Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It conjures images of smiling couples, flowers and hearts. On the streets and on Facebook, we are filled with messages of love. But is that what marriage is? Is it only about the sweet things and the good times? Lately, this topic has cropped up quite a bit around me, and sadly, the picture is not all pretty.
#1 recently went for a self-awareness camp. There was a sharing session whereby they were free to share their family’s problems to encourage compassion towards one another. She was very surprised that the majority of her classmates had parents who were either already divorced, are separated or are not on good terms.
It is a very somber and disturbing trend. Sometimes couples hang on for the sake of their kids when they are young, however, it is no easier for teenagers to go through their parent’s divorce. It is a time when they are searching for their identity and are looking to their parents for security and a role-model.
Some of us grew up with fairy tales and have high expectations of what marriage should be. We get the erroneous impression that after a big and beautiful wedding, we will settle down to Happily Ever After. Could that be why weddings are getting bigger and more beautiful? Perhaps Disney should do society a favour by launching a new series depicting the realities of married life, and equipping the princesses with conflict resolution skills. I’m sure it will go a long way to moderate young girls’ expectations of marriage.
The hubs and I did not have a wedding celebration at all although my SILs did throw #1 a huge party to celebrate her birth. (Speaking of which, she’s turning sweet 16 this year, can I count on you guys to throw her another huge party? haha… My, my, how time flies.) Oops, digressed. Where was I? Yes, parties.. and marriage. Perhaps when our marriage makes it to the 25 year mark, then that’s something to celebrate!
My single friends look at us married ones and think that once they find the right guy, they can settle down, have a few kids and live a blissful married life. Simple. Ask any married couple, honestly, how true is that? I would say that if you have found and married your soul mate, you are extremely blessed.
In fact, I advise my single friends to solve their issues with their man before getting married and having kids. In the early years of marriage, it’s the honeymoon period. Thereafter, the daily issues, disagreements, and differences start to surface and it’s easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side. We see other couples looking very happy and wish our husband was more caring, more understanding, more generous, more whatever.
The reality is that they are also probably looking at your marriage and wish they had a marriage like yours! There is so much that goes on behind closed doors, and I’m sure every marriage has it’s challenges. Just as we need to pick up skills in parenting, we need to pick up skills to improve our marriages by reading or attending conventions to learn better ways of handling our marriages.
When I meet up with close friends, the subject invariably revolves around marriage and children, and the sad thing is that we see a lot of marriages facing tough times. Times when you question if you have married the right person. Times when you want to walk out the door but stay on because of the children. Times when you have to deal with an infidelity.
The answers are never easy and the vicissitudes of married life may sometimes seem too tough to face. In times like that, we need good friends to turn to for support, and perhaps a faith to see us through.
The truth is that marriage is not a bed of roses. And love is more than an emotion. It is a commitment. A commitment to forgiveness, a commitment to patience, a commitment to communication, and so much more. Before we even try to change our spouses, we should look at our own shortcomings. It is also helpful to recognise each other’s love language, be it words, deeds, gifts, touch, or time.
#4 made this pancake for me when she went for breakfast with her friend. Even with all it’s imperfections, I treasure it a lot. Would be a great way to think of marriage, wouldn’t it?
|S I N C E R E H E A R T
Life Lesson #8: Teach our children compassion by little actions
Life Lesson #9: What have we done to our children
Life Lesson #10: Why we went on holiday just before the PSLE
Life Lesson #11: What must kids do for us to stop pushing them over the edge
Life Lesson #13: Confronting death teaches you about life
Life Lesson #14: To measure our lives in love
Life Lesson #15: The day they fly
Life Lesson #16: Do our kids even know we love them
Life Lesson #17: What are we worth, mums
Life Lesson #18: What do you do when you get sick of parenting
Life Lesson #19: The tragedy of our society
Life Lesson #20: Will you teach your girls to find a rich husband
Life Lesson #21: Are we slowly killing ourselves
Life Lesson #22: What does it take to keep a marriage going