Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Musings: The Meaning of Marriage

a long ago save-the-date image by Cherie Lim

This post was meant to go up on my wedding anniversary a week ago, but different things came up and it was left hanging in drafts. Several married readers had a good laugh reading this post and asked me to write my take on marriage - here it is!

So here we go, two years of marriage down and hopefully fifty more to go!

I really really like this photo of us. Not only does it reflect our personalities, it also tells you about the dynamics we share. If opposites attract, then 'complements' get married!

J.G. is much taller than I am, but since I LOVE TO TALK to him, I find my neck in this strained position most of the time when we're walking together.

1. Walking hand-in-hand

Holding hands with your spouse can never be overrated. More often than not, we take this privilege for granted. Ask any married couple, 'do you hold hands?' They'd probably say yes without any hesitation. But try this question instead - 'when was the last time you held hands?'

Being able to walk hand-in-hand is a privilege. I say so because in a couple of years, between the two us, we might be struggling with a toddler, an infant, stroller and diaper bag all at once. At which point we will not have the luxury of holding hands.

2. Comfortably silent

Recently a young single fellow asked me, 'how do I know she's the one I ought to marry?'
I asked him if it was comfortable sitting in silence with her.

Being able to sit silent together shows a high level of trust and comfort with your other half, and that's really important in a marriage.

Silence is also a very J.G. way of lending strength, being the stoic person he is. When grandpa died, I was devastated. All J.G. did was sit quietly next to me and that lent me a lot of strength. In more recent times, I was torn by news of a good friend getting a divorce. Rather than joining me in my ranting, he sat quietly next to me, pressing my hand securely in his, giving me more comfort than any words could.

It might be surprising, but there are days I really don't feel like talking at all. Thankfully, I married someone who's totally alright with that. No awkward turtles ever.

3. Laugh yourself silly

The photo might be too small for you to tell, but I'm actually really grinning in that photo. I was very embarrassed when I saw him the morning of the shoot, because I realised *to my horror* that we were wearing matching / complimentary colours. Yes, I find couple clothing very disturbing. So the whole time posing and shooting, I was giggling from the shame of it all.

Being married doesn't mean you become mature adults and lose your laughs overnight. Living and dating the same person again and again, every single day 'till death do us part' better involve laughing together or it'll be impossible to get through.

We laugh together about everything and anything. The little boy who wailed because he was afraid of water. The silly expression of a mutual friend in a photograph. We laugh when we accidentally say same the same thing. It's not easy to make me laugh because I laugh at everything, but he makes an effort to make sure I laugh heartily every single day and for that, I'm grateful.

4. Forgive before bed

It's a marriage cliche, but I'm not sure how many adhere to it.

When quarrels get fiery right before bed, you feel tempted to throw this mantra to outer space. But it's between your pride and your marriage. Which would you rather keep? I'd like to keep my marriage thank you very much.

5. Marry your complement

While the term opposites attract may be true, being married is a whole other ball game. Being married to someone opposite of you can be a road to conflict, there's so much more to overcome if you're facing each other on a daily basis. It may be attraction at the start, but be careful when the attraction turns to friction.

Instead, marry someone who complements you. Having led a group a young people together for five to siz years and working on various camp committees together, J.G. and I have learnt that we are complements long before we were attracted to one another.

He knew I needed to talk conflicts through immediately, I trusted him to look for practical ways to solve problems. He came to me if he needed something communicated to a large audience, I'd call him up if I were stuck on an issue for too long and needed a bigger view of the situation.

This affects our marriage directly. When I get all emotional, I know that home is the direction to run towards. It's where I'll meet the calm, collected listener. When he's had a stressful day at work, home is where he knows he can unwind and just be quiet. I'll definitely be there to cheer him up with my silly antics or simply read quietly next to him.


Many tell us, we're still in honeymoon stage and that's why marriage is still so rosy.
What they don't see, is the effort we make everyday to place the other first, to hold our tongues when we're angry, to hug before bed even if we just argued and the list goes on.
They may be right, or they may be wrong. In any case, we're happy together right now and we would like to stay happy in the years to come.

What is important to you in a marriage? Or in your search for a marriage partner?


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