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I was thinking... #193
08/30/10 01:31 PM
08/30/10 01:31 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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I really don't want to take over here and anyone who knows me knows that I could drop 40 pages on this place by sometime tomorrow. While I fully buy into the model taught on that other website because I value the science behind it, I also get frustrated at times because as good as it is I know that it really only addresses a piece of the puzzle. In fact the founder of that site make no suggestions that it is applicable to anything beyond Romantic Love.

In recent weeks, I have been examining the Triangle Theory of love as developed by Robert Sternberg. This is one of the really smart people that make the rest of us everyday folks. A simple diagram that explains the whole thing appears to be so little at first glance yet when you start to look at the various pieces and combination of the parts you find lessons in not only Love but Life as well.

For those who are not familiar with the triangle:
[Linked Image]

The triangle is defined by its three points. While we were often taught in school and most people would say that a triangle is a shape with three sides, it isn't the sides that define any particular triangle. The sides are merely segments of lines and any three segments might define a triangle or might be part of a more complex shape or perhaps even just random occurrences that are totally unrelated.

If we think of the lines those segments represent, even a line that continues to infinity cannot describe a triangle and three do no better than one in that regard since two parallel lines intersected by another, no matter the angle of that intersection will never intersect each other and so only two points will be in common no matter how they are drawn.

But if we define the triangle as three points and the sides are merely the segments that connect those three points then no matter where we place those points in space, the points when connected by segments of lines will always represent a triangle.

So in Sternberg's model, the primary functions are assigned not to the sides but to the points. In this case those points are Commitment, Intimacy and Passion. It is the interaction of these three ingredients that determine the make up of a relationship and some relationships might have a strong single point while some might have two with the third either very weak or even totally absent.

In an ideal marriage relationship, all three points are present, nearly equal in strength (or quality) and a couple resides inside the boundaries of the triangle where other relationships might interact or intersect but never are able to consume it or overwhelm it.

If one or more points are lacking or diminished in strength, then the triangle becomes lopsided or even ceases to exist since once a single point is removed, all that is left is two intersecting line segments and no matter the angle between them, they will never encompass the relationship within leaving it vulnerable to inclusion into another relationship.

I'm still pondering all of this, so hang in there and I'll add to this soon. People who have read my posts on other forums know I have someplace in mind as a destination before I begin a journey but might take a few dozen roads to get there.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #249
08/31/10 03:43 AM
08/31/10 03:43 AM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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In most marriages the first thing to begin to wane is the point to the lower left, that is, Passion. Since this is a chemically driven thing related to how we interact with each other it is where we often do the most damage as we fail to give up our selfishness.

Since this is what is missing in most long term relationships, it is the part of the triangle that most programs address. Seldom is their much need for increasing commitment up until one partner or the other checks out completely and is ready to abolish the union entirely. Chapman, Harley and most others focus on this side since if Intimacy (really knowing each other and being known by the other) is present and commitment is present then rebuilding the passion into the relationship can create romantic love which is the natural result of intimacy and passion in combination.

In some marriages Intimacy might be missing and there are programs designed to improve that part. Many of these are Biblical models for marriage that tend to stress communication and interaction though a lot might neglect the need to interdependence. This is the typical place where traditional marriage counseling seeks to make improvements however and while it can help some marriage, if the missing part is Passion, then improved communication or understanding or deeper knowledge of what makes each other tick is not going to restore what has been lost.

A marriage based on Commitment alone might last forever. If the "glue" that holds a couple together is strong enough they will often stay together no matter what the other does and sometimes perhaps even remain together simply to share the pain and remain unhappily married forever. Getting divorced would let each other off the hook and so remaining together so that each can make the other equally miserable can become the bond of a lifetime.

They write movies and books about love that contains the bottom two points by themselves. These are those crazy kids who don't really yet know each other. No intimacy yet exists between them and yet they are full of passion, seal and even committed fully to each other. In time these relationships might mature but in many if not most, they burn out long before true intimacy can be created. As the couple starts to learn about each other second thoughts creep in and the cost of letting each other into the deepest recesses of our mind can prevent the top point from ever truly developing. So as the passion wanes, which is likely to happen, the relationship dies a slow death in most cases.

Most affair take place on the left side of the triangle but true intimacy is not usually present for a long time. So a sort of false intimacy is established where mutual fantasy sharing takes place instead of real intimate secrets being shared. The "bad" stuff is hidden by mutual consent and the passion is what rules the day.

The craziest of all affair are in the domain of Fatuous love where both Passion and Commitment reside and hold power. Like any relationship that lacks Intimacy yet is full of passion and Commitment to each other, the lovers tend to see each other as if almost martyrs for a cause. The actions of such people often mimic serious mental disorders including manic phase of bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder or even narcissistic personality disorder.

The things done in the name of love in such cases are typically destructive, not only of other relationships including any marriage that one or the other might have been in at the start but also even of their own lives as individuals. Jobs are abandoned, family and friends are cut off and incredible spending sprees can become an everyday occurrence. These people are "crazy in love" and go to great lengths to prove it to those around them.

