Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How's married life?

How's married life, Sam?

Quite a common question to hear.

My "life" is of the English-educated, potentially middle income one, well-provided for with adequate meals, shelter and opportunities.

We often reduce life and "coming of age" to phases, a rites of passage, and so on. But it is just something that ages/matures/grows on a daily basis.

A phase is only a phase after we select and identify a period of time in our lives that have passed, and call it a phase.

Sometimes we would prophesy, when encountering a difficult time, that this particular point in time who be a pivotal moment, a time of change, the rite of passage.

My wife would take jibes at me when I complain (I complain a lot by the way) about a potential problem/hurdle, "This is where you'll become the man" or "You have to do this to become the man" or something along those lines (I'm sure I have explained this before).

Married life is the same as dating. The accumulation of newer and heavier responsibilities is a gradual process, so gradual it doesn't seem symbolic or too obvious to qualify as new chapter in one's life.

A new chapter involves flipping a page, but I see my life as just a one-page narrative.

The flat is under renovation. There is the gradual "handing over" of responsibilities, the transference of responsibility and power from our own parents to us, to look after aspects and domains of our lives, for which our younger selves could not have looked out.

Perhaps moving into and living in our new home will signal a new chapter in our lives, because it is a permanent logistical change.

There are tons of things to pay for, which is not very family-friendly, or dreams-friendly. You put family and dreams on hold just to be "pragmatic".

On the one hand, I would love to have kids, so I can play with them, among many other things. On the other hand, at times it does not seem worth it bring a child into a world of suffering, hypocrisy and "group think".

I think, amidst all the existing and incoming responsibilities and anxieties of married life, there can still be room for fun, enjoyment and bonding. There is often too much of a focus on the unhappiness and inadequacies of life and living that people forget the little pockets and moments in time where they felt really happy about themselves. Judging by the complaints and unhappiness of people, it seems that all people want is just freedom to have fun (although some consider making more money fun).

I still have the same likes and dislikes, before and after getting married. Being together has gradually seen some changes in both of us, so marriage is just a small addition to the "togetherness".

Being married to a good friend and lover is like having finding friendship and romance in the same person. There is the intellectual banter and a mutually identifiable sense of humour, and there are also differences in opinions and tastes which makes it more interesting than it already is.

In my opinion, you do not have to be married to prove anything so long as you feel your love and friendship is as strong as ever. Unfortunately, there is a construct called a marriage, which is seen as a normative rites of passage. Tag along with it are economic incentives. So why not?

Being married does not make one less responsible than he/she already is (which can be very generalising, but that is how I feel about ourselves at the least). What matters more is the amount and level of laughter and happiness in the days to come, for once they are continually absent, any marriage or relationship is meaningless.

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