Saturday, September 20, 2008

A heavy- hearted post on marriage

What exactly constitutes a good marriage? To start off from the same note, I'd like to think that everyone has the same idea of what marriage is about and assume that every man and woman who has undergone the marriage vows and say 'I do' works towards a perfect, if not good marriage from Day One. I may have never been married before but witnessing a good marriage and the other extreme really opens up my world about what marriage is all about. I've always been the idealist when it comes to marriage. (Read: before the age of 15). Like every self-respecting little girl who dreams of a fairytale ending, I was no exception to the notion of having a Prince Charming in a white horse sweep me off my feet, or anything else close. However, we had all fallen prey to Walt Disney's rosy pack of lies whereby he gave every fairytale story a "Happily ever after" ending. Is there any wonder why I now prefer watching the ugly Shrek and Fiona with all the nasty princesses and princes? I swear I've been so totally bought over by Disney when I was younger that I got the shock of my 15-years-old life when I saw unfaithful relative. It's akin to a tight reality slap on my delicate ignorant face. That fateful day dated back to when I was still a waitress at a cafe at Marina Square. I was late as usual and rushing to work when the inconceivable if not unfathomable sight stopped me in my tracks. Initially, I was pleasantly surprised by my uncle who's my aunt's husband until I saw an unfamiliar silhouette clinging next to him. It wasn't my aunt. He was holding her thick waist and they were behaving like an intimate couple. Fat waist. Check. Rolly-polly face. Check. Way shorter than my aunt. Check! I was stunned beyond words. As a person who is always ready to give anyone the benefit of doubt, I thought that he might be my uncle's twin brother though I didn't recall seeing any at their wedding. A call to my aunt would clarify all my doubts, I thought. The point of realization came when my repeated calls didn't reach her as she was out of the country. That fat ass was and may still is my jackass uncle's 'other woman'. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and followed them for a distance. He feigned ignorance of my presence and I clearly made him real uncomfortable. He took a quick exit and pretended nothing ever happened even after being confronted by my parents. It didn't help that my mum confirmed what I've seen by telling me they've been suspecting about his extramarital affairs for the longest time. It suddenly dawned on me why my aunt would sometimes pop by to stay for the night at my place or have mysterious blue-blacks on her forehead (kudos to self-mutilation). For the rest of that day, I was so upset that I cut myself accidentally while making sandwiches, giving the wrong change and even scalding myself in the next few days. Not to mention that I was constantly in tears, thinking of how my poor aunt could deal with this breach of faith. Isn't marriage about having faith? I had so much hope in marriage as I grew up in a family with parents who are committed to each other and to their kids. My parents led by example what I called 'good marriage'. Even though they aren't the lovey-dovey couples who openly display public affection, I know their love is deep-run with respect, care and commitment. When my mum was on the road to recovery after an operation, my dad did something that really touched my heart and convinced me how much he loved her. It was a rainstorm one night but my dad insisted on going out to get some porridge for my mum as he was worried she could not swallow solid food including noodles. Just a simple gesture like this made me the happiest daughter that night because I was quite comforted that I came to this world for the right reasons. I'm the love child of a committed couple, not made out of couples who did not stay together just for kids without any love. At 15 years of age, I became disillusioned by marriage and the promises of "happily ever after" that was supposed to follow. What I experienced was too much for me to take. I was of course eventually disillusioned with love too, thanks to another bastard in my life which I would one day have the courage to blog about. So why am I bringing up an 8-years-ago-incident that's worth forgetting? Fast forward to tonight, that same uncle hurt my aunt again (many times in between as well) by saying he no longer has any feelings of love for her. Does this heartless man even know what love means? Maybe not many of us know. The love we all know is the butterfly feeling in our stomaches when you just fall in love and the rest is hard work, no? Not many of us know that there are so many kinds of love (which I learnt in psychology) There's the erotic or passionate love which many of us know, being attracted to someone and being madly in love in the initial stage. Many of us wish that this love will last forever but it doesn't. How can feelings of lust last a lifetime? Love doesn't disappear, love is like energy. It can't be destroyed, it can and should change to other forms in other stages of the life. When you grow old with your husband or wife, that's called companionship love. No butterflies in the stomach but comfortable with each other, knowing each others' likes and dislikes and being there for each other all the time. That for me, is the greatest kind of love because it had gone from erotic, passionate and eventually to the last stage where a couple can stay together till death parts them. I'm convinced my bastard uncle only knows the erotic love, and sadly this love can never get him far. A man who is attracted by women every now and then only yearns for a short term kind of love, I am even protesting that I should use the word 'lust' instead of 'love'. Never mind that. A man who is not committed to his marriage which is for life will say things like ' I have no feelings for you anymore.' I swore I heard this only when I was in high school. Is there any wonder why the poor kids of this heartless man never get to see Daddy every day cos he comes home after midnight and sleeps in till noon and gets out of the house before they come back from school? What never cease to amaze me more is that a commitment-phobic man can marry thrice, have four kids but has never read any books or feed his kids at dinnertime. He can continue to amaze me but my heart goes all out to the battered wife and the innocent kids. I'm at a loss of what to do and I've no idea how much heartache she is going through right now.

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