Mark


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #321
08/31/10 01:35 PM
08/31/10 01:35 PM
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Why Ask Why?

One of the first questions most betrayed spouses ask when they find out they have been betrayed is "Why?" We want to know why this person we loved did this to us and why they inflicted such pain on us. We want to know why they were willing to abandon all that was once held dear and why they lied to us all along the way.

The problem with asking the question is that there really isn't one answer or even a list of answers that will explain it and so we end up with an unsatisfactory explanation that causes us to wonder even more about the future than we already did.

Frank Gunzburg points out that there can be many reasons that can point to why an affair happened. This from Gunzburg:

*Some people cheat because they aren't getting their needs met within the marriage and are under the deluded notion that going outside the marriage to get them met is a legitimate answer. It isn't.
*In some cases people cheat because they have never learned to honor boundaries. They know the boundaries are there, but do not hesitate to step over them.
*Some, usually men, think that they are not real men if they turn down an invitation from someone attractive.
*Some people are thrill seekers who just can't pass up the opportunity to get a thrill. The very fact that they are doing something that is considered taboo compels them to engage in an affair.
*Some may cheat because they have low self-esteem. They get a sense of self worth from finding someone who is attracted to them and cares about them.
*In some cases, a person may have a sexual fetish that their partner is not willing to meet, so they go outside of their marriage in order to have these selfish desires fulfilled.
*A very common theme is that people cheat because their spouse no longer makes them feel special. These people go outside the marriage thinking that someone else might fill this gap.

Whatever the reasons, cheaters cheat because they have the mistaken notion that going outside their marriage will solve their problems or fulfill some unmet need or complete some aspect of their character.

Gunzburg suggests that some people have a defective sense of commitment. He says this usually applies to men. They expect themselves to be totally honest in all aspects of their lives in every situation, but feel they don't have to be when it comes to dealing with women. Though they vehemently deny it, these men have a denigrating view of women in general, placing them into a second-class status

Gunzburg goes on to say that you can ask the question "Why?" until you are blue in the face and each time get a different answer. You will never get an acceptable answer because there really is not an answer that will make infidelity acceptable to the betrayed spouse.

The reason a betrayed spouse seeks this answer of course is that they feel that they need to find out why an affair happened in order to prevent it from happening again in the future. This is really based on the mistaken notion that in order to change a behavior you must know why it is happening. This is a relatively common idea in modern psychology that seeks to explain why a person acts in a certain way based on some experience or lack of experience of the past.

But you don't have to understand family dynamics and chemical reactions in the brain in order to stop smoking. The action can be avoided without understanding the addictive properties of nicotine or the emotional component that compelled a person to begin smoking to begin with.

In some cases exploring what went into the cheater's choice to cheat can help protect them against doing it again, but that isn't universally true and it isn't understanding why it happened that will keep your partner from cheating again. It will instead take hard work, by both the betrayed and the betrayer to avoid future affairs by changing the relationship at its foundational level. Much of this work will be in regard to communication which must be completely honest, not about the affair and why it happened, but about unmet needs, wants, desires and resolution to conflicts that can cause a rift within the marriage.

Neither of you need investigate why it happened in order to recommit to changing things going forward, and remain faithful to each other in the future. It does require a sincere commitment to doing things right from now on and a willingness to work together to rebuild the foundations of the marriage.

What is most important is that both of you want to do what it takes in order to heal and restore the relationship.

Asking "why?" will most likely result in answers that are nothing more than justifications from the wayward spouse. It will be a list of things that were "wrong" with the betrayed spouse and the relationship, most of which can be dismissed as simply unacceptable in answer to the question. There is no justifiable reason to cheat and break your vows. Selfish desires, past wrongs either real or perceived and a lack of something in the marriage cannot make cheating acceptable since if a marriage is not worth keeping, then it should be dissolved before an affair takes place. Most often the list of "why?" is composed primarily of things that the wayward spouse used in order to justify the affair to him/herself at each step along the way. They were created in response to the affair rather than being the cause.

Gunzburg suggests that it might be time to let go of this question. While there might be reasons why it happened, figuring out doesn't take you much closer to rebuilding your trust and reconciling your relationship. What he says will move you in that direction is figuring out what each of you needs from the relationship, communicating how these needs have been neglected and working out how your needs can be interfaced with your spouse's needs so that both of you can get what you need and want.

To me, the more important questions are how and what?

How can we establish a marriage that will prevent either of us from going outside our relationship to get our needs met by someone else? How can we make sure it never happens again? How can we learn to trust each other fully and how can we find the love we once had for each other?

What can the betrayed spouse do to help the wayward spouse avoid crossing the boundary again? What can the wayward spouse do to help the betrayed spouse heal and learn to trust him/her again? What will make the marriage more impervious to adultery by making it one that lacks nothing that either requires from it and keeps the romance alive going forward into a future together?

