Archive for Love

To understand each other (Part 5)

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Paul Tournier writes in his book that in order to achieve understanding we need to accept our natural differences.

He says that „instinctively, a very rational man is going to marry a very sentimental woman. Their complementing one another will, at the beginning, elicit an enthusiastic reaction in him. But later on he will want to make her listen to the objective arguments of reason; he will become annoyed at not being successful in this. He will try to show her that she is not logical in her sentimental explosions.“

??? When you look at couples around you – do you see this???

Now he explains what the woman will do. He says that she will „reproach her husband for his ice-cold rational manner which stifles all life.“

Nevertheless: even if people are so different by nature, they are „made to complement each other, that through each other they may discover so much of what they’ve not known or sensed before. This is one purpose of marriage.“ (Page 37)

Tournier says that man and woman are „basically different“ and this is the reason, why they have „such great difficulty in understanding one another and such great need of one another for their growth.“ He mentiones that a man has a „theoretical mind while a woman has a more person-centered mind“ and that a woman „thinks of people, and in terms of people.“ (Page 38) When men gather together they „expound magnificent theories on the way the world should be governed and how universal peace (…) can be achieved. These theories are quite abstract, detached, and unrelated to the immediate situation.“(P.38)

So a man can learn from a woman and he can „aquire a feeling for persons. Civilisation built by men alone would remain abstract, cold, technical, and dehumanized. A woman thinks in detail, also. Details interest her more than general ideas. She has a need to tell all the day’s happenings, once she is with her husband.“ (P.39).

The man „needs to learn from his wife the importance of both concrete and personal details, without which general idas are no more than empty theories.“ (P.40)

Tournier points out the speech itself „has a different meaning for men than it has for women. Through speech men express ideas and communicate information. Women speack in order to express feelings, emotions. This explains why a wife will relate then times an experience she has lived. It is not to inform her husband.“ (P.40)

She „needs to tell it again in order to discharge emotional tension which the experience has built up in her heart. Many men never ebven get to express their feelings, to say the „I love you“ that the wife would like to hear a hundred times. She asks, „Do you love me?“ He replies, „You know that I do.“ It is not that she does not know. Rather, she would like to hear it expressed ever once more. This is the greater since her husband never says it to her. He expresses his feelings in other ways: a caress, a look, or even a rough kind of grunt.“ (P.40).

Tournier tells a story of a woman „who was suffering from just such a lack of ever hearing a tender word from the lips of her husband. One day she came to see me quite upset. Her husband, without even having warned her, had had the workmen come to refinish her living-room floor. The whole house was upset and dirty. This woman was irritated. I said to her, „Each person speaks in his own way! This is how your husband tells you that he loves you. Throw your arms around him if you can understand his language. Tell him how he must love you in order to go to such expenses to give you a more beautiful living room.“

This expample reminds me actually of what my husband did for me. He painted the kitchen, table, shelves…. : everything white (in lots and lots and lots of hours), because I love white furniture! He also planted once tulips for me, because I LOVE tulips. He planted 100 (!!!) tulips for me! Wow – he really must love me =) This is really amazing! THANKS!

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Further Paul Tournier writes in his book, that in order to „understand each other, man and wife must take an interest in what interests the other, and come to understand why it interestes the other. A man will talk of his interest only when he senses genuine interest in another, and it is only when he talks of it that the other can understand better the character of that interest. In this way the horizon broadens for both partners, instead of steadily narrowing. Real understanding always brings with it a going beyond one’s self. Then can teh home serve as a foundation to one’s calling, and the calling can enrich in its turn the spiritual life of the home. The conflict from wich many couples suffer can be solved. Yet, the profound differences which separate men and women are found in the very thing which brings them together: love itself.“ (P.42&43)

Book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier

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To understand each other (Part 4)

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How do we achieve understanding? Paul Tournier writes in his book*: „One who feels understood feels loved, and one who feels loved feels sure of being understood.

