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Talk to Me
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
THIS is a silent intro to a “wordless” day. You start with a sigh. You open your eyes, see the hint of dawn through the tightly closed window and take a deep breath to release a sigh. It is five o’clock and you need to get up to prepare for work. Your feet meet the floor with a sluggish but loud thud that is both oblivious of and oblivious to the warm body still sleeping right beside you. You drag yourself out of the bed as your mind races to find a reason to face another day of cycles. Your mind finds none. The only time you wake up from this trance-like routine is when at last you feel the biting cold of the splash of icy water on your body as you take a bath on a freezing January morning.
It is during this moment of gasping for air that the reasons to get up come to you. You have a family to feed, a wife to keep, a mortgage to pay and the role of a father to portray. You have a job to do. As your body adjusts to the cold and stops to tremble, your gaze fixes on the bathroom tiles. Once again, you are swallowed by the trance-like cycle and routine of being a father. In this marriage, the silence is deafening.
Does marriage kill romance?
Recently, I was in touch with a couple whose view on marriage could be frightening to those who believe that matrimony is the ultimate goal of every relationship. They have been live-in partners for 12 years and still no ring. Instead, they have anklets and tattoos that bear their hubby names aside from the fact that they have two kids (and one more on the way) as proof of their lifetime commitment. When I asked them why, both agreed on saying that “marriage turns a relationship into a requirement instead of a commitment.”
What they said made rethink my own view on marriage and what it does to a couple. After my chance meeting with them, I walked home thinking about what they said. Respecting their view, I can say that marriage may be optional if you feel that you are not bound by the rules of your spiritual community (or the scorn of your parents and relatives). But I must disagree that marriage kills romance. On this, I strongly believe that people kill romance when they cease to see its new form.
Unlike different points of view about the importance of matrimony, when it comes to romance, we all tend to picture only one thing. If you think you are romantic with your fancy dinner dates and impressive gifts, better think again. Sometimes, we tend to oversimplify romance. When we think of romance, in our minds we see bouquets of deep red roses, imported brands of chocolates and expensive dinner dates. Don Juan is just a projection.
I have seen a lot of couples whose definition of romance have evolved through the years. In truth, romance needs an updated description nowadays. I would like to help you see. Romance is in the way he embraces you from behind as you turn out the lights at night. It is in the way she cuts the tomatoes on your salad and the way she lines them up on your plate. It is in the way he patiently waits for you as you go through different wardrobe changes just to go to the market. It is in the way she brews your coffee. Romance is in the way you tuck your children to bed. It is in the way she cries during your child’s recital. You see… roses, chocolates and dinner dates have turned into living proofs of the romance in your relationship.
If you complain that your partner is not romantic anymore, look again and try to see beyond your belief systems and standards. Of course, he cannot buy the same roses that he used to buy for you because he has to pay the bills tomorrow. She does not have the same soft hands that used to turn you on when you were stealing moments under the mango tree because she now washes your trousers. He does not have the same youthful laugh because in the back of his mind, he is thinking of how he could be true to the promise of giving you and your children the best future. She does not have the same small waist that she used to because she had to give birth to your juniors and “junioras.”
Look at the little things so that when you add them up, you will see the big picture. Marriage does not kill romance. It transforms it into something more elaborate and wonderfully complicated.
The next time that you wake up on a silent morning, try to enjoy it. It is not quiet because you have run out of romantic words to say to your wife. It is only quiet because finally, you are both at peace with the life that you both chose to live.
(Talk to me by sharing your stories and sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 22, 2013.