Thursday, 13 February 2014

Lesson #3: Marriage is no fairy tale

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It conjures images of smiling couples, flowers and hearts. On the streets and on Facebook, we are filled with messages of love. But is that what marriage is? Is it only about the sweet things and the good times? Lately, this topic has cropped up quite a bit around me, and sadly, the picture is not all pretty.

#1 recently went for a self-awareness camp. There was a sharing session whereby they were free to share their family's problems to encourage compassion towards one another. She was very surprised that the majority of her classmates had parents who were either already divorced, are separated or are not on good terms.

It is a very somber and disturbing trend. Sometimes couples hang on for the sake of their kids when they are young, however, it is no easier for teenagers to go through their parent's divorce. It is a time when they are searching for their identity and are looking to their parents for security and a role-model.

Some of us grew up with fairy tales and have high expectations of what marriage should be. We get the erroneous impression that after a big and beautiful wedding, we will settle down to Happily Ever After. Could that be why weddings are getting bigger and more beautiful? Perhaps Disney should do society a favour by launching a new series depicting the realities of married life, and equipping the princesses with conflict resolution skills. I'm sure it will go a long way to moderate young girls' expectations of marriage.

The hubs and I did not have a wedding celebration at all although my SILs did throw #1 a huge party to celebrate her birth. (Speaking of which, she's turning sweet 16 this year, can I count on you guys to throw her another huge party? haha… My, my, how time flies.) Oops, digressed. Where was I? Yes, parties.. and marriage. Perhaps when our marriage makes it to the 25 year mark, then that's something to celebrate! 

My single friends look at us married ones and think that once they find the right guy, they can settle down, have a few kids and live a blissful married life. Simple. Ask any married couple, honestly, how true is that? I would say that if you have found and married your soul mate, you are extremely blessed.

In fact, I advise my single friends to solve their issues with their man before getting married and having kids. In the early years of marriage, it's the honeymoon period. Thereafter, the daily issues, disagreements, and differences start to surface and it's easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side. We see other couples looking very happy and wish our husband was more caring, more understanding, more generous, more whatever.

The reality is that they are also probably looking at your marriage and wish they had a marriage like yours! There is so much that goes on behind closed doors, and I'm sure every marriage has it's challenges. Just as we need to pick up skills in parenting, we need to pick up skills to improve our marriages by reading or attending conventions to learn better ways of handling our marriages.

When I meet up with close friends, the subject invariably revolves around marriage and children, and the sad thing is that we see a lot of marriages facing tough times. Times when you question if you have married the right person. Times when you want to walk out the door but stay on because of the children. Times when you have to deal with an infidelity.

The answers are never easy and the vicissitudes of married life may sometimes seem too tough to face. In times like that, we need good friends to turn to for support, and perhaps a faith to see us through.

The truth is that marriage is not a bed of roses. And love is more than an emotion. It is a commitment. A commitment to forgiveness, a commitment to patience, a commitment to communication, and so much more. Before we even try to change our spouses, we should look at our own shortcomings. It is also helpful to recognise each other's love language, be it words, deeds, gifts, touch, or time.

#4 made this pancake for me when she went for breakfast with her friend. Even with all it's imperfections, I treasure it a lot. Would be a great way to think of marriage, wouldn't it? 

S I N C E R E  H E A R T
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 


Here's wishing one and all a very happy valentine's day. May we all strive for a stronger marriage because only then can we have strong families. 


Linking up with: 

mamawearpapashirt




~ www.mummyweeblog - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

15 comments:

  1. Yes, it's so true... I've also heard about divorce and separation from my close friends recently. It's sad when two people who were so much in love with each other, choose to separate because they cannot stand each other anymore. I learn that to have a good marriage, one must first be humble and strive to be a good marriage partner, instead of expecting the other person to be the perfect spouse. When we have the humility to serve each other, our marriage life will be more enjoyable.

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    1. Yes, in fact I think many marriages could have been saved with more knowledge and help which we only get to learn along the way. Perhaps it should be another thing taught in schools! Because not every child is fortunate enough to have loving parents as a role model.

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  2. Hi mummy wee, thanks for your heartfelt sharing. I agree with you totally, both parties got to make the effort for a marriage to work. Amen to the bible verse you quoted. I have 5 kids too and I enjoy reading your blog. ESP the one on preparation of Psle. ;)

    Have a blessed week ahead, Chris.

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  3. I really enjoy this post, M. I completely agree that happily ever after is a commitment on both ends. =)

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    1. Hi Pam,

      Thanks! Yes, it is, isn't it :)

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  4. Hi Chris,

    Wow, 5. Next time you have to share too ya :) Thanks for taking the time out to comment, and I'm glad you enjoy reading :) Haha, PSLE is always not far from most parent's minds huh ;)

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  5. So true. Thanks for sharing

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  6. Love your pancake analogy, mummy wee! Many marriages and families are under fire these days, and it seems that whole families are now a bit of a rarity rather than the norm. I believe every marriage is worth fighting for, even with the inherent flaws and shortcomings and bad habits. I think sometimes we stop trying because we keep focusing on the holes, the bad, and the ugly, instead of the goodness and strengths of our partners. Thanks for sharing and linking up!

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    1. You are so right June, we tend to be quick to point out faults instead of looking for the positives. A good reminder for all of us to look for the good in our spouses, and like you mentioned in your post, to try to bring out the best in each other, not the worst.

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  7. What you wrote is so true. There are so many couple going through tough times, only to stay together "for the sake" of the children. If they really have the best intent for their children, they will put down all differences and come together humbly to work out the issues. By staying together and not doing anything is doing more harm than good.

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    1. Gosh, you are so right. I have adult friends who tell me that when they were teenagers growing up with parents who fought all the time, they just wished they would go their separate ways and make life easier for everyone. Yes, humility is another very important factor in a marriage, instead of always thinking we are the one who is right!

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  8. I love this life lesson series too and your posts always give me great insights. I agree marriage takes commitment on both parties. Many people think that the husb and I have no conflicts since we seem such docile nice folks. The truth is, when we have big fights, it's nasty. Yet because of the same convictions we share (in God) and the commitment to our marriage vows, either one of us will humble ourselves to make the first move to apologise and make up. It would be easier to walk away when problems arise in a relationship, but it takes courage, humility and commitment to make things work again. That's the challenge marriages face today. Also the fact that popular culture glamorize infidelity so couples face more temptations from all fronts now. It takes commitment to stay faithful to just one partner whom you fall in love and has pledged to spend your lifetime with.

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  9. Thanks for sharing with us, Angie! Really appreciate. You know, it would probably help a lot of new couples to hear from those married a long time that conflict is to be expected, and to learn how to resolve it. After all, it is 2 people coming together with all their differences and family upbringing. Add in the in laws, differences in the way we wish to bring up the children and sometimes other challenges like finances etc and it will strain any relationship.

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  10. Yes mummy wee... as a single, its always "grass being greener on the other side" and wanting someone to take the journey of life with me. But after failed attempts at the dating stage, and seeing all the challenges married couples go through... the grass doesnt quite look greener on the other side already.
    But there is a time for everything and there is a reason why things happened the way it did. Nothing is a coincidence. Thank you for your plenty insightful sharing!
    xoxo
    C

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    1. Yes, everything in it's own time. No point rushing things or forcing things to happen. And definitely everything happens for a reason, and sometimes we can only see the benefit many years later! Wish you the best :) Thanks for sharing.

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