It will be by rebuilding your love for each other that you will recover, not by understanding the psychological components of adultery or the justification process required to make the affair an acceptable choice in the cheater's own mind. The question needs to be not why, but how and what. How did we get here and what are we going to do now? Those will be the things that will lead to healing and a healthy marriage. Even if this marriage fails and you move on to marry someone else, understanding the answers to how and what will help you in the future, but asking why will leave you scratching your head in frustration.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #842
09/03/10 03:58 PM
09/03/10 03:58 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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All by itself...

In Mark 4:26-29, Jesus tells this story:

"This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man sows seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces the grain - first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts a sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

All by itself the soil produces the grain...

But it takes the right nutrients being present in the soil. It takes the right amount of water at the right times, even though that water comes from the rain that falls from the sky. It takes sunlight and temperatures that aren't too hot or too cold. The farmer has no control over any of those things. He can sow and he can harvest and in between he can't do much more than watch and maybe worry some times.

He can remove the weeds if he can find them in time and can stay ahead of them. He can help to make sure the soil contains the right nutrients once he knows what those things are and how they can be added to the soil to amend it. In some places farmers even set up irrigation systems to help supply the water the plants need.

Today we know a lot more about what it takes to make plants grow and so we even make things grow where they would not appear naturally. I grow plants in my garden that would never survive in my area of the world if I didn't take steps to create an environment better suited to their growth. What we know, the knowledge we have gained over the years, allows us to even grow pineapples in Minnesota if we do what it takes to give them all they need.

I can plant azaleas in my part of the world but they require a different environment than occurs here naturally. First of all, they require a soil PH that tends to be more acid than what happens naturally in our region. But I can change that PH by adding things to make the soil more acidic and so help them to grow where they would naturally not gain a foothold and die by the end of the first season.

Those azaleas might even grow for a few years if the soil is right and if nothing else comes along but around here we have winters that can be rather mild by our standards several years in a row and then get an extremely harsh winter with protracted periods of cold and night time temperatures dropping into the vicinity of minus 20 degrees F (nearly minus 30 C). If this kind of cold goes on very long and I don't take measures before it arrives to protect the roots of the plants they will freeze and die and the blossom will not return in the spring.

If we apply this same idea to a marriage we can see something I find rather interesting take place. Our relationship with our spouse will grow naturally, all by itself, if we make certain that all the necessary things are present to make that happen.

And we can learn what those things are so that we can provide them to help the relationship grow; ideas like the 5 Love Languages or the Love Bank concept with the ability to identify those specific things our spouse needs in order to make his or her love for us grow.

We can also identify those things that are detrimental to that growth and inhibit the growth we desire and take steps to eliminate them. These can be "weeds" that rob the relationship of the nutrients it needs, relationships of any kind outside of the marriage. Or they can be a failure to "water" the relationship by not taking the time to nurture it. We might fail to protect it from getting cold and so it can no longer withstand the stress of the inevitable periods of "winter" that might come along. If we neglect our garden, its value and usefulness is diminished and the same can be true for our marriage.

So let's plant a garden that includes three types of plants. We will have Commitment, Intimacy and Passion of several varieties of each and if we supply the right conditions, that is, if we provide the right ingredients to allow for growth to occur and eliminate threats to that growth and the things that might rob the garden of what it needs, and if we protect it from pests and the natural things that might cause it to become cold by planning for that eventuality before the conditions appear, we will find that our garden will grow...

ALL BY ITSELF!


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #1726
09/09/10 09:10 AM
09/09/10 09:10 AM
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Looking4 Offline
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I'm looking forward to at least 30 pages from you, Mark.

Re: I was thinking... [Re: Looking4] #1734
09/09/10 11:09 AM
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Mark:

I used to read your stuff on the other site and of course we have talked several times. In the back of my mind was a comparison to a gifted individual by the name of Eric Hoffer.

Now that I have read what you have the ability to say unfettered by the constraints of a marketing model, I have to say that the back of my mind has moved forward to the front. Hoffer read everything he could get his hands on. And he observed mankind.

And a whole bunch of other stuff I invite you to go read. Hoffer's true gift was to take the intentional complexity of academia and add his unique spin to it, followed by explanations the common man could understand if they were driven to read.

You have a Hoffer like gift Mark. I dunno if there is a book in your future. Maybe so, maybe not. That said, there is a future for what you say and how you say it. Hopefully this site is a place you feel comfortable with so you can teach the rest of us what you have learned and what you have discovered and created on your own.

Larry



It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Looking4] #1755
09/09/10 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Looking4
I'm looking forward to at least 30 pages from you, Mark.


I agree, L4...I look forward to a 30ish page mini-booklet of Mark's Fishing/Marriage analogies, possibly entitled something like "Fishing for a Tight-Line Marriage."

As usual, Mark's ignoring me....just like when I pestered him to 'help me want to want to go fishing' which eventually led to the Fishing Thread. I'll be patient....glad you're encouraging him too, Larry. I was all alone before (and I had absolutely no idea that he could write what he wrote way back in Feb. 2007 when I started stalking/badgering him.)

