The tell-all, no-holds-barred 10 Things We Fight About is written by Richard Poon and his wife Maricar Reyes ‘He said, She said’ style, lit up by the couple’s pictures in various moods

Richard & Maricar open up in conjugal book
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

Loads of lessons can be learned from 10 Things We Fight About, a heartwarming little book by Richard Poon and his wife Maricar Reyes written in an engrossing “He said, She said” style. The book is easy to read, as much interesting as it is informative and instructive, with tips on the Think About It page after every short chapter.

The easy-breezy appeal of the book is enhanced by the playful photos showing the couple in various moods depending on the situation (sulking, arguing, playing and hugging after a petty quarrel typical of any couple).  

Honesty is the best policy and the couple practices it in their four-year marriage that has beautifully surmounted the humps along the way, a union of opposites who come from different backgrounds.

Maricar: Richard and I met in August 2009 and became fond of each other. For us, opposites did attract. I loved Richard’s strong personality. He had a clear idea of what he wanted in life and where he was going. Life with him was always interesting! But most of all, I admired his fierce love for excellence and honesty. He was the most consistently honest man I had ever met and it was very refreshing.

Richard: I was attracted to Maricar’s gentle, relaxed and peaceful nature. She brings a certain calm to every situation. People were at ease with her. She was patient, steady, level-headed, intelligent, encouraging and appreciative.

Maricar: My father is a dominant and hardworking achiever. I have seen him argue with my mom and discipline my brothers but generally, Papa is a jolly guy who does not enjoy confrontation. He prefers to make a situation light with jokes... 

Richard: Even if our home had its strength in honesty, excellence and dominance, it also had its flaws. My parents separated when I was four years old, leaving me without models for how to hold and grow long-term relationships...By the time I met Maricar, I had gone through a few painful breakups and rough patches with some of my friends. My heartache from these fights helped me see that I needed to improve my gentleness and patience.  

The “He said, She said” exchange (repartee) swings from the fun (how they kiss and make up after an argument over little things that they think mean a lot), to the trivial (Richard “scolding” Maricar on her “unmindful” driving, etc.) and to the serious.

According to the couple, before they decided to get married, they laid their cards on the table, everything discussed and no secrets left unveiled. Remember, honesty is the best policy.

Maricar: I became used to having a lot of “harmless secrets” which slowly led me to huge, painful and a widespread mistake during a certain romantic relationship that pushed me to re-examine my values. Maybe hiding and avoiding conflict or correction were not the right ways to live.

I became distrustful of myself and others, especially of men. I wondered what their real motives were, or if I was even worth a serious commitment anymore. Would anyone marry me? I was scared to make a mistake again.

Honestly, if my tragedy never happened, I probably wouldn’t fall for Richard. I would get too offended by his “brutal” honesty. But in that troubled time, his most endearing quality to me was his love for truth. Throughout our friendship, he showed me the value of honest confrontation and facing my fears. He was the one person who wanted to know everything bad about me and still consistently stayed around to help me become better.

In another chapter about “past relationships,” Maricar makes  this confession:

Before committing, Richard and I agreed to tell each other everything about our past relationships, flings, flirtations, crushes, etc.

Among other things, I had to tell him the details of my darkest relationship mistake, even if I was not sure if he’d still want to marry me. It was a scary conversation that I don’t regret having. Now I know Richard committed to me at the altar, fully aware of my flaws.

We both believe being open in this area prevents more fights later on in the relationship. Both of us hate the idea of being shocked to discover something disturbing about our loved ones’ past that we knew nothing about, especially if it’s about an ex.

To prevent a little argument from escalating into a protracted “war,” Richard and Maricar have come up with what they call the T-Sign (Time Out Sign).

Maricar: Between the two of us, Richard has a greater tendency to raise his voice during an argument. I can’t blame him too much for this because of his dominant personality and family background. Even so, both of us have agreed that we should not tolerate shouting in our marriage conflicts, for whatever reason…Present your side respectfully. No shouting/cursing/disrespectful tone. Use the T-Sign. We will not tolerate shouting and raising of voices.

Richard: The beauty of the T-Sign is that it puts my tone of voice in the hands of my loved ones. I’m willing to give Maricar the right to adjust my tone of voice, as much as I have the right to adjust hers. Shouting just makes our fights worse, even if the person shouting is correct. The T-Sign helps us control our tempers.

Oops! That’s all for now, folks! For more on Mr. and Mrs. Poon, get a copy of 10 Things We Fight About (published by ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc.)

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