Wow! 20 years of marriage… it’s not super long but it’s a good length of time. It has not been plain sailing all the way, but we have had our moments and we have journeyed together through it all.
We don’t do big celebrations, never have done. So it was our usual quiet celebratory dinner out. The husband chose a brand new restaurant to try, like super brand new; they were only opened a week or two ago. The food was nice. The service was a little slow but considering it was just two persons managing front of house and they’re new, it’s ok.
Yep, it has been 12 years to the day since my beloved husband and i said, “I do.”
How has it been? Well, it has been up and down, it had its highs and lows, as well as laughs and tears. So pretty much a normal marriage 😉
Any wise words after that number of years? i’m not sure i have wise words but i can share some of what i have learnt.
1) Marry someone who makes you laugh. This is most helpful during the stressful times, the times he/she makes you so mad you wanna … (you fill in the blank here), also great during the times when you are sad, or simply crying over a sad movie (yep, that’s me). Plus being able to laugh at hard times is so essential to surviving those times.
2) Fight fair. Never used past sore points (you were supposed to have forgiven and forgotten that last time), never pick on their weaknesses or belittle the other person. Stay on topic. One thing is not related to another – at least not when a couple is fighting. Be clear what you want – do you just want to be heard? Or do you want to see specific actions taken?
3) Communicate clearly. Make sure you close that feedback loop when talking to each other so you are both on the same page. Feedback loop? Well, for me that just means repeating back to the person what you are hearing from him/her. You will be surprised how you can be hearing one thing and the other person really means something different.
4) Close both eyes. Especially in matters of who leaves what chaos behind them and who does or does not clean up after themselves. Don’t even bring up the matter of the toilet seat. Some things are just not worth fighting about. You married the person so accept the person wholly; the good, the ugly and the wonderful.
5) If you have children, always present a united front. Never undermined your partner’s authority if he/she has already addressed an issue with your child, even if you do not agree with what he/she has done. You can talk with your partner later, out of earshot of the kids. This will give your kids security, knowing that mummy and daddy are one unit and they don’t have to worry about things collapsing. See here for a bit more details.
6) Everybody needs alone time. Respect that. You do not have to do everything together all of the time. (This was a hard one for me to learn.) Teach your children to have alone time / down-time, there is no need to go go go all the time. You can never give of yourself to another person if you are not wholly satisfied or complete in yourself. You have heard, “A happy mummy is a good mummy.”? Well, same goes for the daddy and even the kids.
7) Love and Marriage are hard things to do. But so worth it. Yes, marriage needs work and love causes pain. But they will also brings joy and happiness. See the following article for where i draw my strength and inspiration from… You Never Marry the Right Person | RELEVANT Magazine.
There are many other little things i have experienced and learnt from in the last 12 years, many of which apply to our specific circumstances but i think the above 7 points pretty much covers most of them.
What about you? Do you have anything else to add about marriage, love and staying married?
i leave you with this picture… taken a year before our wedding… (why not from our wedding day? Cos we don’t have one of just us alone and facing the camera… hahha…)
Has all been happily ever after? Nope! We are not a fairytale. Has it been frustrating? Definitely (at times), as every relationship is. Has it been loving? Yes! Why else would we have gotten married in the first place. Has it been challenging? Of course! After all we are taking two very different people and getting them to live under the same roof and build a life together. Has it been exciting? Yes! Exciting to get to know each other more, exciting as we move to a whole new country together, exciting as we became a family of 3 and we look forward to more exciting years. Has it been wonderful? Yes! It has been wonderful knowing there is someone in this world who would be there for you, someone who would come home and be happy to see you there, someone who cares enough to let you finish the last ice cream on a hot summer’s day, someone who would let you talk his head off and look interested even if it’s a topic he doesn’t understand, someone who makes you smile.
11 years isn’t a long time but it isn’t a short time either. And through the years i have learnt lots.
The article below sums up my thoughts on a lasting marriage:
1. God is Your Father-in-law.
While i tend to think of God as Father to both of us, it works the same work. Being accountable to God for your actions as a spouse gives one a sense of … for lack of a better word… awe; an awareness of the need to give your best in this marriage.
2. I Can’t Change Him; I Can Only Change Me
This is so very very true. No one can make another human being change. Only God can do that. But we can make a decision, a conscious effort to change our reactions, our responses to the other’s actions/words. i pray daily that God grant me patience and understanding in being a wife.
3. Marriage is More About Holiness than Happiness
i have never thought of it this way. But my point of view is that marriage is a 2-way affair so there is always give and take. But if we keep count of how much we give and how much we get to take, then there is no true love; true love as described in the Bible does not “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor 13:5). Keeping no records! And focusing on the needs of the other above our own. God’s training ground for us to love the world more by learning to love in a safe environment.
4. You Will Never Drift Together; You Will Only Ever Drift Apart
While we try our best, most of the time his work travel schedule and my housekeeping/child-caring schedule leaves us little time for actually going out for a date type thing. So we settle for the next best thing, being with each other at home, after the kid has gone to bed. As long as he is here (i.e. not travelling), we also eat dinner together once a week (since kid started Judo a few years ago).
5. The Marriage Comes Before The Kid
i don’t think we ever sat down and talk this one out. We are Asian after all. We know that the other is important and we need each other to make this family work. So we take care of each other in little ways. Sometimes i do feel more could be done, BUT… i know he tries his best and i do too and that is all that matters.
6. If You Win a Battle, You Often Lose a War
i’m a non-confrontational person. i had the opposite problem; being unable to express my anger about things which really bugged me. i eventually exploded. Over the years i have gotten better and i think now i’m at a good point where if things really bother me, i think it through clearly for a few days and then i tell him i need to talk and we sit down and he listens. He is a man of few words and generally happy to go with the flow so there is little which bother him BUT if he is bothered, he does let me know, then i know it is really important to him. So i listen.
7. I Can Determines My Thoughts
This one took me a long while to learn. But i am getting good at it. i have an active imagination and it tends to run away, taking me with it. i’m getting good at telling it to stop and come back. Little by little imagination calms down and i can see the silver lining; the good things, which are so so so many many many.
My husband sometimes drives me insane but he is a most amazing, wonderful man who makes me laugh! And i love him!