What does marriage means for you? What does it mean to have a successful marriage? How long have you been married? Are you single? Have you ever considered being married? Why did you even get married? Lots of questions come to my mind when I think about marriage. If you ask these questions to people, many people would answer them very differently, and some would just lie to your face with the answer.
Some would say that marriage means commitment, that marriage means to have God bless you as a couple. Others would say it is a piece of paper. Others would describe a successful marriage as one that survives the most difficult experiences and comes back to the other side with both husband and wife still together. Others would say that success means to be on the same page as your spouse, while others would say never fighting, and others would say to fight and forgive.
If you think about how society has brainwashed us about marriage, then is it any wonder why it is so difficult to stay in a marriage? When you see an ad where marriage is shown, let’s say a wedding magazine, you don’t see the real truth of what marriage will be after a few years of the wedding. If you see couples in commercials, you’ll probably see them happy, smiling and of course with straight, white teeth. And the amount of money that some people spend in planning the wedding is not even near the amount of money of people spend on investing to have a long lasting healthy marriage. Why is that?
I wonder where all of this started, the perfect picture. That perfect picture that has made many people feel that they don’t have a good marriage because they are competing with that perfect picture, and if you don’t have a perfect marriage and decide to even talk about it, would people actually listen? Or do we all start gossiping about our spouses? Or when you are just tired and ready to get out of it, people tell you all the reasons why you should stay. Who told them what marriage means? Where did they learn it? Where did we learn it? From our parents? From society? From the neighbors? From the movies? From religion? From where? Or is it just an illusion?
If your parents are still married, do you want that same marriage? Or not? I have asked a lot to couples who have been married quite a bit (let’s say 30 plus years), “What is the secret?”
Some men say, “Just say, ‘Yes, Dear,’” while others say, patience, and others say that divorce is not acceptable, and others say God.
If someone asked me if it is more difficult to be a mom or a wife, I would say to be a wife. I have felt sorry for my husband a thousand times. He married someone who comes from separated grandparents and from a single mother, so I am third generation of women who have a “better alone” mentality. To be honest, having a wedding and spending the rest of my life with someone never appealed to me. So why did I get married?
I got married because I wanted to be physically together with the person I was in love with. If my husband would have been from the same country, I probably would have just said to just live together and try our best. But in our case, my husband is American and me Peruvian. We tried many times to just travel back and forth, but after thousands of dollars in plane tickets, he popped the question and my answer was not yes; it was actually: “Of course.” My “Of course” meant of course we should do this because we cannot keep doing this. His excitement to my answer was, “Yes! She wants us to me married until death do us part!”
I would say compared with many couples that we probably have a pretty good marriage. Some people would think my marriage is just average. But guess what, I am not an average person, and I like thriving for the best in what I want. I was brought up to communicate and ask for my needs, to be straight forward, not to yell, and to be respectful, even when you are saying the most hurtful words. I was born to enjoy life. But what a surprise how mixing two different cultures, two different backgrounds, and two different meanings of marriage can bring to trying to be in the same page.
I am happy to say that we are an amazing couple. Have we gone through pain? Yes! Why are we amazing? Because we talk about everything, and I would say that our secret has been communication. It was not easy for both of us to communicate that well; we have been in counseling numerous times, not only when we had conflicts but also when everything was rosy color, and to be honest in those times we learned the most. Communication is not easy; you have to be open to listen and say what you really feel. And oh boy, have we! From talking about depression, sex, having crushes on other people, not being in love anymore, and divorce, our ears are certainly proof of something.
You might think I am crazy. You can have your opinion, and I respect that, but I am happy to be me. I am happy that we became the couple that can express how we really feel, where shame and guilt do not stop us from saying what we think. I am proud of the marriage we have because, believe it or not, it is pure, because there is no fear in saying what we feel. I love my husband so much that when I saw him miserable I was willing to leave him just to see him happy. Yes, I have been with a divorce lawyer. Yes, I have a plan in case we separate. But one thing I am sure is that, even with the pain of possible separation, he is my best friend. We might never love each other unconditionally. It is just not in my nature, and when he really tries to do it, it is not in his either.
Wherever this adventure takes us, all I know is that we will forever be friends. I will look out for his happiness, but I won’t sacrifice mine for his. Is that selfish? It might be, but he knows. 2016 was a hell and a heaven of a year. Yes, we are in different pages. He is more religious than me; we go to different churches; he reads the Bible, I read my Buddhist book; he is pro-life, I am pro choice; he believes our kid should do abstinence when he is older, I am planning to give him condoms; he prefers sex over food, I prefer food over sex; he loves sports and I don’t care. But guess what? We can be our TrueSelves with each other. I am transparent as the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, and as inconvenient as that must be, at the end this is our story.
We have not had many fights, but I won’t settle for mediocre in my marriage. I was born to be happy and so was he. We are fighting for our marriage to be different, to be whole, to be joyful, and mostly to be a union that however long it lasts it will be about love, laughter, joy and not appearances and the perfect picture. We are not a 50/50 marriage; we are 100% both. This is my marriage; some people might feel sorry for us that we are not on the same page; I know for sure that many people fake to be on that same page. No, we are not on the same page; we are on a different page but from the same book.