TAO in TAI CHI Exercise

Tai Chi exercise has much to do with TAO, which is a way of life -- a way to longevity living. TAO has been practiced in China for thousands of years.

What is the role of TAO in Tai Chi exercise?

TAO is all about spontaneity.

What is spontaneity?

In the universe, there is an all-controlling force that monitors everything. You breathe in life-giving oxygen, and breathe out life-destroying carbon dioxide. You eat, and you eliminate. You grow, mature, and die. In nature, spontaneity is evident in the change of seasons, and the cycle of day and night. Spontaneity is the natural built-in mechanism in each living organism. Spontaneity creates balance and harmony, which is the essence of Chinese health and healing, and hence longevity living. TAO embraces spontaneity in living.

The concepts and perceptions of health and fitness in China differ from those in the West. For example, nowadays, people in the Western world focus so much on physical fitness that the gym giants will do anything to keep you huffing, puffing, and paying. Unfortunately, there is also much pumping irony: too-strenuous and over-vigorous workouts may be harmful to your physical health. According to the American Journal of Cardiology, jogging is causing many runners to drop dead from heart attacks, and many individuals have experienced heart attacks even after running on a treadmill. So, too much of what is supposed to be “good” may not be good. TAO focuses on "less for more," instead of "more for less."

Chinese health focuses much on spontaneity, and never on extremity.

Lao Tzu explained, "The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world." You need not over-exert yourself in order to be physically fit. So, you do less for more-which is the wisdom of “non-doing” according to Lao Tzu-and not more for less.

Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, are never vigorous. Once your breathing becomes abnormal or irregular over a long period, you lose the spontaneity of the exercise, and hence its health benefits.

Tai Chi is a self-relaxing exercise with slow and even movements coordinated with breathing and directed by a peaceful mind. Therefore, it is beneficial to both mental and physical health. Tai Chi can remove physical and spiritual ailments from your body and mind, and thereby clearing your mind and strengthening your brain. In addition, its spontaneity can promote good digestion and kidney health. Furthermore, Tai Chi exercises can help lower your blood pressure, soften your blood vessels, and regular the flow of qi (the internal vital energy) in your entire body.

Qi is internal vital energy, which is always in motion in the form of ascending, descending, entering and leaving your body's organs and systems. It nourishes not only your body by transforming food energy into blood, but also your blood by keeping it flowing. In addition, it helps maintain your body's temperature. Qi plays a vital role in Chinese health and healing.

Lao Tzu also said, "Qi is elusive and evasive, and yet it manifests itself." Accordingly, Tao manifests itself in longevity living.

Tai Chi exercises focus on correct posture, slow and spontaneous movements, and natural healthy breathing to enhance and promote the free flow of qi.

Your central nervous system is the most important system in your body: it receives vital information from outside and inside your body; it directs your body movements. Your central nervous system is healthy only if you keep your spinal column erect because vitality and blood circulation are transmitted efficiently from your lower body to your brain only when your spine is kept erect. Tai Chi exercises focus on a natural posture with an erect spine (children have naturally erect spinal columns; only adults, especially older people, have bent spinal columns).

Your digestive system is also important to your overall longevity living as it stores and supplies all nutrients for your body. Some of the characteristic movements of Tai Chi reinforce the expansion and contraction of your body in an opening and closing motion, thereby instrumental in vibrating and stimulating your stomach and intestines for a better and healthier digestive system.

Your respiratory system is also critical to your longevity living. In Tai Chi, breathing is valued more than physical power because it uses breathing, not muscular strength, to propel the movements of your body. Western physical exercises, on the other hand, emphasize muscular strength instead of the spontaneity of breathing and natural body movements. In Tai Chi, your mind directs the qi, letting it sink down into your abdomen, where natural breathing takes place. According to Tao wisdom, you breathe through your abdomen (like babies and young children), not through your lungs. This explains why people in the West limit their breathing to the lungs; as a result, their lungs tend to enlarge as they grow older, crowding their hearts, leading to heart disease and cardiovascular problems.

