I remember before the wedding, I was so reluctantly counting down the days to my loss of independence, loss of space, loss of freedom to pursue my selfish desires. Not very romantic, I know. My excuse was I'm so old, and so set in my ways - any kind of change is going to be terrible. Ya, I have a habit of imagining the worst.
But then, to my surprise I found that marriage was actually pretty comfortable. It actually gives me more freedom, greater independence.
Because I now have an anchor at home. That gives me the courage to fly fast and far. I know there is something solid that will keep me safe. So I can take on more challenges, pursue greater dreams. Kinda like doing a trust fall, secure in knowing that someone will be there to catch me. It's nice.
Actually, I have been thinking of this whole marriage thing quite a bit lately. Events and conversations with the people around me have provided me with the the stimuli to reflect on what makes a strong marriage, and this is what I want to share.
People express their love in different ways. For some people, love is best expressed by giving expensive gifts : diamond rings, big houses, overseas holidays, etc. For others, gifts like that mean nothing.
For some, love is expressed physically : endless cuddles, kisses and sex, glorious sex. If any of that is missing, then oh no! It means that love is fading. For others, the physical aspect is nice but too much cuddling and hugging can be irritating.
For some, a way to express love is to pay attention, to listen. For others, it is to talk and share.
This can be a problem when two different individuals, who have different ways of expressing their love and have different needs, expect each other to be the same. Can you imagine it?
I like to share and talk. The more I love someone, the more I will allow him to see inside me and I will pour my heart out intimately.
But I learnt not to expect the same from Sonny. He doesn't like to talk and share. He would rather play solitaire or the building empire game thingy, and listen to music on headphones. If I were to ask him how was his day, he'd say "ok la." That's it!
If I measure him by MY benchmark, whoaaa... it looks like he doesn't love me, he doesn't trust me at all!
But I know he does, he just doesn't show it by talking and sharing. Once I figured out this difference, I don't expect it from him and I no longer mind when he goes into his own world.
He expresses his love not by talking, but by listening. When I come home, he will actually pause his game or video and just listen to me talk about my day. He looks deeply at me and he can always tell if I am tired or upset or sick. He shares my ups and downs every day. And that's the best gift that he can ever give me. No amount of diamonds or expensive cars and huge mansions can even come close to that kind of attention.
Another example : my dad. He's very uncomfortable with eye contact. All my life, whenever I have a serious talk with him, he'll be reading the newspapers or watching TV. It took me many years to realise that he is actually listening to me! He doesn't show his love by listening and looking at me - he shows his love by worrying about me behind my back (I know this only cos he complains to Sonny!).
So my point is : when it comes to 'signs' of love, don't measure others by your own benchmark. If you do, it may appear that they don't love you as much as you love them. When actually they do.
You just need to be really open to SEE it from their point of view.
And don't judge. There is no right or wrong way to express love. Just SEE what your partner needs and if you can 'package' your expression that way, why not?
Another thing : give, give and give without expecting anything in return. You won't be disappointed.
Well, four years of marriage doesn't make me an expert. Not yet anyway. But this is what's making me happy.
After 4 years, it's getting better and sweeter :) Here's a photo from my fairy garden wedding! Most brides want to look beautiful, I wanted to look like a fairy. And Sonny dressed up in a beautiful Punjabi suit that he bought from India. My bridesmaids wore glittery fairy dresses and his bestmen wore kurtas. My family spent the evening trying to figure out the theme!
That's us : while staying close together, we give each other space to be different, and to be free!