Last night I caught Marriage Camp on Astro. I don’t think it would appeal so much to just anybody but I found it really soul-searching. It basically is about a marriage boot camp held once a month for couples who find they are at their wit’s end about their marriage. They don’t know how to communicate anymore, they don’t trust anymore and everything just ends up being worse than they ever imagined it could be. On last night’s show, there was a woman who said she wanted to cringe every time she saw her husband. I think anyone who’s ever been in a relationship will be able to identify with at least 1 emotion on the show.
Each episode usually focuses on 2-3 couples who have decided to take the plunge and attend marriage boot camp. They invariably describe it as a last ditch effort to either make or break the marriage once and for all. Even the counsellors say the same thing – the process actually accelerates the process of you finding and forgiving yourself and then your partner and rediscovering the love or shows you the way to go forward is out the door.
I don’t think the show is particularly useful because it is only a half hour stand alone episode per time and you don’t actually get to see every drill and every exercise the couples go through. It does however, show you that you are not alone in feeling the way that you do and the issues that affect couples are similar the world over. If you like a good cry every now and again from entertainment then this is the show for you.
I have recommended the show to some married friends of mine, firstly because I thought it would show techniques of how to communicate with and empathise with your partner. It doesn’t, if that’s what you’re expecting. But I guess it would be good to pre-empt couples fighting and that downward spiral that you know is there. It is so easy to just slide down without even realising it until one day you wake up and think, "Who IS this man beside me?"
I have watched the show twice and I have always cried because I can remember the roller coaster I went through myself. I understand and can relate to the different things the men and women are saying – when they talk about every little conversation turning in a big fight, when they talk about trust issues and I find that a lot of Americans have had infidelity in their marriages.
One thing I cannot understand though is this segment of the boot camp where the participants stand up, face their fears and FORGIVE. They stand up and vocalise what they have discovered to be the root of their current behaviour and attitude towards life, love, marriage, partnership, kids etc. Some blame their fathers for never loving them, some blame their mothers for introducing infidelity into their lives but unerringly, everyone blames one of their parents or step-parents. Perhaps it is true, just because of the huge influence parents DO have on their kids but at the same time, I have never seen anyone blame themselves. Now I’m not saying this is a legitimate blame target, but just wondering. It could be an extension of the nature vs. nurture debate all over again for we are also, our own persons with our own personalities.
But I digress. The part I do not understand is the Forgiveness part. Can you, in 4 days forgive the person who’s hurt you so much and begin to live a new life? Can you, in 4 days, even begin to really be honest with yourself about what you feel and what you do? Sometimes you just don’t know! We all know that forgivenesss is important to us growing and moving on and la di da but is it possible in that short a time? Or maybe it just doesn’t seem possible to me because I’m not there going through the exercises. Does one really turn over a new leaf forever? Well, the show tracks the participants many months after their boot camp and mostly I’ve seen success cases. …not always easy but the important thing is they are trying.
I guess what makes it so so hard is that there are 2 people in a relationship – sometimes more but let’s try to make this easier. Two people where the only thing holding them together is this intangible feeling of love or what they think is love. Love makes us stupid, love makes us vulnerable, love gives the other power over us to nurture us, make us happy and to hurt us. And the worst thing is that it is usually romantic love (which, in the big scheme of things, is not that important) that gives us the most heart ache. Is it because, unlike family ties, we CHOOSE to love that person? Therefore, it equates to us choosing to give this person the power, choosing to enable them to hurt us?
Oh, I could go on and on on the subject of love and its follies. I know of men who have turned 180% into someone their partners never knew and never understood. Men are simple I think – uncomplex – because they usually go out there and take what they want. There is hardly a conscience or a heart string holding them back the way women are bound. (Yes, yes, I know there are exceptions – geez, I have to make qualifications that I do know there are different kinds of people in the world every time!). Whereas a lot of women seem to take their husbands back after adultery, after battery, after lying. I will say again what I believe – do not knock the actions of another woman until you’ve been in the same situation yourself because god help you, you NEVER know what you’re gonna do! Do not, for an instant, believe you know better if you’ve never experienced it yourself. If you take nothing from my blog, take this at least.
Top 10 ways to get over a Broken Heart
1. Write down (sms, email, letter) what you want to say to him, and then just save it because you know it doesn’t do any good to contact him. This helps because you get the raw burden off your chest but at the same time you are not contacting him still.
2. Remember all the bad stuff he did. Remember when he slammed the door in your face, remember when he shouted at you, "I don’t want you anymore!", remember when you saw him furtively making that loving call to her. Reliving the emotion you felt then gets you angry and when you’re angry, get even angrier and you won’t even be in the mood to think his name.
3. Use the mirror. See how pretty your eyes are, trace the outline of your nose and notice how slender the curve of your neck is. You are a precious person. You are important and crucial to people in your life. He may not be one of them but then who is he to you? He is just a man, he’s just one man. There is no reason to elevate him to the status of god where he can trample on you and where he can tell you you are worthless to him.
4. Talk to yourself, shout if you have to, slam your palm against your forehead! Tell yourself you are kicking him out of your life. Tell yourself you deserve infinitely more than what he is able to give. Remind yourself he is a cruel selfish man who didn’t know what he had with you. If you are getting weak, berate yourself if only to make yourself stronger – are you really that much of a loser to call him again, only to have him slam the phone down on you?!
5. Challenge yourself. You can get through the next 15 minutes without talking to him. You Can get through the next 1 hour without calling him. Celebrate your little victories because I know every little bit counts. Check it off on your calendar every day you’ve continued to live without communicating with him.
6. Recognise that it won’t take just today, not just this week, perhaps not even just this month to get over your relationship. It was a big part of your life, it made up part of or completely who you were. But now, it’s over and you WILL cut yourself that slack and realise that it may take 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, but one day you WILL wake up and realise it is such a beautiful day just because you are you and you are happy.
7. If you’re the kind of person who needs friends’ support, tell them. Tell them your plan, have at least one of them around with you and have them kick your ass if you so much as start to get that faraway look in your eyes….you know that spaced out expression you get when you start reminiscing! It helps to be completely honest with them about how you feel and what you need to do to start ‘rehab’. True friends will help you hide the body! :)
8. Do not drink, party all night long, have one night stands because they may make you forget at that point in time but they do not make you feel better the next day. It is a temporary patch for a deep rooted problem. A problem that can only be solved if you DECIDE to solve it because you KNOW you deserve to be happy. Shopping til you drop only gives you an adrenalin burst at that moment but when you get home and sit amongst your brown paper bags, you will bawl your eyes out….again. No use wasting money like that….BUT if getting dolled up and pampered makes you feel prettier and more confident, go right ahead and make sure your friends take you out that night and make sure you play hard to get with all the guys drooling over you. At the end of the night, when you get back to bed, I guarantee a smile on your face. And if you start wailing, "…but I wanted to look pretty for him……", slap yourself!
9. Change your phone number, block his email address, move! If you keep wondering why he doesn’t call, well honey, you KNOW he won’t be able to call/contact you if do the above so you won’t feel bad!
10. Sign up for Dr House’s electro-shock therapy for the brain that fries your memories. Geez, how many times have I wished for that!
Get together with girls in a similar situation and be there for each other. When the focus isn’t on yourself and how bad you feel, you get stronger. There may be epiphanies along the way!