Your circulatory system is connected to your respiratory system. Tai Chi enhances your deep breathing, which guides your qi to move your blood (which cannot move by itself) to different parts of your body for transporting oxygen and nutrients. By regulating the circulation, Tai Chi exercises through natural movements and deep breathing provide a healthy heart for longevity living.

Hormones in your thyroid gland are responsible for physical growth of your body. In Tai Chi, you keep your neck erect without pressure, centered without inclining to the left or to the right; you integrate the slow and smooth movements of your head and neck. These natural and spontaneous movements not only enhance the activity of your thyroid gland but also act upon your kidneys to remove wastes for body detox.

In summary, you need the spontaneity of Tao expressed in physical movements as well as in natural breathing of Tai Chi exercises to reap physical health benefits to promote longevity health and wellness.

Remember, Tai Chi is all about movements to circulate your body invisible energy called qi. Smooth circulation of qi energy ensures a healthy body. Stagnant and blocked qi energy causes all sorts of chronic disease. Tai Chi is an ancient exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years as an effective alternative healing for the body and the mind. By strengthening the immune system, Tai Chi can improve your chronic disease slowly but steadily. More importantly, it can relieve your stress and calm your nerves.

For more information on Chinese health, go to: Chinese Health and Healing.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Anything and Everything
                                                                               TAO Wisdom

TAO is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago. Unlike Confucius, Lao Tzy had no disciple. Lao Tzu, who was on the verge of leaving China for Tibet, was stopped at the city gate, and was told that he had to put down his wisdom into words before he could leave the war-infested country. Reluctantly and defiantly, he put down his wisdom in exactly 50,000 words with no punctuation -- what is known as “Tao Te Ching.”  

Tao Te Ching had been interpreted by many different scholars over the centuries. Lao Tzu’s profound wisdom was spread worldwide and translated into multiple languages. In fact, Tao Te Ching has become one of the most translated books in world literature -- ranking with the Bible as one of the top ten.

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                                               TAO TEACHINGS 

An Empty Mind

TAO begins with having an empty mind, which is more than just "thinking out of the box": it is reverse thinking to create your own box of thinking. An empty mindset originated from Lao Tzu:

"An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us let go.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything settles into its own perfect place."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 3)

So, you must have an empty mind before you can accept new and unconventional ideas. Likewise, to intuit true human wisdom, you must have an empty mind capable of reverse thinking.

An empty mindset may free you from the many shackles of life that may have enslaved you, keeping you in bondage without your knowing it. So, be the master, and not just a slave of your own life. Live a simple lifestyle, deleting all the trimmings of life and living. Simplicity is clarity.


Mindfulness is mental sharpness to know what is happening in the mind that brings about clarity of thinking, which is essential to human wisdom.

There is a close connection between the body and the mind. This body-mind connection in humans affects both the physical and the mental health of an individual, especially how that individual thinks and reacts.

Mindfulness begins with the body. Becoming mindful of your body in the present moment is putting your mind where your body is. This produces deep relaxation of both the body and mind -- an essential element for clarity of thinking that may be the pathway to attaining true human wisdom.

"watchful, like a man crossing a winter stream;
alert, like a man aware of danger;
courteous, like a visiting guest;
yielding, like ice about to melt;
simple, like a piece of uncarved wood;
hollow, like a cave;
opaque, like muddy water."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 15)

Living in the Now

According to Lao Tzu, only the present is real: the past was gone, and the future is uncertain and unpredictable. When the mind stays in the now, it does not see the ego-self because it does not exist in the present, and only in the deceptive mind.

In the now, with clarity of mind, you may see the ultimate truths of self, others, as well as of everything around you. More importantly, you may also see your past follies in identifying  yourself with your thoughts that have created your ego; you may also see your present efforts in striving to protect the ego created by yourself in the past, as well as your future futilities in expecting that your desires to sustain your ego will be fulfilled. 

