Saturday, May 16, 2015

Finding Mr Right and all the other wrong BGR clichés

better together
a candid still from our wedding day

This is part II for those who are wondering. Part one was a short rant before I appeared as a guest on a BGR forum, which I obviously survived (not without sweaty palms and blushing uncontrollably).
How J.G. speaks so shamelessly confidently about love and relationships is a mystery to me. Friends who were in the audience smirked at my discomfort and obvious desire to bury my head in the ground.

But as I promised, should I survive the forum I would share an honest and open reflection about my own take on BGR. Here are some more annoying cliches and my thoughts on them -

1. Breaking up because you discover he/she is not THE ONE

Bullocks and barnacles. Clearly the clown who first thought of this phrase was just making up an excuse to break up with some she/he stopped wanting to be committed too. But too many of us fall prey to this romantic idea of 'THE ONE'.

This concept is based on the premise that there is one and only one other person out there that is a perfect fit for you.

How dangerous. I say that because, I'm not perfect myself. So how can it can that there ought to be the expectation that someone out there is perfect for me or that I'm perfect for him?

When disagreements arise and bad days come along, those who subscribe to this theory can easily brush it off as, 'oh, I guess he's not the one for me then.'

See how that puts a DEAD END sign to any relationship (even marriage). Any human relationship will have its flaws and sharp edges simply because we're all still a work in progress.

'The one' concept though could be applied in the context of the marriage altar. Many a wise person has said, 'once you say I do, that's a done deal.' He's the one the moment I say 'I do', there will be no more looking out for Mr Right once you've decided on the covenant of marriage. Rather than trying to hypnotise myself into believing he's the perfect dude for me, I instead try every day to work towards doing better as his wife. In my case, not strangling him when he wears clashing colours to work or puts socks in the washing with the rest of my clothes. 

2. I'm still looking for Mr Right

Refer to point 1.

3. Marrying your first love

This is the quote from last week that garnered the most comments. So I guess it's a big deal.

Let me just say that I think it's a wonderful thing if you have the opportunity to do so. During the course of your first relationship, you find that she's all that you were ever looking for in a wife and you get married. You are both very very blessed.

However I must also say that this is the exception not the rule. There are folks I know who live by this and insist others do the same. Their stand is - you have to marry the first person you date.

No you don't. While I do agree we enter into a serious relationship with marriage in mind, we ought not limit ourselves as such. As mentioned previously we are imperfect and therefore highly capable of making bad decisions.

How many of us have dreamt of marrying our crushes only to realise that he/she was a nightmare narcissist? This only comes about through dating the person.

Dating is the process that allows both parties and the community around them to assess how suitable they are to marry one another. So of course there are times this doesn't work out!

Nugget of irony - my first boyfriend and I broke up because at 18, he decided he wanted to run a business in Singapore and I had a desire to travel around Asia doing village work. At 30, now he works as a middleman bringing and training students to help villages in Southeast Asia. While I'm stuck in Singapore running a business. It's amusing to look back, but not so amusing if we had insisted on marrying one another at that point.


An Epilogue

While I'm not an authority on BGR, there are two words by which relationships I've valued are build on. Community and Communication.

We're so fickle. Commitment is too difficult for us, especially in this convenient age where information only a second away on a search engine. But what I've found helpful is Community. Friends and family to share our joys and struggles with. Our marriage would be impossible if not for the hard work, dedication and love of those around us. Selflessly inviting us to their homes for meals, decorating our home and sharing their children with us.

Exclusivity is relationship suicide because when the sparks stop flying and you don't feel like loving, that's where it'll end. Since it was just about you and him / her in the first place. This is where communities help relationships to thrive. I see him as he attempts to play with his toddler nephew, he sees my struggle to put together a home cooked meal for the extended family. Our capacity for love expands as a result.

Lastly, Communication. Silence breeds discord. Why? Because (even if you're not saying anything) the stench of bitterness can be smelt miles away. Unmet expectations is a key reason for break ups. But where does it stem from - unspoken expectations.

For sure, women love surprises. But sometimes, telling him and then getting exactly what you want trumps the fake smile you have to put on when the surprise is unpleasant. 'Look honey, it's a life-sized teddy bear for our 10th year anniversary'. I would most likely stab him with a fork.


May we all stop searching for love in all the wrong places and start generously loving others first.


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