a better life, accountability, action, adaptation, asking questions, authenticness, awareness, beauty, better choices, caring, change management, choices, compassion, Energy, examined life, fairness, friendship, game of life, happiness, hope, life, long-term perspective, long-term strategy, love, marriage, perseverance, relationships, responsibility, successful marriage, trust, your life

Fairness in Love?

Fairness begins with Self. Side chest pose in my gym of seven years.

Do you believe in love?

Do you believe in lasting love?

You’d have to agree with me when I say that we don’t get lasting love by chance. Before I go any further, I want to let you know that I don’t believe in chance or coincidences.

Everything – good or bad, is meant to be, when you make decisions for the best and ultimately to not bring harm to anyone else in the long run. You may hurt someone in the short-term but foresight is a gift, and you may see the benefit for the person in the long-term.

Sometimes, as my grandfather used to remind me – you have to be ‘cruel to be ’kind’ or in his other words of wisdom, give ‘tough love’. People suffer a little bit in the short-term for lasting long-term benefit.

So, lasting love does not come by easily, it takes work – simple, pure hard work. In Australian lingo we say – “Hard YAKA!’, if you believe it is worth it.

Hard work strongly involves working at fairness.

How do I know?

Well, I believe in genuine, authentic relationships. I mean I have many, many acquaintances but only a few very good friends. People I can call friends for twenty, thirty or even forty years. And there are a few new ones too.

Friendship, real, genuine, long-term friendship of any kind takes time and work, hard work.

And really good friends, friends that ‘hear what you say but also hear what you don’t say’, now these are hard to come by. But, they do.

I spent a lot of time with one of my many male mentors for the first 18 years of my life – my grandfather: Mr Garrett Bola William Valentine.

I used to sit there, when he was alive and listen to him (who was like a dad to me) and his one very good friend tell stories and reminiscing of their youthful days. I loved listening to those stories. I thought of my grandfather when writing this because it seems his loving friendship and bond he had with his friend to his last days were based on an enduring friendship.

A friendship that lasted over fifty years.

A relationship, a love-affair between two men, two humans, that, I can only assume, took a lot of work and Hard Yaka. It did not just happen by chance. Certainly not.

Side triceps in my gym of seven years.

A loving, lasting relationship of any kind, needs fairness.

In a romantic one, however, unlike my grandfather’s Bromance, the ‘romance’ can keep love alive for a shining season but unfair love will freeze by late autumn as the relationship goes through the seasons of life, so-to-speak.

Do you argue fairly?

One needs to remember to stick to the facts and don’t make personal attacks on your partner, especially ones that are generalised over a number of years? I believe fairness is at stake in every conversation, in every sharing of duties, in every argument.

In this day and age where there is an ‘opinion epidemic’ whereby people think offering their opinions willy-nilly, left, right and centre is acceptable. These opinions are heavily biased and are not thought out from ‘both sides of the argument. So, arguments are not done in a fair fashion.

We need fairness in our trust. Trust of one another.

In romantic love, we need fairness in our talk. Our communication. Experts say that our nonverbal communication accounts for almost 60 percent of the total message. Tone of voice, for example – the way we say things – makes up 35 percent of the message. The actual words we say account for only seven percent of the total message.

I know I can get very passionate and animated when I speak and so there is always fluctuations in my tone of voice and sometimes this can come across as aggressive. I do struggle with hiding my emotions sometimes and am still trying to manage and control them even now.

If I am angry, you will know it, just as sure as you will know when I am happy. My eyes and face are the windows to my heart, my soul.

So, as food-for-thought, think about the ways you and your spouse/partner communicate without using words. These are all important factors of communication but the most important question is how effective is your communication with your loved one/partner?

In my experience, it isn’t fair to use words that violate a person’s feelings or betray a person’s confidence. Refrain from saying things to personally attack the other. Stick to the facts and in saying that, the immediate or facts of a recent example.

We need fairness when we divide the chores in family life.

We need fairness when we decide who goes out to work for a living and who stays home to mind the children, in the different phases of family life. What phase of life are you or you and your partner/husband/wife in?

“So, when is love fair?” I hear you say.

Well, from my experience, I believe that –

  • Love is fair when it builds up both the lover and the beloved;
  • Love is fair when it increases both and diminishes neither;
  • Love is fair when it brings lovers close but still lets them separate when appropriate;
  • Love is fair when it nourishes both and leaves neither hungry for more;
  • Love is fair when it respects the boundaries of the other person’s selfhood;
  • Love is fair when it delays our most legitimate desires to meet our loved one’s needs;
  • Love is fair when it does not use ancient and forgiven wrongs against us;
  • Love is fair when we don’t selfishly accept current, immediate self-gratification at the price or expense of the other’s pain.

What do you think, is the above statements fair statements on what fair love is?