Ace


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Ace] #1789
09/09/10 03:02 PM
09/09/10 03:02 PM
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Gladstone Offline
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I have to agree with everyone else here. Mark, your stuff is very deep, very profound, and very interesting. I am looking forward to more!


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Gladstone] #2711
09/13/10 02:11 PM
09/13/10 02:11 PM
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Ace Offline
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Originally Posted by Gladstone
I have to agree with everyone else here. Mark, your stuff is very deep, very profound, and very interesting. I am looking forward to more!


Mark...just wondering if you want comments on your blog as you write or if you prefer not.

Thanks for your words of wisdom. I too, look forward to more.

Ace


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Ace] #4072
09/16/10 03:29 PM
09/16/10 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ace
Originally Posted by Gladstone
I have to agree with everyone else here. Mark, your stuff is very deep, very profound, and very interesting. I am looking forward to more!


Mark...just wondering if you want comments on your blog as you write or if you prefer not.

Thanks for your words of wisdom. I too, look forward to more.

Ace


ditto...


You could put a white dress on a pig, guess what it is still a pig.

Formerly Hope3343
Re: I was thinking... [Re: faith3343] #4387
09/17/10 12:30 PM
09/17/10 12:30 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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From the US Dept of Health : The Benefits of a Healthy Marriage

For Youth and Children

  • More likely to succeed academically
  • Physically and emotionally healthier
  • Less likely to attempt or commit suicide
  • Fewer behavioral problems in school
  • Less likely to become the victim of physical or sexual abuse
  • Less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Less likely to commit delinquent behaviors
  • Have a better relationship with their parents
  • Decrease their chances of divorcing when they get married
  • Less likely to become pregnant as a teenager, or to impregnate someone
  • Less likely to be sexually active as a teen
  • Less likely to grow up in poverty


For Women

  • More satisfying relationship
  • Emotionally healthier
  • Wealthier
  • Less likely to be the victim of domestic violence, or other violent crimes
  • Less likely to attempt or commit suicide
  • Decreased risk of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Less likely to remain or end up in poverty
  • Have a better relationship with their children
  • Physically healthier


For Men

  • Live Longer
  • Physically healthier
  • Wealthier
  • Increased stability of employment
  • Higher wages
  • Emotionally healthier
  • Decreased risk of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Have a better relationship with their children
  • More satisfying sexual relationship
  • Less likely to commit violent crimes
  • Less likely to attempt or commit suicide


For the Community

  • Higher rates of physically healthy citizens
  • Higher rates of emotionally healthy citizens
  • Higher level of education for its citizens
  • Lower domestic violence rates
  • Lower crime rates
  • Lower teen pregnancy rates
  • Lower rates of juvenile delinquency
  • Higher rate of home ownership
  • Lower rate of migration (people leaving the community and transience)
  • Higher property values
  • Decreased need for social services


A study released on April 15, 2007: The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All 50 States

According to this report, divorce costs 112 billion dollars annually in the United States.

So what is the REAL cost of not having a healthy marriage?


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #4404
09/17/10 01:39 PM
09/17/10 01:39 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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From Twice Adopted by Michael Reagan:

Quote
Divorce is where two adults take everything that matters to a child -The child's home, family, security, and sense of being loved and protected - and they smash it all up, leave it on the floor, then walk out and leave the child to clean up the mess.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #4412
09/17/10 01:54 PM
09/17/10 01:54 PM
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Not quite here
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Great articles Mark. Real advocacy.


Married 21years (this year) ~12y since dday(?)
DD16 DS14
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Ace] #4514
09/17/10 07:26 PM
09/17/10 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ace
Originally Posted by Looking4
I'm looking forward to at least 30 pages from you, Mark.


I agree, L4...I look forward to a 30ish page mini-booklet of Mark's Fishing/Marriage analogies, possibly entitled something like "Fishing for a Tight-Line Marriage."

As usual, Mark's ignoring me....just like when I pestered him to 'help me want to want to go fishing' which eventually led to the Fishing Thread. I'll be patient....glad you're encouraging him too, Larry. I was all alone before (and I had absolutely no idea that he could write what he wrote way back in Feb. 2007 when I started stalking/badgering him.)

Ace


the problem with fishing with MEN is that they truin the nice lazy afternoon on a boat expecting me to jump up and real a fish in. "Sister - your lines jumping...sister the fish is taking the bait...SISTER WAKE UP!!!"...as if the fish was why i went out on the boat...yeah right.

Re: I was thinking... [Re: Amadahy] #4516
09/17/10 07:32 PM
09/17/10 07:32 PM
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All of this is amazing Mark - i am reading and re reading.

Re: I was thinking... [Re: Amadahy] #12751
10/21/10 11:57 PM
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Anything else?...


Married 19 years
Two children - DS12 & DD10
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Looking4] #13032
10/22/10 11:00 PM
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Yeah, but I'm like a one legged soccer player...

