Posts Tagged ‘relationships’
Imagine pretty photos here. I’m restricted to mobile devices at the moment, so typing is tough enough, and doing anything with pictures nigh on impossible…
I want to talk honestly about the journey to this point. Specifically, I want to talk about expectations, disappointment, reality.
The whole dialogue around engagements, weddings, and marriage is imbued with notions of magic and happiness. Life, however, is far more complex and sometimes uglier. As humans, our dreams often don’t quite match up. Relationships are messy. When money and other people and popular culture and expectations become involved, there are bound to be moments far less than ecstatic. And that’s normal.
For one, I didn’t love my engagement ring. I didn’t even particularly LIKE it at first. It’s a family ring that has untold emotional value, very old-fashioned, and for a long time it looked as if I wouldn’t even be able to wear it, as we couldn’t find anyone who could resize it to the extent I needed. As I was about to give up, though, I found a boutique jeweller who took on the task with aplomb, and started wearing it.
You know what? It grew on me. It’s gold, and old, but has a lovely silver filigree, and the three-stone bridge is super cool and has an awesome side profile. I love that it’s unique, and that it has so much history and meaning.
You might remember how I agonised over whether to have a bridal party at all, and if so, who should be in it.
I’m glad I did ask my girlfriends to be part of it (even if only one ended up being able to come), and I’m glad I also asked two of my guy friends to be bridesmen. Friday was girls’ night (my first mani/pedi ever) and Saturday boys’ night (food, food, and more food), and instead of doing my own makeup I was powdered, lined, and curled by friends in the morning. It was a ton more than I would have worn on my own, but it looked good in pictures, I think…!
It wasn’t completely smooth sailing, but I have no regrets.
Sweating the small stuff
Despite being very certain about the kinds of things I did and didn’t want at this wedding (e.g. not to be ‘given away’, because I’m a person, not chattel; or no decor, because I’m missing the gene that enables me to fuss over frippery) as the day got closer, every little thing started to weigh on my mind. Would I be judged for having cheap table covers/no centrepieces/no fancy vehicle/a kickass shabby-chic rustic reception nook that is about as far from a typical pristine wedding venue as possible? OH, THE DOUBTS.
Do you want to know what nearly broke the camel’s back? Flowers. Yes, fucking flowers. Everyone was on my case about flowers; apparently not having flowers is un-wedding like and absolutely unthinkable. I do not like hewing to tradition for tradition’s sake, but it got to the point that I asked a coworker – who edits a bridal magazine – for ideas. She had some great ideas for alternatives, but assured me I didn’t have to carry anything if I didn’t want to.
In the end, I did the flower thing, though ended up ditching my bouquet over a bridge toward the end of our couples photos. Speaking of which, I’m hoping there were a handful of good ones. This face was not made to smile. I reserve the right to exercise bitchface for the rest of the month to make up for it.
Our proposal story isn’t anything incredible. There is no grand gesture here – no tale of an elaborate operation designed to broadcast a proposal upon descent from a skydive. Just us, doing something we love (travelling for a music festival), in the privacy of the bathroom of a Wellington B&B. It’s a story we are both more than happy with, but there was definitely a slight twinge flavoured with a hint of envy whenever I heard about other people’s epic proposals, despite knowing how embarrassed I would be in such a situation.
And despite being one of the first couples we know to get engaged, we were beaten to the altar by a few others. I wanted a long engagement, but yeah, I felt a little usurped at times. On one hand, I was glad to NOT be the first to actually tie the knot. On the other, I worried that those other weddings set a standard that we wouldn’t measure up to.
The most heart-stopping part of all came less than two months before the big day.
There’s nothing harder than hearing someone you love voice soul-shattering doubts about the way forward. It cuts to the bone.
It’s doubly hard when that person has always been the one who loved more, the one who pursued you, the one who pushed for marriage, the one who patiently waited for you to catch up. When, after several years, you’ve finally reached the stage where you feel ready to take the leap, to hear that person retreating. To watch the tissues pile up in the middle of the bed, to put aside your own feelings, to try to determine whether that fear is simply cold feet or stemming from a much deeper problem that you didn’t realise existed. To envision a million alternate paths for your life in the silent spaces between words.
No matter how busy you are and how happy you think you might be, pre-marital counselling is probably a damn good idea.
With all that said …
I don’t know about everyone else, but I had a cracking time overall on Sunday.