Living in the now is an awakening to the realities of all things. 

"Living in the present moment,
we find natural contentment.
We do not seek a faster lifestyle,
or a better place to be.
We need the essentials of life,
not its extra trimmings.

Living in the present moment,
we focus on the experience of the moment.
Thus, we enjoy every aspect of simple living,
and find contentment in everyone and everything.

Living in contentment,
we grow old and die,
feeling contented."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 80)

The Natural Cycle

The truth of the matter is that everything in life must follow a natural cycle, whether you like it or not, and that you must be patient because nothing is within your control, especially your destiny.

”That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails,
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving, there must be giving.
This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 36)

Spontaneity is the essence of the natural cycle. What goes up must eventually come down; life begets death; day is followed by night -- just like the cycle of the four seasons.

"Allowing things to come and go,
following their natural laws,
we gain everything.
Straining and striving,
we lose everything."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 48)

"Strong winds come and go.
So do torrential rains.
Even heaven and earth cannot make them last forever."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te  Ching, chapter 23)

No Judgment and No Separation

According to TAO, you should not judge others, nor should you separate yourself from others. Being non-judgmental holds the key to attaining balance and harmony in a world of chaos and disharmony.

No choosing and No Picking

Following the natural cycle of all things, you do not need to pick and choose. Picking and choosing is only sickness of the mind: the futility in striving to control what is essentially uncontrollable.

"People naturally avoid loss and seek gain.
But with all things along the Way,
there is no need to pick and choose.
There is no gain without loss.
There is no abundance without lack.
We do not know how and when
one gives way to the other.

So, we just remain in the center of things,
trusting the Creator, instead of ourselves.
This is the essence of the Way."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter42)

Picking and choosing is synonymous with control of self, of others, and of everything around, which is against the laws of nature.

Controlling external events is futility.
Control is but an illusion.
Whenever we try to control,
we separate ourselves from our true nature.
Man proposes; the Creator disposes.
Life is sacred: it flows exactly as it should.
Trusting in the Creator, we return to our breathing,
natural and spontaneous, without conscious control.

In the same manner:
sometimes we have more,
sometimes we have less;
sometimes we exert ourselves,
sometimes we pull back;
sometimes we succeed,
sometimes we fail.

Trusting in the Creator, we see the comings and goings of things,
but without straining and striving to control them.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 29

"Fame or the self, which is dearer?
Self or wealth, which is greater?
Gain or loss, which is more painful?

Accumulating or letting go, which causes more suffering?
Looking for status and security, we find only suffering.
Knowing our true nature, we find joy and peace.
With nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to us."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 44)

Embracing everything is beneficial because it holds the key to enlightenment, which is the understanding of what TAO is all about..

No expectation and no over-doing

TAO emphasizes “wu-wei”, which means "no over-doing". Contrary to conventional wisdom, which focuses much on effort, TAO emphasizes "effortless" effort.

"The softest thing in the world
overcomes what seems to be the hardest.

That which has no form
penetrates what seems to be impenetrable.

That is why we exert effortless effort.
We act without over-doing.
We teach without arguing.

This is the Way to true wisdom.
This is not a popular way
because people prefer over-doing.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 43)

Humility and the Ego

If the TAO could be summarized in one word, it is the word "humility."

Humility is the enemy of the ego, while pride is its best friend. With humility, you see who you really are, and not who you think or wish you were. With humility, you become aligned with the Creator, who provides you the wisdom in living in this material world.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

                 A Novel

A love story in ancient China about a cock wedding -- a wedding with a cock, instead of the presence of the bridegroom.

It is a story of unrequited love, revenge, murder, and blood reincarnation. It provides deeper insight into and better understanding of the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang.
"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Mindfulness is stilling an unquiet mind to see the ultimate truths of self, as well as anything and everything around the self.
                                             THE ONENESS OF ALL LIFE

In this day and age, to live well is not easy. Contemporary wisdom may provide a blueprint for living, but that may be too inhibiting without giving you true freedom to live the life you want to live. You are not free so long as you indulge indiscriminately in your inclinations to succeed in your life at any cost. You must understand Nature's natural laws and abide by them in order to attain true freedom. TAO's oneness of all life was inclusive in that it was founded on basic realities of human nature itself. To pursue these realities is the essence in the art of living well.

