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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together.

It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”

-Dave Meurer

ringsMarriage is a sacred institution that signifies the joining of hearts and minds of a man and a woman in a union that is expected to last until death. This institution is most looked forward to by young adults as they desire to share their lives with their “true love”. Let’s pause a bit and look closely at the term “true love”. How true is this love that makes a man do anything to capture the heart of his damsel? Is there such a thing as fake love? What exactly is love in the confines of marriage? How would you define love?

Sometimes, we are confronted with the credibility of our spouse’s profession of love. When two people take vows to cherish and love each other forever, they, at that moment experience a rush of love or feelings that carry them on till a year or so. Research by James Spencer at Brigham Young University (1992) in a longitudinal study measuring marital quality, revealed that universally,  romantic love is experienced in the first year of marriage. After this period, the couple is soon faced with the reality of living with a completely different person from a different background with different interests and preferences. Arguments, conflicts and moments of angry outbursts may be common at this period which may question the veracity of the initial love professed at the time of taking solemn vows.

Does this sound familiar? If you are married I’m sure you can accede to the fact that marriage is not always a bed of roses. There are times of “up” and times of “down”. Times to laugh and cry, fight and make up, criticize and encourage, etc.

Based on a research by Campbell, Weiner-Davis, DeMaria, Harrar et al, Chris Garner proposed 5 stages of marriage which are:

1. The Enchantment phase:

This is otherwise known as the honey moon phase. This phase has been researched to last a year or two depending on when children arrive. It is a passion fueled phase with intense focus on attraction. Couples believe that they will live happily ever after much like the fairy tale stories of Cinderella and snow white. Excitement and euphoria characterize this stage and couples usually share similar interests. They can talk for long hours without getting tired. At this stage, all they want is to be together.

enchantment

2.  The Realization phase:

Feelings of euphoria wear off and couples realize how different they are. It is a time of disenchantment where they realize differences that exist between them. Power tussles, arguments and conflict over minor as well as major issues results. Remember the story of a couple who fought over how to squeeze toothpaste? This kind of scenario often occurs at this stage. Would it be sufficient to state that the love that once existed has gone sour?

realization3. The Acceptance phase:

At this phase, the differences observed are accepted. Each person begins to see the other person and accept him/her without being judgmental; after all it would be difficult to change the other person. Couples at this stage are able to work through the challenges they face.

acceptance

4. The Commitment phase:

Understanding, peace and harmony are characteristic features of this stage. This is a matured stage of a relationship that exists even when problems and conflicts arise. Couples have learnt to understand themselves and work through whatever comes their way through teamwork and cooperation. Each couple knows about the weaknesses of the other but choose to stay or commit themselves to them based on the strengths they have.

5. The Co-creation phase:

Couples who get to this stage look beyond themselves and extend their oneness to others. They are able to work together in unity to bring about impact in the lives of those around them. They are able to contribute their own quota to society by mentoring young ones and giving back in different ways.

With these 5 stages, how would you define love? Is it primarily the passion that comprises the enchantment stage, the intimacy of acceptance phase or the commitment of the commitment stage? The truth is a combination of all 3. This was proposed by Robert Sternberg in his Triarchic theory of love.

So, love basically is a mix of PASSION, INTIMACY and COMMITMENT.

Kindly follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more interesting updates on Love and Relationships.

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Let It Go!

“Father forgive them, for they know no what they do”. This is a quote from the Bible spoken by Jesus Christ to those who had just tortured and nailed him onto a cross. Regardless of your religion and whether or not you believe it happened, one thing can be rest assured, through all the pain, He died the most peaceful death. Why? Because He let go of any hate, anger or resentment against those who had wronged him.

Many times we hope for peace of mind and happiness, but we fail to identify the everyday factors that determine our mental well-being. A major factor is being unforgiving. Keeping anger and holding grudges is a very common self-destructive behaviour that human beings have adopted. Most times we rather delve in thoughts of how we were wronged and vengeance than just letting it go! We even find it hard forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes and wallow in continuous self-scrutiny. Holding grudges has destroyed many bonds between peoletting-gople and will continue to. Absolutely nothing positive comes out of being resentful. We are adversely affected mentally and it begins to show in our behaviours, learning and attitude towards life. Let it go! Free yourself!

Now letting go of grudges and resentments are not easy at all. We all deserve ‘justice’ to an extent. However we have to train ourselves to let go as soon as possible for the sake of our states of mind. Given a situation were you have little control over, such as an abusive driver cursing you before speeding off, why choose to analyze his or her obscene words and how they wound your pride (you might even consider chasing the car to abuse back) instead of immediately taking your mind off? One could ruin the rest of your day while the other wouldn’t. There are 3 steps that could help get rid of grudges quickly:

 

all_my_fault-021. Accept your feelings: Accept that you are indeed angry and or deeply hurt by what someone has done to you, or in other cases what you’ve done to yourself. Don’t try to mask this feeling by blame or channel it to negative thoughts about the person or yourself. Accept this feeling for what it is, an emotional response to a negative event and nothing more.

 

 

2. React mindfully: As we know for every action there is a reaction. More emphasis has also been laid on the reaction thanwiseman the action. How we react is VERY important in every situation. Mindfully reacting would be to aim to react in the best way for your mental well-being, which is normally to calm a heated situation or more generally focus on an immediate solution. Again, this would require mental awareness and self-control and our basic instincts usually drive us to retaliate. It could make it easier if you mention that he or she upset you or has hurt you, not so you get an apology because not getting one after such expressiveness could anger you further, but just to get it off your chest so you’re not brewing anything negative. The way you react either makes it significantly easier for you to let it go or significantly more difficult. Learn to react wisely.

 

move on3. Move on: Never raise the issue again. Try your best to forget it. Naturally the occurrence may flash in your head but do not invite the thought as it would adversely affect your mood. Take your mind off it as soon as possible. Let your mind be used to a state of positivity and you’d find moving on would get easier the more you try.

 

None of these steps are easy, especially in this fast paced modern world were everyone is so self-interested and getting more and more indifferent towards others. However, continuous practice starting from the moment you finish reading this article would help you to maintain a state of mind that most others would not be able to fathom. All because you’ve made a firm decision to let things go.

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