Too much to do and too little time to do it.

Mark


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #13197
10/23/10 01:29 PM
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one loaf of bread can feed many ....... wink smile


26 yrs. married
There's nothing more powerful than a woman with an open heart ......
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Vittoria] #18041
11/08/10 08:20 PM
11/08/10 08:20 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,444
Ness
Lil Offline

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Lil  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,444
Ness
Mark,

are you planning on putting your tree story as it related to your marriage, or your plan A story here?

There's a poster here asking about UA and the WW. I think your story would help.


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: I was thinking... [Re: Lil] #18056
11/08/10 08:53 PM
11/08/10 08:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Mark1952 Offline OP
Board of Directors
Mark1952  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Lil,

I might get the tree story over here and clean it up for punctuation and such when I get time. My PC at home has been down for a couple of weeks and I just got it back up this morning. Been trying to post from work and using a laptop we got for our non-profit that is just too blasted small for my big hands.

I am also working on my construction zone stuff again (assuming I still have the files I began with at the house) as I get to them. I might have some ideas in there when I get done that apply as well.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #18061
11/08/10 08:59 PM
11/08/10 08:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Mark1952 Offline OP
Board of Directors
Mark1952  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Written Thu Aug 23 2007


The Affair Tree

When we moved into our current home over 20 years ago, the previous owner had planted a Chinese Elm in the middle of the back yard. I ignored it for a few years and then began to suggest to my wife that maybe I should cut it down before it got too big. She would hear none of it. To her, it was the biggest tree in the yard and therefore too valuable as shade.

The problem with a Chinese Elm is that it tends grow very fast, but not in a very compact manner. It sends branches off in all directions in search of sunlight and roots will traverse the neighbor's yards in their quest for moisture. These roots will push through the surface every once in a while and send up shoots which become new trees, still attached to the original root system but with their own leaves and if allowed to grow trunks and branches as well.

After we had been in the house perhaps 10 years, this now gigantic tree began to periodically shed some of its branches. At first they were only twigs, but eventually they began to pose a problem when it came time to mow the lawn because some of them were up to 2 or more inches in diameter. So before starting the mower it was necessary to walk around the yard and pick up all the tree branches in order to prevent damaging the mower when they were encountered lurking in the grass.

I began to trim the tree a couple times per year and thought maybe I could stay ahead of the branches that it was dropping, but no matter how often I removed dead and dying twigs, it kept throwing its branches all over the yard. In addition, it now had large branches extending as much as 50 feet from the main trunk, some encroaching on the neighbor's yards and some hovering menacingly above the roof of our house. At diameters of as much as 18 or 20 inches, these tree limbs weighed several hundred pounds each and if a storm would have brought one down, it would have done quite a bit of damage to the house itself.

Finally, after nearly twenty years of dealing with the tree, it began to lose its leaves in the middle of the summer and by fall it was evident that it had died. Now nearly six feet across at its base, it was much too large for me to attempt to remove with my 16" chainsaw and so we contracted its removal by professionals.

When I got their bid for removing the tree, I was surprised by how low it was. While I understood that they would only take the tree down and not actually haul it away, I questioned if they planned to remove the stump as well using a grinder designed for such work. They assured me that grinding the stump was part of the bid and that they were certain they could have the job done in an afternoon. I didn't ask if they had ever actually tried to remove a large Chinese Elm before and agreed to what I would never have agreed to accept for the job they were about to undertake.

The tree service arrived at 10:30 one morning and set about climbing into the tree to drop the upper branches to make it possible for them to cut it down without damaging our home or the neighbor's since the tree was now taller than the distance to at least 4 other houses. By 11:45 the boss was already re-sharpening chains as fast as he could since the guys doing the cutting could only get 2 or 3 cuts per chain before it began to smoke and chatter in the kerf.

A problem with Elm is that it grows in a spiral fashion as it gets taller. The grain does not run in straight lines and lying parallel to each other like wood such as Oak or Pine or Maple tends to do. This twisted mess clogs up the teeth of a chainsaw and renders the cutting surface almost useless and as the heat caused by the material being dragged along by the chain starts removing the temper from the cutting edge.

At 2:30 that afternoon, the tree itself came down and the crew began cutting it into shorter lengths. The job was finished at 3:30 and the stump-grinder was brought into position. This stump-grinder is what amounts to a huge chain saw powered by a much bigger motor than anyone could handle. This entire assembly is mounted on a trailer which is wheeled into position and the motor started and the teeth begin digging into the wood of the stump. It pulls large enough chunks from the stump that it actually makes pretty good mulch around trees and bushes. In fact I was able to mulch around every other tree and bush in my entire yard with the residue and still had a pile of it left.

