Ever since my parents attended a CEFAM workshop with Sister Harriet, they have been very open to involving professionals in resolving conflicts within the family and within ourselves.
So, I got married with no hidden emotional and mental baggage.
I am able to talk about my past and my demons with honesty. I don't fear judgement because I am secure of the sources of my feelings.
For instance, when I am angry I am able to explain the role of my past experiences in causing my outburst. When I have fears, I can discuss my feelings in details. I can also go to my parents and cry to them and I have an established support group.
In short, I know how to deal with it.
However, marriage is a totally different animal.
My husband grew up in an environment where he didn't discuss his emotions or the emotions of others. This is apparently very typical in a Fil-Chi household. Emotions are often swept under the rug.
Even love and appreciation are suppressed. Love is often expressed in generosity but rarely in physical affection and affirming words.
As such, I feel I am living with someone from a different planet and we speak with different languages.
My husband sees emotions on a very superficial level. If I'm sad, all he sees is gloom. He doesn't instinctually ask himself... "How can a simple incident cause my wife so much despair?". If he is angry, he can only backtrack as far as the trigger of that particular irritation.
So most of the time, discussing emotions with him is like swimming in shallow waters. This is very frustrating.
It was such a blessing that our friend invited us to the preview of Christine Foong Wong's workshop.
It is really good for couples. Couples must go together! I think, if only one goes, the enlightened spouse will only end up frustrated.
After the workshop, S and I talked on our way home. I was so impressed that the talk really opened up his mind. He felt more comfortable to answer questions like...
"Why do you flip out when I take other people's opinion over yours?"
"Why do you rush me to snap out of my sadness?"
"Why is it that you do not talk so much about your family?"
For a Fil-Chi husband, opening up is like wearing ones brief on his head. It really puts him in a vulnerable and naked place.
We talked for 15 mins then S decided to close shop again.
Considering that it was only a 2 hr workshop, this is already a big leap for my husband.
Christine will be back this August! I really suggest you consider attending. You can learn more about this by visiting her Facebook, SYSTEM OF THE HEART.