My Golden Rule for Marriage
From someone who used to never believe in one.
Yes, getting married was a joke!
In a traditional Filipino household, it was inculcated in children that if a woman gets pregnant or devirginized, she should marry the man. Marriage was treated to be a serious decision because you’re going to commit to somebody for the rest of your life, in building a family together. Physical or annulled separation was a taboo option. Two people should stay, even if it only means staying for the children.
I’d like to think this is what exactly happened to my parents, 29 years ago. My mom was only 21 when she had my older sister. My grandparents begged her in marrying my dad, only because she had premarital sex with him. My theory was she went bipolar after their marriage. She had no control over her life as it was predetermined by the family.
I’ve witnessed the repercussions of their forced marriage: my dad checked out other girls, my mom was obsessed with her history professor, they fought a lot during my childhood. It was a bad marriage. I’ve never seen them really in love with each other. No glinting eyes, sex, dates, present in other couples.
I probably won’t get married.
Approaching adolescence, I discovered that men have more sexual drive than women. I figured it would be acceptable for any wife to let their husbands enjoy having multiple sexual partners, just to satisfy their sexual need. Maybe, this is the key to a happy marriage. Western movies and classical books shaped my thought on professional marriage: no emotions attached, just living together under the same roof.
Marriage sounds better with an agreed set-up.
Last week, my friend came over. She’s worried she’s incapable of giving something to the 2-year relationship with her boyfriend, based overseas. Note that she’s 8 months pregnant and employed. Aren’t giving birth and providing for her family, already something she could give to their relationship?
In 2020, I married my boyfriend of six years. It was neither a forced nor a professional marriage like I thought it would be. It was something based on the golden rule we both have made up:
Embrace that each of you has your own way in contributing something to the relationship.
Like my visiting friend, I once thought that a person’s income is the only measure of contribution to marriage. It’s hard to keep up with everybody’s standard that you’re only was worthy as your net worth, success equals assets, etc. My husband and I pondered and concluded that money is so overrated, we forget to see the other things, that make a marriage work: acts of service, time spent together, sweet sticky notes.
Now, my husband does the household errands while I do the job. It’s one and the same for us. We’re happy. In accepting what your partner can do, you will earn the freedom to pursue the things that you want to do, and contentment, to thank what you have.
Life is short.