12 Years…

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 ūüėČ

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…)

Oh my, how young we looked... i am not sure what happened to that pig... i really did like it very much...
Oh my, how young we looked… i am not sure what happened to that pig… i really did like it very much…


It Has Been 11 Years!…

Yesterday was our 11th Wedding Anniversary!

i have been married for 11 years – that is … WOW!

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.

Picture from one of my favourite movies, Up, Words credit: lovequotesandsayings.com
Picture from one of my favourite movies, Up, Words credit: lovequotesandsayings.com

The article below sums up my thoughts on a lasting marriage:

7 Thoughts that Will Change Your Marriage | To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

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!


It Has Been 10 Years…

Celebrating 10 years of marriage – photo by Tobias

…yep, 10 years… 6 days ago we celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

Now 10 years is nothing compared to the 40 years my parents have been married and is definitely a mere wink in time compared to my in-laws who have been married more than 50 years. But it has been a decade and worth celebrating and so we did.

Now those of you who know my husband well, know that he is not the romantic sort and not into celebrations as much as i am. So it would be no surprise to you that i had to state, in no uncertain terms, to my husband that i fully expect a celebration of sorts. i left the details to him… hmmm… maybe i should have been more specific?

Oh, don’t get me wrong – it was a good effort on his part and i fully appreciate it. But he decided to keep where we were going a surprise. Normally if we were leaving together from the house that would be fine. But i had a seminar to organise and attend that morning and had assume i would be able to get home and change before we set off for the celebration dinner.

Nope. He called me after i finished and asked if i could take the train directly to Geneva – he was 5 minutes too late with that call. i was already on the train, heading home. So it was decided i would meet him and the boy at our train station. Now why was all this a problem?

Because i was wearing the wrong shoes – i was wearing my “transport-to-chair”¬†4 inch ankle boots (only for the 3rd time) and these boots were definitely NOT made for walking. However, walk we did as we were early for the dinner.

The 5 dishes we ordered… we ate a bit before i remember to take the photo… hehhee ūüėČ

Where did we go? We went to the Singapore restaurant in Geneva, called Jeck (i think). It is located fairly near the main train station but it was in a neighbourhood i consider to be a little shady. The servers were really nice and the variety on the menu good. We only ordered a few dishes as it was just the 3 of us.

The Mulligatawny soup was not bad, a little too peppery for my taste (personal preference). The spring roll was more Vietnamese style than Singaporean, which i quite like. The duck was ok, the fish good and the claypot tofu average. It was a good overall dining experience.

But we think it is a little too far for us to get to. We literally took the train there, had dinner and had to take the train home or it would be too late for the boy. Also we think that in terms of food taste and variety, the Singapore Restaurant in Zurich is a little better and not as far away from us.

Now some of you might ask, “10 years huh? Any words of wisdom?”

Sigh! Words of wisdom i think not but i will share you with what i have learnt personally in 10 years of marriage.

1) Pick Your Fights – that’s right, it is not worth fighting about who left the toilet seat up or who should clean up after dinner. Save your energy for the big ones – such as what colour to paint the walls… hehhehee… no, just kidding. Seriously though, you need to think about what is worth fighting about – will your marriage or life together fall apart if you don’t bring this matter up? Does it bug you so much you can’t sleep?

2) Fight Fair – there is a right way to fight and a wrong way to fight. Never attack your spouse’s character or person. Point out specific behaviours and say how the behaviour itself makes you feel or how you perceive specific actions or spoken words. And keep the past in the past – no fair bringing up things you have not spoken about for months or years. You would not want your spouse to do that to you, so show the same courtesy.

3) Laugh Together – lots of laughter is good for your health and for your marriage. Try your best to have more happy moments than upsetting ones. (something i learnt in our marriage counselling sessions) i always tell people that i married my husband because he makes me laugh. And it is true, i look at him and i can’t help smiling. It is one of the reasons i can’t stay angry with him for very long.

4) Be Encouraging – you like it when people tell you, “Well Done.” Just because you are married to the person doesn’t mean you stop telling that person how good he/she is at what he/she does. You will find that people tend to do more of the things people say they are good at. So if you want a spouse who helps out more with the housework, then bring on the showers of “Thank You. You are a great help.” for every little bit done.

5) Be Proud – boast of your spouse to others. And it doesn’t hurt if he/she happens to overhear the bragging. It’s nice to know you are appreciated and overhearing such praise will bring sunshine to anyone’s day which will shine and shine.

6) Be Alone – it is ok to be alone and do your own thing. You don’t have to do every single together, just because you are married. This used to upset me – i wanted so very much for us to share all of the same interests. We do have some shared interest but we enjoy different activities too, and it is ok. i write, i craft, i read, i photograph. He has his football, his various online newspapers, his guitar, his tech stuff. You have to learn to be yourself first before you can come together as a couple. i learnt that the hard way.

7) Be A Team of 3 – for us, this is very important; it is me, my husband and God. God plays a very important part in our lives. He is the third person in this marriage and God holds us together. Our faith in Jesus Christ binds us together.

Oh one more thing, having a kid does root you to the ground more and it helps put a perspective on your life and your marriage…

The above list is in part inspired by Lydia Netzer: 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years.

Click here for last year’s celebration.