My dear husband,
Today marks all of eight years we have had with each other.
Eight years ago, you stealthily grabbed my hand as we crossed the road after our dinner date, under the pretense that you wanted to make sure I was safe from the non-existent traffic. With my hand in yours, unbeknownst to me, I was fooled into committing the very first day of our lives together to you. And then, somehow, you managed to hoodwink me into becoming your wife about three and a half years ago. You must have had plenty of tricks up your sleeve, for the world knows that we are different as chalk and cheese, and the world wonders how we are still very much in love in spite of that. I wonder too.
You and I know that we love each other in starkly contrasting ways. We have had eight long years to realise, fight over, and accept this. If anything, the difference in how we love was THE point of contention in our years together. It still is. You practise tough love. And I, ever the fragile, sheltered half, isn’t always strong enough for that. You see, I grew up knowing only tenderness and sometimes, I can’t quite grasp the affection for me that actually lurks in your nonchalance and harsh words. And my oh my, are we the worst sort of tempers put together. I am quick to anger at the slightest while you are quite the terror if you should ever blow your top. I am surprised that we are still together. But maybe, I shouldn’t be.
After all, we have given a lot to make a recalcitrant, heated, passionate relationship such as ours work. We had two honeymoon-ish years together, and we naively thought, hey it’s pretty easy to fall AND stay in love, then BAM! London hit us and well, we fought bad and almost threw in the towel before realising that WE are worth fighting for. So, we fought even harder, but this time, we fought to make it work. After getting married, I thought we had learnt what needed to be learnt about each other, that we had accepted what needed to be accepted. I mean, haven’t we gone through enough tears already? And surely, the storms would have blown over by now after so much drama during our time in London? I thought wrong.
The past 8 months have been INSANE. I remember lamenting that it was going to be tough the minute we knew we were expecting a baby. We had done everything backwards – you know, getting married while working on our second degrees, planning for a kid when we were fresh out of grad school. Friends questioned the way we lived. Strangers raised their eyebrows when they heard our stories. It was challenging to walk the path of the less travelled, but geez, I didn’t realise what ‘tough’ meant until we became parents.
The usual parenting challenges, the lack of sleep, the moments when we feel like fish out of water, the resentment that grows as we hardly see each other with your unforgiving schedule at work and my relentless mothering gig, the stress and constant criticism that comes with living with others, the scrutiny we are put under as new parents, the lack of time for a social life and how much we are getting dissed by our friends for not keeping in touch…these are really doing us in. Where do I start to dissect the pressures on our marriage, when we don’t even have the time to see, let alone talk to each other?
But we soldier on. We fight, we throw our heads back and laugh without a care in the world, we long to punch the living daylights out of each other, we hug each other and cry, we cry because we fight, we kiss and make up, and we love again. We walk on, my hand in yours, across the road as we dodge a more dangerous sort of traffic this time.
I don’t know how we do it. I honestly don’t know how we survived the past 8 months. There were moments when I was convinced that we were done for. But I am glad we are alive, and that we love each other more and more, even as we find more and more things to hate about each other. It is all very odd indeed.
You told me that you were afraid that I will forget all about you once I become a mother. I never had a chance to tell you this, but the truth is, I think about you more and more after I became one. My heart has grown to love you and our beautiful daughter to my very best, so much so that I have nothing left for myself. You have to know this.
You must know this too. For better, for worse, it has been eight years.
For better, for worse, it has been the most trying eight months of our lives together.
For better, for worse, with my hand still in yours, I pray that there will be more fights, laughter, tears and kisses to come just because it is you whom I share these moments with.
For better, for worse, as long as I am with you, trying as the times ahead will surely be, I say…come what may.