What makes a good marriage?

Last night, I talked to my girlpal, whose marriage is one people dream of.
She and her husband married at a young age of 20 (19 for him), and have now been married for 8 years.

But here’s the clincher — whereas people usually divorce after 7 years or so (hence the term, 7-year itch), my friend and her hubby are still happily married. It’s clear when you look at both of them that they both love each dearly.

“It’s kinda freaky,” she said. “Imagine celebrating your 10th year anniversary when you’re 30!

“I think we’ve just been lucky,” she continued. “We know where our priority lies. The happiest times in our marriage was when we were dirt poor, worked two jobs and never felt that we were poor. I’d bring home free rolls from the bakery where I worked, and my husband would say, ‘Darling, this is awesome!’ Now, that’s life!”

Haha, I agree. There’s nothing better than a guy who is happy with just the simplest things in life, such as free rolls and corn dog dinners.

“I know there are a lot more guys who may be cuter, richer, or better than my husband,” she commented. “But I know I’ve married a wonderful man, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

A lot of women in Taiwan place so much emphasis in a potential hubby’s credentials. Tell them that you’ve graduated from an (insert Ivy League university name here), and see their eyes shine and their hearts swoon. Tell them you’re either a doctor, a dentist or a lawyer, and I bet you’re halfway near victory.

In contrast, tell people that you’re gainfully unemployed and see them slowly slink away from you. Doesn’t matter if you’re gainfully unemployed after relentlessly working for nearly a decade and you just need the rest. Doesn’t matter if you’d like to start up your own business.

Here, for most people, gainfully unemployed means that you’re a loser with no income. And that’s not attractive to most women who want a trophy man who have a good job and a stable income by their side.

I’ve recently met someone who got his undergrad degree from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard and he became the catch of town. Sure, he was kinda cute, but nobody really cared if his personality was great or not. Every girl was just dying to go out with him just because all his ducks were in row.

Or that ABC who graduated from Harvard Dentristry. You should see how much fawning women have been doing over him, just because he graduated from Harvard.

Guys, if you want to be a heartthrob here in Taipei, just get a Harvard/Stanford/Yale degree and you can get almost any girl you want in Taipei.

Doesn’t matter if your personality sucks or you’re a jerk. If your ducks are in row, and you ain’t bad lookin’, I’d bet it’s a breeze to get a date here in Taiwan (of course, getting the second/third date is another story, but you’ve gotta start somewhere!).

People here tend to be more practical than Pinoys whose lives are ruled more by the heart than their head. I mean, I found it really weird that mothers would explicitly teach their daughters to “marry up.” In other words, marry a rich man.

Jee, my mom never really placed emphasis on money. Instead, she taught me to marry a man who worked hard and can make money. Doesn’t matter if he’s rich now or not, but it’s important that he knows the value of hard work and the money would just follow.

We all know that money corrupts, and a lot of rich guys out there are spoiled. I’d rather have a simple, humble, not-so-rich hubby than a spoiled, rich husband whose always out carousing with other girls and spending his parent’s inheritance left and right.

My girl pal married his husband when they were just finishing college. They were poor and destitute, but they were happy. They found pleasure in the simplest things in life, and were able to sustain a mortgage, a car under a teacher’s salary (my friend’s a teacher).

Actually, it was when her hubby got a great job and earned loads of dough but worked long hours that the marriage showed cracks. Because they didn’t spend any time together, arguments escalated.

That was the worst time in our marriage,” she said.

But they wised up.

After realizing that they valued their marriage more than money, her husband asked his supervisors to give him less hours and less pay, and spent more time with his wife. They spent more time together, took more vacations and grew more in love. Sure, they earned less, but they saved more… and most importantly, their marriage.

It’s common sense really. I mean, what’s earning loads of money if your personal life or marriage goes down the drain? But a lot of couples make this unfortunate mistake, hence, the high rate of divorce across the globe.

So here’s the lesson for all you folks — Know your priority. Is it to make money or to make your marriage work?

Tough choice, ain’t it?

Okay, so I’m being sarcastic here.

Anyway, my friend also debunked the myth that happy couples never fight. Gee, so there’s my problem. I’ve always said that I’ve never fought once with my exes, but look where it got me.

So by experience, I change my mind — I think conflict in a relationship is good, so long as you fight clean.

