I have been wanting to write this for some time already, but not knowing what angle to take. Whichever way I write, there will be those who favour either gender, who will register their displeasure. But then again, if I don’t, I’ll never get to write this.
““Life ends when you stop dreaming, hope ends when you stop believing, love ends when you stop caring, friendship ends when you stop sharing.”
To husbands and wives out there, I have a question to ask:
“Who were we to each other before we became husband and wife?”
Having gone through some of life’s bits of spices, I have come to add something else to my theory of happiness : TRUST, RESPECT & LOVE. I have written on this theory on two previous occasions: What Completes You, and, Happiness In A Marriage. The thing I have come to realise is this:
“Marriages end not because there is absence of love, but the absence of friendship.”
Save for those who married his/her spouse for their looks, or get to know a person for his/her looks, and want to end up with him/her for his/her looks, most of us married our spouse after a period of friendship. We became friends, then better friends, and perhaps to the point of being best of friends before finding ourselves compatible with the other person. Then we weigh all the pros and cons of this person, and of being with this person for the rest of our life (hopefully), and make our decision based on that evaluation.
So, where and how did marriages go wrong?
Many couples tend to take the Husband (Dominant), Wife (Subservient) stance. From being friends, it suddenly becomes the ‘Master & Servant’ relationship. Other couples have that ‘We’re married so let’s not do those childish stuff we used to do as we have come of age.’
Then they quickly have kids, and soon, whatever time they have in the 24-hour day, has to be divided between their own self, their spouse, their kids, and their job. In pursuing life’s necessities, they forget the thing that is most necessary in life: meaningful communicating with their spouse. Meaningful means something more than just a grunt of acknowledgment or two.
By the time they have all the time in the world to themselves, ie. the children have all grown up and have left the house to pursue their own happiness, both husband and wife would think that it’s too old for them to have any meaningful communication, and time is best spent pursuing God’s paradise in some mosque somewhere. Rarely do we get to see, old couples walk hand-in-hand, or be romantic towards each other, enjoying the last few years they have left with each other, together. And this is especially true in Malay couples. Stupid, that’s what it is.
We always forget that marriage is just a method to legalise sex; not a condition where you have to forget what life was like with your other half before you guys got married. A marriage is about partnership. It is about living life together as a team – aiming at making it, rather than breaking it. And most important, is to keep that flame of friendship burning. You started as friends, therefore you should remain as good friends. Not as ‘I, husband; You, wife’ thing. If you don’t keep this friendship going, then when the monotony of marriage sets in, the danger of the marriage collapsing sets in too.
You lose that friendship, then you will break the trust. When you break the trust, you lose the respect. When your spouse no longer respects you, then the only thing that will keep your marriage going would be the kids. Sometimes, even that will not keep it together as you will then realise that it would be futile to keep the marriage going.
So, remember. You started off as friends, then you became good friends. And with that friendship, you chose to live your life together. To trust, respect, and love each other.