You might have heard of John Wooden. For me, the first time I ever heard him talk, I fell deeply in love with his character. Most people know him by his nick name as “Wizard of Westwood” of college basketball. He was known to be a legendary college basketball coach who had won ten NCAA national championships, a record 88 consecutive games, and was named national coach of the year six times. Although he is deserving of praise with all his accomplishments, it was not his high profile that kept me enthralled. Rather it was his obvious dedication to his wife that manifested through his words, action and character that left my heart fluttering. The first time I ever saw him was through a short clip, John Wooden Love Letters. The short clip was centered around John’s greatest characteristic- faithfulness. He had served at UCLA for 28 years, lived in LA for 61 years, and had been married 54 years to the only girl he had ever kissed at age 14- his first love and his last. John’s wife passed away on March 21st, twenty four years ago and since then on 21st of each month, he had written her love letters that no one gets to see.
(pictured before the death of his wife)
I can say with confidence that this is the kind of love that everyone desires for, myself included. A love that is ever-lasting, true, and centered around faithfulness and loyalty. For those of you who are lucky, you may have already found someone who will love you the way John loved his wife, Nell. For the rest of you, the search goes on. It really is hard to grasp today’s reality, a society full of men and women who have the wrong definition of what love really is. Although John Wooden has passed away, I wish people get to spare 3 minutes of their time to watch the clip to understand that love is a powerful revelation that no one should miss out on.
John Wooden died of old age on June 4th, 2010 at the age of ninety-nine. When asked about the idea of dying, he replied,
“Once I was afraid of dying.
Terrified of ever-lying.
Petrified of leaving family, home and friends.
Thoughts of absence from my dear ones,
Drew a melancholy tear once.
And a lonely, dreadful fear of when life ends.
But those days are long behind me;
Fear of leaving does not bind me.
And departure does not host a single care.
Peace does comfort as I ponder,
A reunion in the Yonder,
With my dearest who is waiting for me there.”
For those who don’t know Mike, he is not the one to get easily angered. However, one of the biggest fight Mike and I had involved rotten bagels and left over spaghetti sauce. Sad thing about this fight is that I don’t even remember why the fight was set off or who initiated it. All that I remember is the fact that we were having an argument and I was beyond frustrated that he couldn’t understand my side of the story. I couldn’t suppress my anger, so I grabbed the first thing I saw on the floor, something that would hurt him, but not kill him and it was a bag of rotten bagels ready to be thrown away. As I swung that bag of rotten bagels, Mike took on defensive mode as he grabbed the sponge he was washing the left over spaghetti plate with and squeezed it on the top of my head. Uhhhh, nasty!
There are many times like this in a relationship where people will not be able to hold on to their anger and instead explode on each other with no sense of decency. What I’ve learned from experience is that, the best way to deal with anger is to walk away from the situation until you have cooled off. Mike will never try to understand me when I am yelling in anger at the top of my lungs. Finally, when both of you can think properly, sit together and communicate. And no, by communication, I don’t mean the nagging and one-sided explanation. Listen to your significant other with a different perspective and this time you will be able to really understand where they are coming from.
Today, I let you in on the biggest fight Mike and I had through five years of our relationship. Why? Simply to inform you that falling in love isn’t always about the pretty and pleasant things and the most important lesson is to find the solution that works for the both of you to end every fights and arguments in good terms. For Mike and I, our solution was for me to listen to him with my ears wide open and for him to talk about his true feelings behind his annoyance.
Personally, quotes are powerful tools that evoke inspiration.
“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
-Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human relationships
Due to the fact that I’ve been in the relationship the longest (5 years and 5 months to be exact) amongst our girlfriends, friends who are just entering new relationships often come to me for advice. Few days ago, when a friend asked me a question about why guys act differently in front of his “dudes” and when it is just the two of them, memory lane took me back to five, long years ago.
Mike has always been super uncomfortable with showing affection in public. One day, Mike and I were with a bunch of our friends just hanging out. As we were heading back to his car to go home, I reached for his hands. The moment my hands slightly touched his, he abruptly let go of my hand and walked ahead. I kind of stood there, confused and hurt at what he did. Although I am not a fan of PDA(public display of affection), I could not comprehend the reasons for his action or must I say, lack of action. I sat him down and questioned his reasoning for acting the way he does in front his peers especially in front of his buddies opposed to when it is just us two. To be honest, his answer didn’t seem legitimate enough to satisfy me at the time, but I can tell that he was being honest when he told me that he doesn’t think there is a need to boast our relationship in front of others.
According to http://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Why-Your-Boyfriend-Acts-Differently-when-He-Is-With-His-Mates, there are different ways for girlfriends to understand the reason why guys act differently when he is with his mates. For me, I decided on step 8. “Give space. He wants you to give him space to be with his friends but doesn’t want you to feel resented, he still loves you but expects you to understand that he just wants it to be him and his mates.” Yeah, it’s true that sometimes girls simply want to show the world how much their boyfriend loves them in front of everyone else. But, would you rather have it the other way around? A boyfriend who acts lovey-dovey in front of others, but turns the other way when its just you two? I don’t think so! So, ladies consider yourself blessed and appreciate the intimate love you have with your boyfriend instead of trying to impress others. Also, if your boyfriend was PDA all the time, you wouldn’t have the heart to appreciate the little things he does when it happens.
Ever since I was just a young girl, I dreamed of falling madly in love and spending the rest of my life with my significant other. My grand yet not so grand wish was to have a family which, of course, consisted of my loving husband and the direct replicas of us running, laughing, and growing at the house that would turn into a life-long memory. Because of these thoughts and goals for the future, I did not take any relationships lightly. Evidently, I am still happily in a relationship with the boy who took away my first kiss in senior year of high school.
Five long years have passed. There were ups and downs in our relationships that tore at our hearts, but we made unspoken vows to never say, “let’s break up” in spite of anger. This promise has brought us thus far as we persisted to respect each other, care for one another, and be sensitive to each others needs.
My wish for this blog is to bring to those- the curious, the broken hearts, the pessimists and the optimists of relationships, encouragement and inspiration by sharing the lessons I’ve learned from every good and bad, I’d like to call it, adventures. I promise to be honest and connect with the readers on an intimate level.
I hope you enjoy “our”(since I will have to use Mike for every aspect of this blog) blog!
(pictured on July 12th 2010, celebrating Mike’s 21st birthday)