Category Archives: Film Set

That lingering kiss, and the boredom blues.

Unknown-1We all know that in a very unromantic way our marriages “are a crucial social contract which helps to forge strong families and strong communities, and that every Government in the World views families as crucial micro systems, breeding caring and wealth creating support units”.  The truth is however, we didn’t fall in love in order to benefit society.  It was much more about intoxicating romance, excitement and the headiness of that lingering kiss.

It is the case that sadly the serotonin will subside, and the novelty of “possessing” the affections of that awesome, irresistible special one will gradually wear off with time.  Technically, an infatuated person is clinically insane whilst the brain injects so much serotonin into our systems.  So, is this it? Or can couples fight off the humdrum?

I have met some couples, not many though who even after 50 years just can’t keep away from each other; one in particular who told me; “I still get a rush, when he walks in from work, and if he comes home unexpectedly I get so excited.” 

So how do you do it?

Be honest.

Boredom is inevitable.  What I mean is that as you become familiar with each other, the things that were charming and quirky can become boring, so the amusing way you sing in the shower or answer the phone in a funny voice may become boring, or heaven forbid, even irritating.  The answer is to find something to do, which is new to both of you and is even vaguely interesting to both of you.  Maybe read a book together and talk about it, or go to a class to learn salsa dancing.  Try volunteering for a weekend or try walking and camping, so long as it’s new for both of you.  That is the key! This will re energise your appetites and chase away the boredom blues.

Part Two, coming soon.

Is what I’ve got healthy or unhealthy?

Following on from my recent post on healthy marriage, so many of you liked it, I thought I’d do a bit more.

Ok, so when I dislocated my shoulder and broke the bone in three places, I felt pretty unhealthy.  Bouncing down the mountain on my way to First Aid in one of those orange “blood wagons” had not quite been my most desirable ending to a week in the Alps.   It was a physical catastrophe.  Once the two burly medics had popped the shoulder back in “voila”! My body immediately went into overdrive, natural anaesthetics were released, my bone began to fuse together and now it’s just an amusing memory (not that funny really). (Listen to my interview with Vanessa Phelps, BBC Radio London. Click HERE )

So what happens in our marriages when we have a catastrophe or even very gradual attrition, so that the catastrophe becomes the realisation that “things just aren’t the way I wanted them to be”, or yes even a catastrophe at work, which ends up being an issue in the marriage for we take our emotions with us everywhere.  Folks who say they don’t bring work home, are seriously just bottling things up.  Not good, as it ferments!

In that moment of realisation that “this is a crisis – darling”, couples in healthy marriages have the tools and skills to do first aid, set the break and let it heal.  Tools like, being able to comfort one another emotionally, understanding how to forgive properly, and not just superficially.

Nice idea, but really isn’t this a bit prosaic?

Being a dedicated pragmatist, I am consumed by the idea that difficulties or catastrophes make us either bitter or better.  So come on folks, get healthy in your marriages, so that you can look back on troubles and be amused by the memory, and thankful for a good “Marriage First Aid Kit”.

Usain Bolt of the carpet-selling world.

Yesterday we spent nearly nine hours on a fast bus travelling to and from Fez to Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains.  Chefchaouen is fabulously pretty.  It clings to the mountainside, and uniquely is painted various shades of blue.  Blue because the original Jewish settlers, way back, discovered that the pale blue colour dissuades mosquitoes and other nasties from landing, choosing instead to fly on somewhere else.  Clever.

Of course, now the big deal is tourism, and so everyone and his cousin are selling leather bags, carpets or anything else remotely ethnic.  It was here, whilst dawdling around that we met and spent an hour with Abdul, who is the Usain Bolt of the carpet-selling world.   Abdul, plied us with green tea, “no pressure”, and began to tell us great stories from his home in the mountains.  I now know more about him and his family than I do about my neighbours back home.  He was a living work of art.  Needless to say, we left having bought a carpet / rug type thing.  I wanted to buy a massive wall one about 15” x 10” but Maria gently persuaded me that one the size of a hand towel would be fine.

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There is something superbly human and also Godly about a man utilising all his powers to provide for his family.  It sort of chimes with every culture throughout the World, in fact to provide for your family is an imperative as shown here in 1 Timothy; “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”.  So why is this a good thing?  Well obviously to care for one’s family is noble, credit worthy and an attribute which causes me to move from being stationary where all of life is set to revolve around my needs, to a dynamic image of movement, where I choose to serve needs beyond my own and in so doing I stray into reflecting something of the person of God.  So, when Abdul dances around me to persuade me to buy, is he actually personifying something of the character of God?  I would suggest, that even though perhaps he doesn’t know it, yes he is, because he has moved from serving his needs, to bleeding (sorry persuading) for the needs of others.

So in a world of relative truth, it seemed absolutely “right” that he should reach across the language and cultural boundaries and I should do likewise to meet half way, in the hope of making a sale. It was a sort of micro version of the United Nation’s worked out in a carpet shop half way up a Moroccan mountain.

 Another notable encounter was an almost elderly British guy we met, he lives in Chicago and Barcelona, he told me that he was a wholesale trader, in what I gingerly asked; “whatever people want” he said as he drew in a great lung full of hash smoke from his weird little cigarette.  He didn’t ask me to carry any parcels back to England though! Probably thought I looked to straight. Maybe Ill buy a Tommy Cooper Fez in Fez this afternoon, then when I get hit on to transport packages back to England I can say, “thanks’ for asking but not like that – like that ha ha ha”.

Ok, so it’s my first ever jaunt into Africa

Ok, so it’s my first ever jaunt into Africa, north Africa to be exact, Fez to be precise.  Difficult to believe, but it’s true – I’ve finally made it.  Here I am immersed in a 100% Moslem culture.  This 1400 year old city, parts of which appear to be original is a World Heritage Community.  The lanes, stalls and buzz blend ancient and modern.  A mobile phone stall sits alongside a butcher’s stall, which probably hasn’t changed in 1400 years.  One had a camel’s head for sale, nice with chips I’m told.

It can all be quite intimidating, such a masculine noisy culture.  People stare at Maria (blond blue eyes), and I’m a dead giveaway in my panama hat.  We did consider trying to blend in but realistically; it was never going to happen.

The Imman’s call out at regular intervals from the 420 Mosques and everyone observes the Ramanadan fast, not eating or drinking from 2.45 am through to 7.45 pm – every day.  I am of course impressed by the believers adherence to the law, the passionate retort from our cheery guide, Mohammed, “I’m fasting –I’m a good Moslem”.  I don’t know if I would so readily suggest I was a good Christian!  I guess that’s where these two great mono theistic religions divide, because I am a Christian not by my own goodness (heaven would be very disappointed by my goodness, or lack of it) but by the free gift from God, in Jesus.  Meaning, that even if I fasted every day for ten years, it still wouldn’t make me good enough, so with you know who, effectively fasting for me I appear amazingly and truly without shame.  Don’t get me wrong, my Moslem brother’s and sister’s are brilliant devout people, who deserve our admiration and respect.

However I’m a Christian, not because I’m religious, but because I’m grateful for Jesus absorbing my shame and delivering me from dogma.  Like Mel Gibson in Braveheart shouting “Freedom”.  Or maybe, I think I’m free but really I’m full of dogma, answers on a postcard please.