thin, till death do us part, in sickness and health, for better or worse. What kind of a guy would I be if I walked out when she needed me most?” Through the Internet, Chris and Juliana’s story has inspired millions of people worldwide. Here in the Philippines, some people organized a benefit program to raise funds for Juliana’s medical expenses.

His single “What Are Words” was released on iTunes after his elimination during Hollywood Week. Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, producer of Beyoncé and Britney Spears, wrote the song after he heard Chris and Juliana’s story. The song only reached number 83 in the Billboard charts but according to a Fox News host, it has become a favorite during weddings in the USA.

Three months ago,
“What Are Words” became the number 1 hit in Norway; it is now on its 16th week in the Top 20 singles chart. It became number 1 in Singapore last May and number 1 in Sweden as of last week. The music video in YouTube now has over twelve million hits.

For one reason or another, the song resonated with Norwegians, Singaporeans, and Swedes although a lot of them were unaware of Chris and Juliana’s story. Chris said in an interview with NRJ Sweden that in the US, people know his story but not the song; in Sweden, people heard the song first before they learned of his story.

Chris was invited to sing the song for two big concerts in Norway -- School’s Out Festival on June 10 and VG Lista Top 20 Show on June 17. Some 100,000 people attended the latter concert. He returned to Norway last week to sing the song during the funeral of 18-year old Monika Iselin Didriksen. According to Monika’s parents, she was singing the song before she left for Utoya island (where she was shot and killed along with dozens of other youths).

The chorus of the song goes like this:
What are words if you really don’t mean them when you say them

What are words if they’re only for good times and that’s all

When it’s love, yeah you say them out loud

Those words, they never go away

They live on even when we’re gone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Relationship tips for Lauren Alaina

Okay, okay, I’ve got admit it, I really like Lauren Alaina, Casey Abrams, and Haley Reinhart from American Idol season 10. I’m not really an Idol fan; previous to Season 10, I have seen only about four or five episodes in the previous nine seasons. But I have managed to watch most of the episodes this season. I still think Casey with his upright bass should have won instead of Scotty Mcreery.

(The previous episodes I remember seeing were in Season 1 with Simon Cowell telling a guy with curly hair that he’s got the X-factor; in Season 4 with Bo Bice singing “Time in a Bottle”, Carrie Underwood singing “Angels brought me here”, and the season finale. I remember rushing home to Metro Manila after an RA 9262 “Anti-Violence against Women” seminar I gave in Victoria, Laguna in order to watch the finale.)

Lauren Alaina injured left ankle sprainLauren’s a tough 16-year old girl. A week ago, during the Portland stop in the American Idol 2011 summer tour, she fell down the stairs, breaking her left ankle and sustaining a 3rd degree sprain. But she hasn’t missed any of the Idol concerts after her accident. With her left foot in a heavy, protective boot, she has been performing, limping around the stage, sometimes using a cane, and obviously in great pain. Lauren’s grit has inspired the Alainers (as her fans call themselves).

Ever since Lauren and Scotty sang “I told you so” during a results night episode, there have been tons of online buzz about a possible romance between them. They do look and sound great together and their “McLaina” fans can’t get enough of them. But Scotty has set the record straight by saying that they’re only brother and sister. Judging from the way Lauren’s eyes light up when she looks at Scotty and the way Scotty seems to be aloof during their performances, I think it’s a one-way street. Lauren’s romantically interested in Scotty but Scotty sees her only as a sister. Oh, brother!

(It’s like Booth and Brennan in reverse. It’s Season 6 already and Brennan hasn’t responded to Booth’s romantic feelings. When will they ever get together? Hmm, does Scotty have a Hannah back home in North Carolina?)

Lauren and millions of other people who can’t seem to get the attention of the one they love should get their cue from Dr. James Dobson’s bestselling and multi-awarded book “Love Must Be Tough”. This book discusses the tough love approach to marital infidelity but the chapter titled “Loving Toughness for Singles” deals with 16 suggestions on romantic relationships for single men and women.

Dr. Dobson says that the basic principles in human relationships are:

[1] “It is of highest priority to maintain a distinct element of dignity and self-respect in all romantic encounters.”

[2] “We value that which we are fortunate to get; we discredit that which we are stuck.”
In the chapter titled “Loving Toughness for Singles”, Dr. Dobson enumerates 16 suggestions that will help singles to “conform to the principles of loving toughness in matters of the heart.” You can read online the complete suggestions part 1 and part 2 from the Arcamax website. What Lala (as fans call Lauren) should learn and apply in her quest for Scotty’s heart is principle number 6. Dr. Dobson says:
Relationships are constantly being “tested” by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling back from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival.

