One Down, A Lifetime To Go

It’s February, and almost every one is raving about it being the ‘love month’, but did you know they are commemorating the National Marriage Week in the US? Honestly, I didn’t know this until I came across an article that mentioned about it several weeks ago. Incidentally, Roan and I celebrate our 5th anniversary as a couple and 2nd month as husband and wife this week, too. Well, we’ve only been married for 50 days before Roan returned to the US, so our experiences together as a married couple are quite limited as of writing.

Since there’s not a lot to share from us yet, I came up with the idea of asking three of my girl friends—who all got married in the same year—a few questions on their lives now as married couple. The reason behind this little activity is to get a better understanding on what it’s like to be married for a year. I know every married couple is different from one another, but learning a thing or two from friends who have lived a year in a different situation won’t hurt, will it?

Let me begin by introducing my first participant, Rivka. Riv and I were college buddies. Among my college girl friends, I am closest to her. I have mentioned her a lot in my blog before, so my old-time readers may find her name quite familiar. In July 2011, she got engaged; the first from our circle of friends. Riv got married in September 2012, and after 14 months, she gave birth to a bouncy baby boy.

My next featured guest is one of the most creative person I know—Lai. I have known both Lai and her husband, Nath, since grade school. Lai was a bus mate, and I remember her being my first ever seatmate when I transferred to Elizabeth Seton School in fourth grade. I have always regarded her as unassuming, but smart beyond her years. I am a big fan of her craft. In fact, I refer her as the Queen of DIY when she personalized her own wedding. Lai and Nath have been together since high school, but it wasn’t an entirely smooth ride to the altar.

My last, but certainly not the least participant is Kach. Like Riv, she belongs to my college circle of friends. She has also graced my blog before. Kach got engaged with Sonny on Christmas Day of 2011, and only had exactly a year to prepare for their December 2012 wedding. Kach had been (and remains to be) one of my confidants, most especially during those times when I can no longer wrap my head around the whole planning for the wedding. It came to a point that I’ve gotten so stressed and irrational. She’s that friend who patiently listened, and gave mature recommendations on how to deal with things that cause my trepidation.

These three ladies have been cooperative when I asked them to take part in my little activity. So without further ado, read on to these three ladies’ answers to open-ended questions about marriage:

What things did you see in this person that made you want to marry him?
R: His maturity and his love for his family particularly his father. How he idolizes his dad (RIP). And the feeling of security whenever I am with him.
L: His eagerness for my betterment and his compassion for those around him.
K: He’s very God fearing. We have the same vision about life.
What were your goals for your marriage when you were engaged?
R: To be different from my parents’. Hahaha!
L: To love ea other wholeheartedly and a conscious effort for the both of us to hold true the sacrament we’ve entered together
K: to be the best for each other and bring out the best of each other. This is still our goal even after getting engaged.
What things in your marriage make you sad?
R: The fact that I insisted that we try to build our family HERE instead of THERE. I was afraid to get away from my comfort zone. Despite initially agreeing to start our married life together in Singapore, I insisted that our life would be easier if we stay here in Qatar instead. But things are moving slow.. And it makes me sad (and guilty!) because I know that he sacrificed his career security to settle with something less for me. 
L: super babaw but I’m not a great ‘cook’, for having a husband who loves to eat, this makes me sad
K: seeing him sad, having misundertandings
What things in your marriage make you happy?
R: Having someone beside me that I can run to with both happy and sad stories, and being secret-free with each other. And being friends and lovers at the same time and acting all silly with each other without being conscious. Oh, and having our little boy!
L: how we can tease and joke around so openly, how we have ea other’s back and how we’ve both made our lives intertwine with the other so seamlessly
K: seeing him happy. And this may sound weird but seeing him worry about me hehe. He’s not that expressive and when he worries about me I can feel he really cares 🙂
If you could press a button and change your marriage, how would it change?
R: I’d probably be more submissive to my husband especially in decisions that involve our own family/married life. 
K: none. I love whatever we had yesterday, what we have today and what will happen to us tomorrow. I’m given with the choice to choose who to marry, and I happy to be married to the man I want to spend the rest of my life.
In what ways do you think God is honored by your marriage?
R: My husband grew up in a religious family and I must admit that ever since we became a couple, I started to tap deeper into my spiritual side. All our decisions, trials, successes in life, we offer all to God.
L: God is in each and every person we encounter. We honor Him by also taking care of our brothers and sisters, in all walks of life. (well, aside from the obvious praying together and going to church together)
K: when we both do our duties as a couple, and as individuals. When we become God’s instrument to show married couples how happy married life is.
How would you characterize your communication with your husband?
R: Very open, I guess. I tell him everything. We tell each other everything, no secrets.. All issues are discussed no matter who’s involved.
L: We have an open line, freely called upon by each other whenever we need to. no ifs, no buts, nothing too stupid or shameful – just listen.
K: it’s like my two hands. He’s the left, I’m the right. Different but the same. Different point of views but same
Describe how you and your husband arrive at decisions.
R: We ask each other what we think and weigh our opinion regarding the matter. We think of the pros and cons. We choose whichever has the most positive points.
L: For the big decisions (like where to put our money on, place to live, etc) we arrive at this thru a discussion – each airing out their opinions and arriving at a consensus.
K: We ask each other’s opinions then talk about it. But when we’re not really in sync, I let him see my point and leaves the decision to him. At the end of the day, I still want him to feel he’s still the man in the relationship.
Describe how you as a couple resolve conflicts.
R: We talk it through after our emotions have calmed down.
L: The going trend is after the initial negative feelings, we discuss in a place we’re both comfortable in (in short, in each other’s arms or lay side by side in bed) to get to a solution.
K: Being more emo than him, he gives me time to reflect about my ‘kadramahan’ so I may realize my senseless iyaks hehe. Giving time to get calm, afterwards talk about it.
How would you describe your spiritual life as a couple?
R: We try our best to have a healthy spiritual life as couple and now as parents to our son and future children. We would like our family to be practicing Catholics.
L: We both have agreed to raise our children as Catholics and practice Catholicism. We go to mass, pray together and make a conscious effort to help those who need our help
K: We may not be a good follower but we are great believers.
Are there couples you look up to? What do you respect about their marriages?
R: I can say we both look up to his parents’ relationship. I may not have been a witness to how they were as a couple, but my husband’s stories make me admire them.
K: Yes. How they manage to be best of friends.
Why do you think you have struggled as a couple?
R: We might have struggled initially (before we got married) because most of our time we were living miles apart. Our trust was tested and luckily we emerged successfully.
L: We both think differently, hence, we cant avoid conflicts but we have learned to work with each other’s opinions and personalities and worked that into consideration in everything we do. We sometimes joke around that we know each other so well we can think for the other person as if we’re in his/her brain.
K: Because we’re biologically made different sometimes it’s hard to understand where he’s coming and vice versa.
What do you see as the strengths of your marriage?
L: The long-standing friendship we have and how we have grown up with each other. There’s still a long way to go, though, so we’re happy that we both are pursuing the same goal – to make our family happy.
K: Our own personalities.
What do you see as the weaknesses of your marriage?
L: Our marriage is like a newborn, there’s still too much to experience and too many hurdles to go thru that hasn’t arrived yet.
What do you think you need to do as a couple to get from where you are to where you need to be?
R: We need to be vocal about our plans for the future. No matter how small or big our plans are, everything must be talked through to understand each other’s ideas. We must agree to the steps we have to take to get us where we want to be. We may argue but we must not let it ruin our plans. Let it be a healthy argument. Patience and perseverance is also important.
L: Hold each other’s hand, be each other’s rocks and a make a conscious decision to plow forward together.
What problems in your marriage do you see as your responsibility?
R: Problems that involve my parents’ would be my responsibility. We currently live with them under one roof. I sometimes feel a little bit of tension between my parents and my husband. My husband tells me when he doesn’t agree with something my parents’ have done. But my parents’ are not so vocal about their issues. These are not big issues, small petty things, I must say. But knowing them, I can read their facial expressions and even the slight tone when they speak which may be unnoticeable to my husband. Whenever it happens, I make my move and fill in the shortcomings of either party.
K: my hormonal imbalance. This may affect us having kids.
What do you think God is doing in your marriage right now?
R: I believe He is trying to teach us to be patient. In His time, all our wishes will be granted and I know He will provide us with what is best. From this, He is also making our bond stronger.
L: He’s testing us and making us realize each other’s strengths and weaknesses and working out a way for us to learn to use those strengths and weaknesses to our advantage. We mostly feel like newbies waiting to be fully initiated. Haha!
K: He works mysteriously. I’m very sure that He’s preparing us to be equipped for the coming issues in our lives.
What do you think keeps you as a couple from solving your problems?
L: Each other’s prides and inabilities.
Describe how your marriage has changed over the years.
R: Nothing much has changed since we are only married just a little more than a year now.
When you are hurt or angry with your spouse, what do you do?
R: I keep silent and would act with mild tantrums. I become cold towards him which he immediately senses. He hates it when I do that. But it’s difficult for me to talk about my feelings because I’ve gotten used to keeping it to myself until it dissipates and my mood lifts up.
L: Talk to him about it.
K: either nag or stay super quiet hehehe
How do you communicate dissatisfaction to your spouse?
R: As I’ve mentioned in the previous question, I find it difficult to express negative feelings. I’m also somewhat afraid to make him feel inadequate so I can hardly remember ever telling him I am dissatisfied or disappointed with him about something.
L: I air out my troubles in a non-hurtful non-attacking communication-inducing way.
K: he easily notices it with my facial expression hehehe
In what ways have you attempted to communicate love and appreciation to your spouse?
R: I love showing my affection towards him by being of service to him. Simple things like preparing his food and the usual housewife stuff. And I never forget to say thank you for whatever and being very vocal in my admiration of him.
L: The little things, like, making him something, complimenting him, working in something good about him in a conversation with a friend (with or without him present)
K: by telling and showing it. I’m very clingy and want to say i love you at least 7 times a day and would gigil hug him
What are the biggest hot buttons in your marriage?
L: Work, a place to stay permanently
K: When he says “lagi ka naman…” when we’re in the middle of something. I really get irritated.

I know it was a length post, but I hope you read through everything because their responses put a smile on my face. I hope they were able to reflect on their respective relationship with their husbands as they respond to each question given. Reading through their responses, I am amazed at how much they have matured through their life experiences. Thank you for your cooperation, ladies!

You see, it takes two to tango. It may seem premature to say this, but in this generation, we seldom see married couples who last a year or two, let alone an hour. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. It is a covenant between the marrying couple and God. Most marriages do not last because of lack of communication, or it’s been wrong from the beginning. Marriage is a give-and-take deal. The secret to a happy marriage is compromise. If you don’t see yourself in the position of putting aside your pride and all selfish traits that you possess, then marriage is not for you. Save yourself and your partner the trouble of investing so much in a relationship that you know–from the beginning–will not work.

The night before Roan left for the US, I told him how good it feels to be married. Although we’ve only lived together for a very short period of time, the thing I loved the most is doing chores together. I don’t know, but there is bliss in being able to accomplish something together. We have become our own team. I know we have a long way to go, and the above-mentioned responses from friends will serve as an inspiration to make our first year of marriage meaningful.

Happy National Marriage Week, Married Couples!
Cheers to a Happier Marriage!

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  • I love this!!! Made me think of me getting married. You know my Dad asked me to get married already?? Hahaha! But I am mature in some ways, and fall short in some, so… I have so many loose ends to tie first. Wahahahaha.
    Congrats, Riv and Kach! 🙂 I love your responses! Cheers to a happy life for you both!

  • I was looking for the ‘whoopy’ question and answers! Where are they?? Hahaha! Thank you for giving me the chance to participate, Pardz! 😉

    • I decided against posting the ‘fun’ part the last minute! Either I embarrass you, guys, or I do that to myself. Hahaha!
      You’re welcome! I hope to invite you again in similar activities in the future. Who knows? Maybe the next questionnaire I ask you to fill out has something to do motherhood? 😉

  • Ah, i had such a good time reading thru this and taking something from Riv and Kach’s answers too! Thanks for thinking of me when you decided to write this Jae, I learned a lot from myself and from our rel! Had nath fill this up too to see if we have the same concerns! 🙂
    Im sure both you and Roan would turn out great! You’re one of the most ‘us’-focused couple I know! Like your recent tweet? You’re both in this together 🙂

    Best to you both 🙂 and to Riv and Kach!

    • You see, I’m not really comfortable sharing my thoughts to people because I consider this space my “temple”. It took me a lot of guts to even let you, guys, know that I’ve posted your answers here. Haha!
      I look up to you, three, and it’s telling something. I hope to learn more from each other’s experience for the betterment of our married lives.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lai! Please send my regards to Nath. 🙂