Sunday, May 13, 2007

Advise: Maintaining A Couple's Balance

On my previous post, I have started on covering a maintenance of a relationship and surfing.

First of all, I do not understand what is the difference between surfing and any other life endeavors, such as going to a gym or going jogging every day, getting an MBA, or getting a CISCO CCNA certification from evening classes so many times a week? Do many people realize this? I frankly don't think they do when it comes to surfing.

Because in general surfing is still considered something of a sport of the degenerates, bums or dirtbags or whatever it comes to their minds. May be that's a strong statement, but you know what I mean, and if you don't, you probably quit the sport and focus on finding something that you two can do together.

I will give you another example. I was checking in to a flight from SFO to San Diego (CA) a few years back with my 6'6 surf board which probably weigh less than a baby cart. There was a guy in front of me checking in what seems to be a 24-set golf bag. The agent pass him though free without any hassle, but when it came to my surfboard, I had to pay $80 each way! The flight was $145 RT. I've talked to other people about this, and often skis and even bikes can get through. Why? Again, I think surfing is still not familiar to a lot of people.

So the first thing is that your partner should understand the sport and your passion a bit better. It is really healthy and safe sport if it is done properly. Surfing is said to be only sport that even professional surfers do not need to routinely engage in other supplemental exercises. If the partner is willing to, take the partner to a surf lesson at a comfortable atmosphere such as in Waikiki beach (seriously, Waikiki is the place, and while you are there be sure to visit Bishop Museum.)

Also sharing the stoke though movies produced for mass consumption, like "Riding Giants" and "Endless Summer" series movies can almost stoke any peoples mind. I know they did to both my mom and my mother in law. Just ask them to sit down for an 90 minutes or so and watch these movies.

Next step is really to set an expectation to both yourself and your partner. This really goes with many things in life, and especially in business world. But you set an expectation and commit to it, and establish a quality record that you can reproduce the same result every time.

For example, you could say, your surfing time is Saturdays between 7:00 and 12:00 and you will be back by 12:00. Never deviate from this pattern, especially in the beginning. Set an example and establish a history that you can deliver on your commitment. It is the lack of certainty that really makes the people bothered. I understand there might be even after-surfing obligations such as lunch, dinner or a drink, but again, set an expectation to those who are joining you on a session that you need to take off, allowing enough time to change and drive back home. When you say you will be back in 12:00 that should mean that you can fully engage in the activity with your partner at that time. It does not mean that you are back at home at 12:00 and there can be undetermined amount of time before you two can move on to other activity. Even if there is no planned activity, you commit that you are going to fully available then.

Along the way, you may encounter some failure which will cause some doubts, so especially in the beginning, be really careful. May be for the first few outings don't even go to the surf spot, but get to somewhere, say a local surf shop, and get back on time. Again, setting a pattern and expectation is very very powerful thing. Caught "in bad traffic" is not an excuse you use in the first several times as you establish a good history, even if it is true. Perhaps, after 12th outing, that can become believable.

Also, even though you are sure that the partner is not interested in coming, always make sure that your partner is invited anytime you go, and even ask if your partner can take pictures, videos or help select a new equipment at the store. Or schedule a next event back to back, for example, go surfing in Santa Cruz, then go shop and eat dinner at Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz or Santana Row in San Jose.

You can also give your partner the car key, and ask that the partner to get back 2 hours. This works especially well if you also have another friend with you with a cell phone, or at the worst case take you back home.

I am sure that your partner has his or her own passion or activity too. Why not point that out and ask the partner to do the same. Life is a two-way street.

I've seen situations where people turn their hobby completely ON or OFF, sometime as a demonstration of a protest; I am giving this up too so you can be happier. I think that's seriously misguided way of handling things.

Of course, anything is a matter of priority and your preference. May be surfing is not all that important to you. In that case I think it is good to go ahead and quit. Get rid of all your equipment and cancel your Surfline and Stokemaster memberships.

But if surfing has became your passion then you do have to return to surf on a consistent basis otherwise there is no progress for your own. This is basically the same class of things as you becoming devoted in a religion, a acquiring a new degree or technical certification. What if you told your partner that you are going to take evening classes for some time to enrich your education for a better quality of life. And how does that differ from surfing. Again, under most circumstances, I think you agree that surfing will keep you healthy both physically and mentally!

Always remember that most people operate with the following core agenda;
  • I do not want to be excluded.
  • I do not want to have uncertainties.
If it is important to you, you owe your self a big life to explain that to your partner and gain the full support.


Anonymous said...

Thank you fro bringing such nice posts. Your blog is always fascinating to read.

Unknown said...

John, Thank you for speaking up. Unlike the StokeMaster.COM contents, it is difficult to know how many people are reading what I write. I admit that it is very gratifying and satisfying to get a comment from people! Keep on surfing!

Anonymous said...

Surfing can take up alot of free time and make a loving partner jealous. It does require balance in more ways than one.

I enjoy the blog as well. Hope to get to surf together some time.