Contemporary wisdom is exclusive -- even to the extent of wishing others fail so that one may succeed in life. In addition, it states that one must do this or do that in order to succeed and live well. TAO, on the other hand, focuses on doing whatever one has to do but with a sense of true freedom -- the recognition and realization of the wisdom in the oneness of all life.

Wisdom in the oneness of all life is based on one of the basic laws of Nature: that is, we are all inter-connected, just as the famous poet John Donne says: "No man is an island." This universal moral principle leads us to true and lasting freedom and wisdom in living. Once we understand that the life flowing in our veins is the same as that flowing in the veins of others, we will learn how to show love and compassion toward others. After all, we are all created in the image of God, and we are no more than expressions of God.

Wisdom in the oneness of all life frees you from the bondage of anger, competitiveness, disrespect, discrimination, envy, ridicule, and many other negative attitudes of the mind, which adversely influence how you live your life. Jesus' saying of "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and Mahatma Gandhi's advocacy of non-violence must be understood in subtle ways. If you "kill" the enthusiasm of someone, you are "harming" that individual because you are in fact taking away the life within that individual. Remember, love and compassion are expressions of the oneness of all life -- a mental attitude that liberates human bondage from self-centeredness and gives freedom in the art of living well.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Getting married is what most people want. But getting married does not necessarily make you happy. It is not just what you want, but what you and your marriage partner need from each other in order to become happy and live a two-in-one life of accountability.
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Get the TAO wisdom to live every aspect of your daily life in balance and perfect harmony, including:   pursuing your careers, making your money, maintaining your good relationships, getting married, raising your children, health and healing, aging and dying. The TAO shows you how to live as if everything is a miracle.

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Get the wisdom to love yourself and others, such as self-acceptance and loving-kindness, as well as to help yourself and your marriage partner to survive and thrive in your marriage.

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The Bible says wisdom is everything. "Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding." (Proverbs 3:13)

Without wisdom, there is no understanding.

But why is understanding important?

Without understanding, anything and everything in life may seem paradoxical and inexplicable. It is this mindset that may make many people "not living in reality" -- in their minds they only see "unfairness" and "inequality." This distorted mindset may even lead many to committing crimes and violence: "Why shouldn't I rob them who've the money that I don't have?" or "They too have broken the law, so why shouldn't I do the same?"

Biblical wisdom is about "accountability" to God, which will give you spiritual "understanding." But if you are not a believer, that "understanding" may be irrelevant to you.

Having said that, human wisdom is indispensable in contemporary living. Human wisdom is not the same as acquisition of knowledge; human wisdom is the application of what you feel and understand to your everyday life and living. So, being knowledgeable does not necessarily mean being wise.

The TAO is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago. The TAO has survived and thrived for thousands of years for a good reason: it is applicable to anything and everything in contemporary daily life. The TAO shows you all the hows and the whys of anything and everything happening in your life, including the following: growing up, receiving education, earning a living, making money, getting married, starting a family, raising children, staying healthy, growing old, and dying.

The TAO helps you confront all your daily challenges, and live in balance and harmony.

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Stephen Lau

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What is recovery?

Recovery is regaining your healthy body systems that might have degenerated and deteriorated along the long journey

The Central Nervous System

The central nervous system -- which is from the base of your back to your brain -- is the most important of all your body organs. Given that it receives information and instructions from both the inside and the outside of your body, it transmits your body’s actions and reactions to your brain.

The spinal column, which is composed of vertebrae and the spinal cord, may shrink as aging continues, causing stooping posture that may indirectly result in heart, lungs, and even vision problems. It is therefore important to keep the spinal column erect for greater vitality and better blood circulation to the brain.