(…) Deep sharing is overwhelming, and very rare. A thousand fears keep us in check. First of all there is the fear of breaking down, of crying. There is especially the fear that the other will not sense the tremendous importance with which this memory or feeling is charged. How painful it is when such a difficult sharing falls flat, upon ears either preoccupied or mocking, ears in any case that do not sense the significance of what we’re saying.“ (P.28+29).

So what can happen next? Tournier points out that a partner who has spoken in a very personal way „without being understood falls back into terrible emotional solitude. He may become sick because of it. In such circumstances some will go to see their pastor or priest, others their doctor. They are simply seeking someone who can understand. In certain cases of therapy, the help of a doctor or of a man of God may be necessary. Often, however, a wife can bring the same help to her husband, or he to her, if the same painstaking care is exercised in listening as would be done by a pastor, priest, psychologist, or doctor. How beautiful, how grand and liberating this experience is when couples learn so to help each other. It is impossible to overemphasize the immense need men have to be really listened to, to be taken seriously, to be understood.“ (P.29)

I think we can all learn to listen better! Some are better than others already. But each one of us can improve!

He says that a man, if he is alone „marks his time and becomes very set in his ways. In the demanding confrontation which marriage constitutes, he must ever go beyond himself, develop, grow up into maturity. When marriage is reduced to mere symbiosis of two persons essentially hidden from one another, peaceful though such life may sometimes be, it has completely missed its goal. Then it is not solely the marriage which has failed, but both husband and wife. They have failed in their calling as a man and a woman. To fail to understand one’s spouse is to fail to understand oneself. It is also a failure to grow and to fulfull one’s possibilities.“ (P.31)

What Tournier points out as very important is to face problems and not to avoid them.

What? Problems? Some couples might say: We never argue. But like Tournier says, there are „problems in every marriage“ and those „who make a success of their marriage are those who tackle their problems together and who overcome them. Those who lack the courage to do this are the ones whose marriage is a failure.“

It is the „differences in our characters, tastes, habits, prejudices, and convictions which oblige us to a greater effort to understand each other. These in turn lead to further growth in both of us.“ (P.33+34)

It takes courage he says to „face up to all the problems created by a complete adaptation of two personalities. People are very different one from another.“

And „to come to understand that one’s partner is very different – this already presupposes a great deal of personal growth.“ (P.35)

??? Can you relate to what the author is saying? Do you share his opinion? What do you experience in your marriage? Do you have any good tips for understanding the other better???

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*Book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier

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Understanding each other

life coaching, colouryourdream, life, purpose, marriage

Lately I read a little book about marriage. I saw so many different couples in my life and thought a lot about this topic. It is so sad, that so many marriages fail and the question is why?

I thank God that I grew up in a very stable family environment, with loving parents and sisters. In my surrounding I never really experienced marriage breakups, this was quite foreign for me. Nowadays it is so sad to see so many couples break up.

So I thought I write in the next posts about a book from a Swiss physician (Paul Tournier), who made a significant contribution to understanding of psychiatry and its relation to the Christian faith.

On the spine of his book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier  you can read the following:

He writes that the „major problem is „to understand each other.“ He says: „When we talk of marriage counseling we think immideately of the extreme cases, of threats to seek divorce, of couples in violent disputes who frequently come to blows.“ But there are many other couples whose marriages are no less a failure. „They live side by side, without hurting one another, but poles apart, because of no real understanding of one another.“ Courship’s complete frankness has given way to superficial exchanges of information. The husband and wife fail to realize that they are hiding part of their real feelings from each other.

Paul Tournier says, that he sees many couple and „behind their difficulties I always discover a lack of mutual openness, a loyal and total openness to one another without which there can be no real understanding.“ And the ability to understand each other is what counts in working out marital happiness together. In his book: „To understand each other – classic wisdom on marriage“ he suggests ways to achieve this understanding.“

My next post will contain excerpts of his book. 

