So it’s been a year, oh my, how time flies! In the past year, I’ve been asked many times, “How’s married life?“.It’s been amazing but of course not without it’s ups and downs. In fact, I’ve been told by experience married couples that often, the toughest period during your marriage are the first years. It scared me a little when I first heard this prior to getting married because, as some of you may know, I was very VERY nervous about the idea of marriage. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because of Shine, I’ve always known he’ll be amazing. I was more nervous about how I would handle or react to things and screw up anything good in my life. For a long while, I thought I wasn’t gonna meet anyone who was going to accept me, let alone want to marry me. Life works in miraculous ways, I’m so fortunate to be given a second chance at life but I’m still worried about screwing it up which is something I’m trying to work on. I’m actually pretty content and happy in my marriage so far.
Cross Cultural Marriage
Being married into a different culture carries challenges of its own and I get asked every now and then by close friends if I’m coping well. Thankfully, I was brought up in a multicultural family having 2 sets of grandparents and extented family members of different backgrounds and religious beliefs so I guess it comes more naturally to me compared to most. Most people often have the misconception that I come from one straight forward background when in fact, I was a product of a very diversed multi-cultural marriage. That usually surprises and intrigues people. I’m still getting use to the language barrier though, because I don’t speak a word of Tamil but they speak English around me so that I can understand. I’ve been asked by curious people if I’ll learn to speak Tamil or why don’t I get my husband to teach me so that I can learn faster.
To anyone in a cross cultural marriage who does not speak the native language of your spouse – DO NOT BE PRESSURED INTO THIS. Learn anything in his/her culture at your own time and pace. There’s a lot to learn and absorb from religion to festivals, addressing relatives, food and language, it can get overwhelming even if one of these are completely new to you. Thankfully, my husband understands the difficulties and takes the effort to guide me through everything so it definitely isn’t easy on him either. Marriage is a combined effort and celebrating each other’s background, language and culture as your own is what makes inter-racial marriages so beautiful.
Precisely why most people say the first years of marriage are the toughest. Learning to live together under one roof, thats when you’ll learn the, well, less appealing side of your partner. This is where you’ll learn how loud he/she really snores, that this beautiful being you married actually farts, how messy he/she is and all his/her bad habits! There’ll be times when you’ll want to sleep with the air-con on and he doesn’t. There’ll be times when he’ll hog the TV, computer and all the devices in the house to watch yet another major soccer match and you’ll throw a major fit. There’ll be times when you’ll debate about who needs more space in front of the mirror when getting ready for a day out. But there are also special moments where you cuddle and watch TV together, make coffee for one another or cook and eat together. Good or bad, they usually start from the small gestures that will either blow up into an argument or turn into something beautiful. Living together takes getting use to but for better or worse, I’ve never been happier to rush home now because I know I’m going to sleep and wake up to the man I love everyday.
For now, we’re still living with his parents. Our home is said to be ready by first quarter of next year and we’re both super excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because, finally, a little place where we can call our own. Nervous because its a big milestone and of course, we’re worried about our finances. We got through some crazy health scares, family drama and our wedding, we have faith we will be able to make our house a home with everything we’ve got.
I guess one of the biggest challenges for us in our marriage is conceiving. Not that we didn’t know beforehand that this was going to be an issue which stems from my struggle with endometriosis. But, like I mentioned in that post, many people do not really understand it so I get asked so many times when a baby is going to come into the picture and why don’t I go for urut (meaning massage in Malay). It’s different when you suffer from something where people can’t physically witness so the questions can get unintentionally insensitive compared to someone who is clearly sick (like cancer or diabetes, etc). So to answer your curiosity, yes, we would love to have kids, God-willing and only He knows when it’s the right time for us. At the meantime, we’re enjoying each other’s company, going on getaways and focusing on strengthening our union which is what marriage is really about anyways.
A Better Version of Yourselves
With all the changes that comes with being married, don’t forget that you are still important. Before getting married, some of the “advice” I’ve heard is, “You’re going to get married, you’re no longer going to be an individual!“, “You must learn how to cook to feed your husband!“, “A wife must always be submissive!“, “You must change your mindset now that you’re going to get married!” and a handful of ridiculous bullshit that could’ve sent me running. You see, I’ve been so use to answering for my mistakes and making my own decisions that the idea of having someone dictate what I can or cannot do scared the shit out of me. I loved my freedom and when I met Shine, he made me feel free and loved like I’ve never felt before, I was worried that marriage would change things. To any bride-to-be who’s probably suffering from cold feet, please know that marriage is not a death sentence. Marriage does not mean that you have to succumb to everything your spouse says or lose your identity. You don’t have to give up your thoughts, what you enjoy doing, what you wear and what makes you special just because you got married. If anything, your spouse fell in love with you because of all those unique traits and qualities. And about learning how to cook, clean, bake, etc, ideally it’ll be great if you’re already doing that but do it at your own time when you feel you can and want to, not because you’re married now. If its forced and lacks love, what’s the point?
Marriage will not take away who you are, it makes you a better version of yourself. As you know, I blogged way before I even met Shine and continue to do so even after getting married. I use to write about relationships for single women and fashion and now that I’m married, I still write about relationships, fashion and in addition, I write about my home life and being married. That list will grow and evolve as I build my marriage and a family, I will evolve and grow too. So should your thoughts, your beliefs, your strength. And the bonus is that you no longer have to do it alone anymore, you have someone who will cultivate your uniqueness and you for them.
It may have only been a year but it has been a year of learning, growing and love. I’m very happy to report that despite how we drive each other crazy sometimes, I’m really happy and being married to possibly the sweetest gem of a man is something I can never thank God enough for.
Thank you for being my husband, best friend, boe-tographer, blog editor, makan-kaki, travel buddy, human calculator, personal trainer, cockroach-killer, shoulder to cry on, blanket, my sunshine, my guardian angel, my everything.
Love you Shine, happy one year anniversary.