Skip to main content

Memory is not a rewind button

In my previous post I talked about how we suffocate our spouses by making every request and rejection, an emotional moment. You give space with "Ask lightly, Answer lightly, Accept lightly." Let us understand this a little better.

Unless you are extra-ordinary and have a photographic memory, you don't remember anything that happened more than 5 minutes back - perfectly. Your memory is not like a video tape that you rewind and replay.

Kim's Game is a very simple game. Ask somebody to place twenty random objects on a tray and cover it with a cloth. Make them uncover the items in front of you for 15 seconds. See how many objects you can recollect. Few people are able to remember more than 5 or 6 items.

So what exactly do we remember. Our brain tends to remember moments when we are feeling strong emotions. Moments when we were afraid, angry, guilty happy. (Our brain tends to remember "negative" emotions more easily). It remembers the emotions not what was actually said. Think back about an incident when you were very angry with your spouse. You probably remember the emotions sharply, but will not remember the actual words used during the discussion.

This is the way our brain works. When we are first married or early in the relationship we agree with our spouse. We tend to feel and remember positive emotions. As I discussed in Accepting your wife in Marriage, no two people are alike. This means that sooner or later, we try to get our spouse to behave the way we think is "right". And if our spouse refuses to accept or agree, we feel angry. If our spouse asks us to do something we agree angrily or refuse guiltily. Refusals makes our blood boil. So pretty soon the only things we remember about our spouse are negative emotions.

If you make a request and if a refusal will upset you, you are constraining the other person. Make your request with an open mind willing to accept an honest answer. You will create space for the other person.

When the other person makes a request, reply honestly. Sometimes we suppress our genuine feeling and make a reply that we hope will make our spouse happy. However, we feel constrained and unhappy. This unhappiness is what we will remember. If we express our innermost feelings and encourage our spouse to express their honest opinions we give each other freedom.

Accept the answer lightly, a "no" is not a betrayal. If the matter is important for you, share the reasons. If you feel angry about the no, you are simply creating a pile of unhappy memories about your spouse.

Read and Re-Read the Nambudiri Funda, it has many important lessons.

Does this mean that we behave as if we are not married. No, but that is a discussion for another post.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Weddings - Symbols and Messages

When I got married, I spent my wedding days in a daze. My parents, my in-laws, the officiating priest gave me instructions and I blindly followed them. This is normal . During an Indian wedding there are a huge variety of rituals to be carried out. They vary based on the region you come from, the sect you belong to, and traditions followed in your family. In my opinion, they all have one thing in common, the bride and groom are totally disconnected from the entire spectacle that is playing out around them. Now my son Prahalad is getting married to Sneha and I will watch them go through an identical experience. So I started wondering how I could help them make sense of the crazy few days they are going to experience. I have a wonderful idea Me, I am an engineer and so I had this wonderful idea. Compare the wedding ceremony to F=ma. That is Newton's Second Law of Motion. If you understand the symbols and what they stand for, then it is a very useful and powerful equation. If y

Accepting Your Wife in Marriage

I read a change management book a while back. It said that all changes follow identical phases. How long you spend in each phase may vary, but you will go through all the phases. The phases are inevitable. “Changes” are anything new - a new job, a new house, a new hobby, a new spouse, or a new way of doing things. When you initiated the change you did it because you felt the change would be for the better. Initially there is a honeymoon phase, you see all the nice things about the change. You are excited and happy. After a while you start noticing the drawbacks, the negative aspects of the change. You enter the disillusionment phase. You are upset and angry, you feel cheated. At this point three things can happen. Breakdown. You abandon the change, and go back to the old ways. You try to get another job, another house, abandon your hobby, or divorce your spouse. Trapped. You are unhappy but grit your teeth and go on. You feel trapped, stressed out. You continue in the

Giving up Tennis

In my previous post I was discussed how most people treat their marriage as a Tennis game. In Relationship Tennis you are trying to dominate your spouse and get them to behave as per your concept of the perfect spouse. If you are uncomfortable or unhappy in your relationship with your spouse, the first and most important step is to stop playing Relationship Tennis. Not easy. This post is about how you can stop playing Relationship Tennis. As I discussed in depth in my post Accepting your Wife in Marriage I decided that I want to improve my relationship with Vandana. When I talked to her about it, she thought it was one more strategy I was using in my Relationship Tennis. When I asked her what would convince her that I was serious, she threw me a challenge. The challenge was very simple, she said, "You never make the bed, for the next one year make the bed everyday and I might be willing to believe you." So the first step on the journey was that for one year I made the