But as this machine started clawing its way into the stump, the nature of the species began to manifest itself once more. The chain would clog, bind and begin to smoke. The crew would stop, clean it out and begin again. They stopped three times to change the chain on this grinder before finally starting to load their gear into the trucks around 6:30. As they drove off, my check in hand, and with most of their equipment rendered useless for the next morning's work without serious repairs, I surveyed the place where this massive tree once stood and realized that though it now longer gave shade, was no longer growing and no more would it drop its branches into my grass to hide waiting for me to find them with the blade of my lawn mower, and yet, I had more wood piled up than the local Home Depot and gnarled roots twisted across the yard in all directions.

Pressing my son and a couple of his friends into service soon had the wood piled and stacked neatly (more or less) in the corner of what was to be my garden. But that would have to wait a couple of years since it would take at least that long to burn or remove the wood. So my garden instead became a fire pit and the larger cross-cuts of the main trunk were rolled into place as stools for sitting around a fire on a cool evening. The novelty of this wore off rather quickly, and still enough wood to heat an average sized home for a year remained. I now burn it when ever I get the inclination and energy to deal with it and when I feel like trying to get the huge logs that remain to burn.

Today, the tree is gone, the stump itself is but a memory, but I am now dealing with the roots which still remain, running helter-skelter around the yard. The only way to get these out seems to be to sharpen my axe, chop at a small section until it can be pried loose from the ground and break it free. The problem is that off of that root are other, smaller roots, though smaller is a relative term. Some of these are intertwined with other roots, since it seems that the growth habits of Chinese Elm below the ground apparently mirror those of what occurs above the ground. Any time I get up the energy to deal with it, I sharpen my axe, chop away till I get another piece removed or until I run out of ambition or time and wait for the next round when I will again be dealing with the tree that I have been trying to get rid of for so many years. Blisters have become calluses, I can hit a spot the size of a toothpick with my axe at full swing and I still have year's worth of work at the current rate at which it is getting done. I could probably finish in a month if I stopped doing anything else and only dealt with what remains of the tree, but alas, I have other things in my life and the tree is now only important enough to deal with a little bit at a time.

So, why do I call it The Affair Tree? I will get to that in Part 2 of the story.

Mark


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #18065
11/08/10 09:05 PM
11/08/10 09:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Mark1952 Offline OP
Board of Directors
Mark1952  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
The Affair Tree Part 2

Throughout our marriage there were many issues that if taken care of and dealt with at the time, before they had the chance to grow further, would have made the likelihood of an affair by my wife much less likely. Some of these things sometimes dropped into our marriage and caused minor or even major inconvenience or created other problems for our relationship. On the whole, we had a pretty good marriage and it did more than just fulfill its purpose. Within our circle of friends, family and coworkers we were the model of a lasting marriage.

We were both active at church. My wife had worked with the youth and was a leader within the women's group while I was a Sunday school teacher, member of the church board, led Bible studies and had shared the preaching duties for about three years while we looked for a permanent pastor. I had also been asked to speak at other churches a few times and was the person in charge of our audio and video stuff, working closely with our worship team, through at least a half dozen leadership changes for that team. My wife was also a member of the worship team for several years.

But sometimes, problems would come up that either we were too prideful to admit or too busy to deal with at the time. So these things continued to grow and got bigger over time.

Having not found Marriage Builders at that time, I had no idea what Love Busters were, though I had a pretty good idea of the things that cause my wife grief and certainly knew what she did that set my anger in motion. Today I realize that for her, the biggest of all Love Busters is Angry Outbursts. For me it is Independent Behavior.

As our children grew, so did some of our problems. Our daughter has this innate ability to drive my wife nuts by her mere presence. Some of this stems from our daughter's Bipolar Disorder, which she was diagnosed as having when she was 11 years old. She also has a difficult time extrapolating consequences from her actions. She has never been able to put the bad outcome together with her own choices and actions and so she does stupid stuff and when it becomes apparent that she is going to suffer negative consequences as a result, her solution is to hide things or to attempt to run away from the situation.

When she was eighteen years old I got a call in the middle of the day that she had gotten married while I was at work. Her husband, who I had met the night before and with whom I had been less than impressed was twelve years older than she was. In the coming weeks it was learned that he had spent most of his life since the age of sixteen incarcerated for minor crimes and had recently been paroled following three years of confinement in Michigan for auto theft. He was divorced and had two daughters, the older of the two being 13 years of age.

Soon after they married it became clear that he was incapable of holding a job for very long. They moved to a small town in Missouri where my parents had lived until my father's death and my mother's eventual move to North Little Rock Arkansas where my brother and sister-in-law resided. Now when I say this town was small, you should realize that the biggest employer in town was a truck-stop. Number two was Walmart, which is only about 15000 square feet in size.

After three job changes in four months, they joined a carnival that was in the area. This carnival returned to the bigger town up the road a few miles one weekend and while they were in town, they took a test drive of a new car at the local Chevy dealership. This car disappeared the next night while the dealership was closed.

The two of them were arrested in Scott County Iowa three months later after taking jewelry, money and checks from our house. They had pawned the jewelry, written checks all over the Midwest on our account and our daughter spent 21 months as a guest of the state of Missouri. Her husband was released two years later and they were divorced within a year after that.

