Why I didn't take the marriage bandwagon-- yet?!
At almost 35, my mother thinks I'm crazy!
My married friends think I'm late for the baby-party.
And my sister thinks I'm her solid rock (being unmarried herself at the age of 40).
I'm no expert in relationships and most of all, marriage. But I had years and years and years of looking back to many love-life experiences that made me laugh and cringe for my stupid actions.
So for all the good intentions and my own prerogative, I decided to write about this, hopefully to shed a different light...
Here are my sensible reasoning(s)--- or so I hope:
Don’t fall for the norm.
Just because you’re expected to be married at a specific age (in the Philippines, when you finish college) that you really have to live up for that expectation. Good thing for me, nobody was really interested after I finished school, except for a boy, ten years my junior. But maybe, if I didn’t live abroad, I would’ve been married with children in tow by now!
What also prompt me to write this, was when I met a 47 year old Filipina, who is now struggling with her own relationship because she fall for the norm! She thought that being with someone and creating a life with him and their children is what will ultimately be her happiness. Like many women, she thought she was ready because everyone else around her have done it. But the sad truth is, she came in a relationship when she expected that everything will come in smoothly. So now at almost 50, she's at lost because she doesn't know where to start her life and do things she was not able to do first or on her own.
Just because all of your girlfriends are married, it doesn't mean you have to prepare and pressure yourself that you should too!
Ahh, peer pressure (at any age) is given and there is nothing more anxious about being surrounded by married friends. In my case, I am certainly and genuinely happy for all of my girlfriends who are married now. I admired their strength, sacrifice, patience, courage, and commitment. They seem to be doing just fine and they make marriage life look very easy by the way. But it’s not just yet, for me. ;)
To be married means to be with someone else other than your self, are you ready for that?
And this is my best excuse. Really. I know it’ll be too much of a cliche to be saying-- know thyself first. Sure there’s a simple definition with this, such as I know my favorite dress, my fave food, or my fave nail color. But truly knowing yourself involves a lot of self-examination and self-discovery. And in your 20s you’re still figuring out who you really are!
You really have to ask yourself, what are the things that you love doing on your own phase at your own time?? Take my own self discovery for example: bookstores and stationary stores keep me calm. And I buy cooking books, travel magazines, blank notebooks, and lots of pen with a 0.7 fine pointer-- out of impulse. I also learned that as I pay attention to small details, it gives me inspiration for the things I wanted to achieve on that day, or that week, or that month. I also make a point that I get to go to a new place-- alone, once a year, and experience something extreme. For next year, I’m really looking into trying-- skydiving! As I already did: skiing, bunjee jumping, scuba diving, surfing, and rock climbing!
As much as I wanted to share the things I love doing with Frenchie, there is such a liberating and fulfilling feeling to do some things on my own. And he’s feeling the same things, too. Believe it or not, his friends are envious that he gets to go out at night to see them on his own or go to other new places without me. Key words: trust and space.
And oh, If I’d be completely honest here, I have many times change my answers to my fave dress, or fave food, or fave nail color. That alone, can say so much that I don’t know what I want sometimes. Just saying.
Are you really marrying the love of your life or your ideal man?
I can certainly say that I am in a very healthy and loving relationship with Frenchie. Our love story can be condensed into this: We met at a book club that our common friend organized. Two years after, on Valentine’s day no less, we started dating and we’re inseparable ever since. Sure, he was my type because-- he’s bald, tall, and skinny. But aside for my physical attractions towards him, what really drawn me to him was our common interests. We love reading books-- well, we met at a book club after all! We love to travel and really engaging ourselves to the real experience of it. We love meeting inspiring people. We love doing new and valuable experiences together. And the most important of all, we openly communicate with each other especially with our conflicting ideas and situations.
The best relationship journey we had was when we did our three-month-long travel in China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the US. It was such THE BEST relationship strengthening power that I advise every couple should do before doing something drastic and regrettable. Being able to travel with Frenchie has given me so many lessons, opened my eyes to new things, and we’ve really gotten to know each other better-- both the good and the bad sides.
As my good friend Alain said, “If you went on a backpacking trip with your partner and survived each other at the end of your journey-- you’re meant for each other.” I truly believed him because there is nothing more worth knowing your partner when you only have each other to rely with, at all times. In our case, it also became a huge solution for our communication gap issues. And in all honesty, we are more than happy to have each other now and we know too well that there’s a right time for us to settle down.
I know a lot of women are being blind-sided by their own idea of what kind of man do they want to have in their lives. This is seriously dangerous. And will really make you very miserable if you’re only in love with the idea of his achievements.
Don’t fall in love with a seaman when you really needed a man who’ll be very much present in your life everyday.
Don’t fall in love with a doctor or a law graduate when he’s a notorious womanizer.
