Over the years, I have been surrounded by people whose cohabitation and or marriage life don’t work as smooth as they planned before (well.. nobody plans for chaos, isn’t it?) I figured, it’s happening everywhere, thus, this note might be useful for some of you.
Marriage is not for everyone, some people find it hard to be committed to one person for the rest of their life. But, if you are inclined to weather ‘live happily ever after’, ’till die do us apart’ or thinking “I want to deal with this bitch for the rest of my life” or have a short memory and an abundant amount of sense of humor. Then, you might want to read further.
25. The honeymoon phase will be over eventually. Be it in six months, or after a year, five years, or ten years, the person you fell hard for will show you their whole quality. They don’t really change, they are still themselves, you just don’t know them enough to see that part.
Their quality might gone up to the surface for some reasons. But it has been there, be it dormant or active. It’s them. They are the same person you married to years ago. You might just ignored those red flags for some reasons.
Love is blind, they say.
Some people can prolong this honeymoon phase by giving more affection and being a perfect match for each other. Nurture the love every day together and earn more love from their partners. Yes, love is earned. No one has to love you for who you are, under the vow or not. Love is earned, not given for free.
And just in case this honeymoon wears off (it certainly will if you don’t nourish it), the first move you should take is… stay as long as you can and do whatever you could to keep the fire alive before peeking on your neighbour’s green grass.
24. Preserve the privacy of yours and your partners’. I get that feeling when you see your partner goes tell-it-all in public, building a stage for their emotional despair, posting passive aggressive stuff which they can actually tell you directly like an emotionally stable person. Be it on social media or on magazines (happens when you are in a relationship with famous people).
Well.. you can’t do anything about it, it’s their choice to go public. The least thing you could do is doing the same thing and tell people the story from your side. Other than that, stay classy, and keep it for yourself, your closest friends and your lawyer.
Let me tell you something.. No matter how heavy the problem you have, nobody on social media cares.
It’s either they are being cynical about it.. or, laugh at your problems. Those cats’and dogs’ pictures are way more interesting than the sad story of your marriage. Honest note, it makes you look ridiculous.
So, stop posting those passive-aggressive post on facebook. Especially the ones that similar to “Sebagai istri harus selalu ikhlas dan sabar..”, do you hear that sound of my eyes got stuck in the back of its sockets after I rolled it too hard? I learned my lesson, and I think it’s not a cool thing to do.
It’s marriage, it’s an adult stuff, treat problems in your marriage like an adult. Have some dignity to not reveal it in public.
23. Always forgive and forget… until it’s no longer worthy. Forgiveness sets you free. It’s not about the other party you forgive, it’s about letting go the pain you are holding on. Holding onto grudge is destructive, it won’t make you a better person, nor makes you happy. And erasing something from your memory is not something you can really do. Especially when it’s related to something essential.
There are some things you can brush off easily, but when it comes to something essential and you are given a situation where you have to forgive your partner and betraying yourself and your value, find your dignity and leave.
22. Be a good teammate. Life can come at you hard. One of the nice things about marriage is being able to have someone else in the bunker when you’re getting shelled. When problems come at you two, focus on solution, panicking over something won’t help, let alone being fussy about the small stuff around the problem.
Remind your partner to stay focus, then give yourself a time to process the whole stuff. When you are ready with solution and talk it out, tell them that you are ready to talk. ALWAYS talk about problem when you both completely composed, sober and calm.
Marriage is being one of the team to tackle the problem together. Just make sure you are not one of the problems. If you are, then it’s time to reflect and think of how to solve the problem within you then take back the partner’s seat and conquer the world together again with your partner.
You are the only person who can get you out of your own problem. No one will get you out of it, let alone burdening your partner to solve the problem for you. Be functional and proactive. Show him/her that you are capable of being a good partner.
21. Grow and adapt. Things are changing. If you want a rewarding relationship, please make sure you and your partner are encouraging each other to be the better version of yourselves day by day. Striving for improvements in all aspects of your life. Be it education, career, health and start conducting healthy living.
Please make sure you are a better individual compare to the person who said “yes” to that marriage proposal. Make sure you are more successful in your career, you are a happier person, and you are a better you in your marriage.