The Recovery

Pay more attention to your breathing, giving it spontaneity to create the internal balance and harmony essential to your health and healing.

In addition, enhance your posture with Chinese health-and-mind exercises, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, that focus much on spontaneity and not on extremity, and thus providing the internal life energy that promotes better circulation of blood and oxygen.

The Digestive System

A healthy digestive system is always a sign of living longer. It plays a pivotal role in calorie usage, nutrient absorption, food digestion, and excretion of wastes.

A dysfunctional digestive system, on the other hand, may lead to cramps, constipation, indigestion, gastric ulcers and even stomach cancer.

The Recovery

Eat the right foods and the right amounts. Eat only when you are hungry, and not just because it is time to eat.

Eat a balanced diet to balance your body chemistry.

Fast occasionally for internal cleansing.

In contemporary living, digestive disorders are all too common; many people accept abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn -- all too common everyday digestive disorders -- as a way of life. They simply take antacid tablets, elixirs, and all types of indigestion-relieving drugs and pills as if they were vitamin supplements before and after their meals. That is not the right mindset for healthy digestion.

First of all, taking any dangerous drug hinders the self-healing process because the chemical ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs promote drug-dependence. In addition, the innate self-healing power within the body is considerably compromised due to lack of use. Think twice before you pop in a pill to get rid of your stomach discomfort or indigestion. 

The Respiratory System

Breathing is controlled and directed by the mind.  Conscious deep breathing is life-giving. Children breathe with their abdomens, but adults breathe with their lungs.

The Recovery

Practice deep breathing through the abdomen and pushing the air into the lungs. Avoid shallow breathing as aging continues.

The Circulatory System

The circulatory system is made up the red blood cells and the white blood cells. The former nourish and clean the tissues of your body; the latter carry antibodies to destroy bacteria and repair damaged tissues. They are like the Yin and the Yang, the two polar forces that must be balanced and in harmony.

The circulatory system is directly connected to the respiration: if breathing stops, the blood circulation also stops; if the breathing is shallow or not deep enough, the blood circulation may reach only certain parts of the body.

The Recovery

To enhance the circulatory system, exercise regularly in addition to breathing right.

The Endocrine System

This system is made up of glands that produce hormones that are responsible for growth, sex, reproduction, and living longer.

For example, the pituitary gland and the pineal control sexual health and the aging process; the adrenal glands (in the kidney) maintain the blood sugar level, and relax respiratory muscles; the thyroid gland (in the neck) is responsible for oxidation and sugar metabolism, affecting the physical growth of the body, including bones and teeth.

The Recovery

To lubricate your thyroid gland, place and move your tongue against your palate before you get out of bed to stimulate the production of saliva, which is known as “the divine water.” Also, massage your neck to stimulate your thyroid.

The Rejuvenation

The process of rejuvenation is the perfect integration between the physical and spiritual aspects of human life -- becoming like a newborn baby again.

A way of restoring harmony and preventing deterioration:

Concentrate on breathing.

Keep the mind peaceful to avoid distractions and pressures from social life, and to create inner harmony.

“Can we breathe as easily as innocent babies?” (10)

“If we are in harmony with the Creator,
we are like newborn babies,
in natural harmony with all.
Our bones are soft, and our muscles are weak,
but our grip is strong and powerful.
Not knowing about sex,
we manifest sexual arousal.
Crying all day long,
we lose not our voice.
With constancy and harmony,
we accomplish all daily tasks
without growing tired.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55)

“We are all desirous of making the right choices,
fearful of making the wrong ones.
We all pursue what others say is good,
avoiding what they say is bad.
We all follow the popular wisdom of judgment and preference,
instead of the wisdom of the Creator,
requiring us to be undesirous and unperturbed, just like a newborn.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 20)

“Our greatest suffering comes from
not knowing who we are, or to whom we belong.
Our greatest unhappiness comes from
wanting more than what the Creator provides.
Our greatest satisfaction of contentment
is the lasting satisfaction.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 46)

“At birth, we are soft and supple.
At death, we are stiff and hard.
Young plants are tender and pliant.
Dead plants are brittle and dry.