Our son, by comparison was a smart kid. Actually he is too smart for his own good. He knows just what buttons to push to get his way with Mom and perfected his technique by the age of ten.

When our son was 16 he got his driver's license and started a job as a pizza delivery guy that night. He went to school half days when he was a junior in high school and worked 5 or 6 nights per week. He repeated the half day of school and half day of work for his senior year. He turned 18 in December, completed high school two days later and moved into an apartment in Chicago that weekend and began attending classes at UIC in January. That summer, he moved to Florida and took classes at a community college until he qualified as a state resident and became a Gator.

Our daughter too moved to Florida and was living with her cousin. This made us empty nesters and we began to enjoy life together alone for the first time in many years. My wife lost weight, began working out nearly every day and looked better than she had at any time of her life. She went from a struggle to get into a size 14 frumpy housewife to a fit and fabulous size 4 in about a year.

We went out together more than once per week, spent nearly all of our time together, traveled quite a bit and were generally living like we had when we were newly weds, though with a few more dollars to spend.

Near the end of this period my father-in-law died suddenly of a heart attack. He and his second wife lived about 6 hours away from us on a nine acre piece of property near Ft Knox Kentucky. After the funeral, which included Army, police and firefighter honors, it was found that he had not left a will. His entire estate therefore would go to his wife, my wife's step-mother. My wife and her sisters were heartbroken, because of his death, but also because he had basically left them nothing and all that he had would one day likely go to their step-brother.

My wife began to become sullen and withdrawn.
In December, while home for the holidays, our son began dating a local girl. At the end of the semester in May, he moved home. Their relationship lasted two more months.

In June, my wife's step-mother was activated by her reserve unit and it looked as if she would be on her way to Bagdad by August. Though she did not go with her unit, she remained active for 14 months. This left her home unattended and left her 92 year old father alone while she was gone. My wife volunteered to take care of her home and affairs while she was gone. I was not a happy camper.

My wife traveled to Kentucky every Friday morning for several weeks and returned on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. She worked 10 hours or more on Monday through Thursday so she could be off on Friday for her trip. In July our daughter came home and within a couple of weeks we found out that she was pregnant. The father was a guy in Florida who had no job, no money and not much ambition. The house was a wreck, our life seemed out of control and my wife was living in a fantasy of being a rich single girl on an estate in the country.

My wife began going to Kentucky on Thursday afternoon and then on Thursday morning. She started making business contacts in the area and actually acquired quite a bit of business for her company in the area. She was attending a church there on Sunday mornings and had developed a friendship with a divorced woman at the church. They began hanging out together and would go out with several other divorced women on Friday nights to a local country and western club where they would dance. This continued until March when my wife took a vacation for a week and spent it in Kentucky. It was a couple of days later that I got a frantic phone call from the neighbor's wife that my wife was trying to steal her husband and she thought I should know.

Over the next few days, my wife had to call the cops twice to have the woman removed from the property, once she had walked into the house while my wife was taking a shower. This woman had her grown daughter and her niece begin calling me and my wife and making threats and it appeared for a while that I was getting into a family feud of the worst sort. My wife cut her vacation short and came home on Wednesday and on Thursday we had a lawyer draft a letter to both the neighbor and his wife stating that we wished to have no contact with either of them under any circumstances. This letter was sent via registered mail and the phone calls and harassment from this shrew of a woman, as I had begun thinking of her, stopped.

My wife limited her travels to Kentucky to every two or three weeks, still taking care of her step-mother's affairs and caring for the old man who was caught in the middle of all of this. The neighbor moved in with his son and things calmed down a bit. It was now late March a year later and my wife's step-mother was now home so the trips to Kentucky were down to one every couple of months to visit.

My wife was stressing out more and more all of the time now. Our daughter had given birth to a beautiful daughter of her own and we now had a full house again. With our son coming and going at all hours of the day and night and our laundry piled to the ceiling, my wife sought escape by going to Kentucky to visit her friend from church.

In the middle of April of 2006 my wife began to withdraw more and more. My own Love Bank was pretty much empty and I sought my own relief from the daily h377 our life seemed to have become. Our daughter got a job and a place of her own, but we still had our granddaughter most of the time. Our son had moved away to school, now Illinois State University, but we still didn't seem to connect.

In late April, my wife went to Kentucky to visit and returned home much later than expected. I had scheduled a vacation for the second week of May and found that my wife had taken hers the last week of April instead. She spent almost all of her time in Kentucky and when she was home, either slept or sat in silence. I was working 60 hours per week trying to catch up before taking a week off work. My wife would arrive at church late, leave as soon as the echo of Amen had died and would sometime vanish until nearly sunset. On the Tuesday before I was to go on vacation, with her joining me for the weekend at least, I said to her as we lay in bed that I felt we needed to communicate better in order to be sure we were on the same page for the future. She said she saw no future and we both cried ourselves to sleep.

