The year 2015 is finally ending, and we are still here, still standing, and very importantly, still learning. Learning and sharing what I have learnt is the passion of my true self, so here are a few of the many things I learnt about marriage this year:
1. Marriage is not do or die. On some level I always knew this, but it’s different when you’re in it. It is good to be married, and I do believe marriage should be held in honour among all. If, however, that marriage is killing you, you owe it to yourself to escape with your life and body parts intact. Husband is good o, but fulfilling your purpose for being placed on earth is better. And you need to be alive to do that, you know? And not just alive as in breathing, but alive as in, thriving!
2. Marriage will always be do or die for some people. And there’s nothing you can do about it. He’s abusing her verbally, emotionally, financially and physically, and you think she needs your help to leave so you get to work immediately… but she doesn’t. She doesn’t want to be the one who couldn’t stay married. After all you’re still married, na her own go lost? So you’re left standing there with your mouth open. It happens. Just close your mouth before a fly gets in.
3. That “avoid third party” advice doesn’t always apply. I’m not saying you should go around telling your marital problems to everyone. And I know that there are people who will actually make things worse if you tell them. However, I also know that it is better to seek professional help from a trained counselor (rule of thumb: avoid pastors unless they come HIGHLY recommended, and even then, take your pinch of salt with you just in case), than to die in silence, enduring a miserable marriage.
4. The physical aspect of sex is over-emphasised. Sex isn’t just physical, even though the porn culture will have us believe that it is. It is as much about whom you’re having it with as it is about what they’re doing to your body. That’s why in a monogamous relationship as marriage, your sex life actually depends on how healthy, vibrant and fulfilling your marriage relationship is. It’s the relationship that makes the sex really great, not the other way around. If you can’t connect in a satisfying way emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, your marriage will suffer regardless of how many sex toys you buy.
5. People change. I think it’s actually crazy that we are expected to commit to a person for life, who will not remain the same person for life. However, I’m very sure there is a higher purpose for this craziness, so, err, please tell me if you find it or know it already. What can we do, in the meantime? Because you will grow and change and your partner will do same, you both can actually make this work in your favour. The key is to try as much as possible to grow together. Instead of doing your own thing all the time, carry each other along and share experiences.
6. People don’t change. Don’t worry, I’m not losing it. There is a part of a person that makes them who they are, and that core will never change. Their essence remains the same, and this makes it easier to work around everything else that drops off or is added on. When the butterflies cease to flutter in your tummy and the shivers stop running down your spine, when the wedding cake has been digested and flushed down guests’ toilets, and life starts happening with in-laws, kids, bills, and other not-so-romantic things, you will be left with the PERSON that you chose.
7. It gets better. I wish someone had told me this early enough. Marriage is a package deal. The good times and the bad times are part of it. It’s actually pretty much like life. I wish I knew not to panic every time something unpleasant happened. It always felt like the end of the marriage for me. In reality it’s rarely that serious. When two people are sincere about doing what it takes to make a marriage beautiful, regardless of how different their personalities are and how much they have to learn and unlearn, their marriage will be beautiful even with its scars.
What did you learn about marriage this year?