I mean, I did not have high hopes to start with. Saturday dawned bright and clear, then dissolved into some serious rainstorms by mid-morning, with forecasts for more of the same until Monday. Things looked amazing on Sunday morning – I was overheating on the way to the venue – but by the time we arrived, a sullen grey drizzle set in. Yet, unbelievably, it more or less cleared by the time we started, stayed sunny throughout photos, and didn’t return to hardcore rain until later on (it hailed at one point after we left).
Nothing went too badly wrong: everyone managed to find the place; I got to see a few people I hadn’t seen in months; friends mended a rift in the course of the afternoon; nobody got out of control; I didn’t cry or suffer dire hayfever symptoms; I only caught my feet in my dress a handful of times (another one of those things I gave in on – having a little bit of a tail on it).
It was by no means perfect, but I didn’t expect it to be. As everyone told me: “Enjoy it while you can – it goes so fast.”
Most of all, I’ve been so surprised – and so touched – by the support and generosity of others. I’m so grateful to everyone I know, from those who helped pull things together to those who sent messages from afar and yes, even you, internet friends, who liked my Instagram pics/favourited my tweets/sent good wishes.
There might even be a tear in my eye as I write this. What a sap.
Tags: marriage, reflections, relationships, wedding
When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine ever getting married. I was adamant I was going to be a spinster all my life – a word that didn’t yet have the connotations to me that it does now - because I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend my life with one person, or (the horror!) kissing somebody in front of my parents.
You know what? I still can’t, but I guess a wedding is a good enough excuse.
My parents first officially met T when they took me out to dinner shortly after graduation. We’d been together over four years, and I was petrified. So was he. But it went as well as either of us could have expected.
(How do you get to be 21, and in a serious long term relationship, and not meet your girlfriend’s parents until then? Here’s one word: Asian. T is everything they’re not. He’s from a different world entirely in pretty much every aspect. Then again, I’m not quite the daughter they hoped for, although I think they’re happy enough with how I turned out. But despite all that, their opinion DOES matter to me, and I wanted them to like him. I was hoping that we could at least all get along, if nothing else.)
I suppose I’m lucky in that I’m with someone who’s not afraid of commitment. In fact, he wanted marriage sooner rather than later. I always found it frustrating that everything written about relationships on the internet features a woman who wants to get married and a reluctant male. Where were the women who weren’t so sure, with partners ready to commit? I had nobody to relate to.
As a chronically indecisive person, an over-thinker, a second-guesser, I’ve asked myself many times about this. We’re still really young. How do I know this is the right time? The right move? What if, what if, what if?
Nothing is guaranteed in life (except death and taxes, yadda yadda). The degree of risk may vary, but ultimately, everything is a gamble. In taking this leap, I don’t know what the future holds for either of us. I think that I am as certain as I could possibly be.
When doubts start clouding over my sky, I remember one crucial point: I could never – no matter how hard I tried – picture a long-term future down the track in my last relationship. This time, I can.
Tags: reflections, relationships, wedding
I struggled with deciding whether or not to write this post. While the name-changing thing has never been up for debate for me, I do have some strong feelings on the matter. And, troublingly, I know some of those feelings are wrong (inasmuch as an opinion can be wrong, which by definition it can’t).
Intellectually, I get that choosing to change your name isn’t any less of a feminist choice, and is in fact an active choice, whereas you don’t get any choice when you’re lumped with your family name at birth. But as I’ve previously written, I am secretly disappointed when I hear a woman I know is taking her husband’s last name. This is a bias that I keep to myself; I would never presume to judge anyone else’s choice, but deep down a definite pang is there. It’s one of those things that I know logically doesn’t make sense. How do you overcome that?!
I’ve been surprised at the fact that I’ve been asked about whether I’m keeping my name at all. Asking a woman whether she plans to change her name after marriage? I suppose it depends how close you are, but to my mind, it doesn’t feel like an appropriate question – I wouldn’t ever ask this of anyone. I suppose this is one of my personal quirks. What can I say? I’m very private.
Even in the 21st century, this still seems to be very much the exception rather than the norm. To me, the whole practice feels very archaic. (This post by Bitch PhD pretty much hits the spot for me.) Let’s face it – name changing is a bullshit patriarchal custom, a hangover from the days when women were no more than property to be sold off to husbands by their families. With that said, I do plan to have our kids take T’s name. I don’t have strong feelings about that, despite being adamant about retaining mine.
One of my friends used to say “I never want to be a [very common Indian surname]“. And what do you know, she found herself a nice boy, who was of course saddled with that accursed name. Funny how things turn out. Despite that, I’m almost certain that NOT changing her name was ever an option.
