By Paula Bianca Abiog
A few days before the Chinese New Year, my mom started sprucing up our home to welcome the year of the dragon. Up went the red curtains. Throw pillow covers were changed to red as well. On our dining table were the requisite display of 13 round fruits, plus bowls of uncooked rice, sugar, salt, cotton, chocolate coins, and ang pao.
“What are those for?” I asked.
“For luck,” my mom answered.
I had to fight the urge to let out an amused smile. Can uncooked rice and round fruits really invite luck into our home and our lives? Sure, it won’t hurt to follow these traditions (and I’m not sure we even have Chinese blood in the first place), but wouldn’t it be better if we don’t just rely on some external factor to steer luck our way?
I read somewhere before that luck wasn’t really about having all the lucky charms on your body and inside your home. It’s more of a belief: consider yourself lucky, and you will be lucky. Like most things in life, “luck” doesn’t come for free. You have to make your own luck.
Not that I’m dismissing my mom’s lucky charms, but I thought I’d help speed up luck to come our way by being proactive as well. Here’s what I plan to do to be lucky for the rest of the year:
Think lucky. Earlier this year, I declared 2012 as “my year”—I will be successful both in my professional and personal life. It’s too early to tell just yet if this year is indeed my year, but I think having that thought, and shouting it out to the world, can go a long way in inviting luck in my life. Happy, positive thoughts will generate happy, positive results, so this early on, I will consider myself lucky.
Work on your luck. As my friend always says, “If you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket.” In other words, to be lucky, you have to take chances. It’s time to stop thinking “There’s no way in hell that’s going to happen,” or “I don’t think I should do this.” Being open to all possibilities, shutting out the negative talk, and taking the plunge should now be my battlecry.
Be thankful. Another friend once said that we should always be thankful for all the blessings we receive to invite more blessings to come our way. The other day, as I was eating lunch with my new officemates, I realized that I was lucky to be with these nice, friendly people who helped make me feel welcome in the office. Cheesy as it sounds, I did say a little thank you prayer to God for letting me meet this new set of wonderful people. Being thankful puts you in a positive frame of mind, I guess, and will eventually lead you to get more things to be thankful for.
Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash
By Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Some popular movies, songs, and television shows would have us believe that marriage is a fate almost worse than death, often referred to as a trap, the end of the happy life or a one-way ticket to endless misery. But marriage can be the exact opposite, believe it or not.
Instead of a trap, marriage can free us to become better people. It may be the end of the carefree life but also the beginning of a more meaningful and fulfilling existence. If you decide to have children and become parents, it adds another dimension to your relationship. Instead of misery, marriage can indeed lead us to our real destiny on earth, the reason for our being.
Last Dec. 11, 2011, my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary and we like to believe that we are as happy now as we were that day in 1993 when we became man and wife in the eyes of God, if not more.
And so the young and restless colleagues and friends who are about to get married ask me, how do you keep the marriage happy and fulfilling?
Here are a few tips based on what worked for me these past years.
Pick your battles. Not everything is worth fighting over just so you can say you’ve ‘won’ an argument. Fight for the big decisions you really believe in such as what kind of a parent you’d like to be or where you’d like your children to go to school, for instance, and just agree to disagree on others. You win some, you lose some. Compromise is at the heart of any working marriage.
Decide on money matters as early as possible. Assuming that both of you work, it is best to have separate individual accounts and then maybe a joint account for joint expenses. You’ve earned your money, so you’ve certainly earned the right to spend it the way you wish. But of course, agree to share in big expenses, just so you won’t end up paying for everything yourself while your spouse spends on luxuries.
Fix the schedule for the holidays. One of the major sources of heartaches is the holiday schedule. Talk about where you want the family to spend Christmas and New Year’s or even Sunday lunches or dinners. Once that’s fixed, there will be less haggling over where to spend these important dates, and less whining over “but we always go to your family.”
Respect ‘alone’ time. It’s not healthy for any relationship – even marriage – to be perpetually in each other’s pockets. We are individuals, after all, with needs and wants that cannot always be met by your spouse. So go out with friends, have a weekend alone, or just go somewhere you can recharge. It’s not a crime. Remember, there is a you, there is a he or she and there is an us.
Don’t try to change your spouse. We all have our quirks: some are annoying, some are cute. Don’t try to get rid of each and every one of them just to fit your notion of what a spouse should be. Nobody is perfect. Not even you, so don’t expect your spouse to be perfect. I always tell the romantics out there, if you were annoyed by one habit before you got married, chances are you will still be annoyed years later. So can you take it?
Lastly, share loads of laughter. There’s nothing like laughter to cure any ills in a relationship. I always say, if you can laugh about practically anything and everything with your husband or wife, then you’re on your way to a fulfilling journey together that will hopefully last as long as you both shall live.
Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash