To my mind, these are the things that I learned after I got married. Well, it doesn’t really mean that everything listed here are new to me, it’s just that some of these got more emphasized in the months that came by after tying the knot.
#1: If The World Ends On 2011, 2012 Or Any Other Year, It Doesn’t Matter
On 2011, doomsayers were predicting that the world would end on May 21. For some reason, nothing happened and it got rescheduled at October 21 of the same year – just a day after my wedding. Despite not knowing what the future holds, my wedding vow went like “… to love you, take care of you and provide for our family… This is my promise, this is my vow and this is what I intend to keep for all the rest of my days in this life and the next…” To some, it might be too ideal and unrealistic but to me, it doesn’t matter what they say. I got married to the woman I love, the one I know I will grow old with, to the one whom I know I would like to be with until the end of time – either the end of my time in this world as an individual or the world’s end at a cosmic scale. Either way, I’m the happiest man dead or alive.
#2: Individual Personalities Will Clash
I grew up with only one big brother; she grew up with two big sisters and one big brother. We are both the youngest in our families (“bunso”) thus, as I am told (and I do not believe in this by the way), we always get our ways. Assuming that the last statement is true, that fact alone merits as a good excuse as to why we will always have our different views on things, different stand and different expectations. Every now and then, we get to a point where stubbornness sets in and we can’t even agree to disagree. It’s like being alone for the longest time then you bump into something in the dark and all of a sudden that something bumps back. But the kicker is that it’s ok. It’s ok to get into fights and make a mess every once in a while just as long as you both clean up the mess and try to find closure.
#3: Money Is Essential But Not The Purpose Of Life
This lesson is best explained by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo when he said that “we should think of revenue like breathing – it’s necessary for life, but it’s not the purpose of life.” Due to the nature of my family’s business, there are times when the grass is green and there are times when the well is dry (at the time of writing this, the well is not only dry, but has already accumulated dust). Maybe it serves as a reminder that the value of money is always more than what you think it is but it doesn’t mean that that is all there is to it. It’s true that money makes almost everything in the world happen. Keyword: almost. For the simple joys in life, no amount of money can ever replace rare instances where you both know that you are truly happy. Like raiding the kitchen at midnight or staying in bed on a lazy rainy Sunday afternoon or singing at the top of your lungs while on a road trip or just sitting in the park watching the leaves fall down as you welcome winter on a foreign land. Money will buy you a lot of things but money and all the things that you bought with it won’t last. Shared happy memories do.
#4: Being Married Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Time For Yourself
Social norm dictates that married couples should always be together, most especially for newlyweds. I don’t know why that is but I believe that it exists for a reason. Is it relevant at this day and age? Maybe or maybe not. But my point is that the demands of society can put most of one’s plan in the backburner. This includes personal goals and targets like a master’s degree or a solitary trip to Europe or a pilot’s license. Most often than not, when faced with a choice between an activity that involves both me and my wife on one hand and an activity that can be done with just myself on the other hand, I end up choosing the one with my wife on it. I’ll admit that during the first stages of my realization, it felt like the dreams I’ve set way back before I got married will never come true. But as they say, never say never right? What I didn’t realize back then was that my dreams are still the same. They’re still dreams, the same ones I had before getting married. They may be a lot harder to achieve now but when I do, success will be so much sweeter and more fulfilling now that I have someone to share it with. If I fail, I know that someone will always believe in me even at times when I don’t.
#5: Be Ready To Add More Rules
As you both discover more about each other in the context of married life, expect to add more rules in your relationship in every waking hour. These rules vary from the mundane to the complex such as shaving your smug face before seeing her mom or when it’s time to become that psychic mind reader once again just to know if she wants flowers, chocolates, coffee, a new bag and shoes or all of the above. [DISCLAIMER: these are out-of-this-world examples only. The names/identities of the person(s) involved are changed for their protection. Yeah, you know who you are.] But despite how crazy these rules are, you know that it goes both ways. Sooner or later you’ll realize that you have the power to do the same. What is important is to know the rules so you’ll know how to bend them and make them work in your favor. Spend an afternoon finding loop holes just for fun and have the courage to break them every now and then for sanity’s sake. The most important thing to determine is to know if the rules are worth breaking. Pfffft! Rules? They’re just guidelines anyway. 🙂
#6: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Married Couples
The best teacher is experience. So what will you do when you don’t have any experience and you’re not sure what to do next? Ask. Just ask. There’s no definitive manual for living a married life. You play it by ear. So when you ask, listen. For sure, someone has experienced something somewhere sometime that is somewhat similar to your situation. You can learn a lot from their stories and how they handled the situation as well as from their mistakes and how they would have done things differently. Families and friends are more than happy to share a story or two especially if they went through similar situations that you’re in now. What’s good about this is that as you progress in your married life, you’ll realize that you knew that right thing to do in certain situations all along. You just needed to hear the right words to boost your confidence and the affirmation that everything is going to be alright.
#7: Parents Hit The Bull’s Eye When They Said “You’ll understand this better when you get married”
When you’re young, you’re probably curious, eager and stupid. And mostly stupid. You tend to question a lot of things on why they are the way they are. It’s not farfetched that you’ve probably heard this line a couple of times: “You’ll understand this better when you’re married.” Then it’s the end of the conversation. There are simply no words that can describe what married couples have that most single people don’t have. I cannot accurately pin point it if it’s the unspoken connection and understanding, the motivation that drives the couple on certain decisions or the trust on each other that the right thing will and shall be done.
To my Mom and Dad, thank you and I love you both. I think I understand now.