In each instance, the question being asked is, “How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one: “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs.
Lauren has already shown her mental and emotional toughness by continuing to perform despite great pain. In her quest for Scotty’s heart, she should exhibit the same toughness and follow Dr. Dobson’s advice of being poised, secure, and independent. Even if Scotty doesn’t seem to be reciprocating her feelings, she should hang tough with dignity and self-respect.

Lauren should give Scotty the space he needs to contemplate a possible relationship with her. Scotty should not feel “obligated” to love her because of the hopes and wishes of their McLaina fans. As Dr. Dobson writes in page 30 of his book, love should not be an obligation but an incredibly wonderful privilege.

Will Lauren ever win Scotty’s heart? Will the Alainers ever get to see a real life McLaina romance? Maybe we’ll find out before American Idol’s season 11 starts airing in January next year.

Now, about Casey and Haley … Ca-ley! Ca-ley!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Love in any language?

Click here to go to the Five Love Languages websiteMost of you might have heard Sandy Patti’s song “Love in any language” where the chorus goes like this:

“Love in any language
Straight from the heart
Pulls us all together
Never apart
And once we learn to speak it
All the world will hear
Love in any language
Fluently spoken here”
It’s a great song in terms of lyrics and melody. In terms of marriage and relationships however, the song completely misses the point if we are to believe “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” written by Dr. Gary Chapman.

I bought and read Chapman’s book six or seven years ago. I read it through and then Ela, my former Bible school student, borrowed it. Ela has since then gotten married and given birth to her first child but she has not yet returned the book to me. “Ela, i-soli mo na ang book ko!”

The Five Love Languages

Chapman says that unhappiness in relationships often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages. He identifies these love languages as (1) Words of Affirmation; (2) Quality Time; (3) Receiving Gifts; (4) Acts of Service; and (5) Physical Touch.

Please take note that I don’t agree with everything that Chapman says in his book. David Powlison’s article titled “Love Speaks Many Languages Fluently” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling best sums up what is right experientially and what is wrong Biblically with Chapman’s concepts.

Basically, Chapman says that if your spouse speaks the Words of Affirmation language and you’re always giving him gifts, he’s not going to feel loved and you’re not going to know why. What speaks love to you may be meaningless to your spouse. During a marriage seminar I attended several years ago at Capitol City Baptist Church in Quezon City, Ptr. Clem Guillermo told the story of a husband and wife on the brink of a break-up. The husband gave his wife lavish gifts in the forms of a mansion, cars, and several round-the-world travels. During one counseling session with Ptr. Clem, the husband in exasperation asked his wife, “Why don’t you think that I Iove you? I have given you so much!” To which the wife answered, “If you really loved me, why don’t you tell me that you love me?”

The tragic thing in Ptr. Clem’s story is that both the husband and wife really loved each other. And yet, their marriage was in trouble. It is obvious that the husband and his wife were speaking love to each other in a language that may be normal for him or her but completely alien to the other. The end result is that the man and the woman were in marital conflict. The troubling thought is that there are marriages that span decades but spouses are not hearing what they are trying to say to each other. As inspirational writer Max Lucado once said, “A man can spend a lifetime with a woman and yet never gaze into her soul.”

In terms of gifts, Dr. Willard Harley Jr. in his book “His Needs, Her Needs” says that gifts to men should be practical while gifts to women should be sentimental. In terms of touch, Dr. Ed Wheat in his classic book “Love Life for every married couple” cites 20 plus things husbands and wives can express love through physical touch.

Chapman’s concept of the Five Love Languages can be summarized as follows:
(1) Love is expressed in many different ways or languages;

(2) People experience love in different ways and understanding this can be helpful to a mate desiring to love his/her spouse effectively;

(3) People express love according to the way they wish to receive it and therefore “we must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love”.

(4) When people do not get what they want, unpleasant emotions, actions, and behaviors are often the response; and

(5) Spouses must consider each other’s preferences and interests.
How can you discover what your love language is? Take the 30-Second Assessment from Chapman's The Five Love Languages website.

Chapman explains his concept of the Five Love Languages in this way:
In the area of linguistics, there are major language groups: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Greek, German, French, and so on. Most of us grow up learning the language of our parents and siblings, which becomes our primary or native tongue. Later, we may learn additional languages but usually with much more effort. These become our secondary languages. We speak and understand best our native language. We feel most comfortable speaking that language. The more we use a secondary language, the more comfortable we become conversing in it. If we speak only our primary language and encounter someone else who speaks only his or her primary language, which is different from ours, our communication will be limited. We must rely on pointing, grunting, drawing pictures, or acting out our ideas. We can communicate, but it is awkward. Language differences are part and parcel of human culture. If we are to communicate effectively across cultural lines, we must learn the language of those with whom we wish to communicate.