People who decide to change their names seem to do it for one of two reasons:
They prefer their husband’s name – fair enough. I despise my surname; it’s caused me plenty of grief. But at least it flows, which is more than I can say for slapping T’s last name next to my first name.
Or because, you know, it’s tradition. I don’t buy that. I’ve never considered the name thing an integral part of marriage. Perhaps it’s because my mother didn’t. When I was in primary school, a friend once saw a letter addressed to both my parents by name. “Aren’t your parents married?” he goggled. “Yes – she just kept her own name. And?” was my reply.
This is such a dealbreaker for me that when we butted heads over this pre-proposal, I was prepared to simply scrap marriage altogether. Eventually T realised how important it was to me, and accepted it.
Heck, I’ve gone 24 years without ever bothering to change my first name to the name I use (my Christian name is not my legal name), partly because it feels like I’d be culturally rejecting a choice my parents no doubt put a lot of thought into, but mainly because of the cost and hassle. (I’m finding it hard to pin down what it actually costs, but it looks like nearly $130, plus all kinds of extra fees for name changes on various documents.)
It’s not just the IRD. It’s the NZTA for your driver’s licence. It’s your bank/s. Your investment fund providers. Your insurance company. Your cellphone provider. Your ISP. Your power company. Your place of work. And no doubt dozens of other important places where your name is on file.
Another biggie for me is that I’ve been published for years under my name. But I think that name changing can be professionally detrimental no matter what your field. It’s insanely unfair, but there are studies that have found women who take their husband’s names end up earning less. Possibly those women are also more likely to take time out from work and raise children, accounting for that – or maybe it’s genuine bias in the workplace that penalises them. Or some other factor. /shrug
(When I first read that, I thought ‘how in heck would anyone know if you’ve changed your name? DUMB QUESTION – unless you get married at say, 20, and start off your professional career under it. Women who get married at work change their email addresses – thus announcing their new marital status to the entire office, which men never have to do – and then obviously have to deal with things future employers calling up past references who know them as somebody else.)
Unfortunately I don’t really see any way to smashing that barrier, aside from soldiering on, choosing to change your name, and kicking ass in the workplace – I just won’t be a part of that, I suppose.
And now, after writing this, I’m more conflicted than ever – not about my personal choices, but just by all the social and cultural norms and ramifications involved in a wider context.
Again: I’m not here to bash on you for changing your last name. I’m genuinely trying to reconcile my feelings on this matter.
Tags: life, marriage, relationships, weddings
One of my dearest friends is about to get formally engaged. It’s a modern arranged marriage, which, from my perspective, simply means that her parents have been heavily involved in the matchmaking (think of them as her wingmen, out scouting the community!), and in the end she has the ultimate choice.
I’ve known her for over 10 years now, and I’ve always known that she would almost certainly have an arranged marriage. That said, I just wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon and so fast…
Their compressed timeframe is absolutely mind boggling. They met last month. They’re getting engaged over in his hometown over Easter. They’ll be tying the knot later this year (as in, within six months or less). I don’t know about him, but she hasn’t really dated anyone else. I know it took me years to learn to be in a healthy relationship, so I struggle to fathom how two strangers, essentially, can slot into each other’s lives just like that.
That said, I really like the guy. Us girls all do, based on our one and only meeting so far – we have no quibbles whatsoever with him. In fact, he seems just about eerily perfect for her. After all, the families have spent years looking for the right match, so maybe it’s not all that surprising. I think they’ll be just fine.
Intellectually, I don’t have a problem with her arranged marriage. It’s an active, informed choice she’s made, and I support it. Given that we’re not dealing in dowries here, I don’t see anything inherently anti-feminist about an arranged marriage.
BUT. There’s a but. Most of all, what bugs me is the fact that by default, she will be moving to Australia to live. And that’s what gets my goat. That the convention is to defer to the guy – though I suppose the context for this part of the tradition is exactly the same reason many women take a backseat to men in general, arranged marriage or not: generally, the guy is older (in this case, true), his career is more settled (true), lucrative (unclear – I don’t know what he does aside from the broad industry), etc, and thus takes precedence. I imagine this is even more pronounced in an arranged marriage, where the families are probably quite concerned with finding a ‘successful’ man, while the criteria for good wife material is perhaps not measured quite the same way.
Tags: life, reflections, relationships
Tags: money, personal finance, reflections, relationships, women's money week 2013
It would be really nice to attend a wedding in which the couple was made for each other and we as guests fully supported the union. It’s sad to say that of the two I’ve been to (and one that I had to miss due to being out of town), none quite meet this benchmark.
