Stopping things going wrong in a relationship

After listening to many break ups not just here but in the demise of the Western world and also the break up of my previous relationship ive took about 18 months looking at where people really go wrong in relationships and where relationships are doomed from the start.

Recently ive came across two scenarios in Cebu via friends which are doomed from the start. The first one a guy arrived from the U.S. to meet his online girlfriend. He stopped a couple of weeks and before going back to the U.S. spent thousands of dollars on a business, wouldnt he have been better to have spent hundreds on checking his new found partners past and present?? Shes still married her husband is in prison and this was either a means to survive or just a scam. Either way the guy was thinking ahead of himself with investments and giving trust to someone he really has only known for 2 weeks. I ask you this would you hand over thousands of dollars to a work mate you have known for years?? Probably the majority of you will say no, so why hand over money to a complete stranger with no business experience never mind anything else. Foreigners are plaguing the Philippines with excess money which breeds theft and priorities move from family loyalty (to family members and you the new found love of her life) to a word where materialism is what counts, live for today forget tomorrow. This is creating problems for foreigners aswell as filipinos because people speak loud when they are annoyed but if happy they are content and you dont hear a whisper. Im happily married myself and although we have had complications in our lives we have lived through them because that is what marriage is about. Getting back to the main story…

The second person is a friend of mine who has a neighbour, the neighbour has 2 children from a previous marriage. Her husband is a foreigner who works abroad and she is complaining of being bored and looking for a new husband. This also comes back to being materialistic. She already has an apartment,food on the table clothes on her back and her children are getting educated. Everything provided by her foreign husband. What has happend to people? Being bored is not an excuse there is always something to do if your husband isnt home spend your time with your kids if you were in the UK its unlikely you would have the luxury of so much time on your hands. You need to look back at why you loved your husband in the first place and after looking at this scenario you can easily see it was just out of security, loyalty and love dont even seem to be in the picture. These are prime examples of why relationships fail inside the Philippines and in western countries. I myself have been told previously by an ex “i never have to worry about succeededing because i know you always will”. Which she seen as a compliment as she is secure, happy, content. But at no point did she understand that my overworking to create the world she wanted was the failure of the relationship. Relationships need to be a 2 way split where there is regards for what each other want. One of you may be more successful in business than the other but its the helping to make things a couple or family unit that count. The nights when someone goes to bed while theyre partner is busy doing paperwork or on a laptop finishing reports for tomorrow are the beginning of the end. My uncle works 7 days a week upto 16 hours a day. But when hes home he will lay on the sofa relaxing while his wife will copy up his reports and they talk together. The work may have given them a lot of wealth but its the being together even when you think there is no time to do so that make marriage not only work but happy.

Wealth is of the mind not of the wallet. Ive learned that lesson over the last few years as i look back and see what i did with my time. Im nearly half way through my life span and where do i sit. I may have to work abroad a lot of the time away from April (my wife) and my daughters Zoei and Nicole (who are in different countries thats another story) but for the first time ive took money out of the puzzle of life and i know many of you will say thats easy for you to say. Well it is because money is where the problems mainly come from could be from an overworked job, struggling to pay bills or just simply materialistic and spending like no tomorrow which means your slipping off the cliff into the abyss of debt. Its looking back and realising i spent so much money on the wrong things. Not only that but the fact other things suffered in my life. Ive had some great jobs in the past but ive ended up working long hours sometimes away from home and for what?? Pieces of paper that allow you to buy things you really dont need. These are some of the reasons i call the Philippines my home. I have a wife who isnt materialistic, ive looked at building different types of houses and my wife is content with a basic house as long as there is a roof over our heads and food in the kitchen then shes happy. Where did the west go so wrong??

There are a few things that can make a relationship work, even some of the worst ones.. ill break it down into sections :-

Communication – Sometimes your working late, train has broken down, or simply just missing your partner pick up the phone.. it takes a couple of minutes and a simple “i love and miss you” makes all the difference. There is nothing worse than someone expecting you home and you dont arrive. Because the mind starts playing tricks, has he been in an accident? Is he having an affair, he cant be bothered to even call me.. either way they end up with the same response your partner is going to be mad or ignoring you when you get home. Why not change that before it happens?

Value your family – Something i failed to do for a longtime and something i regret in my life. Being a good father is not always the fact that you provide for your family but also means being there for them. I have always loved work and put it first in my life. But now my daughters and wife come first. I would rather be fired than let something come between us. If you have feuds with parents, siblings.. be the first to end them no one will think less of you but the weight will be lifted from your mind and you may find a rediscovered best friend.

Have a day – Each week ideally make it a Saturday or Sunday which is family day. Everyone has to be home and everyone has to spend time together. At first if you have kids who are teenagers they may hate the idea but its something that most people miss in theyre lives and thats family time. Where everyone is not only part of the family but wanted, loved and missed when they arent around. This may take a few weeks to get valued by the kids but make sure they do it. Once they realise that your not letting them throw a tantrum and leave they will accept it and eventually enjoy it. It could be days out or simply just time at home doing things together, either way when your kids look back on this time as adults they will always remember when you used to do the things you did on those days even if your no longer around. Not only will this create a happy memory and valued time together but when they feel down or bad about something they can look to those moments of happier times.