In the area of love, it is similar. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other. My friend on the plane was speaking the language of “Affirming Wors to his third wife when he said, "I told her how beautiful she was. I told her I loved her. I told her how proud I was to be her husband." He was speaking love, and he was sincere, but she did not understand his language. Perhaps she was looking for love in his behavior and didn't see it. Being sincere is not enough. We must be willing to learn our spouse's primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.

My conclusion after twenty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages-five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects. That accounts for the magazine articles titled “10 Ways to Let Your Spouse Know You Love Her,” “20 Ways to Keep Your Man at Home,” or “365 Expressions of Marital Love.” There are not 10, 20, or 365 basic love languages. In my opinion, there are only five. However, there may be numerous dialects. The number of ways to express love within a love language is limited only by one's imagination. The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.

We have long known that in early childhood development each child develops unique emotional patterns. Some children, for example, develop a pattern of low self-esteem whereas others have healthy self-esteem. Some develop emotional patterns of insecurity whereas others grow up feeling secure. Some children grow up feeling loved, wanted, and appreciated, yet others grow up feeling unloved, unwanted, and unappreciated.

The children who feel loved by their parents and peers will develop a primary emotional love language based on their unique psychological makeup and the way their parents and other significant persons expressed love to them. They will speak and understand one primary love language. They may later learn a secondary love language, but they will always feel most comfortable with their primary language. Children who do not feel loved by their parents and peers will also develop a primary love language. However, it will be somewhat distorted in much the same way as some children may learn poor grammar and have an underdeveloped vocabulary. That poor programming does not mean they cannot become good communicators. But it does mean they will have to work at it more diligently than those who had a more positive model. Likewise, children who grow up with an underdeveloped sense of emotional love can also come to feel loved and to communicate love, but they will have to work at it more diligently than those who grew up in a healthy, loving atmosphere.

Seldom do a husband and wife have the same primary emotional love language. We tend to speak our primary love language, and we become confused when our spouse does not understand what we are communicating. We are expressing our love, but the message does not come through because we are speaking what, to them, is a foreign language. Therein lies the fundamental problem, and it is the purpose of this book to offer a solution. That is why I dare to write another book on love. Once we discover the five basic love languages and understand our own primary love language, as well as the primary love language of our spouse, we will then have the needed information to apply the ideas in the books and articles.

Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse's primary love language, I believe that you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage. Love need not evaporate after the wedding, but in order to keep it alive most of us will have to put forth the effort to learn a secondary love language. We cannot rely on our native tongue if our spouse does not understand it. If we want him/her to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in his or her primary love language.
When will we ever learn?

Chapman’s concept of the Five Love Languages is so stunningly simple and effective. Husband and wives (or boyfriends and girlfriends) must find out what their partner’s primary love language is and express love to him or her in that language.

Here in the Philippines, the number of cases of annulment, legal separation and declaration of nullity of marriage has been rising through the years. The Office of the Solicitor General reported that in 2007, there were a total of 7,753 cases filed by persons seeking to terminate their marriage 4,520 cases in 2001; 5,250 in 2002; 6,848 in 2003; 6,335 in 2004; and 7,138 in 2006. I wonder, how many marriages could have been saved if spouses only knew about the importance of speaking each other’s primary love language?

The Five Love Languages and a bag full of dikiam

Back in the 1980’s I had a girlfriend from Marikina. When I found out that she loved the Chinese delicacy “dikiam” (the very salty kind), I made it a point to always buy for her a bag full of dikiam. On our way to her special choir practice in Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong, as she ate the dikiam, she would throw the seeds one by one out of the jeepney we were riding on. Anyone who wanted to know where we were going simply had to follow the trail of dikiam seeds littering the whole of Ortigas Avenue! Hey, I may not have yet read Chapman's book back then but I was speaking her primary love language, in the form of a bag full of dikiam!

Other resources by Chapman

Click here to go to Gary Chapman's website Chapman has written a series of books about the Five Love Languages, namely, The Five Love Languages (Men's Edition), Five Love Languages of Teenagers, and Five Love Languages of Children.

