On Marriage

I was deeply saddened to discover that the husband of a couple I greatly admire is being unfaithful to his spouse. Another friend confessed that her spouse had criticised her for not losing the weight she gained from having his babies. I have seen for myself relationships where one spouse does not respect and value the person they chose to marry. Couple who keep secrets from each other, who would rather discuss their problems with their friends instead of with each other.

Like all other couples, my husband and I have our problems. We disagree about money, about how much time to spend with extended family and how much charity we do. Occasionally we argue about his driving or my inattentiveness. I think he drives like a loon on speed and he thinks I am too busy to listen to his blow by blow accounts on his conversations at work. We’re both guilty.

But after many years of practise (having been married almost 12 years and having dated for another 3 before tying the knot) we’ve come to realise that we did the right thing; marrying our best friend. One day, sex will be too much effort for our frail bones, good food too hard to digest and the cinema, too dangerous for our old selves. Our children may forge lives in countries far away (or they may not) and our friends dead or divorced. But we will still have each other, I hope.

Here are a few things we’ve come to realise

  1. Marriage isn’t really for ever. It’s for as long as your work at it and appreciate it.
  2. Don’t marry someone unless you respect and admire them. Wrinkles and extra fat on ones person do not affect these such feelings.
  3. Keep as few secrets as possible from each other. Insecurities can escalate to full blown paranoid fantasies and for no good reason.
  4. Be kindest to each other.
  5. Don’t go to bed angry. It’s really hard and almost unavoidable but have done this in the past and it sets the stage for months of festering anger.

And with regards to children, remember

  1. You chose to bring them into this world.
  2. You owe it to them to work hard at your marriage
  3. Do not begrudge them the time they take up. One day they will be so grown up and independent and farther away from you in more ways than you can think.

And finally, remember that change is the only constant we can depend on. What we resent today may well be something or someone we crave tomorrow.

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3 thoughts on “On Marriage

  1. I didn’t bring this on, did I? Here are my responses following the sequence of yours ( I know you will indulge me, kind friend)

    1. I am the third generation not big on marriage. It doesn’t matter to my family if I live with a different man than the man I have children with or I have children with a man I don’t live in the same household with. Modeling! For us the most important thing is at that point before lust there is an intention to bring children into this world to be loved and that either one or both is committed to their well-being to the best of our knowledge and abilities.

    2. I told my BF over chat, “Honey, I have a confession. I gained 4kg.” He said, “It’s OK, I didn’t love you for your looks, I love you for your heart.” I replied, “But what’s wrong with my looks? Am I that ugly?” – LoL. Men can’t win.

    3. Sigh. I don’t know about #3. I am actually OK with him keeping some secrets because I want to have the liberty to keep some secrets from him. I’m OK with a Mr. and Mrs. Smith situation because both he and I know that if anything ever comes up for us we will have each other’s back if anyone comes between us or our family or each of our business pursuits.

    4. Yeah. I have to work on that. I am trying very hard. Really. You sensed the vibe-shift. 🙂 Great as a warrior but immature as a lover I am.

    As for the points on children – I don’t think I have it in me that toughness to work on a marriage for the sake of the children so I’m not even thinking about marriage in the first place. Motherly Love and commitment towards my children do not appear to translate automatically to commitment to my adult, heterosexual relationship with their father. What’s important to me, though ,is that both he and I have agreed at least on principle that these are children we asked for, intended for, prayed for and are committed to raise.

    I admire so much the sweet pictures of married family. Such a blessing. But to have that I have to make some personal sacrifices. And I am too selfish to make sacrifices. I am not magnanimous enough. My needs come first before that of a man’s. And very few men, if any, will put up with a woman who will eventually compete with him.

  2. I most certainly was not reacting to you 🙂 Your situation is unique and you are strong to have come out on top.

    This is something that I have pondered for a while. What makes some marriages work and others not. And it was probably aimed at those who are married, with or without children who think they’ve ‘fallen out of love’. Too many people have a Hollywood/DIsney’ view of love; a romance between two ridiculously well dressed people who know nothing about each other. And I felt the need to clarify, even if only very few may read this.

    • I think we talked about what makes marriages work. You have to bring two whole,complete persons with self-love and self-approval, both personal and shared goals and integrity into a marriage.

      I think what makes marriage work or not is choice : Do you want it enough or not? If you want it that means the pleasure outweighs the gain. But there’s no right or wrong just a matter of beliefs and perception. If you want it to work you have to do whatever it takes. To make the WIT easier one must commit to understanding oneself, one’s motivations for, and how to meet each other’s needs.

      Underlying all duality are pretty much the same principles. What makes some people poor, middle-class or rich? What makes schooling work for some and why others homeschool/unschool? What makes self-directed learners and why are some unable to self-start? etc etc etc. Principles are pretty much the same after you’ve gone through each and every one of those in-depth. IMHO lah.

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