10 years on, I still do

Hello Shaohen,

I’m looking to make some e-pals, and my friend gave me your email, so hi! Would you like to be my friend?

p.s: I am not Jason ūüėõ

That was the first email I ever sent to my hubby. At 14 years old.

And yes, until today, I cringe when I think of it. Why was I so sampat??

But well, that was how our story started. At that time, pen-pals were slowly giving way to e-pals. Like the naive, idealistic young girl that I was, I asked my tech-savvy friend for a list of emails, and just started reaching out to them, hoping to make some e-friends. (Through my older brother’s email – that’s a whole other story altogether,¬†but it explains why I signed off the email above the way I did, because the account name was Jason!)

The hubby then stranger very sportingly replied my email, and thus began our lengthy exchanges. We wrote back and forth for quite awhile before we actually met in person. As our friendship continued to grow the next few years, email remained our strongest form of communication. I could write to him about anything Рmyself, my family, my dreams, my hopes, and my crushes. Oh yes.

He knows all about the boys I’ve loved before (see what I did there?). He even gave me advice on some of them! But somewhere somehow, the trick was on me, because one day I realised that the person I actually really liked… was him!

Unfortunately for the 17-year-old me, that realisation dawned too late. He was set to go off to Melbourne for studies, and he was almost sure he would not be going back to Malaysia. Ever.

While I was sure that I would never be going anywhere else except Malaysia. Ever.

Oh my poor broken heart.

But hey, life is always an exciting narrative. Look at where we are now – married, with kids, and just crossed our 10th year mark!

In conjunction with our 10th wedding anniversary, I thought of sharing 10 things I’ve learned through the years of our marriage:

1. It is possible to get used to loud snoring.

2. When date nights are not possible, cuddling up to watch ‘Avengers’ on TV at home while the kids are asleep counts too. Ice cream makes it even sweeter.

3. It is sometimes¬† necessary and even important to have fights. When we were newly weds, we tried avoiding arguments like the plague. But what happened instead were cold wars, and¬†repressed resentments that were never going to stay buried forever. When they exploded, it was terrible. So then I realised the benefits of having arguments. We are never going to agree 100% of the time. That’s what makes our relationships interesting. And since communication is one of the keys to a strong marriage, we should be communicating our disagreements. Therefore it is only natural that there are arguments. And it’s healthy. Having said that, you must always remember that the goal in having an argument is to reach an understanding and solution, not to hurt and win.

4.¬†It is super fun to talk and laugh about the kids when we are alone. Actually, it’s super fun to talk and laugh about anybody together. Er, it’s not considered gossip when you’re sharing with your soulmate right?

5. Everyone grows and changes. Nobody stays exactly the same. And that’s OK. I am definitely not the same person I was when I was 22, and neither is my hubby. Our dreams change, our goals change, our perspectives change. Sometimes, certain values change as well. And that is just life. But it is important to grow together and be on the same page. After all, marriage is about us going through this journey called life together. But what if we disagree on the changes, you ask? Well, that’s when point number 3 comes in handy.

6.¬†Similar to the point above, I’ve learned the value and importance of respecting and supporting your spouse’s dreams, hobbies and interests. Even if it means letting him go on a biking holiday to Bali with his pals. While I was the slave to the kids. Or him letting me splurge on watercolour painting supplies. Which I haven’t touched for awhile now. Dreams, hobbies and interests add colour and bring joy to a person, so keep encouraging your spouse to pursue them instead of being boxed into a work-eat-sleep-chores routine.

7. It is normal to have a ‘I’m not awake yet’ competition in the mornings, when the kids rise and shine. If you’re a parent, you’ll most likely understand this.

8. I am so blessed to have a hubby who loves to cook and feed the family! I cannot stress how AWESOME it is!

9. Don’t forget to say please and thank you. Your spouse is not your slave, and you should be extra grateful for this person who has committed to serving loving you for life.

10. Don’t keep grudges, don’t keep score, don’t “test” each other. A marriage is not a game or competition. If it’s run like one, there will be no winners. Whenever I’m upset, I remind myself that we both have a different role to play, and it doesn’t mean that one is easier than the other (even though I still wish that fathers can take turns to breastfeed…). If you do feel overwhelmed, refer to point number 3. Or delegate tasks to each other. Be honest if you need help, or if you need more assurance, or if you need more attention.

10 years. It’s a lot, yet at the same time, it’s not really long either. There is so much more for us to keep learning about ourselves and about each other, which, I guess, is what makes marriage an adventure!

Happy 10th anniversary my dearest hubby! We always joke that we are “lou fu lou chai”, and I guess now we are beginning to qualify? Haha. I love that we are still able to laugh together, and that you get my obsession with chocolates. In fact, now that I think of it, I think you are even more obsessed than me. Can you please replenish the Cadbury Black Forest chocolate? Thanks. *winks*

I love you, I do, now and forever more.

 

Love,

Natalie

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