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Thursday, March 14, 2013

How To Stay Happily Married

Being the first one to get married among my circle of friends, I always get asked if it is hard to stay in a marriage. And now that a lot of them are married themselves, the question now becomes HOW do we stay married throughout the years (because for some of them the honeymoon period is over and the real deal has begun).

In all honesty and in all seriousness, it is hard.

When you first get hitched, everything is just so effortless and euphoric that you can't imagine marriage being any other way. I hate to break it to you but it won't last so you better enjoy it while you can. 

Ok I sound like a bitter divorcee hahaha.

The thing is, at some point you will take each other for granted and hearts will get broken along the way. It's inevitable. Suddenly online shopping/PS3/your phone is more interesting that your spouse. Your spouse's quirkiness that used to be so adorable to you is now annoying (he used to think that it's so cute when I hog the comforter in my sleep, not anymore LOL).

So what do you do when you've reached this stage? Does it mean that you've fallen out of love? Or that you married the wrong person? It's easy to come to these conclusions, which unfortunately may lead to infidelity or god forbid, divorce.

But if you truly love your spouse and you want a happy marriage (you'd be surprised as to how many people out there are stuck in an unhappy marriage), you need to be willing to make the effort. Both of you. There will be bumps along the way, you have to figure out how to work things out together. 

In 2 months, Nadri and I would be married for 6 years. I am not going to lie, there were times where I just wanted to strangle him, he has driven off in anger, I lost count of the number of phones that I have smashed, I have changed his name in my contacts from "Sayang" to "Idiot". But at the end of the day, we always patch things up, we have better understanding of each other, and I know in my heart that I love him and I only want to be with him.

Here are some of the things that I have found to be helpful in making our relationship work throughout these years:

1. Be realistic

For the women:

Don't expect to be treated by your husband exactly the way you were when you first dated/got married (100 calls a day, diabetically sweet messages, holding hands even when eating, the whole shabang). Because us women change over time too.

For example, when I first became his wife/girlfriend, I wanted to look my best all the time. I took hours to figure out what to wear and I ordered food that were easy to eat when we go out.  Now, when we go for super early breakfast, I don't even shower. I just wash my face, brush my teeth, put on jeans and t-shirt and I'm good to go. Huge ass burgers? No problem. I eat with my hands, get sauce on my chin, nose and sometimes forehead.

It's only natural that during the early stages we want to impress the other person so we'd go the extra mile, no?

And ladies, please don't believe everything that you see in the movies.

Not gonna happen

For the men:

Yes wives are supposed to listen to their husbands but that doesn't mean that they have no say at all. I find that men are quick to quote hadith/sunnah when it benefits them. Like polygamy or the fact that the wives are not allowed to disobey the husbands. And yet they have no idea about our religion's teachings that ask men to be kind to their wives and respect them.

Also, wives are not maids

2. Quality Time

Ok first you need to know, what is quality time? It is when you and your spouse give undivided attention to one another. So having dinner while the two of you are doing your own thing with your phone is NOT quality time.

Quality time doesn't have to be long hours either. For us, sometimes if we're too busy/tired we just spend 10 minutes cuddling in bed to talk before going to sleep (I told him that kissing me goodnight and saying he loves me does not count, because that is a routine).

The key is to not find the time, MAKE time.

3. Compromise

This is basic stuff.  No matter how in love you are with each other, both of you are still different individuals with different backgrounds, needs and expectations. There will definitely be areas whereby you're both on completely different sides.

This is easier said than done for me because I'm unbelievably stubborn. When Nadri told my parents  that he wanted to marry me, my parents actually tried to talk him out of it ok! Because they said I'm headstrong, I have a temper and I could not cook to save my life. They were surprised that someone wanted to make me his life partner -__________________________-

To top it all off, my ego is the size of Russia.

So to me, my way is always always ALWAYS the right way. It was impossible for me to even consider otherwise. But throughout the years, I've learned to let go of my reign bit by bit. I would still try to get him on my side first, but if it really can't be done, then fine I would meet him halfway *sulks*

I also learned how to say sorry. Previously I would (sometimes) say it only if he said it first.

4. Grooming

Ladies, being a wife or a mom does not mean that you don't have to take care of yourself. I have never ever felt that way. If anything, I feel like I have more reasons to look nice for him. Most men want what they can't have. The least we can do is remind them that what they already have is pretty darn awesome.

5. Some things are meant to be private

Another thing is to try to keep an air of mystery. Marriage is not a license for you to let everything loose. Like, try not to fart in front of them so soon hahahaha. After a year ok la I guess. But imagine if you start farting in front of each other from day 1! Also, don't do #1 or #2 when your other half is in the shower. I don't even shave my legs in front of him. I just think that some things are better done in private.

A friend told me that she asked her husband to wash her sanitary pads for her after she delivered. I was completely horrified. I'm not saying she's wrong because she was in pain and she needed help and her husband was also very nice to oblige without complaining but personally I wouldn't even consider that. In the future when I'm super old and helpless, that's a different story though.


6. Communication

I saved the most important for last. This is the fundamental of a successful and happy marriage.

We're not mind readers. Being in love does not mean that we can pass telepathic messages to each other. If you're upset or you have concerns, speak up. I don't know why this is so hard for some people. If you bottle up your feelings inside, it will just eat you up and you will develop resentments towards your partner. How to be happy like that?

Usually it's the women who have issues.  Men are quite straightforward. We tend to over analyze even this tiniest details. So we're the ones who need to learn how to communicate our feelings.

And please don't try to drop hints and expect your husbands to get them. Men are so clueless and dense. In the end we get pissed off even more because here we are giving them the cold shoulder or giving cryptic answers to their questions and yet they act like nothing is going on. One time Nadri came to talk to me, I just stared at my phone and answered him curtly, hoping that he'd know that I was upset. But instead he thought that I was busy chatting with my friends, so he played PS3. I blew up 10 seconds after that.

Communication doesn't have to be verbal. For me, there is always a tendency for me to lose my temper when discussing issues with him verbally because I feel like sometimes he's not even listening to my points, instead he is thinking about how to counter my previous statement.

Because of that, what we would usually do is, we would try to sleep on it, and when we're calmer the next day, we would text about it. That is way more effective for us because we get to read the texts over and over again to fully understand what the other person is feeling, and have ample time to really think about what we're going to say in respond.

In a nutshell, good communication will make or break a marriage.

So yeah, that's all I could think of for now. I would like to clarify this is not me giving marriage advice because I am certainly no expert. I'm only sharing what makes our relationship work.

P/S: Syg, I know you're reading this because you're my number one fan hehe. Thank you for being patient with me and for making the effort to make us better. I think we make a pretty good team *high five* Love you :)


  1. THIS IS WHY I LIKE YOU SOOO MUCH Kak Tiaaaaa! You're never a fake I must tell you. You wear fake eyelashes but never claim you have natural eyelashes. You wear makeup but never claim you have natural beauty (but I admit you have almost-to perfect skin. Teehee). And this marriage, the way you write it is never like oh-I-have-the-perfect-marriage-ever. What am I mumbling here?! Haha. The point here is, you tak pernah brag about anything. I just love reading your blog! Hehe. Goodnight. Kiss Alayna for meee.

    1. Hi sweetie, thank you so much for the kind words. You made my day. Just kissed Alayna on both cheeks for u :) Hugs!