Because if you don’t think you need all that, they most certainly do, and that is the moment when you two are not on the same page, then, one of you will have to catch up in order to preserve the balance.
Balance and structure are essentials in many fields.
20. Own your compass. Be it moral compass or mental compass, marriage is for people with a strong sense of belief.
Moral compass helps you to be your own voice of reason. You know where you are heading, and you know what to expect from your partner and your marriage. Moral compass won’t let you manipulate and lie to your partner, it keeps you honest and trustworthy.
While mental compass, is the quality of your relationship with yourself. It helps you to be in touch with reality and sustain a healthy mind. With a healthy mind, you can decide and process problems then find the right fix for it.
19. Travel together or travel alone. It is great if you can travel together most of the time. Since I know how it feels like when you want your significant other to see how beautiful the view that you see, or when you want to share the excitement you had when you did that dirt bike racing with your friends and wish your partner can experience the same adrenaline rush as you do.
But sometimes, he wants to go to Bora-bora and you want to do a trek to Galdhøpiggen in Norway. Well, go for it, see him / her in a week and share your stories over bucattini carbonara and spicy meatballs you cooked together.
Life is not always about being together all the time. We gotta do what we gotta do. That’s how we grow together, and contribute to the relationship, by broadening our worldview. Thus, it can change the way we value our relationship.
18. Develop your own interests. Have passion on something, the thing that makes you feel happy when you do it, something that makes you want to excel on it.
Be it singing, cooking, do modern dance, make a movie review, play video games, videography, make clothing design, writing, or whatever science related hobby. Have your own interest, the thing that makes you want to spend your time doing it -just for the sake of it, and produce a useful result, at least for your own happiness.
By having your own interest and develop it from time to time, it helps you to grow, meet and connect with new people, it keeps your mind healthy. You will always have something to share with your partner. Happy people make a healthy relationship.
Or just in case you don’t know what to learn, first, maybe you can learn to be self-sufficient. Learn to do your own laundry. Know how to cook a meal; how to navigate the grocery store; how to make an online purchase; how to turn off the water to the house; how to erect a camping tent; how to unclog a toilet. So at least, you know how to do all that. And not being a basic dependant to your partner.
17. Cultivate a wide, diverse circle of friends. I personally like to keep my inner circle narrow. Although, I don’t close it for new people to get into it altogether. New perspective is always refreshing. That is why meeting interesting people is one of the greatest joys of living. You will get to hear new story, new perspective, new personality to understand and new stuff to learn.
When you are in a healthy relationship, the more people you know, the more you can appreciate your partner and strengthen your relationship with them.
16. Take care of your health and your shape. Yes, your partner loves you for who you are, despite the size of your wardrobes. But, good shape is not always about the look, it’s more about how good you maintain your health. You owe it to each other to be in the best physical health possible. Exercise is also beneficial for your mental health.
Take pride in your appearance. Your marriage license doesn’t give you a free pass to always wear sweat pants and t-shirt. Those batik pants, 3/4 shorts… please take it off. Except you need a contraception to wear, well, go ahead.
Other than that, please maintain a good hygiene. Could your armpit odor make someone who stands behind you, faints? Could your breath shrivel the whole field? Take care of that, please. Have some self respect. They might be your partner for years, they might know how awful your poo smells like… It doesn’t legitimise you to not look good and smell good.
15. Practice self-awareness. Be mindful of what you say and do. Before you say anything, take a deeper look at what you want to say, before you do anything, make sure the things that you want to do is not counterproductive. Be sure what you are going to say will add value to your partner’s life. Be sure it is not only a hot air to fill the silence with.
Take frequent looks in the mirror. Reflect on who you are and the contributions you are making to your relationship. What you have been doing to make things work around the house? Are you being fair to your partner? Are you being nitpicking? Do you contribute enough? Are you sharing the equal tasks with your partner in maintaining the family? It takes two to parent, just make sure you don’t make your partner as a step father/step mother to you.
14. Admit that you’re wrong (even, on occasion, when you aren’t). No excuse, no one else to blame, own up your mistake, then don’t repeat. It is easier to forgive someone who owns up their mistake and does some effort to make the situation better. This simple gesture will pay immeasurable dividends; it will help you grow and it’s just the right thing to do.