Stiff and inflexible, we are like death.
Soft and yielding, we are like life.

Following the Way,
we become soft and supple.
That is why we always prevail,
because tenderness and flexibility
give us strength and power from the Creator.“
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76)

The Secrets of Longevity

The secrets are simple to follow:

Freedom from ambitions and desires

Soft and yielding, accepting and embracing whatever situation that may come to pass

Practicng Tai-Chi exercise to clear the mind and strengthen the brain

Promoting good digestion and healthy kidneys with foods

Maintaining and softening blood pressure with diet and exercise to regulate the circulation of blood.

The Inner Smile

Sit comfortably, either on a straight-backed chair, or on the floor. The important thing is for your spine to be in an upright position, and your head arranged to allow the muscles of your neck and throat to feel relaxed.

Take a couple of deep, slow breaths, noticing how your abdomen rises with each inhalation, then relaxes back toward your spine with each exhalation. Let go of thoughts of past or future.

Rest the tip of your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth, somewhere behind, and close to, your upper front teeth. You will find the spot that feels perfect.

Smile gently, allowing your lips to feel full and smooth as they spread to the side and lift just slightly. This smile should be kind of like that of the Mona Lisa smile, or how we might smile -- mostly to ourselves -- if we had just gotten a joke that someone told us several days ago: nothing too extreme, just the kind of thing that relaxes our entire face and head, and makes us start to feel good inside.

Now bring your attention to the space between your eyebrows (the "Third Eye" center). As you rest your attention there, energy will begin to gather. Imagine that place to be like a pool of warm water, and as energy pools there, let your attention drift deeper into that pool - back and toward the center of your head.

Let your attention rest now right in the center of your brain -- the space equidistant between the tips of your ears. This is a place referred to in Taoism as the Crystal Palace -- home to the pineal, pituitary, thalamus and hypothalamus glands. Feel the energy gathering in this powerful place.

Allow this energy gathering in the Crystal Palace to flow forward into your eyes. Feel your eyes becoming "smiling eyes." To enhance this, you can imagine that you are gazing into the eyes of the person who you love the most, and they are gazing back at you ... infusing your eyes with this quality of loving-kindness and delight.

Now, direct the energy of your smiling eyes back and down into some place in your body that would like some of this healing energy. It might be a place where you have recently had an injury or illness. It might be a place that just feels a little numb or "sleepy," or simply some place you have not recently explored. In any case, smile down into that place within your body, and feel that place opening to receive your smile-energy.

Continue to smile into that place within your body, for as long as you would like ... letting it soak up smile-energy like a sponge soaks up water.

When this feels complete, direct your inner gaze, with its smile-energy, into your navel center, feeling warmth and brightness gathering now in your lower belly.

Release the tip of your tongue from the roof of your mouth, and release the smile (or keep it if it now feels natural).

Nutritional Healing

Self-Healing Techniques

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

NEW BOOK: Use TAO wisdom and spiritual wisdom to live in reality with accountability -- a life with no depression.
                  MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

How common is divorce in the United States? About 40 percent of the married coupled end in divorce; and half of those divorced couples have divorced parents.

According to the CDC, the five states with the highest divorce rates are: Nevada; Arkansas; West Virginia; Oklahoma; and Idaho.

The reality is that divorce is no respecter of persons: no matter who you’re, or where you live. It happens to deeply religious people and atheists; the young and the old couples; the rich and the poor; the educated and the uneducated. Another reality is that money is the No.1 underlying cause of divorce.

Divorce involves alimony, custody, child support, and 50/50 division of marital properties -- these marital financial problems can be complicated and stressful for divorced couples, affecting their children and family members.

Nowadays, divorce can even be done online with little or no hassle-just like returning a purchased item with full refund. If that’s the scenario, then why should you-or shouldn’t you-get married?