Say “I love You” – The most undervalued but most amazing words on this planet.. What other words can bring a smile to someone even through tears? (ok i dont expect you to use it when your partner is crying! its just an example). But say it when you mean it.. not because you think it needs to be heard. Everyone needs to know they are loved by someone. I was a guy who wasnt into saying it to often until i had kids but its something i should have started doing a long time ago. My telephone calls always end with i love and miss you and a lot of time with hugs.. But it takes a long time to open up to be that way but its one of the things im glad i changed in my life, a construction worker that says i love you.. now thats a novelty!

Be there – A childs first play, graduation, birthday or anything else you think maybe important to your child,partner, friends or family do what you can to make it. I agree its not always possible and last year was the first time i wasnt in the UK for Christmas with Nicole and it ate at me for months. But i made sure i was there for her birthday and will do what i can to be in the right place at the right time even though i know many times its impossible but its the trying that counts. Workload at an office doesnt count if your boss is making you work late ask if its ok to take it with you and you will do it tonight after your childs play etc. you will be surprised on how many bosses would say “ok, as long as its done for the morning”. Because they may seem ogres but they have families too.

Get away from money – Money doesnt make you happy and never will. Shopping has a short shelf life of happiness and this is why shopaholics buy so much. Because it can never be enough. So why bother in the first place. I used to have an expensive car but now  ride round in a car that cost less than a headlight for the previous vehicle.. why?? Because a car is a car it gets from A to B. But if you rid yourself of debts you suddenly realise your stress levels drop, your less argumentative, your content and less prone to heart attacks and believe it or not more people love you than you think you would be missed!

Plan for tomorrow – This isnt everyones cup of tea but simply if you can afford to put money into savings or an investment doesnt even have to be for your kids.. but as an emergency fund then do it. Try not to look at it but keep the saving growing. Im into business risks but not everyone is so i advise save! its the old fashioned way and the interest levels arent great in the UK but the fact your building a nest egg is important. Maybe take a trip to Jersey to open a tax free bank account who knows.. but saving for the unforseen is very important.

Love your partner – This is something ive seen go astray to much. You speak to someone when their partner isnt around you get how they really feel. “Hes lazy”, “wish he would fix the guttering”, “shes crap at cooking”, “her voice really bugs me lately”. What happend to “i love the way she smiles”, “cant wait to get home to see him”, “Im so lucky to be with her”. There is a simple life and complications. Your partner is bad at cooking.. then cook together when you can teach him/her how to do it and make it fun. Need a repair doing round the house if its bugging you so much get someone else to fix it or do it yourself. Your partner is lazy.. well this could be a complicated one is he/she really lazy or just tired,bored or depressed? Either way most of the reasons can be fixed and it all comes down to communication and making things happen dont get caught in the rut many people do by running each other down, do what you can to pick each other up and that will always build a stronger relationship and even in the hard times you can both still smile.

Think of others – Thinking of others before yourself is something most people will say “to hell with that”. But if you take simple things like queing in the Philippines can be a nightmare because paperwork is so slow but take a book and an afternoon you are suddenly in no rush. The old lady that is struggling to walk let her go in front. Same with someone with kids (they are more likely to be annoying to you when they get bored!) what is your reward?? You get to read your book your not stressed your not whispering under your breath “come on ive been here nearly an hour already!” your just reading.. The old lady and the person with kids is likely to thank you and meantion you as the nice person who let them go in front at the grocery store etc. another example of this was when i went to McDonalds here with April. There were kids round the parking lot begging for money i dont give money quite simply because i know of the drug problem in the City from young to old. So i bought a McDonalds meal for a little girl who was probably about 5, whos face and hair was dirty from living on the street. They arent allowed in the building because of security so i took the meal to her.. I got a “Salamat” (which is thank you) and off she went.. there were several people in the restaurant that were smiling and talking about giving the meal but for me i was just happy she had something to eat. My reward would be that others may do the same. As we sat we saw that the girl had shared it with several other street kids. So even when you have nothing the giving still goes on and a child with nothing shares a lunch that could have filled herself until tomorrow but instead gives what she has. That is me and im not asking you to do the same. But if you see someone struggling and it doesnt have to be physical could be a student struggling to understand something you know well.. your reward will be that you helped them even in a small way. Which will put a smile on both your faces and a little bit more happiness in your lives.

Never give up – Final and most important. Many things may come and go but if you really love each other then stick around and make it work. But you need the same commitment from your partner if it isnt there then your partner has doomed both of you to seperation. Ive seen so many relationships fail because both have fallen out of love and tired of trying to fix things.. but the biggest problem is you have BOTH got to be committed to making it work otherwise you will be back to the same arguments in 3 months time. You need to be honest and open to each other pull each other together not apart. With me my ex before marriage loved horses and i loved work. These things drove a wedge so deep into our relationship it killed it. We didnt find a middle ground and you need to look at your lifes in a similar light. Its ok accepting you like different things but you need to balance with things you both like and try to get to understand and do the same as your partner. This will build a relationship that stands stronger than most.