Showing Love (Pt 1)

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Booking under: Keith

I know this is a little late, but I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and would like to wish you a belated happy Chinese New Year! The CNY holiday has always been one of my favorites because it’s (i) a holiday, (ii) a chance to gather with family and friends, and (iii) that time of the year when I can keep stuffing sweets in my mouth and receive money at the same time. It’s a pretty sweet deal (pun fully intended).

But despite the generally cheerful atmosphere, there were also moments of conflict and times when thing did not go according to plan. So was I able to follow through with my previous commitments and Remember Love? Let’s find out:

1. Don’t expect praise or appreciation – give them out instead

This was quite easy to do since a common activity during Chinese New Year is verbally wishing others well and giving compliments. Also, since a significant portion of our family gatherings inevitably involve playing with our younger cousins or the babies of our older cousins, giving out compliments (about how cute/smart they looked in their costumes) became a little too easy.

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Taking the chance to thank the awesome people who got me these recently 🙂

But outside of this (artificial?) environment, I did not find myself complimenting people a whole lot more than I usually did. Sure I was polite as usual and would thank someone if they did me a favor, but on the whole I think I can continue to show more appreciation to others – without forcing it.

2. Fight right – one issue at a time and stay on topic

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It wasn’t perfect, but thumbs up for an efficient conflict resolution this month!

I don’t know if I should compliment myself on this because it feels like having an argument in the first place is already a defeat. But over CNY there was a very minor skirmish within the family that I was responsible for. Evaluating how it went, I am happy that the short argument we had was focused on the topic and did not drag into unrelated faults. Also, it was clear (at least to me) that things were resolved quickly as we all interacted smoothly right after and no negative feelings from that morning’s argument carried over. I am very grateful about this piece of advice from Gretchen and will keep it in mind for future situations.

3. Respect gender-specific approaches to intimacy – pursue both

This was a little tricky to pursue. Nicole and I both agreed on the importance of doing activities together (the preferred approach for building intimacy for males) and to have in-depth talks with one another (the preferred approach for females). But we did not want to be overly intentional – to the point of making things seem forced (“Let’s make today all about talking and talking only!”).

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Yep… Sifting through the crowd is part of the fun.

In the end, we decided to do a festive date one weekend and check out the New Year flower markets. For me, it was great to simply spend time with her and explore an event I haven’t been to in years. I enjoyed walking through the stalls and seeing various items would trigger a childhood memory for us and kick off a laughter-filled conversation. We also went to IKEA (because what 21st-century couple doesn’t?) and had a good time reminiscing, covering the times when I would put together furniture with my dad while Nicole pointed out which of the items in her college apartment were IKEA products. Overall, it wasn’t a particularly extravagant day in terms of what we did or what we ate. But I think we both enjoyed just being with each other, seeing new and old things together, and letting what we saw trigger genuine and heart-to-heart conversations to build intimacy.

4. Give proofs of love – putting my money where my mouth is

It’s funny how after you make a commitment like this, life gives you the chance to prove it. One week after our flower market date, we decided to do an early Valentine’s date at a place we both have not visited for years – the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees. I had hoped for us to visit the place, take in some sights, and then catch Deadpool before wrapping it up with a nice Italian dinner.

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We still watched it that day and it didn’t disappoint! (Picture: foxmovies.com)

Unfortunately, Nicole suddenly felt a little under the weather at the place and we had to make a last minute change of plans. So instead of seeing more of the wishing trees, we went to see the doctor. And instead of a fancier Italian dinner, we had plainer (but arguably more filling) soup noodles. Although Nicole doesn’t get sick often, this was a chance for me to serve her and give proofs of love beyond the handmade arts and craft surprise I had for her (I’ll spare your eyes from it since I’m no artist).

All in all, while the day did not go as planned, and we both felt a lot more tired than we otherwise would have (especially Nicole who was battling through sickness that day), I am happy we spent it together and that I could use the time to demonstrate love – but how well I did is for her to evaluate!

From Last Month

Chinese New Year made it a little hard for me to do three days of exercise a week and walk 10,000 steps a day. But now that it’s over, I’m out of excuses and back to following through with my January commitments – which means I’ll have to kick myself into cleaning out my room too. Ugh.

Summing Up

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So how did I do? For my four commitments in February, I think I managed to attain the latter three. It will be up to me to genuinely achieve the first one (give praise instead of expect it) now that Chinese New Year is over. But let me begin right here – well done for sticking with us and thanks for reading this week’s post! We really appreciate it. Honest!

As always, check back next week as the cooler half of this author pair reflects on how she did for her commitments! And if you’ve got thoughts and feedback, including good Valentine’s Day experiences (please send those to me so I can be lazy next year), drop a comment below or email us at aloha.abf2@gmail.com.  See you next time!

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