As I noted above, I don’t agree with everything that Chapman says in his book. Please take time to read David Powlison’s article titled “Love Speaks Many Languages Fluently” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling. The article best sums up what is right experientially and what is wrong Biblically with Chapman’s concepts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Relationship tips for Shalani (and other single men and women)

I have written in various posts that actress Angel Locsin is the most beautiful woman in the universe. This conviction is somewhat being shaken after I have watched intermittently several episodes of a game show hosted by Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad and Willie Revillame. In the past few days, during commercial breaks of the early evening news programs I watch (Channel 7, Channel 2, CNN and BBC), I have switched the television to Channel 5 simply to watch Shalani.

Shalani first came to public attention before the May 2010 elections when news stories reported that she was the girlfriend of then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino. (One website alleges that Shalani’s mother died when she was young, her biological father is a well-known banker, and the persons she has come to know as parents are her uncle and aunt.) A few short months after the elections, however, we have come to know of the breakup of their relationship. Cyberspace has been filled with stories, rumors, etc. about the reasons for the breakup; both Shalani and PNoy however have kept silent about the issue.

Love must be tough

During the game show, Willie would oftentimes tease Shalani about her broken relationship. It is amazing to watch how calm Shalani is during these times. I don’t know if Shalani has ever read Dr. James Dobson’s bestselling and award-winning book “Love Must Be Tough”. If she hasn’t read this book which has sold three million copies as of this date, I highly encourage her (and other single guys and girls out there) to read it. This book discusses primarily the tough love approach to marital infidelity but the chapter titled “Loving Toughness for Singles” deals with sixteen suggestions on romantic relationships for single men and women.

(Dr. Dobson is the founder of the “Focus on the Family” ministry. I first came to know about Dr. Dobson in 1981 or 1982 when I read his book “Dare to Discipline”. I was then a brand new English teacher in Dona Aurora High School in San Mateo, Rizal. Since that time, this book has sold more than three million copies.

One other book by Dr. Dobson I have read and which you might be interested in is “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women”. More than two million copies of this book have been sold. Dr. Dobson’s opening words in this book “Women have needs that men do not understand” really jolted me. Dr. Dobson, for example, says that men do not know what women go through during menstruation or pregnancy.)

Sixteen suggestions for single men and women on loving toughness

The basic principles in human relationships, according to Dr. Dobson, are:

[1] “It is of highest priority to maintain a distinct element of dignity and self-respect in all romantic encounters.”

[2] “We value that which we are fortunate to get; we discredit that which we are stuck.”
In the chapter titled “Loving Toughness for Singles”, Dr. Dobson enumerates sixteen suggestions that will help singles to “conform to the principles of loving toughness in matters of the heart.” You can read online the complete suggestions part 1 and part 2 from the Arcamax website. Ever since I read this book eight or nine years ago, the suggestion that has really stuck in my mind is no. 11 which states: “Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you cannot live without.” The suggestions that apply to Shalani in her situation right now are numbers 6 and 7. Well, here are Dr. Dobson’s suggestions:

1. Don’t let a relationship move too fast in its infancy. The phrase “too hot not to cool down” has validity. Romantic affairs that begin in a frenzy frequently burn themselves out. Take it one step at a time. (Note: Please read my post “Love Potion No. 9”.)

2. Don’t discuss your personal inadequacies and flaws in great detail when the relationship is new.

3. Remember that respect precedes love. Build it stone upon stone.

4. Don’t call too often on the phone or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you.

5. Don’t be too quick to reveal your desire to get married -- or that you think you’ve just found Mr. Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you’ll throw him or her into panic.

6. Most important: Relationships are constantly being “tested” by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling back from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival.

In each instance, the question being asked is, “How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one: “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs.

7. Extending the same concept, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers. The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he or she handles that crisis. If the hurting individual can remain calm, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. It often happens that way. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything.

8. Do not depend entirely upon each other for the satisfaction of every emotional need.

9. Guard against selfishness in your love affair.

10. Beware of blindness to obvious warning signs that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted, hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc.

11. Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you cannot live without.

12. Beginning early in the dating relationship, treat the other person with respect and expect the same in return.

13. Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness!

14. If genuine love has escaped you thus far, don't begin believing that “no one would ever want me.” That is a deadly trap that can destroy you emotionally! Millions of people are looking for someone to love. The problem is finding one another! (Note: Please read my post “The One and Only [2]”)

15. Regardless of how brilliant the love affair has been, take time to “check your assumptions” with your partner before committing yourself to marriage.

16. Sexual familiarity can be deadly to a relationship. In addition to the many moral, spiritual and physical reasons for remaining virgins until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages as well. Though it’s an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect “easy” women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word. It’s pronounced “NO!”
So, who do I think now is the most beautiful woman in the universe - Angel Locsin or Shalani Soledad? Hmm, let me watch Shalanis show tonight and then I will let you know ...