“Non crazy chicks are boring” is a line I actually heard at the most recent one. Not surprisingly, this is a couple who thrive on drama – or at least, their entire relationship is built upon it. That, and the child they have together. But there’s a lot to be said for stability, especially when you already have a family. And while a little craziness can be fun, abusiveness is never kosher.
Because objectively, that’s what that relationship is. Abusive. While he’s not the only guy we know to be in a seriously unhealthy relationship – my female friends thankfully all have good taste, apparently – the other three I can think of have at least had the sense to get out. This one decided to commit for life.
And somehow, I get the feeling that saying a few vows in front of a pastor is not going to magically fix things. Just an inkling.
Abusive = overly controlling (whether that’s born of insecurity or something else, I don’t know. I’m talking setting arbitrary curfews like a parent rather than a partner, taking all your partner’s money, and so on), as well as physical abuse (manifested through blows, attempted choking, smashing of all your possessions, etc). Not all of these apply to the guy in question specifically, but these are all things that have happened collectively to the four friends I’m thinking of who’ve been in unhealthy relationships at one point or another.
Making things slightly more tricky is when mental illness plays a part. (To my knowledge, it was/is a factor in some of these cases, though I’m not of course saying mental illness is or should be a barrier to happy relationships. Please don’t think that’s what I’m getting at. What I am trying to say is that being a human punching bag, literally or figuratively, is not helping either of you). But it is not an excuse to put up with abusive treatment.
Guys (and gals). You deserve to be in a healthy and loving relationship, one that makes you feel good about yourself more of the time than not. When a restraining order is part of the mix (and you STILL go back?!), if you’re being regularly thrown out of the house, if your possessions are being unceremoniously dumped on your best man’s lawn while you hide inside his house, ALL IS NOT GRAVY.
Despite anything we say or do, sometimes they hang on in there – it’s hard to watch and stand by but sometimes that’s all you can do. Is there anything more frustrating than hearing a friend justify their partner’s unacceptable behaviour?
Though of course you can never really know unless you’re put in a situation yourself, these would be my dealbreakers:
- Prohibitive amounts of debt (subjective, I know)
- Other irresponsible money habits
- Not accepting you for who you are
- Being overly controlling OR dependent on you
- Doesn’t put you first (or second. Sorry, I’m still putting on my lifejacket first if the plane goes down
- Violence of any kind. T is more than twice my size, so this would be an absolute non-negotiable. (The odd bruise caused by him picking me up with too firm a grip, – I’m delicate like an overripe fruit and was basically one giant walking bruise the year I played soccer – is excluded.)
And that’s about all I have to say about that.
With a slightly heavy heart, I ask you – what would your relationship dealbreakers be?
Tags: life, rant, reflections, relationships
Seriously. I don’t care about Valentine’s Day at all.
As a singleton, it’s a surefire way to feel terrible about your aloneness.
As a couple, it’s about stupid societal pressure to validate your love through grand, sweeping gestures.
Me, I’m not one for overdone romantic schtick. (But then again, I’m not engaged to a millionaire. Maybe things would be different if we played in the world of private yachts, holiday homes and personal chefs. We exist in a much more humble and down-to-earth dimension.) The best thing I could possibly imagine (on Valentine’s Day or any other day) would be to come home to dinner and a freshly scrubbed house. Literally.
Valentine’s Day is about expecting guys in particular to go all out and to plan insanely amazing days for their partners. And as girls, are we supposed to feel let down or as though missing out – or as if our BFs are lacking – if they don’t come up with extravagant gifts and gestures?
Thursday will be just another day, as we more or less ignore it. Maybe we’ll go out to eat, and maybe I’ll go watch The Princess Bride down at Silo Park with some friends.
Tell me, how do you feel about Valentine’s Day? What’s the most/least romantic gesture anyone ever made towards you?
Tags: life, money, rant, relationships
Ever feel like you’ve having the same arguments in your relationships? Over and over and over again?
While we can all learn better habits and sometimes refine certain characteristics, at the core I don’t think people really change. I know which of my quirks that get up T’s nose, and I (sort of) try to minimise them. I’ve resigned myself to his, though I still try to ‘improve’ him from time to time.
What is it they say – relationships usually split over religion, sex, or money? For us, it’s the latter that’s most contentious.
This week has not been a good one. It dragged up an old debate that underpins our biggest conflict. Namely, that T is a lot better with money than he used to be, but ultimately he’s a spender, and he’s not into delayed gratification.
Financially, I’m on the losing end of this relationship. I also accept that I always have to be the CFO, and yes, the mean one. It is a struggle, but I’m okay with being the one responsible for maintaining balance.