This means, no name calling (e.g., “You’re such an *sshole! You fat dumbass!”), no rehashment of past faults (e.g., “10 years ago, you did this and that and screwed up my life!”) or anything below the belt. Shout all you want, if you want, but please, fight the way you want to be fought with — with respect.

We’ve been taught conflict is bad. I think it’s because media has always portrayed conflict as the wife throwing plates at her husband, the hubby beating up the wife. But conflict, does makes your relationship stronger.

Why?

Because it introduces boundaries in the relationship.

Fact is, people always try to get away with things if they could. It starts with simple requests, and builds up to bigger requests. No one starts a relationship by ordering their significant other around. But once it becomes a habit, it builds up and you end up with a tigresss wife and a wussy husband.

Asian culture teaches women to be passive, to keep quiet and to not rock the boat. People in general are just taught to be nice and accommodating.

But there should always be a limit to what you or your partner should take. You must know where to set your boundaries, otherwise, it’s inevitable that the other will step all over you. And when this happens, it’s already the beginning of the end — having a partner who cannot respect you equates to an unhappy partnership. But how can he/she respect you if you cannot respect yourself?

Hence, in a relationship, another important lesson is — set boundaries and call upon your significant other if he/she is stepping over that boundaries. Be nice, but don’t let them abuse you. If they are, tell them.

There’s nothing wrong with fighting for your right.

Some people are too afraid that if they call upon the other, the other may be angry and leave them.

Ironically, if you don’t, they’ll leave you sooner or later because no one wants to be married to a wuss.

So yeah, here’s just some of the tidbits I’ve gotten last night. Of course, I have more, but I’ll just reserve that for another day.

=========================================

A bit tired. After dinner, went to Brass Monkey to go dancing.

It’s fun but sure does give you a headache afterwards.

Oooh and I also bought VIP tickets yesterday to the 50 Cent/Linking Park concert this February! Instead of paying the full NT$6,000 amount, I’ll just be payin’ NT$3,600 for each instead!

*Okay, so it’s still expensive, but hey, they’re front row seats!*

I hesitated at first because of the price tag, but my colleague simply asked, “Do you want to watch them? Do you have the money to go to the concert? Do you think if you go, you’ll have a great time? If you answer yes to all these, then ‘GO!'”

So off I go!

Argh, this weekend should be exciting, as usual. So far, there’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” tonight (hope it’s as good as the book), bloody paintball (or aptly, “pain” ball) and partyin’ tomorrow, and indoor wallclimbing and maybe dinner on Sunday!

Oooh, just can’t wait! Heads up, everyone!

As for my cloudy day yesterday, that’s all over now. Wow, it’s amazing how quick I recover from bad days. Anyway, feel a lot better now, and all I have to thank is my cutie Aussie pal, who’s as crazy and adorable as his name. 😀

The world is at your feet… embrace it!

Yeah baby! Bring it on!

About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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2 Responses to What makes a good marriage?

  1. Blackdove says:

    “People here tend to be more practical than Pinoys whose lives are ruled more by the heart than their head.”
    So, in general, who do you think are happier?

    “My girl pal married his husband when they were just finishing college. They were poor and destitute, but they were happy.”
    Are they Pinoys?

    “So here’s the lesson for all you folks — Know your priority. Is it to make money or to make your marriage work?”
    Ha.ha. Whatever happened to “all of the above”?

    “Anyway, my friend also debunked the myth that happy couples never fight.”
    That’s a myth? Maybe not fights but petty quarrels. It’s healthy that both assert themselves. Corz something IS wrong if you need to assert yourself EVERYDAY.

  2. raven says:

    Hey BlackDove,

    1) I think those you use their heart live richer lives. Practicality makes life better on paper, but if you are practical all the time, you miss what makes life enjoyable. Of course, I didn’t say that money is thoroughly unimportant. You still need sufficient amount of $$$ to survive, but overall, I’d rather live my life more with my heart than my head. You get hurt more, but at least, you live a much colorful life.

    2) She’s Taiwanese/American, while he’s Indian/Japanese/American/etc. They’re both Americans from Texas.

    3) Yes, but some people work too much they ignore their husband/wives. There has to be a healthy balance, as usual.

    4) Agreed. 🙂

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