My husband and I just celebrated four years of marriage. We had a simple home-cooked meal where we talked about what we’ve learned about marriage and if the meat on our plate was cooked enough. I thought I’d share the meatier part of our conversation with you. By that I mean, our lessons about marriage. I’ll let you Google how to cook steak properly on your own. 😛
These “lessons” may seem rather typical at a glance. I’ve heard them many times before, but only now I can say I finally understand. So here we go.
Marriage is a commitment… for everything!
Every time I hear “Marriage is a commitment”, my soap opera imagination would take me to scenarios of couples struggling to stay faithful to each other as a third party conveniently lingers nearby. But it soon occurred to me that this “commitment” is to be applied for things that are right in your face, right now. It is a commitment to forgive even when you don’t feel like it. It is a commitment to accept that person as they are.
It is a commitment to keep believing and seeing the best in each other even when we are at our worst.
And these “acts of commitment” are not big one-off events that people are going to reward you for. They are required on a DAILY basis behind the scenes as you discover each other’s true selves. The reward is being fully known, and fully loved. Imagine that! 🙂
Marriage reveals your selfishness… but that’s not all.
I would often hear married couples say that marriage shows you how selfish you truly are. I didn’t get that at first. I mean, how much of a villain can an average person possibly be? And what’s the point of making such a negative statement anyway? But my eyes were soon opened to my own selfishness.
“Okay, so fine. Yes, I’m very selfish. Now what?”, I thought. Then it occurred to me… of course we are naturally selfish. For example, the only person I have ever truly needed to look out for before this, was myself. Even with “eldest sibling responsibilities”, I had never intentionally vowed to love and cherish someone for better or for worse, till the day I got married. So therefore, the need to practice selflessness is just a new thing, not an impossible thing. While marriage may reveal how selfish you can be, I think it’s also the same place where you get to learn to be selfless. It’s the start towards becoming a better version of yourself.
Marriage means we are a team… in all aspects of the word.
I’m borrowing this one from my husband. I knew what he was referring to when he said this and I really appreciated it. It’s no secret that many men struggle to share their thoughts and feelings with their wives. Perhaps it’s due to how boys are brought up. They are often expected not to cry or express themselves, and to “man up” and deal with problems on their own.
So I imagine if this is the social construct someone grew up in, it can be a very new thing to realise that you’re not meant to operate alone in a marriage. That…
it is okay (and necessary) to express how you feel and what you’re thinking, even if your thoughts, ideas, or solutions aren’t complete. The idea is to problem-solve together as a team.
This is a lesson for me too as I’m used to calling the shots. Growing up as the eldest sibling, I needed to be the decision-maker when our parents were away for work. As an adult, I took on professional roles with responsibilities to lead events, projects, and inexperienced teams. As you can imagine, my mind is on “go mode” most of the time, quickly making decisions that I can see working best. With marriage, it takes effort for me to remember that this household, our lives, and our relationship isn’t some project to execute perfectly. It is to be experienced with trial and error as a team. To make room for someone else’s way of seeing “what works best” and adapt. Like my husband always says, “We’ll figure it out together.”
If you’re about to get married, I hope this gives you something to look forward to. If you are already married, I hope you know that you’re not alone. We’re all here, figuring it out together. I’ll have more to learn about marriage as the years go by of course. But right now I am certain of this: Marriage is a beautiful story to be co-created and savoured together. That itself, even if imperfect… is a privilege and honour to have.