A Sister’s Advice to a Brother on his Wedding Day

Dear Brother,

Welcome to the married club!

Finally, you’ve decided to get married! And if you wonder why I’ve been less opinionated as of late, know I do so because I wanted you to make the most important decision in your life — who you marry — by yourself. Granted that you’ve been with (wife’s name) for so many years, I am sure you’ve made an informed choice. You’ve thought about it long and hard, and decided that she is the right person for you.

Marriage can be a burden or a blessing depending on who you picked as a spouse. If your choice is correct, you’ll think you’re the luckiest guy in the world. Dad made the best choice of his life by marrying mommy. Without mom’s help, I doubt his business would not have flourished nor could we have ended up where we are now. A lot of what daddy became was because of mom. I hope that your now wife can help you in a similar way that mom helped dad. And not just in business, but in life and family as well.

Being married to the right person can be such a relief.

It feels like coming home. You finally found your partner, who can help you carry life’s ups and downs. You have a close confidant you can constantly discuss things with, a helper you can share life’s load with, and a wife who can be a great mother to your children. It’s a very lovely feeling, and it feels like hitting the jackpot. I sincerely hope you feel the same way about your now wife. I know my husband that feels very lucky with me, hahaha!

To be honest, I was quite impressed with how (wife’s name) handled herself during the wedding planning. I was expecting to get a Bridezilla who would insist in getting her own way. We both know of brides who insist on getting a particular type of flower in her wedding. One of my friends insisted on a Php 250,000 wedding dress to be worn only for a few hours. But (wife’s name) seemed to be far from it. She was reasonable of the budget, thorough when booking suppliers, and kept a cool sense of humor despite many hiccups. It’s a great preview to what marriage with her can be, and if she can keep it up, then you’re in for a real treat.

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Despite our rocky beginning, husband and I are very lucky to have found each other. To be fair, we don’t fight very much. The last meltdown we had was during our first two months of marriage — when he insisted on using his phone during mealtime — and we’ve had minor disagreements here and there. But that’s also because we don’t fundamentally disagree too much. We share similar views on working, parenting, sense of humor, and living our lives. The fact that husband had one failed marriage also made him more flexible with dealing with me. What’s more, after 16 sessions of pre-marital counselling, we’ve realized it’s better to be married than to be right. Regardless, when we fundamentally disagree, we do have strong shouting matches that last 2-3 hours. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very much, so we’re happier than most married people out there.

Why? Well, while other people may see only two people with strong personalities coming together, husband and I actually do a lot of day-to-day compromising. We get to the point and tell each other a) what’s troubling is, and b) what we want the person to do.

We talk about our issues directly, and resolve them on the spot. Once we resolve the issue, we come up with a list of things NOT to do so the issue won’t be repeated.

I hope you and (wife’s name) communicate well. Marriage is for life, and people who can’t work out their differences end up with miserable marriages. And it’s awful to be stuck in marriage you don’t see eye to eye with. Many marriages are like that by the way. Don’t believe all happy posts that Facebook shows you. Happy marriages are rarer than you think, and the two people have nobody to blame but themselves on the disintegration of their marriages.

To have a smooth marriage, you have to understand and accept two facts of life: 1) Hindi na magbabago ang asawa mo dahil nagpakasal kayo. If anything, maglalala pa ang bad habits niya, and 2) When you fight, you must quickly figure out how important the matter is to you or her, and kung kanino mas importante yung issue, let that person have their way.

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Look, (Wife’s Name) will not really going to change that much. You’re not going to change that much. The more you accept each other’s faults, the more peaceful life will be.

Remember the stuff that annoys you about (wife’s name) when you were dating? They won’t go away. Anything that irritated you before — her indecisiveness, her utter dependence on you, her need to constantly diet to avoid gaining weight, and her irritation towards her mom’s favouritism, among others — it’s just going to get worse. People don’t really change because they get married. In fact, they get even worse!

For example, husband was surprised that I hated to do housework. He thought given my mom was masipag, I would be the same thing. He thought I would change despite the fact that I told him early on that I didn’t like to do housework. Never did he realize that I would be this lazy. So as you can see, this laziness was an awful surprise for him after we got married!

But smart husband, he accepted this as my fundamental flaw: I’m okay with working in the office and balancing the books, but I’m just weak at housework. I simply can’t be bothered.

Now, what if husband insisted that I start doing the laundry and cleaning the toilet? If that happens, then we will fight every day. But since he knows I’m lazy when it comes to housework, he himself picks up the slack and does the laundry (if his mom is away), and cleans the bathroom regularly. Edi walang away, right?

Fact is, even though after marriage, you won’t change much, and (wife’s name) won’t change much. Deal with it. So instead of trying to change each other, know which battles you can win or lose. Work around each other’s weaknesses, and start complementing each other now, weaknesses and all. After dating each other for 7+ years, you already know what (wife’s name) is like, and given you’ve made your decision na, it’s better to accept her, weaknesses and all. Buhat buhat mo na ‘yan habang buhay.

Two, a happy marriage is all about giving and taking. You can’t win every time. You can’t lose every time either. Marriage is literally an endless number of give and take.