13. Surprise one another. Fill up the gas in her vehicle, buy him his favorite cigar, buy her a bucket of white roses on the day she accomplished something at work, buy him Sagami 0.01 and put it next to his dessert plate. Give your partners a small pleasant surprise.
12. It’s the good little things, it’s the bad little things. The simplest act and almost effortless gestures like holding the door, bring the shopping bag for her, push the trolley for her at the grocery, suggesting a movie night, rubbing his back, shoulder massage after work, paying attention when she talks, make sure he has his shirt ready for work.. can be so much rewarding, the reward is greater than the sum of the parts.
While the little bad things does the contrary, drops of urine on the toilet seat, forgot to buy something important your partner asked you to buy, cancel the plan in last minute, forgetting the promise you made last month, spitting in public, insensitive jokes. These are death by a thousand cuts to your relationship.
11. The bathroom session is private. If you think it’s an old-fashioned to brush your teeth while I use the toilet, you’ll change your mind about that eventually. It’s about conducting a good manner, appreciating boundaries and self respect.
10. Don’t make sex a taboo subject. This is a sensitive topic to talk about. But in a healthy relationship, you will be able to talk about it in a romantic and sensual way. Tell them what’s going on with your sexual rhythm, your desire, what do you like him/ her to do with your body.
Sex is an important part of any marriage or cohabiting life. You most probably pretty much compatible in bed and share the same level of excitement when it comes to sex. You know them enough to understand their needs in sex department. Ask them what do you need to do to make them feel satisfied.
Don’t discuss sex only when you are in the throes of passion. Sex is the source of fire in intimate relationship. You need to be able to talk about it openly at any time.
9. It’s okay to have secrets. Be open since the beginning that you will want your secret garden secluded and untouched. Your partner don’t have to share you everything. And secret room is something everyone needs. We don’t have to know all things that are not essential about someone.
Make sure you have discussed what is the essential stuff you need to know about them. The rest, you can leave it alone in its box.
8. Avoid subtext. This is a cowardly way to communicate. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hint about it. Hints are for dummies.
7. Put it down. His cellphone, her cell phone. Period. It’s an invasive behavior. Normal people will ask their partner what they want to know and their partner will answer the question. If you don’t feel secure enough in your relationship to the level that you think you need to check his or her cellphone, you need to see a therapist.
6. Don’t over-romanticize past (or future) relationships. Live at the moment. Nurture your relationship with the notion that “nothing will last forever”, so is your relationship. This will help you to appreciate the smallest thing you get from him/ her and motivates you to give more.
5. You are equals. It doesn’t matter which one of you makes the most money. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the better collection of Marvel Comics vintage edition. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the cutest ass. It doesn’t even matter which one of you can run faster or fart louder than the other. You are in this together.
4. Respect each other’s friends. Enough said.
3. Respect space and time. When she wants to have her me time by going to a beauty salon or take a walk alone, let her do it. When he wants to clear his mind driving his sport car, let him do it.
When he said he has a lot of work to be done, let him do his stuff. When she said she needs sometime alone for three days, let her have it.
2. Be responsible with money. No one lives on love. You need money. If you earned it, you will almost certainly respect it.
If you didn’t earn it, you must respect it even more. He might be that chivalrous man who will give you anything you want. But make sure what you take from him is a part of your way to contribute to the relationhship.
What is essential for him? Will it irritate him if you spend $2,000 on nail polish? How does it improve your sex life with him?
When it comes to money, everyone being extra sensitive and will take it very seriously. Basic manner and respect will help you to survive this subject.
1. Adapting beats abandoning. There will be moments when you want to quit, walk out, give up, fly away. You can do that. You certainly can. But you will probably be doing so without giving due consideration to the new life that awaits you.
When the problem gets too heavy on your chest, take a helicopter view. Will this worth the effort of adapting? Will it worth the wait for him/her to change their bad habit? How will you feel about this problem 10 days from now? Will you feel better off in 10 months? 10 years? Only you know the answers to those questions. If you think you don’t, remove your fear.