On Marriage: 1,000 Different Types of Romance

Every couple has their own dynamics, right? The interactions are different between every pair. The habits you form as a couple also differ from instance to instance, making a relationship unique to its own with all the perks and the downfalls. No one is eligible to dictate what works for a relationship and what doesn’t, because every couple has certain ideas and habits that are right for them and not for others.

I talk big, but in reality there are only two relationships I know quite well. One is that of my parents, and one is that of my ex-partner and I (which, you might have guessed, didn’t work out). Based on this, I can take the simple conclusion that whatever my parents did (or is doing) leads to a long-lasting relationship, while whatever my ex and I did will end in jeopardy. But if life has taught us anything, it’s that reality isn’t that simple.

Just as how real-life situations are more complex than experiments conducted in isolated laboratories, a lot of different factors come into play when two people are deciding on marriage. Love, I learned, is important, but is probably not the biggest factor. Alongside love, there is respect, tolerance, equality… (and maybe lust. Some might agree to disagree—but, hey! If it works for you, it works for you). What I’m still trying to comprehend is the composition of all these different values in a relationship. What happens if love overpowers all—is that a good thing or a bad thing? What if tolerance overpowers love—and so you’re just in a relationship because, well, your marriage is set in stone and your children and grandchildren are happy… basically everyone except you is happy. Is that fair for you? Is that fair for anyone?

I used to think that marriage is a happy ending for everyone (after all, that’s how the Disney Princess stories always end, right?). Two months after being immersed back in the community-oriented culture of Indonesia, though, I realize that marriage just might be the start a much more complex life. Is that complex life more beautiful than the simple one? I have no idea. It’s just that I thought it was more beautiful, but now I have mixed feelings about it.

Maybe reality has been staring in my face the whole time. Maybe I just haven’t really noticed the minor details before. Maybe it’s just that I’m more exposed to people in the later stages of marriage rather than the earlier. Maybe I’ve just been stuck with one very romantic and perfect idea of marriage (my parents’) that anything that is slightly different from their love story strikes me as less perfect and less ideal. If it works for a couple, it works, right? Regardless of whether or not we think they’re truly happy in their relationship or not.

As if this whole experience isn’t messing with my mind enough… I am now reminded that I am 20 and am at the age where I am culturally obligated to think about settling down with a family sometime in the future. Which reminds me! I have to make the choice of career vs. happy family that I have to make a few years down the line.

5 years—actually, make that one year ago—I would have laughed at myself if this were the thoughts that kept me awake at night. Ha. Look who’s laughing now… maybe I should start adopting that foreign sense of humour.

I guess now I just have to be content with the fact that every couple has their own dynamics. If it works for them, it works for them. As for the dynamics I can deal with? I’ll figure it out when I have to figure it out. I guess.

Signed: confused, has a minor loss of faith in marriage and happy endings, but still struggling all the same,


Blueaholic is listening to: f(x) – Red Light
(진짜 사랑이란 어쩌면 아주 느린 파동)

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