What do you think is a “fair” balance of closeness and separateness in your marriage?

What do you think is ‘fair’ behaviour when you are disagreeing?

Oh love … oh fairness fairy.

We seek your guidance.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

 

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk.

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all. The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home.
Relationships based on fairness, trust, care and compassion.

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

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awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, children, choices, decisions, Energy, eternity, examined life, game of life, God, grace, life, long-term perspective, love, marriage, parenthood, parenting skills, perspective, real man, relationships, successful marriage, your life

The Grace of Seeds.

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I have been blessed with two very beautiful, healthy children. It is truly one of life’s blessings in my eyes – the Grace of Seeds.

However, in interactions with men of all ages in gyms for over two decades now, for some men, the responsibilities of fatherhood are simply more than they bargained for. It could be due to many things.

It seems, it is not only the intrusion of a newborn child’s demands; not just the scary anticipation of financial burdens (some men tend to view it this way) – from cot to college.

Maybe, it is the realization that the ‘honey-moon’ period has finally come to an end. Things will never be the same as they imagined it to be. This can be a stark reality indeed for some men.

In addition to this, some men probably have an increased fear of the onset of family life as this would entail responsibilities of parenthood. This would ultimately mean, the feast of love with his wife will grow stale. That the wine of their love will lose its bouquet.

That their love life will fizzle out.

But this is where interpretation of what married love means to Real Men differs.

Often when a man is insecure about himself, afraid of his personal characteristics and strengths as a husband and lover, he is unable to find a reliable and relevant version of the truth about love within a marriage.

And that it is this version of truth of married love:

The love between a married couple has a special ingredient that allows for the inclusion of the love of others.

But, it seems that there are many examples all around us in today’s modern living that tell us that countless couples disagree with this position or interpretation of what married love is.

The expectation gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what they imagined’ is just too big. I have met quite a few couples over the years who choose to not have children. Very sad indeed.

I will argue one point regarding this and one point only and it is this: if the Bible makes it clear that God our Creator, made us in his image and likeness, then I believe that he (God) intended and hoped that we would be ‘fruitful and increase in number”.

So, if you choose to give life and love whether by birth or adoption, you become more of what God meant by ‘in God’s image’. This is our real slice of the ‘essence of life’, our closest chance to share – if only to a small degree – the highest attributes of God the Father himself.

This is as close to “God-like” as any person could become.

To not do so and take another path, to not offer love to our own children, the seeds that will bloom in the future. Well, personally, I cannot fathom this decision.

This is to miss one of the true meanings of what life is about. To go down this path deprives you of a taste of eternity, that is ….

The Grace of Seeds.

It is a sacrament of everlasting life.

Nourish those seeds with all the love you can muster as they will be your future – our future.

They will be the World’s Future.

And, thank God every single day for blessing you with the grace of seeds!

For posterity.

 

Until next time,

Me and my children. Children gives you a hint of eternity. A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Vv.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing – the grace of seeds.
Vv.

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a better life, awareness, marriage, relationships, successful marriage

Keep the fire burning.

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here 'feeling the essence' of the exercise. All relationships require work and time . Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise.
All relationships require work, patience and time .
Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

All relationships have their ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ and we all hope that the relationships that we value the most have more ups than downs. Relationships like marriages. This blog tries to share thoughts on how one can keep the fire burning in a marriage.

In my twenty plus years of helping people in the gym, including the 7 years I owned and managed a gym, I met people of all ages, backgrounds, professions and class in society. From the very richest to the very poorest, in every sense of the word: financially, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically.

In those years I have helped many couples stay together and also helped individuals transition through a divorce to being a single again. Most of the time, children are involved. A very difficult phase of life for all parties involved. I have experienced some of the pain (through a women’s eyes and through the man’s) of the devastation of such an event. Sometimes it is quick and sometimes it is long and messy.

I learned early on that there are always 3 sides to every story – yours, the other person’s and the right one!

I was fortunate during my 7 years owning and managing my gym, I had a retired female client who was special. Her name was Margaret and was one of Sydney’s top family counsellors. She was lovely and I helped her with her health and fitness goals for almost 6 years. I gave her increased strength, health and vitality and lots of laughter and she shared some of her wisdom with me. I learned a lot from her. I asked her what was the success rate of a couple staying together when they finally saw her. She said it was a little over 30%. Very low indeed.

I’ll share one such story of a divorce in which I helped a lovely lady. Let’s call her Susan.

When I asked Susan, what was the reason for getting a divorce, she just said “The flame went out. It was as simple as that!”

“What?!” I thought to myself. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Was that her way of “explaining away” the death of a 30-year marriage? There had been no bitter argument or disagreement, no extramarital affair. This female client/friend and her husband simply drifted apart – bored, indifferent, uncommitted.