One great thing about husband is that when all is said and done, he admits he is wrong when he is wrong. Likewise, I admit if I am wrong when I am wrong. Marriage is a series of decisions you will jointly make, and battles to be fought, but at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself how important an issue is to both of you, and is it worth going to bed angry?

If husband feels an issue is more important to him, I usually let him get his way. If I feel that an issue is more important to me, then I insist I get my way. Take for example the Santorini sunset — even though he thinks a sunset is the same all around the world, I wanted to see the sunset. It was important FOR ME. And there will be a lot of resentment if I don’t get my way. So in the end, a sunset is not worth upsetting your wife over. Spending an afternoon just to see the sunset will not kill him. And it would make his wife really happy. So at the end of the day, we still saw the stupid sunset.

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Remember the sunset story when you fight with (wife’s name). Ask yourself, who finds this issue most important? If it’s really important, fight for it. If you don’t care either way, let her have her way. And that’s why while I got my sunset, husband and I still ended up eating Chinese food multiple times in our honeymoon. I prefer eating local food but Chinese food is more important to hubby. So I let him get his way.

As you can see, you win some, you lose some. And that’s what a happy marriage is all about — knowing which battles to win, and which battles to let the other side win.

Marriage is growing up, and starting to be more responsible for your decisions. If you make good decisions, your family will benefit. If not, your family will suffer.

After I got married, mom stopped paying for my Globe and credit card bills. I started paying for our condo’s association dues, electricity bills, gasoline and water bills, and boy, do these bills rack up! I remember shaking my head in surprise just how expensive marriage can be! Whereas before, I was happy spending money online shopping, I now have to be conscious about expenses because every decision I make impacts us financially.

It’s the same as decision making. Given that I married into husband’s family, I feel that I have to be more careful in making the right decisions for our family. Every right decision I make in life and in business propel us forward. Every wrong decision steps us back. Marriage is a conscious step towards adulthood. No longer can you live irresponsibly and have your parents save you. You’re married. Now start being an adult.

That’s why, you have to think carefully on how decisions will impact you and your family. It’s no longer just about you. It’s about your family as well. Make sure that you and (wife’s name) share the same definitions of what the “right” decision is. Seek counsel and think carefully before deciding. It’s your job to help each other make the right decisions. And when both of you make more good decisions than bad, and then the life you will lead will be more stress-free.

Always appreciate your family and never forget your roots.

Mom only has both of us left. And even though you and (wife’s name) are married and living in (name of home), please do not forget mommy, or let (wife’s name) overstep her.  I know a wife’s happiness is important, but a good spouse also understands that we are first and foremost good children, and must do right to our parents.

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We both know naman that we are lucky that our mommy will not ask for too much or even abuse. She makes good judgment and without her, we are nothing. As for me, I have already talked to husband and we both agreed how much we appreciate mommy. We are happy to take care of her whenever she needs us. Husband is happy when he sees mommy happy playing with (granddaughter’s name).

But knowing mommy’s pride, she may not want to ask for my help, and instead will ask for your help. Please be there for her as well when she needs you. Always welcome her with open arms and make time for her no matter what happens. And while we know that we are a good spouse to our partners, we are her children beforehand, and we owe everything to her. This is an obligation I am more than happy to keep and I look forward to ensuring that mom will be comfortable and happy for the rest of her life. Agree?

Even though you are married, we will still always be there for you no matter what.

You know you can always count on me to be by your side if you need me. You can always count on my help. Never be afraid or shy to call. Mom has talked about regular dinner outs for just the two of us. Let’s make it happen.

If we don’t look out for each other, who else will? While we think the best from our marriage, I believe that the fact that husband knows you and mom are behind me no matter what, lets him respect me more as an individual. He knows he cannot bully me too much. I think that’s the importance of family backing. There is strength in numbers, and even though it’s important to rely on your spouse in marriage, many times, you still have to rely beyond your marriage, and that’s where family comes in.

I am very lucky to have you and mom behind me. Marriage is hard, and being part of another family apart from your own isn’t easy. But know that you are not alone, and as you are behind me, we are also behind you supporting you. It is important that your spouse appreciates that. Maybe that’s also why husband loves being married to me. He not only loves me and daughter, but also the mother-in-law who cooks steak and buys him toys, as part of the package. That’s what a good marriage is all about.

I hope this letter gives you relief and happiness on your wedding day. While dad could’ve cared less of me getting married, I am ultimately happy with my choice of a life partner.

I remember being in the hotel room with husband after our wedding. We were just talking about the eventful day, and laughing about his boo boo. It was very relaxing to be with husband. As we talked, we both realized at the same time just how lucky we are to have found each other. We may not be perfect. We have our faults. And it’s truly a miracle for both of us to get married (haha, you didn’t help!).

But there we are, married and finally together after a tumultuous courtship. And it’s a great feeling being married to the person God meant for you to be with.

I wish you and (wife’s name) will share the same fate. I pray and hope your decision is a good one, and here’s to a happy marriage and a lifetime of adventure with your new wife! I love you!

Much love,
Bonita

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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!
This entry was posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Conflicts, Dad's Advice, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Life lessons, Mom's advice, Parenthood, Personal opinion, Philippines, Ramblings, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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