"I do, I do...Do I??"
Getting hitched- a subject I initially said I wouldn't blog about for fear of appearing *cough cough* desperate, heh, and we definitely wouldn’t want that...=D However, after toying with the idea a bit in my overactive brain at night before drifting off to the land of dreams, I decided that blogging about it could be interesting and challenging.
I’ve been playing about with this post a bit. Getting opinions, tinkering with the context, rephrasing sentences, substituting words here and there to best express what I want to say. Maybe I am just a perfectionist when it comes to writing, but I guess, I hope, this justifies my long hours as a faceless being on the Internet. At least, I have something to show for it other than panda eyes and a grouchy face yea? *nods self-consolingly*
So, since we are on the topic of marriage, I must admit, I sometimes wonder, “WHY, OH WHY DO PEOPLE GET MARRIED?!!”
The very QUESTION that lies at the sacred heart of holy matrimony. A rather frequently wondered about question for most single people I know. It also especially surfaces in moments of despair, confusion, loneliness and PMS-induce emo moments.
By single, I also mean people who think they have found that special someone a.k.a., “THE ONE” but have not tied the knot yet, but more on that later.
THE QUESTION, a subject of many yum cha sessions, e-mail and MSN conversations, (esp now that most of us- I, am approaching my mid-twenties...aHHHHhhhh!!*sobs*) and is usually triggered by the news that so-and-so is getting married.
But I’ve noticed, most discussions always end without a universally agreed upon answer. An answer to a seemingly simple question remains elusive. Perhaps, in what many would consider the biggest gamble of life, “WHY DO PEOPLE JUMP ON THE MARRIAGE BANDWAGON?”, is the ultimate trick question.
Oh, there are of course, as there always is, “popular” answers.
When it’s the correct time, is one. So, when is the “the correct time” really? When you have reached a certain age? Many Malaysians see 30 as the cut off point where either you settle down or die a lonely death *gasps!* What do you do if you have reached the big 3-0 and have not met THE ONE? Do you simply settle for anyone, the next best thing that comes along? Decide to marry your best friend ala My Best Friend’s Wedding? Settle for aunty so-and-so's son/daughter that your mum introduces in a matchmaking session and whom you don't particularly fancy?
IMHO, this is a sad, sad reason to get married. Getting married for the sake of showing off a diamond solitaire/wedding band to the world to prove that: since everyone is doing it, I must do it too, is not only pointless- it is throwing your whole life away.
What about getting married for the company? In fact, this was my candid answer when I was asked THE QUESTION:
“I think people get married for the company, women especially get lonely easily.”
To which a guy friend replied:
"Guys may be practical beings, but they want to love, and be loved too!!!"
Awww...and here I was thinking that the main reason most guys want to settle down is, putting it delicately, "legal procreation" and crudely "free rightful sex, anytime, anywhere." *grin*
As age catches up and you increasingly become privy to the stark realities of life, your teenage fantasies that your sexy, voluptuous manga Babe or Sir Lancelot, knight in shining armour lookalikes will one day fall from heaven into you lap or to sweep you off your feet starts to dull and fade.
In a very real sense, you outgrow them. You begin to realize that exciting but trivial things matter, but it does not matter for long. The thrill of extravagant gestures, huge bouquets of flowers, pricey gifts, having a drop dead gorgeous guy/girl by your side take a back seat to stability and someone being there when you need them the most.
A more stable but possibly less exciting? company is something you desire. You start looking for someone whom you can imagine yourelf growing old with. You look for people that you like to spend time with. People who have common interests, common values. Lancelot takes the form of that nice guy you meet at a friend’s party, manga Babe takes the form of that sweet ex-colleague/friend’s sister/ next door neighbour. Perhaps a more stable kind of relationship, but one that might just stand the test of time.
As we move further into the 21st century, of female emancipation and increasing female dominance, do people, girls in particular still get married to have better pooled finances, for a more secure life, one that can guarantee you and your children will be well cared for, financially, at least? Many girls would, I know. And it is not wrong at all and if the guy is willing and capable, very good!
However, I sincerely hope that the guy you settle down with mainly because of his financial capabilities one day dosen't suddenly decide that he has had enough of supporting you, has a change of heart or makes you feel like you owe him something just because he is paying for the house you stay in, the clothes that keep you warm, the food that gives you sustenance and a good education for the children you have together.
I think, holding out your hand to ask for money, even from someone close to you is one of the toughest things to do. But then again, it's SO hard to predict, whether what he says at the start of marriage or during courtship are sweet promises that will be kept till death do you part or merely just sweet nothings.
A gamble! Marriage is such a gamble!!
Finally, called me jaded or cynical, the reason for getting married that I think is the most idealistic, is because of the love, or finding THE ONE.
First of all, is there really THE ONE for everyone somewhere out there? Or is THE ONE a kind of vague, overated cliche that people just talk about, but never really ponder what it means?
Some views on THE ONE:
"THE ONE is not perfect, but with faults and failings. It would be silly to build castles in the air and imagine a Prince Charming, someone impossibly unattainable to come and sweep you off your feet."
"THE ONE cannot be pursued, because the more it is pursued, it cannot be found. If you pursue it, you will mix up the whole matching game that is already pre-destined."
"THE ONE dosen't meant a perfect match, ala chick flicks. To understand each other, to have empathy, to share similar values. We have all these in common with other people, but to a different extent. Sometimes, a certain someone will have a wonderful blend of all these things that make it, comfortable and belong."
"Intrinsically, you already know what you want in THE ONE. You will just have to meet that someone and you will have a sudden realization that hits you, that yes, that's THE ONE!"
* Disclaimer: Subjects were involved in a non-randomized and non-placebo controlled (n=5) mini-survey. Answers in no way reflect a general trend.
Well, as for moi, my definition of THE ONE is simple. Anyone can be THE ONE.
It depends on the degree of giving and taking, compromise and tolerance that you want to invest in that particular someone.
Granted, there are people out there who are more similar to you that most. But nobody is exactly like you and thinks exactly the way you do and reacts to situations indentically to as you as well. Hence, tolerance and compromise is the key. It would definitely be nice if you at least have common ground to work on, the usual things: similar values, similar interests, similar goals, some physical attraction. If not, the slope of compromise will be steep, difficult and suffocating. At least with some common ground, the compromise might come more naturally and might even be fun.
It's like that hobby you enjoy, you will squeeze time, find ways to compromise your busy schedule willingly in order for you to do it and not feel tired, but exhilarated instead.
Because you like doing it.
How much can you tolerate before you explode? =D
What I'm trying to say is, a good yardstick to measure whether the compromise and sacrifices are worth it is whether you're having fun giving and taking. Whether you are willing to sacrific, willing to give up certaing things. And that, is fundamentally, what I believe makes a relationship work and last.
As for love, I believe that love can be nurtured and comes naturally with increased understanding of each other. No, I do not believe in love at first sight. That, is a romanticized Hollywood notion. In relationships and marriage, it's about free will (or perceived Free Will as suggested by God's Debris by Scott Adams) in making a concious choice to make things work.
That being said, marriage is still such a big gamble.
It's a scary gamble and the stakes are unimaginably high. But I suppose, only with high risks, can the returns be truly great.