Thursday, 16 October 2014

Reflections after one year of marriage

We celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary.

Every time I think about our wedding day, and now, our anniversary, I always tell myself that this time, it’s going to be different; different in the sense that I am actually going to remember this day in the years to come. I am even going to go to lengths to celebrate it. Damn, if there is one thing that I can be good at in this life, then this would be it: remembering our wedding anniversary. So far, my success rate is 100%. Ask me again next year to see if the number stays the same.

Throughout our dating life, I have a terrible history of remembering our dating anniversary. This would make for a funny story if not for the fact that the said date is actually in my diary and every single year, without fail, I make a promise to myself to remember it. So far, the success rate is big fat zero. The only consolation I take is that my other half forgets it too, so every year, it’s like this is why we are still together (and this is also one of the very many reasons why we are still married).

That was until I discover that apparently remembering anniversaries is a task for the females of the relationship. So, if the male forgets, it’s okay, because, you know, male. But females, well. I swear sometimes I am not a female. That came out wrong. Gah.

What's more relevant (and perhaps, also important) is that there is always room for improvement. While this is perhaps a little too early for me to say, the secret to remembering anniversaries – easy: pick an easy date to remember. This is why our wedding anniversary is infinitely easier to remember as supposed to our dating anniversary. As I have always said, when you have the option to set up something for yourself, design it well. Choose a good date for your wedding. It will save you a lifetime of headache and guilt. (The irony of this whole situation is that we didn’t exactly choose our wedding date – it was chosen for us in accordance with the alignment of the moon and the stars, and in the process we got lucky that it happened to be an easy date to remember. This is a sign that some things in life are just a meant-to-be.)

I started writing this post wanting to write about love, because well, that’s what weddings are all about, if you strip off the flowers, the cake and everything else. It is a celebration of love. I also discovered that it is difficult to write about love – it is simple yet complex at the same time, it is liberating and constricting all at once. The intensity of this emotion is very difficult to distill into words. Or maybe, I just don’t know enough words or how to string them together.

Sometime during the course of our first year of marriage, I managed to convince my other half that it was worthwhile doing the language of love test, if only as a confirmation of what I thought his language of love was. And being newlyweds, of course it was easy to convince him that this was something that would make me happy (ha!).  Not that I didn’t get any resistance, mind you, because that test was (and maybe still is) somewhat rather repetitive and whilst he was doing it, I got a few threats of quitting. The validation I got was not limited to the confirmation of what his language of love was, it was, more importantly, his gesture of doing things that I asked, that I deemed important, even when he hardly saw any value in doing so. Oh, and of course, never quit, guys, even when the task at hand is seemingly so pointless to you. It may mean the world to someone else. What’s a few minutes of your time in exchange for a lifetime of happiness? Do I hear fantastic investment? Amen. (We love cheese.)

When we got married, we made a promise to each other that we would love each other forever. There were other words that were spoken, but essentially, that’s what it is. The key word is forever. To promise to love someone forever is a really big deal, at least in my life. I have never even promised my parents that I would love them forever (sorry Dad, Mom).  And besides, in all honesty, these days, I don’t promise anyone anything anymore, and I never asked for their promises in return. I think promises, just like honesty, are expensive; I am not sure I can afford them.

Because as I got older, the more I realise that keeping a promise is never easy. Even with the best of intentions, shit happens and when you fail to keep your promise, the trust withdrawal can be oh so crippling. I should know because, well, you know, life. So I make a rule for myself that I would only make promises I know I can keep primarily to keep myself happy. Girl has priorities, okay.

A promise to love someone sounds very arbitrary at best. Sometimes, you think you are loving this person so much until it hurts your bones, but that person do not feel the same way, and then, you’re pretty much fucked. Sometimes, you think you are doing so much in an effort to love this person, and instead of making this person feel special and loved, you end up pushing him/her away. Unintentionally, of course, but it happens.

Perhaps, the promise should read: I promise to love you the way you want to be loved.  But this is assuming that that person knows what sort of love he/she wants. That’s the easy bit What if this changes overtime? What are you going to do about your promise to love them forever?

Truth is that, it is rare for anyone to be able to work out what anyone else wants in the long-term sense, because, obviously, people change. Everything (and everyone) is constantly temporary. I want you to love me this way today: by eating fried chicken with me. Tomorrow, I want you to love me this way: by eating anything other than fried chicken with me so that my arteries are not clogged before I turn 34.

Just because you are married does not mean you’ve got this whole love thing all worked out. In fact, quite the opposite – you discover that this is so big and so deep it is actually beyond your comprehension (if you’re willing to admit it). How the fuck do you get a grasp on something that is so infinitely incomprehensible? Where the fuck do you start?

This whole love thing is overwhelmingly … overwhelming.

At its most basic level, I am thankful that despite all the privileges of our lives, we take pleasure in the small and simple pleasures. We don’t strive to be happy all the time, but we strive to be happy about the lives that we live.  We take time to appreciate each other, even when we constantly forget anniversaries. We don’t wait for big moments. We don’t strive to create big moments. Our small moments become one big moment. The things that we do for each other every single day are the ones that bring color into the big picture.  

I obviously don’t have this whole love thing figured out, but it doesn’t stop me from loving you.
Happy anniversary, le husb. I love you way more than fried chicken. And pork belly.

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