But every so often, when I put down the stern/depressing word after we/he are slipping, he goes into a funk of the ‘I’m not good enough/I hold you back and it never changes’ variety. Of course – if you keep doing things the same way, you’re going to get the same results.
I know what I’m working with here and I am willing to work around it. But from where I’m standing, I need him to help me out and do his part.
What’s your eternal relationship conflict, if you’re willing to share?
Tags: money, personal finance, relationships
I never cease to be amused when others call me wise and/or mature. I’m in fact pretty socially awkward and about as far from a people person as you can get, but I have rare moments of clarity when I can understand someone’s motivations by dint of being removed and impartial.
Without going into too many details, one friendship circle has recently been rocked by the equivalent of the BP oil spill. Sudden, devastating, things-may-never-be-the-same-again. This is strange for me, because I have never really experienced much in the way of overt friend conflict. (Some covert conflict, yes, leading me to keep my distance from the people in question. But out and out fights/arguments/strife? Nope.) T says it’s because I’m a coward who hates conflict and does anything possible to avoid it. (Harsh, but true.) I think it would be more accurate to say it’s because of the nature of my relationships, however. It’s true that I tend to be a people pleaser. It’s also true that while I do have friends I can get deep and existential with, by and large our friendships are generally pretty easy going and fun. We may occasionally debate issues, but not in a personal or bitter way. Also, I’d like to think my friends are GOOD TYPES, as a rule, which makes getting along far easier than not. Although surely that’s true for most people?
It’s hard to keep making an effort when you think another party isn’t pulling their weight. But sometimes, when we’re hurting, we withdraw. We push people away when we most need them. It’s counterintuitive, I know. I’m not sure why we do this (I’ve done it myself, and I suppose it’s a petty test, really. push them away and see if they will push back. do they care enough to keep trying?) – only I fear in this case it’s gone much too far.
Friendship seemed a lot easier back in high school. As life gets more complicated, so too do relationships. How do you handle it when dear friends are making terrible decisions? How about when they KNOW they’re making stupid choices, but continue to do so nonetheless? Do you offer support without judgement? Do you offer unsolicited advice? Is there a point at which you throw your hands up and step back from it all? What is helping, vs what is judging, vs what is enabling? My understanding of human psychology only goes so far.
Tags: life, reflections, relationships
Goldie Spivey is a full time staffer at a wedding invitations company and a freelance bridal make-up artist.
Today, flash mob weddings are becoming more and more common among couples. They say that this type of expression is one of the grandest ways to tell the world how people love each other. One of the most famous and memorable flash mob wedding proposals happened on April 21, 2012, in Westlake, Seattle, where almost 1000 flash mobbers gathered to celebrate the third
Annual Glee Flash Mob. It was the biggest Glee fan event in the US and spectators were surprised when, in the middle of the mob, there was a marriage proposal.
The show lasted for 7 minutes and 30 seconds where the guy, Tim, proposed to Emily, his girlfriend during the half part of the show. Everyone was quite happy and inspired with the event as it depicts affection and diversity as the couple announced their love with people from different parts of the world.
Most people think that the proposal itself is the happy ending. What they fail to realise is that real life happens after the big day. After the wedding, a couple is no longer how they were before. They have to go through several changes and adapt to different scenarios in life. There are things that people should keep in mind when getting married. Expectations should be established prior to tying the knot as most marriages fail when they set the wrong expectations.
First of all, marriage is not a magic pill that can resolve anyone’s problems in life. When you marry someone, you need to face the odds and other things that may happen in the future. This includes tough times such as losing a job or incurring an illness. It is not about thinking negative thoughts about the relationship but rather being emotionally prepared as a couple.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that change is constant. Many things can change through time and this includes sex life, career, health condition, and other things that are subject to age. It is vital to understand that changes can happen through time and as a couple, you are expected to accept your partner’s vagaries when certain situations arise.
Marrying someone can be something that most many dream of as people are naturally moved by love and romance. On the other hand, what people should focus on are the responsibilities that lie ahead after the ceremony such as the likelihood of being parents, the ups and downs and everything else that can happen as a couple.
Overall, what spouses should expect from their partners is very simple. For instance, if you want your partner to be a responsible person, you should ask yourself if you are the same. Always set realistic goals so you are not frustrated with the things that you want to see in your partner. If you cannot be the type of person that you want your partner to be, then it is not healthy to expect him or her to be that ideal person.
Have you ever struggled with mismatched expectations in a relationship? What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever experienced as part of a couple?
Tags: guest post, marriage, relationships