drift or paddle – fighting the relationship drift

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Misang's Inspirations
Tags: , ,

I recently read this article from a N@W thread. It’s so touching and now I’m sharing it with you.

Fight The Relationship Drift

Warning: There’s a cruel epidemic afflicting our families, our marriages, and our friendships. It’s called the Relationship Drift.
It’s a very devious disease. It’s like some cancers. You really don’t know you have it until it’s fatal. And then it’s too late.
And then Relationship Drift becomes Relationship Dead.

The only solution is to diagnose it early.
But the symptoms of Relationship Drift are almost invisible to the naked eye.
Because you’re not really fighting each other.
There are no screaming matches. In fact, your home is quiet. Like a convent.
And there are no pots and pans flying in the air.
And there are no bloody court cases.
But little by little, your hearts move apart.
Intimacy is gone.
Joy is missing.
In marriage, sex only happens every time Haley’s comet passes planet earth.
You take each other for granted.
One day, you know the disease had run its full course because you wake up one morning not caring for the other person anymore.
Let me give you examples of the Relationship Drift:
The father who doesn’t have heart-to-heart conversations with his kids anymore. Or the wife who doesn’t enjoy her husband’s company anymore. Or a couple who talk to each other functionally, not deeply. Or siblings who no longer laugh together, play together, and eat together.

Here’s why: We live in a busy world.
Where bills need to be paid.
And cars need to be repaired.
And kids need to be fed, vaccinated, and neutered, er, I mean nurtured. (I know of parents who want to administer this little medical procedure to their kids when puberty comes along.)
My point? It’s natural that you drift apart.
You don’t have to be a bad person. You don’t have to be Adolf Hitler or The Joker. You don’t have to be obnoxious, selfish, or evil to cause the disease called Relationship Drift.

Let me give you an analogy.
Two people in a relationship are like two little boats floating on the sea.
Problem: There’s a current that will slowly pull the two boats apart. Before they know it, the two boats are miles away from each other.
Friend, there’s really only one way to fight the drift: Paddle!
If you don’t want to drift, you’ll have to go against the flow and paddle your way to each other. You’ll have to work hard, muscle your way, sweat like crazy and fight to be together.
I believe that the only antidote to Relationship Drift is to bond constantly.
If you don’t, the effects can be disastrous…
When We Don’t Fight Relationship Drift

In a previous article, I already shared these statistics from David Perdew.
David Perdew wrote this about “fatherless kids” in America. According to statistics, children from a fatherless home are:
• Five times more likely to commit suicide
• Thirty-two times more likely to run away
• Twenty times more likely to have behavioral disorders
• Fourteen times more likely to commit rape (this applies to boys)
• Nine times more likely to drop out of high school
• Ten times more likely to abuse chemical substances
• Nine times more likely to end up in a charitable institution
• Twenty times more likely to end up in prison for a long period of time

David Perdew says we either pay now or pay later.
And when you pay later, it always costs more.
My suggestion is to pay now.
Fighting the Relationship Drift is very difficult. But it’s easier paying now than paying later.
Here’s how to do it.
Time Management Isn’t The Answer

Do you want to spend more time with your family?
Time Management is not the solution.
I know a company who charges $759 per person for their Time Management Seminar. Let me save you $759 right now and tell you it doesn’t work.
These guys will teach you how to become experts in multi-tasking.
While you shave, mentally plan for your day.
While you drive, record your things-to-do in an MP3 recorder.
While sitting on the throne of life, make your phone calls.
While talking with your boss, floss your teeth.
I don’t believe in any of that.
Though I must admit, I’m guilty trying all of them.
Except for the flossing. (I don’t have a Boss.)
And believe me, these things don’t give you more time.
Worse, they take away your peace.
Here’s a principle you can take to the bank: Anything that takes away your peace won’t work in the long run.
Instead of Time Management, I teach people Biggies Management.

What Are Your Biggies?
If you really think about it, you can put everything happening in your life into two categories: Biggies and Smallies.
If you manage your Biggies, you manage your life.
It’s the secret to great success.
What are your Biggies?
People who don’t know their Biggies will be ruled by their Smallies. They’ll be lost boats in the sea, being pushed and pulled in various directions.

Your Biggies consists of the 4 most important parts of your life:
1. Your Family
2. Your Health
3. Your Mission
4. Your Spirit

Everything else are Smallies.
If you want to be successful, focus on your Biggies.
When you make your Weekly Schedule, write down the Biggies first.
Each of these Biggies can be broken down. But today, I’d like to share with you the Family Biggies that you need to do. These are the powerful ways to paddle against Relationship Drift.

Are you ready?
Create A List Of Untouchables

My romantic date with my wife is an Untouchable. I told her that we’d have a romantic date every Tuesday night unless these three things happen:

1) President Obama calls up to consult me on high-level issues such as terrorism, global warming, and nuclear disarmament; or…
2) The Pope calls me to discuss some murky theological question that only I can answer (like “Did Adam have a belly button?”), or…
3) If a comet rams into earth, burning the entire planet’s atmosphere, and human life as we know it ceases to exist.