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and is loading his guns(biceps. Through a loving teacher/student relationship, both parties benefit. Practise does not make perfect - Perfect practise makes perfect! Vv

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and is loading his guns(biceps.
Through a loving teacher/student relationship, both parties benefit.
Practise does not make perfect – Perfect practise makes perfect!
Vv

Susan and her soon-to-be ‘ex-husband’ were definitely getting a divorce and there was nothing I could do about it. They were beyond repair and some of what Margaret shared with me about her experience in marriage counselling, I used to help Susan in her time of extra-need.

One thing I have learned is that without commitment, no marriage can succeed. As I see it, like all Christians reading this blog, when we were married, we made an unconditional commitment to each other and the wedding vow was not a promise “if”, it was a promise “always”.

I think many forget this small but very important point.

There are certainly many hurdles in life and most of you have experienced your fair share to date – crisis, disappointments, failure. These can all put a strain on even the strongest relationships. However, I believe one thing: success in marriage MUST BE a conscious choice, not a thing left to chance.

“So, what does it take to make a marriage work?” you may be thinking.

Well, from what I have learned in helping many couples (not just the ones going through divorces), a successful marriage is successful because of hard work, compromise, patience and a willingness to grow. This also applies to any valued relationship you may have – friend or business.

Both individuals in the marriage or relationship must make the conscious choice to make it work. Each person learns to raise their tolerance levels.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder. Plan the work - to work the plan. Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby - Phil Waugh. All relationships require time, sharing and effort on both sides.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby – Phil Waugh.
All relationships require time, sharing and effort on both sides.

Before the fire goes out, each party to the marriage must try to keep the flame alive and the marriage relationship must be nurtured, if there is still a glimmer of hope. If it doesn’t then it will flicker out – as it did for Susan in this story.

Couples need to make their marriage the top priority and should not put it second to anything else – your work, your career or your children. Too many couples over-invest in their children at the expense of their marriage. This is dangerous because the children suffer in the long run, as a result.

One of the things that my lovely friend, Margaret the ex-family counsellor taught me about making marriages ‘work’ and keeping the flame burning was by –

feeding it the right kind of firewood”, she would say.

I asked her what she meant by this and she said that an example of the ‘wrong kind of firewood” was that – too many couples try to meet every one of their child’s needs at the expense of their relationship (this was damp/wet firewood according to Margaret – will not keep the fire burning).

“That was not the way”, Margaret said, regarding parents trying so hard to meet every one of their children’s needs.

Couples should always make time for themselves and they should make their children know the importance of their time.

I have never forgotten this and have offered this bit of advice to couples in the past. Now that I have children of my own, my wife and I regularly let our children know that “mummy and daddy’ are enjoying a conversation and need 30 minutes.

As my children grow, they are starting to truly respect and somewhat accept this, indirectly embedding in their minds that my love for my wife and her love for me comes first above all else.

I believe this is very important for the childrens’ state of mind, mainly in their adult years and their perception of an aspect of love. It is quite clear that parents can’t help their child(ren) unless they first step back and get their marriage relationship right. So, ask yourself if you’ve honestly done this.

Helping Chris close the gap between how he imagines himself to be and what he sees in the mirror. Or in other words: Manifesting the 'unfolding universe' of his 'enfolded' invisible universe (what he imagines/dreams) Trust is a big part of any successful long-term relationship. Vv

Helping Chris close the gap between how he imagines himself to be and what he sees in the mirror.
Or in other words: Manifesting the ‘unfolding universe’ of his ‘enfolded’ invisible universe (what he imagines/dreams)
Trust is a big part of any successful long-term relationship.
Vv

If you’re not already doing so, make your marriage a top priority before it is too late. However, making your marriage to be top priority shouldn’t and cannot be motivated by a desire to do what’s best for the children. You need to work on your marriage because it’s what you want to do and that is it.

If you’re a Christian, it’s what God wants you to do too. Ultimately, each party to a marriage is made to need each other.

And what is a ‘need’? It is simply something we cannot do without to survive – like water, like food, like shelter. This view of each other’s love is exactly the fuel needed to keep the fire burning in a marriage.

For those of you reading this that are married or in a long-term relationship, all the very best to you.

Remember though: use the right type of firewood to keep the fire burning and keep your marriage top priority. Always.

Until next time,

Training in my Old School Gym adopting Old School Training techniques with a modern twist. Know the basics. Apply the basics. Adapt to the basics. Keep it simple and keep it continuous. Its the most efficient, most effective and safe approach to building a muscular physique in the gym. Find a gym with minimum distraction if you desire results. Focus! Paul.

Training in my Old School Gym adopting Old School Training techniques with a modern twist. Life is like muscle – it relies on 2 principles: 1) Simplicity 2)Continuity. Ultimately, your relationship with yourself determines your relationships with others. Work on YOU first. Focus! Paul.

Paul V2 (1)

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