Keeping the fire burning

2011-02-12 00:00


1. You are walking to your boy/girlfriend’s house. There are two roads to get there. One is a straight path to take you there quickly, but very boring. The other is significantly longer but is full of wonderful sights and interesting things. Which one do you take to get to your significant other’s house, short or long?

2. On the way you see two rose bushes. One is full of red roses, the other full of white. You decide to pick 20 roses for your boy/girlfriend of any one color or two color combination. What number of white and/or red do you pick?

3. You finally get to their house. A family member answers the door. You can have the family member get your boy/girlfriend or go get them yourself?

4. You go up to your boy/girlfriend’s room, but nobody is there. You decide to leave the roses. Do you leave them by the windowsill or on the bed?

5. It’s time for bed. You and your boy/girlfriend sleep in separate rooms. In the morning when it’s time to wake up, you go into his/her room and check on him/her. When you arrive, do you prefer him/her to be awake or asleep?

6. Now it’s time to go back home. Do you take the short, plain or more interesting road?


1. The road represents your attitude towards falling in love. If you chose the long road, you take your time and do not fall in love easily. The short road says you fall in love quickly and easily.

2. The number of red roses represents how much you give in a relationship, while the number of white represents what you expect in return. Therefore, if you chose two red roses and 18 white, you give 10% and expect 90% in return.

3. This question represents your attitude towards handling relationship problems. If you chose to get the person yourself, you are a more direct person and like to work out problems immediately. If you asked the family member to get your significant other, you like to avoid problems and hope that they will solve themselves.

4. The placement of the roses determines how much you like seeing your boy/girlfriend. If you place the roses on the bed then you like to see him/her a lot. Leaving them by the windowsill means you are alright with not seeing him/her so often.

5. This represents your attitude towards his/her personality. If you prefer the person to be asleep, you love the person the way s/he is. If you prefer the person to be awake, you expect the person to change for you.

6. The road to home tells how long you stay in love with someone. If you chose the longer road then you will tend to stay in love for a long time. The short road indicates that you fall out of love easily.


WHILE love is a many splendid thing, it is also hard work. A local psychologist offers some tips to help couples make their relationship a lasting one:

• Marriage is not supposed to be easy. As Frank Pitman points out, the whole point of marriage is to help us grow up and a core component of growing up is to learn to act against impulse.

• We have many weddings within our marriage. Throughout a successful marriage, the relationship has to be renegotiated over and over again as spouses change.

• Love is not a sure sign of a successful marriage, instead John Gottman says respect and admiration are the better predictors.

• Couples who are happy still fight. However, when they fight they do not use the threat of divorce as part of their argument. Happy couples also implement successful repair attempts. One of the pair will apologise or use humour to reinitiate contact. Unhappy couples rebut such attempts or use it to start another fight.

• Contempt is the most toxic expression of hurt. Contempt may come in many guises, but according to Gottman, it is the most damaging expression of anger. Sarcasm is just contempt in subtle clothes.

• Couples who wait out difficult times are most often happy they did.

Simply agreeing to out-tolerate the difficulty often produces good results. Paradoxically, many problems occur when a difficulty is being addressed.

The solution becomes a separate problem on its own. Happy couples focus on accepting their partner. This runs counter to the traditional approach of psychotherapy.

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