Despite the prevalence of divorce, most Americans still want to get married, not just because of legally binding themselves to one another, but because of the marital bliss and happiness to be enjoyed, even though not for long. According to science of happiness, married people tend to the wealthier, healthier, and more sexually fulfilled than unmarried people. Of course, there’re many exceptions.

Marriage can-but not should-make you happy. What you need to do is to invest a lot of time and energy into your marriage to make you happy by turning it into a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. In other words, a good and happy marriage brings out the best in each other, and thus instrumental in bringing more-lasting happiness to the marriage.

The reality

The truth is that, according to several studies, those who’re wealthy and educated get divorced much more than those who struggle; also, splitting happens more frequently later in life than they once were.

The reality is that a good marriage makes you happier and healthier. Marital bliss lasts longer than the happiness of unmarried couples.

Asking Self-Intuitive Questions

So, before getting married, ask yourself some self-intuitive questions regarding what‘s going to happen to you and your marriage partner in the days to come, not to mention the years ahead.

·As of now, other than getting married to the one you dearly love, what’s the most important to you: your parents; your children (from your previous marriage); your education; your career?

·Are you spiritual and religious? What’s your expected role of your marriage partner in your faith?

·Do you have a role model in your life? If yes,  who’s that role model?

·What’s the meaning of life? What’s its purpose? (Obviously, it’s not easy to define them.)

·Are you physically healthy? Any major health issues, such as depression? Any addiction to alcohol or drugs?

·Are you emotionally healthy?

·What‘s your greatest fear in your life? Are you always worried about many things in life, and what’re they?

·What happens when you’re angry? Do you want to talk or sulk? Do you easily become depressed and withdrawn? Do you throw a temper tantrum, or even become violent? What can calm you down, and how long does it usually take?

·Do you have a sense of humor? Do you laugh easily?

·Are you forgiving? Do you always bring up the past-both the pleasant and the unpleasant?

These questions aren’t just for yourself, but also for your future marriage partner.

Changing personality in marriage

To survive and thrive in marriage, you must change your personality as well as that of your marriage partner.

What’s personality?

Personality comes from within. Personality traits are the characteristic patterns of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that uniquely define who you are. Some of the most common personality traits are:

·Conscientiousness is the looking forward or the planning ahead to do the right things. This personality usually begins in the 20s of an individual and then slows down in the 30s and 40s.

·Agreeableness is the showing of warmth, kindness, generosity, and helpfulness to others. This personality accelerates usually in the 30s and 40s in a person’s life.

·Companionableness is the being of sociable and energetic, always knowing what to say and how to say it.

·Distressfulness is the frequent displaying of worrisome and temperamental behaviors by an individual.

First and foremost, you must be aware of your own personality, and then make some change to adapt your personality to that of your marriage partner, as well as to adjust it to all the changes in the new life of “two becoming one.”

If you don’t like some of your personality traits or those of your marriage partner, can you still change them?

Yes, you can, but it’s not that easy.

According to Sigmund Freud, the Austrian psychoanalyst, some of the personality traits of an individual are already set in stone by the age of five of that individual.

So, how to change the personality traits of an individual?

·Show and express the desire and the determination to change the personality.

·Change the habits and behaviors related to that personality trait by doing the opposite. For example, if you’re shy and reclusive, then join a crowd and start talking profusely.

·Focus on the effort or the doing, rather than on the thought or the thinking. For example, say “I was successful because I worked hard on it” instead of “I was successful because I was smart and talented.”

·Set goals to change your self-beliefs through repeated self-affirmations.

The reality

Your happiness has much to do with your personality development throughout your life. In other words, your life experiences and your own perceptions of those experiences not only define but also shape your personalities, which are uniquely yours.

So, it’s impossible to say why some people are happy, and why others aren’t. Just as Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author, said in the beginning of his novel “Anna Karenina”: “Happy families are alike; unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways.”

So, you need to change personality to have a happy marriage.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


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