In this world, there exists a lot of negativity about marriage. Well, as a married woman, I’d like to tell all my unmarried friends that life certainly doesn’t go downhill after you say “I do”. I’m not saying everyone is the same, but I just want to be clear that marriage can and is meant to be wonderful and that it is worth waiting for the right person.
The best “piece of paper” ever! Credit: Alvin Wong
What the world tells you about marriage:
- Marriage is a burden: No, it’s not a ball and chain. It’s a partnership that makes life easier. When you’re dating, don’t get caught up in picking someone you think would be a good “husband” or “wife”, you want to also pick a great friend. It might sound a bit “duh” but truth is many couples fall apart because they stop communicating, sharing things with each other, and supporting each other the way you’d do with a good friend. Your spouse should be your greatest friend and cheerleader.
- We fall in love due to a chemical reaction in our brains and this “lovey-dovey” feeling only lasts two years (and that the “real test” begins after that): I always hate it when people pooh pooh a new couple’s romantic gestures and say “yea wait until you’ve been together X years/you’re married”. And you wonder why people are scared of marriage. Ignore the party poopers. If you’re with the right person, the love only gets better, not worse.
- The romance dies after you say “I do”: Only if you want it to. A good man doesn’t stop opening the doors just because you’re married. You don’t stop going out on dates or surprising each other. Reality check: You’re in control of your own actions. No one makes the decisions for you. Life is as good as you make it!
- Love is a battlefield: No need to whip out the armour. It isn’t a competition. There isn’t any score-keeping e.g I washed the dishes today so you should take out the trash. It’s about serving each other. Try thinking “What can I do today to make my spouse’s life better?” If you serve your spouse, he/she will naturally reciprocate. And if you really do need him to take out the trash- then just tell him. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
- The first year of marriage is the hardest: If anything, the first year of marriage is a whole heap of fun! You don’t need to drive half an hour to see each other anymore! You can live your life together! Why is that not fun? Just know what you’re getting into, respect each other, and communicate openly and you’ll be fine. The most important thing is to put each other first. A lot of people struggle with the first year because they expected to be put first, but feel second to career, friends, or even video games. It doesn’t mean being joined at the hip, it’s just about doing the right things to make your spouse feel that they’re the number one priority. For example, I don’t mind if V goes out with his friends because I’m 100% secure in the fact that if I were to call him and tell him that I needed him, he would come home immediately because he puts me first (and he trusts that I’ll tell him clearly when I truly needed him- not play some guilt-tripping-hope-you-get-the-hint game).
- Living together is hard: I think a lot of people are very naive about merging lives. It’s often not a walk in the park, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing either. It can really be an exciting journey where you learn more about your partner and yourself. Approach it with an open heart, communicate, and pick your battles. If there is something which is really not a big deal, then don’t pick a fight. Toilet seat up? Just put it down! No biggie! If he does something that truly annoys you, then talk about it. If you’re both giving the relationship 100%, you’d want to do things to please each other. I think it’s weird how people train their dog with positive reinforcement but when it comes to their spouse, all they do is nag and complain and try to make them feel bad. Focus on creating solutions and moving forward, rather than dwelling on the negatives. It really does not achieve anything except create a bad energy in your home.
- It’s not a real relationship until you’ve had your first fight: Well, I have news for you. Fighting doesn’t make a relationship- communication does! People are always surprised when I tell them V and I don’t fight. I’m sorry- did I miss something? Was marriage supposed to be about throwing plates?
Above all, I highly recommend choosing the right person to marry. This sounds silly but a lot of people have problems because they don’t get this right. Don’t ignore the warning signs: constant fighting, disagreements, lack of communication, your friends/family don’t like him/her, you’re constantly breaking up and getting back together, you don’t look forward to seeing him/her…
Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with you or your partner as individuals. You may just be wrong TOGETHER. If you’re not married, then I say get out of it. You might ask “But aren’t relationships about WORKING through problems?” Yes it is. But if you’re with the wrong person, you’ll have to work ten times as hard. Why put yourself through that? A lot of people end up staying together out of “familiarity” and naturally think the next step is getting married. Believe me, it’s not worth it. It may hurt to break up now, but it feels a lot worse to divorce or be stuck in a loveless marriage.
Love isn’t hard. It is effortless. V and I work hard in the sense that we make it a point to spend a lot of time together but it’s NOT a chore. We do it because we want to. The love comes easy. Contrary to what everyone tells you, being married shouldn’t make you want to bang your head against a brick wall. It should be a safe haven you want to run back home to at the end of a hard day.
So if you’re getting married, be positive. You’re getting into a good thing! if you’re still single, keep praying, be patient, and be open, and don’t feel so down about your situation. Pick someone you know will do you good and don’t feel pressured to settle because of your age. And if you’re already married, I hope you have a wonderful relationship. If not, all you can do is work hard and pray harder!