??? What did you experience with this topic so far???

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Easter

Der Herr ist auferstanden – Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden! (German)

Christ has risen! Truly he has risen! (English)

What are the words above in your language? Would be lovely if you could post them under this post!

 

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I baked this Easter lamb for the first time for Easter. My family sent me the baking dish lately for my birthday – timely for Easter.

This baked cake in the form of a lamb is a German tradtion. Jesus Christ is the „Lamb of God“ who died for our sins, so that we might

live. The lamb symbolizes gentleness of character, and the patience under suffering. The Lamb is a symbol of Jesus Christ, and

signifies purity, meekness, and sacrifice.

In the bible in John 1:29 we can read: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, „Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.“

 

You probably know the famous song: Hallelujah!

A friend sent this link to me – not with the original words, but with the Easter story! My friend recommended:

Put your earphones on, close your eyes and listen to this song.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=guhr0Vh2hE0

I listened to it already many times and it touches my heart.

I wonder what you think of Easter and what it means to you?

 

??? What are these words in your native language???: Christ has risen! Truly he has risten!

And I would love to hear what Easter means to you???

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Inner power

Three weeks ago I moved basically to the other end of the world. While packing some personal things, I found a little notebook with some notes I made a few years ago. I wrote down some points which I read in a book* and I came to the conclusion to keep this notebook. Because the author points out some interesting things I think it’s worth sharing here on the blog.

Why are some people stronger than others?

Inner power, inner strength makes all the difference in those who are secure. Secure in their social interactions with others – secure within themselves.“

Jane Lind says that power means being filled up and a lack of power is emtiness and having no strength.

Inner power comes from feeling loved. Those who have been filled with the power of love are powerful and have little need to struggle for power.Without inner power, there can be no inner peace.

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The more powerless we feel, the more we will struggle. And the more we struggle, the less we will have peace within. Whether the problem is a struggle within ourselves (e.g. problem with weight) or whether the problem is an exchange with another person.“

The author tells a story about a guy: „One would never know from looking at him on the outside that anything was wrong. I don’t understand why I have always felt something was missing. Although Tom’s parents had given him everything he could want in material, they had not given him the inner power that only comes from being loved. Tom went along trying to earn, trying to earn love, trying to be filled up.

On the other hand Jane Lind describes a girl/ woman who experienced following:

Maria grew up in a poor section. She had to resist drugs and crime and worked long hours after school. She had never known her father. Maria was born to a teenage mother. But Maria had inner peace. Maria was happy, cheerful, warm and loving. Maria was given consistent love and acceptance by her mother. Maria was powerful.

We start our life as empty vessels. We need to be charged like a battery. We can be charged with positive power or negative power or a mixture of both.

If we are not filled with positive power as a child or do not find, later in life, a person who loves us enough to fill us with the inner power of love and/ or do not experience the love of God through Christ, then we may feel empty or we may fill ourselves with negative power.

Love is positive power. Without love, we feel powerless, empty of power.

We need God’s love, but we also need love from others. We each, individuallyneed to receive love from at least one other human being.

Unless this love is received, it will not help. Love may be there, being offered, but often, because someone doesn’t feel worthy and/ or cannot believe that anyone would love him or her, and therefore is not open to accepting this love, it will not be received. There are those with personality problems, emotional and mental illness, who put up barriers to receiving love, even that which comes from God. There are those who have built up a defence and let not anyone love them.

Whether we are powerful or not, award titles and money do not make a lasting impression in terms of inner peace and strength. After attaining these, we very often still feel power empty.

Someone, not something, must give us love. Objects and positions alone are not enough to make us powerful.“

My notes end here and I forgot, if I put the book in my boxes I sent to my new home, or if I left the book behind.

When I think of the many people I met all over the world, I think it’s true what Jane Lind is saying in her book.

???Think about people you know or think about your own life. What did you experience? Do you think that the thoughts are valid?

* Book: Powerdigm, Jane Lind (1998)

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