She left for business in Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon, planning to return on Friday night. On Friday morning I opened her company's cell phone account which I had recommended changes to a month earlier. If I had guessed correctly, they would save several hundred dollars per month. If I had guessed wrong, it would cost them a bundle.

So I opened the account and began scrolling down the page to check calls made by her bosses, who tended to get a little crazy with their phones. As I passed her call log I saw a number in Kentucky I did not recognize. There were numerous calls to this number, some in the middle of the night while I was at our vacation cottage getting it ready for the season. Others were made on Sunday afternoons while I was looking for her. Still others were made while she was in Kentucky for visits to her friend and step-mother. These were made at 5 am or midnight or while driving home from work and one made one morning while I was getting ready for work. I recalled that morning and realized it was the day I walked into the room where she was sitting to say I was leaving for work and she quickly closed her email and shouted something about having privacy.

I did a reverse look-up on Google and found the number to be my wife's step-mother's neighbor who I later found out was back home and his wife had left filing for legal separation.

My first call was to her twin sister. About to get married herself, for the fourth time, she was floored. She commiserated with me for a while and that night when I went home I called her again when I discovered a trail of emails and pictures that had been created over a little over a month period beginning in early April.

I delayed my departure for our vacation cottage till Saturday and compiled my evidence. My wife left Kentucky too late to join me on Saturday night and didn't arrive till late morning on Sunday. She was only there for a couple of hours during which time I confronted her with what I knew. We talked that night via phone and again on Monday. On Tuesday, she called me around 11:00 to say she wanted a divorce.

I called our church secretary who was a good friend of my wife's. Then I called our pastor, my wife's step-mother and her friend in Kentucky. I called her sister in Southern Illinois and her sister in Virginia. She came to spend the night with me on Wednesday and on Thursday called me again to tell me she wouldn't give up OM. On Friday, she refused to take my calls and on Saturday I met with our pastor. He explained the Love Bank and ENs and Love Busters to me and I began reading about infidelity on the web.

On Tuesday, my wife met with the pastor's wife and by early June I had reached the end already. After an argument at our cottage she said she was going home and I told her to pack since she didn't seem to want to work on our marriage. She vanished for the rest of the day and all night. The next day she sent me an email telling me she had decided to stay with me and work on our marriage. Two days later was the start of no contact. I found Marriage Builders that weekend and began to read. It was my knowing that all affairs are basically the same and learning of Plan A that gave me the strength to go on.

Like the tree in our yard, the affair came down quickly. The immediate mess was cleaned up in a short time. Though it wasn't easy by any means to bring it down, once I identified what was going on and made an effort to expose it, it fell without much fanfare. We had ups and downs over the next few months until I contracted my bacterial infection in January. Even this may have been related to the affair since the bacteria I had eating my skin seldom causes infection unless a person's immune system is compromised and in my case that may have come as the result of stress.

Today, over a year later I am left with attempting to remove the roots of the affair. The real work of recovery is just beginning, though our relationship feels better than it has in years. The roots extend well beyond our marriage and getting them out may never fully be realized. Some of them may go so far and run so deep that they may never be uncovered and removed. It may require that everything about our marriage be obliterated and replanted anew and therefore might not be possible to handle.

Like that tree, many of the problems of our relationship over the years would have been much easier to solve if they had been dealt with when they were not so huge and had not grown so long. If we had dealt with each issue as it came up or had done what should have been done, if we had known of Marriage Builders years ago and had applied the methods found here to our relationship, the affair might never have happened. Today we wouldn't have the need to dig so deeply into the past and attempt to remove those things that are now a twisted interconnected mass. Like that tree, we will be dealing with it for years or until one or the other of us simply runs out of energy.

The wounds have begun to heal. We are more callused and less prone to injury from dealing with the affair but the roots of the affair will manifest themselves for a long time to come.

Mark


Edited to add: This was written over 3 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Our granddaughter is now 5 1/2, our daughter, granddaughter and son are out of the house and we're empty nesters again.

As far as our marriage, we both share a desire to help others avoid the trouble we encountered in our marriage and have led classes on marriage at our church for a little over a year. In June of this year we attended training in St Louis to become certified facilitators for the class we are currently leading called Dynamic Marriage from Family Dynamics Institute.

Last edited by Mark1952; 11/08/10 09:17 PM.

mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #18066
11/08/10 09:08 PM
11/08/10 09:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Mark1952 Offline OP
Board of Directors
Mark1952  Offline OP
Board of Directors
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Ask and thou shalt receive...


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: I was thinking... [Re: Mark1952] #18068
11/08/10 09:09 PM
11/08/10 09:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,444
Ness
Lil Offline

Member
Lil  Offline

Member
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,444
Ness
Thank you Mark!!!!


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: I was thinking... [Re: Lil] #18078
11/08/10 09:19 PM
11/08/10 09:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Mark1952 Offline OP
Board of Directors
Mark1952  Offline OP
Board of Directors
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,065
SW Chicago 'burbs
Don't go quoting my typos before I get a chance to look to see what else needs to be fixed, OK?


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
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