Don’t fall in love with a rich guy who always abuses and manipulates you with his words.
Don’t fall in love with a handsome guy when he only meets you for sex.
Don’t fall in love with a Westerner guy who’s most likely 20 years older than your age, just because he promised he can take you to his home country someday.
Girl, generation gap is real! Very real! And reality will bite you, BIG time in the ass when one day you will wake up in a foreign land, unhappy, and you have no one to run to. Because aside from generation gap, there’s cultural gap. Stop stereotyping that foreigners have a lot of money and you will eventually have all the material things you want. The truth of the matter is, the only reason they’re looking for women online is because they can’t have a normal conversation with a woman offline. And most of the foreigners (especially the ones who have no stable job) choose to live in Asia is because they can’t afford a good and stable life in their home country. Asia is after all, ten times cheaper for them-- currency wise. So do the Math.
What I’m trying to say here is, you should really be able to know the person very well and who he is. You can’t make an excuse that just because he is a somebody or an achiever, he’s automatically a nice person. Look very deeper into his character-- meaning, how does he treat you when you’re both alone, or the people around you when he is upset? Is he courteous? Is he respectful? Is he honest? Is he forgiving? All of these qualities matter. Women were gifted with instinct, so for God’s sake listen to it! That’s His own way of saving you of years and years and years of misery. If your instinct is telling you to run away, do it!!!
A wedding is a few hours of ceremony and celebration. But being married is a lifetime commitment.
Is it just me, or do you also see that a wedding has been regarded bigger than the importance of the union of two people?! And somehow the wedding has become more and more expensive, with all the prenup photo shoots and the what nots. Sure, I love seeing the details of the beautiful gown of the bride, of the whole entourage, and the glamorous hotel for their reception, but has anyone taken noticed of how beautiful the words are in their wedding vows or how emotional the groom was when he received his bride, or how many times the couple looked at each other on a special way on their wedding day?!? Honestly, I’m sad that most people can only comment about the food and the wedding souvenirs. And nothing more.
Are you really ready to take this route, as this is a life-changing decision?
Not yet. Here’s my personal reason: I’m a dreamer and a nomad. I dream to live in a nice sunny country, so foreign to me-- that rhymes with Brazil, France, and Australia. ;) Perhaps, I was a gypsy in my past life that I’d like to see the world first and be the most adventurous that I have ever been. I dream that I can get to the ends of North Pole and the safari of Africa and the cold mountains of Zermatt and to watch the gorgeous sunrise in Machu Picchu and sunset in Santorini and go on a pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago, Holy Land, and Our Lady of Fatima.
I am also financially short at the moment to be able to contribute to a family I’m going to have. So give me two years. In the meantime, I will continue dreaming-- BIG and slowly fulfilling them before settling down. I dream I will be able to live in a decent house, that I can eventually turn into a home with a rustic feel to it. I dream that in my home, I will have a big kitchen with a long wooden table so I can cook hearty feasts for family and friends. I dream that I can grow my own herb garden. I dream that I can get a pet dog and a pet cat (for Frenchie). I dream that I can keep doing what I love doing most-- educating children in a significant way. I dream that I can work on fulfilling my long time project. I dream that every chance we get, Frenchie and I will continue traveling to new places and learning new cultures together. I dream that we will be able to fulfill our own dreams first, before being able to take care the dreams of our little ones. Because…
Being a mother is another HUGE responsibility.
As a preschool teacher I came across a good number of parents that should have NOT been parents at all! These parents have continuously push their children to live their own frustrated dreams. Whose definition of love is reciprocating their presence with presents. It’s heartbreaking to see that our children of today, are becoming more and more materialistic because of the kind of parenting they are being provided with.
Let’s start providing real love and connection to our children by truly being there for them, for doing priceless activities together, and for showing them that happiness starts within us.
That is why it is very essential to know thyself first, so that you will be able to teach your children from your experiences and through that, you will become a true ROLE MODEL for them. You can’t teach what you don’t know, right? But when you know better, you do things better. Because if you truly look deeper, everything that we are and what we have become as a person was a product of our childhood upbringing, environment, and influences.
If you don’t want your child to grow up disrespectful then stop raising/screaming with your voice. If you don’t want your child to grow up being lazy, then show him how he should do his chores. If you don’t want your child growing up hating you, then genuinely listen to what he likes-- do not push what you like all the time. To be a parent means to be selfless, that you need to put your children’s interests first before yours.
Bottom line is, if your goal is to truly become a good parent...be a good person first. To be a good person means to be a good role model. And being a good person is knowing YOU, first and foremost. Don’t get married because you needed to be saved or supported-- financially by a man. As a modern woman of today, we are given all the options and opportunities to save our selves.
Get married because you’re properly ready and genuinely see yourself to spend a lifetime with the love of your life. Okay?!