Aside from those three scenarios, nothing can touch my date with her.
Seriously, there are weeks when I’m travelling and we can’t date. But I see to it that when I fly back home, the first thing I do is spend a day with my wife and two boys.
Frankly, I love my romantic dates with my wife. She’s my emotional home. She relaxes me. (Okay, I confess that one time, I was so relaxed I dozed off when she was still talking.)

My weekly date with my 2 boys is an Untouchable too.
So is my twice-a-month lunch with my mother.
And twice-a month dinners with my extended families.
I also have regular dates with my Friends. (We call them Caring Groups in my spiritual family, Light of Jesus.)
Friend, the only way to paddle against Relationship Drift is to create your list of Untouchables.
But before you invite your kids to a date, let me tell you how not to do it.

How To Have Dates With Your Kids
One day, a teen-age boy approached me and said, “Brother Bo, can you please tell my father to stop having dates with me? I think he got the idea from you.”
I later learned what his father did last week.
First, he invited his son to have a burger. But the moment they sat down in the restaurant, the father said, “Son, I want to talk to you about your poor grades.”
After a mini-sermon on “study well because I work so hard to pay for your studies,” the father jumps to another sensitive topic. “Your music tastes are terrible,” he said to the lad, “It’s loud, noisy, and disgusting. I think you should listen more to classical music.”
The father goes on to other topics, such as the length of his hair, the late night phone calls, and the obscene amount of time he spends playing computer games.
Poor kid. He didn’t know what was coming that day. He didn’t realize he was attending a multi-track conference.
After their meal, the father told him, “Son, I enjoyed our date. Let’s do this weekly!”
His son must have had an epileptic seizure right there. Can you imagine going through this torture for the rest of his teen-age life? That’s when the boy asked me to rescue him from a life of purgatory.
So I called the father and said, “Parental sermons, homilies, lectures, and full-scale multi-track conferences are banned from your dates.”
“Why?” the father asked.
“Because the date isn’t for you,” I said. “It’s for your son. You don’t have to enjoy it as long as he does.” I told him, “Play billiards. Play bowling. Go fishing. Ride bikes together. Anything your boy wants to do.”
Let me explain why this is essential.
When the relationship is close, kids listen. Their hearts are supple and open.
But when there’s already a Relationship Drift between the parents and the kids, their hearts are far apart. So no matter how much the parents shout, their kids don’t hear the message.
So the first goal is to bring your hearts close to each other.

How To Bond As A Family
Another Untouchable you need to create is a Weekly Family night.
The goal is to do something fun together.
Rent a movie and cook popcorn for a family movie night at home.
Or take a Family Walk around the village.
Or play a game together. Monopoly. Pictionary. Patintero.
Or read a book out loud.
Or just order pizza and ask everyone to share around the table.
When you do this each week, you’re creating memories that will last a lifetime. Life is about moments. And believe me, your grown-up kids will never forget these special bonding moments as a family. It will be their anchor. It will be their source of emotional stability. That amidst the sea of change around them, they know there are just some things in life that don’t change.
Like the memories of being together as family.

Here’s one more tip before I end.
Invite Your Kids’ Friends To Hang Out At Home
You’ve got to be the cool Mom and Dad–Even if you’re not.
How? Make your home the preferred hang-out place for your kids’ friends.
I know it’ll cause a little dent on your budget.
Okay, I lied. It will make your life savings disappear.
A group of teens are like a pack of piranha. They will eat anything that looks like food in your kitchen cabinets. And if your kids come home all tired and sweaty from a basketball game, be forewarned. That is a perfect storm. You will become poor overnight. You can buy all the food in your city and it won’t be enough. They’ll just burp and ask for more.
But the rewards are incredible.
First, you’re with your kids more.
Second, you know where your kids are.
Third, you get to know their friends—and counsel the troubled ones. If they lack parenting, you can re-parent them. (I’m sharing you a powerful secret: One of the best ways of influencing your kids is to influence their friends.)
Fourth, because of all racket your guests make, you and your neighbors will not be in speaking terms. So that’s one or two people dropped from your Christmas shopping list. Savings!

Two Choices: Drift Or Paddle
I can hear you now.
“Bo, this is a lot of hard work! Weekly dates with my wife and kids? Feeding a pack of piranhas? And re-parenting the friends of my kids? My gosh!”
I warned you. It’s going to be rough.
But let me repeat what I said at the start: You really only have two choices in life. You either Drift or you Paddle. You either pay now or pay later.

I’ve decided to paddle. I’ve decided to pay now.
Believe me, I’m enjoying the benefits.
My relationships are deeply satisfying.
Friend, it’s your turn.
Start paddling.
May your dreams come true,

(Bo Sanchez)

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