Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Waiting it out in marriage

Unhappily married couples who divorce are no happier in the long run than their counterparts who remain married. said researcher Linda J. Waite of Beliefnet. This is because nearly two thirds of the couples who are unhappy in their marriages, describe their marriage as happy five years later, while unhappy people who divorce are most likely to still be unhappy. This seems to be true with couples who stayed together even when faced with problems as serious as infidelity or drug use. In fact, the more extreme the unhappiness, the more likely the marriage was to turn around. Of those who rated their marriage very unhappy, 8 out of 10 had found success with the same spouse five years later.

So I am forced to look at my 17-year old marriage in the mirror. Our first years were tough from the get-go. We had a baby right away and then my husband was hospitalized for a heart condition. Shuttling between the hospital and my newborn was not easy, add to that a financial crisis that my husband endured (probably this was what got him sick in the first place).

The next years were easier. Hinged on the business success of my husband, we seemed content. We had our third child, we were able to travel. We also adopted our daughter during that stretch.

We migrated to the States 3 years ago and the hardships started all over again. My husband found a back-breaking job that he was not used to and then got laid off from an office job. We did well on year 2 but this year seems quite challenging as we are back to square one and no stable jobs.

Financial difficulty is the thorn of our marriage. This year, we had numerous arguments about money. But actually, it is never about money. It is always about principles, values, discipline, respect, and hard work--and how different my husband and I view these.

I can't deny that there were times, I wondered if we were better off separately. But then, I thought, we would be poor separately, so what's the point? We then decided to work at together and iron out our differences.

During the downs, my spouse is heavy, and I sure feel like he is dragging me down. There were many tempting downs when I thought anywhere would be better than with him. Let's just say he fell short of my expectations. But then, after 17 years, have learned to lower my expectations. And he is open to suggestions--which is great! Through all the ups and downs, we know there will be ups soon.

Beliefnet said that the couples actively worked to solve the problems-for example, they sought counseling. In some they simply waited out the problem-the children grew up, a spouse landed a job-and in some the husband and wife took responsibility for finding happiness in other venues than the marriage. Yet the researchers also point out that most of the couples that describe themselves as unhappy in their marriages thought of those same marriages as happy five years earlier-and likely would again. In other words, most marriages go through prolonged periods of difficulty, but if the partners are committed to commitment as well as to each other, they are likely to come out happy with their relationship as years go by.

Wait it out with your spouse. Unless he is a physical threat to your life, my cousin said that there's really nowhere to go. Should you divorce your spouse, did you know that chances are big that you will attract the same kind of man, thus, have the same problems all over again--this time, with hurt children and stepchildren, ex-in laws, and disapproving new in-laws, with money problems again for sure and alimony to boot!

I know of someone who would have been still married had she waited a bit more for her husband to get on his feet after his Master's Degree. I know of another who, if she knew the hardships of separating from her husband, would have turned a blind eye. Now, she has lost custody of her kids, and her proper share of their properties. I also know many who divorce their spouses, only to marry the same kind of personality again (and again, for some).

I'd rather take my chances with my kids and and not bequeath to my husband the responsibility to be happy and well-off, for those are my responsibilities to myself.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Midtown Lunch.Com

Attention all New Yorkers and would-be East Coast tourists, check out Midtown Lunch.Com, a blog about cheap lunches Zach Brooks discovers around New York City.

The site is almost 2 years old and has about 2000 readers daily.

Way to go!

Also of note is Not Eating Out in NY, where a Brooklyn-ite, passionate about food and cooking, realized that everyone in New York was serving up essentially the same things, under different colored awnings.

And then check out Freegan Kitchen.Com, where the Filipino custom of pagpag gives rise to gourmet meals from the dumpster. (Well, maybe not!). Watch their dumpster diving adventures and delights in this video.

Bon Appetit!

John Muir Community Health Mobile Clinic

For the underprivileged and uninsured, Saturday mornings at the Village Community Resource Center means free access to medical services and even medicines. Every Saturday, the John Muir Mobile Community Health Clinic faithfully rolls in and opens its van doors to adults and children who need urgent medical care.

A mother takes her 1-year old toddler in for asthma. An elderly woman seeks treatment for her back pain.

Catalina Estradi brought her 2-year old son, Ernesto, to see the doctor because of a lingering bad cough.

“I am here because of a sore throat,” said repeat patient and Brentwood resident Maria del Rocio Soriano. “They are nice and they treat me well,” she said in very slow and broken English.

On board today is John Muir Registered Labor and Delivery Nurse and qualified bi-lingual interpreter, Jackie Michaels. She welcomes the patients into the van and onto the designated exam rooms, where they treat an average of 20 patients a day, depending on the season.

“Winter is flu season,” says Michaels. “We held a flu clinic last month and gave about 200 flu shots.”

Michaels explained that the mobile clinic holds a staff of 4 volunteers (nurses and staff) and one doctor.

“Our services and meds are free,” said Michaels. “We are here for the working poor or the uninsured. We administer the urgent care that they need and refer them to the proper County health programs if they need it. We try to get them into the system, make sure that they get the follow through care that they need, and make sure that they don’t fall into the cracks.”

Hemo-dialysis Registered Nurse and volunteer Alma Pack quotes the Bible, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

A full-time nurse at the John Muir facilities in Walnut Creek and Concord and at the Sutter Delta Dialysis Center, Pack is delighted to help out the mobile clinic’s patients while sharpening her Spanish-speaking skills. She has been volunteering every Saturday for two years.

Pleasant Hill private practitioner and family physician Dr. Patrick Jolin has been committed to the mobile community clinic for six years now.

“Sometimes, it’s better here because I don’t have to deal with the financial side of things, like going through insurance and collection,” said Jolin. “It’s great yet humbling to help people that I know need assistance and to try to make a difference in their lives.”

Jolin enumerates respiratory infections, diabetes and high blood pressure care as the more popular ailments he treats and explains that they dispense limited urgent care, referring emergency cases to hospitals.

“I may be treating them, but the patients teach me a lot in terms of the struggles they go through in terms of health, without much economic resources,” said Jolin.

The John Muir Mobile Community Health Clinic comes to the Village Community Resource Center at 633 Village Drive, Brentwood, on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Call (925) 513-3107 for more details.