We had our first proper lesson yesterday and I was looking forward to it! Basically this class is meant for those who are married within the first two years and through the discussion and sharing from fellow couples, it is hoped that they bring back some lessons and thoughts for reflection.
Ken and I got married after a seven-month courtship. We were not any young kids who acted rashly ( at least I hope!) and the good thing was we found that we shared the same values which was important to us. We had not have any big argument during our courtship and this blissful times extended to the first year of our marriage. We were living with our parents then (weekdays, my place and weekends, his place) and thus things were a lot easy for us. We got to observe how we were brought up when we lived with the respective in-laws and thus this helped us a little in our perception of each other.
But of course, all is not bliss and will NEVER be when you are living with a person who is different from you. I don’t want people to think that we have no troubles. The fact is, we DO face more conflicts along the way especially when we have to do everything ourselves now. I intend to be plain in sharing my thoughts through the lessons learnt from this class, with the permission of dear hubs, of course. I don’t know if it is a taboo to talk about relationship woes but it feels strange to only hear of the good stuff and nothing of the bad ones. We live in a fallen world, mind you, and surely things will not go smooth all the time. Hopefully, these entries will serve to give you a glimpse into a couple’s world and the struggles some of you will face (if you are not married yet) in the near future. But then again, let me qualify. These are just some of our experiences as a very young couple and there is definitely a lot more struggles as we progress in our journey especially when major decisions have to be made (e.g. purchase of house, renovation and design, children, work vs family, etc).
So here goes!
So first up, question 1: Have you faced the myths of marriage with honesty?
In the class, a few myths were highlighted.
Myth 1: We expect exactly the same things from marriage
What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expect generally happens – especially in marriage. For every one of us, we live by a set of rules that is rarely spoken but always known. These rules become more vocal when our spouse “breaks” them. The second source of mismatched expectations involves the unconscious roles that the couple falls into, almost involuntarily. Without knowing it, the couple is drawn into acting out roles that they form from a blend of their personal dispositions, family backgrounds and marital expectations.
In my mind, I have always perceived Ken to be the one who would keep the romance going in the relationship. So I would be expecting poems and little surprises from him (poor him!) but when I didn’t receive them, I would be upset and of course, he would not know what caused me to be so downcast! Until the day that I eventually let out, we had a talk and well, a marriage takes two hands to clap. I need to make the effort to add the romance gin it too!
Another thing that is most comical (after we trashed things out) was that fact that I assumed Ken knows my thoughts. Well, that is natural, right, since we both came into the union with common mindsets and values. But apparently not! So I would be upset with him when he did not do certain things like taking the initiative to boil the water or to help out when I assumed he knew I need. The fact is, he DIDN’T KNOW. We, women, really ought to be explicit in what we want from them (sounds familiar?) and once they know we need their help, they would willingly do anything for us. Oh my goodness, we had a good laugh when we clarified this point with each other.
Myth 2: Everything good in our relationship will get better.
Not everything will be though many things will improve. Some things become more difficult especially when we had constructed an idealised image of our partner and expect that kind of image to stay forever. Truth is, it will not! We are human beings after all and we have our shortcomings. Ken and I have shown a lot of our weaknesses to each other during our courtship and we have learnt and are continuing to learn to accept each other’s flaws. Of course, the good thing about being in this relationship is that we have helped each other improve ourselves when we draw upon and learn from each other’s strengths.
Myth 3: Everything bad in my life will disappear
Think we read too many fairy tales which make us believe that when we meet our Prince Charming, we fall in love and “live happily every after.” Truth is, it only happens in tales so we need to wake up to reality! Marriage is, in actual fact, just a way of living. Before marriage, we don’t expect life to be all sunshine and roses and we shouldn’t expect marriage to be that way too.
Myth 4: My spouse will make me whole.
Well, in the book of Proverbs, it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Our incompleteness and differences give iron its roughness, its sharpening power. Marriage is God-given way to improve and hone our beings. Marriage challenges us to new heights and calls us to be the best person posible, but neither marriage nor our partner will magically make us whole.
And, hear this, there is no such thing as successful couples are “made for each other!” I love what our facilitator shared – if God had wanted to give a mate to Adam, one who has the same interests as he and that they think in the same way, He would have granted him a fellow male golfer and not Eve.” (Don’t know why she used ‘golfer’).
Fact is, we came from different backgrounds and we bring into the relationship different kinds of experiences and former upbringing. There is a need to COMMUNICATE. Ken and I have a policy – we will be honest with our thoughts and hide nothing from each other and we will not let resentment dwell in us overnight. Oh, I also learn not to be brutally honest in my speech but to always be gracious in how I express my thoughts. More to learn!