Apologies for being AWOL from the blog for 1+ month. I have so many things to write but somehow lacking the motivation to actually write things down. *sigh*.
I’ve been staring at this blog post editor for weeks, thinking about what I wanted to write and share with people. I realized one thing – it’s been a little harder for me to share things on my personal life as it was before. I think partly it’s because I’ve been writing a lot on things that I want to share out with the general public (read: my Fresh Grad 101 posts, my Grad School 101 posts), and sometimes that makes me feel like I shouldn’t write about anything too personal?
But then again – it is a personal blog after all, so screw that. I’m going to write about Aiman because I can. And so, here are some things that I’ve learnt so far from our (very, very, very young) one year of marriage. We still have a looooong way to go, and I do hope that you’d pray for our blessed future, insyaAllah.
Recap (for new readers, mostly): Today is 8th July, which means that exactly two years ago, I got engaged to my best friend in the world. A little over a year ago, on 23rd June 2018, we officially got hitched.
I know it has only been a year, but I figured, why not write something down on the blog about the things I’ve learnt on our first year of marriage. Who knows, maybe it’d be useful for all you who are thinking about getting hitched soon. For others who have been married for far longer, do share your experiences and thoughts as well!
You will learn new things every day.
I’ve known Aiman since we met in INTEC around July/August 2012. That makes it 7 years since we’ve met each other. We’ve been in a relationship for ~5 years or so before we got married, so we’ve had the chance to get to know each other, to meet each other’s families and learn about our likes and dislikes.
But knowing each other before marriage and actually living with one another post-marriage is a completely different thing. Every day is like an adventure, and I think (and I hope!) that this goes on for a long, long time. After all, no matter how much you think you know the other person, there is always something new to learn.
One thing that I’ve learnt is how Aiman apparently enjoys eating bihun goreng. It’s a weird thing to learn, I know. I don’t think I’ve seen him eating bihun goreng that much when we were together before. But now, whenever I cook bihun goreng, he can literally eat three whole plates in one sitting. Apparently, according to him, he can ‘lose control’ with bihun goreng. :’D
You learn to communicate with each other.
Whenever I face any issues in my life (be it with friends, academic stuff, relationship, family, etc), I tend to bottle it up and go through things myself. That’s just how I am. And being the strong, independent person that I am (or that I think I am), I like to make decisions on my own. Decisions about what I want to do, where I want to go, how I want to do things, what to buy, etc.
But being in a marriage means that you can’t be selfish, and you have to learn to communicate with your partner. This means opening up about your problems and working through things together. It also means being honest and upfront about what’s bothering you, even if it is something that your partner does.
Sometimes it’s hard to have the communication, especially if you’re talking about serious things like finances or future family planning. But you learn to take things slowly, and try to understand where each person is coming from.
You learn to adapt, sacrifice, and accept new things.
One thing that I would forever be indebted to Aiman is how he left his job in Malaysia to be in the UK with me. I feel bad about it, of course, because he left behind his family in Malaysia and his job and his salary. But at the same time, I feel super grateful because his presence here has made things a lot easier for me.
Note: My first semester of graduate school was pretty bad. I cried a lot and had multiple instances in which I felt like I was going to fail graduate school. There were many times where I had to call him in Malaysia (we were LDR-ing for a few months back then) and wake him up in the middle of the night just to cry to him. But my second semester went a lot better, partly due to him being here.
Something a little less serious but I still consider as a big sacrifice (on my end, this time!) is how I can now say that I watch Running Man. Yes. I watch Running Man on a pretty consistent basis, if I may say so myself. I’ve watched various past episodes, and can say that I know the whole cast now. Coming from someone who does not watch any K-related shows, this is a huge huge sacrifice that I’m making for him. (plus he has to rewatch a lot of my favorite anime and Disney/Pixar movies, so win-win!)
You need some ‘me’ time all to yourself.
And it’s healthy to do so! It’s a little weird living with a different person in the same house. And if you’re like me and living in a studio apartment, there is literally no other space to ‘hide’ from one another. You’re literally seeing each other 24/7 of the time.
Having a little ‘me’ time can help you to get some time to yourself and do your own thing. For me, it’s running to the library to get some work done for my assignments, or going off to Leeds to work. Since Aiman’s not currently working (do pray that he finds a job here!), his ‘me’ time is whenever I’m not home. This is when he’d get time for himself to play his games or watch whatever videos / movies he want.
Having different interests and allowing each other the freedom to pursue those interests is good. Sure, marriage is about sharing your interests and lives together, but it doesn’t mean you have to stick with each other all the time. Go out, meet other people, play futsal or have an all-girls shopping spree or spa day. Get some ‘me’ time to do what you want without your partner. Plus, it’d give you more things to talk about at the end of the day! 🙂
It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows – sometimes, there would be hell and darkness.
No matter how long you’ve known each other, or how much you love each other, there would be the occasional times where you’d think to yourself, “Why did I marry this person?”. Or maybe you’d sit and think, “Did I make the right choice?”
The key to this (for me) is expectations. When you set high expectations on how you want your marriage life to be, you’re bound to fall down pretty hard. It’s easy to set high expectations on an ‘ideal marriage’, I have them too. I wanted my marriage to be perfect. I envision making him packed lunch for work, having the time to eat out together every week, or going out to try new activities together.
But life isn’t always that easy. Things happen, people grow and sometimes things just don’t work out the way you envision it to be.
That’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up on all of it. It just means that you may have to alter your expectations, communicate with your partner and share what you’re feeling. Lay out the expectations and be realistic about what the both of you can offer to one another. Learn to grow and accept each other’s faults and flaws. Work together to build a strong marriage, one that may not be your ‘ideal’ marriage, but still unique and strong to the both of you.
Marriage is a never-ending journey of learning and exploring the world together.
If I can end the post with one piece of advice – it would be to constantly find ways to enjoy the little things in life together. Life is, after all, a journey, and you have a partner to explore it together. Spice things up with a picnic date once in a while. Take a weekend trip together to see new places. Try out new things – like skydiving or batik-drawing. Experiment with new recipes together, or bake a cake! The possibilities are endless, it’s all up to you to choose what to do to liven up your marriage.
(p/s – I’m still trying to get Aiman to say yes to me skydiving or bungee-jumping, fingers crossed!)
Alright then – let me know what you think of the post! Share your thoughts, comments or suggestions in the comment section! Until next time, stay awesome and take care! 🙂