my parents are celebrating 41 years of marriage this year. yes 41. when I arrived, my siblings were teenagers and my parents were financially stable, they had just moved into a new home where we stayed for 20 + years (we recently moved to our current home).
I wanted to share some ‘take aways’ that I have noted from my parent’s marriage - i’ve tried my best to make this as real as possible.
firstly my parents have never actually celebrated their anniversary – like most men my dad doesn’t remember the date of their marriage and yes at times mom has gotten annoyed at him for this but she also has never been big on ‘going all out’ and ‘celebrating’. my parents are old school (well they’re boomers), they’re worlds don’t include Facebook or any social media. emails and news apps – yes.
my dad is a CA, him owning his own company means that he’s always had freedom over his working hours – he would go to work around 11am and come back at around 6pm because well, that’s what suited him. even now, his morning includes two huge cups of tea, warming up my mom’s car while she’s getting ready for work and opening the gate, if its still dark or the weather is unsavoury he’ll tell her to on her lights and to drive slowly. my dad having the extra time in the morning also meant that he’d make sure I had had breakfast and was ready for school.
one time, me and mom were both home as it was term break (my mom is a vice principal) and dad spent more time than usual getting ready, he eventually came into the lounge looking sharp – he never usually wears a tie but that day he was suited up. I was at the table reading and I saw my parents hugging -its not that they never had tender moments, its just this memory has always stuck with me.
there was an instance when we were at a function at my uncle’s house & there was this individual who was being an ass towards my mom – my dad told him to back off. the individual got the message and to this day doesn’t talk to my parents. yes, women are more than capable of standing up for themselves/defending themselves, but it gave me a realization of what a man should do if someone disrespects their woman. the ride back home was silent & awkward & the next day I asked mom why she wasn’t mad at dad for being rude to this individual (at this point I didn’t know the whole story – i had seen the shuffle but didn’t know what had gone down) and she said ‘your dad was standing up for me, I’d rather he do that then stay silent and watch someone disrespect me’.
a few years ago, my mom’s brother passed away, my mom was naturally broken and upset. during that time my dad took over the responsibilities that mom would usually do and he didn’t expect anything in return – there were no jabs of ‘I’ve done this and that’, he just simply did it.
very recently, one of my cousins (from my dad’s side) passed away, mom came home early from work and simply just sat with him. in both instances, the other partner knew what the other needed & did their best to make sure the other had time & space to grieve.
their evenings are usually spent discussing current events or well, just being on their phones together. we’re Muslim and these days my mom plays this game on her phone that helps her with her Arabic & she’s gotten my dad hooked on it. they bring each other closer to God.
these instances may not seem ‘romantic’ to you, but to me they signify what a real relationship is. over the years they have had their misgivings, but I’ve always felt secure & for me, their marriage is the foundation that I can always fall back on.
I once heard my dad say to my mom ‘we’ll figure it out’ – hearing him say that made me realise that as a couple you don’t have to have everything figured out, a big part of being together is figuring things out together.
there’ve been times where i’ve talk about my parents marriage & what it means to me but I’ve almost always gotten shut down by people saying ‘in the South Asian culture/community couples are never truly happy’.
I tried telling someone about how I admire my parent’s marriage & the response I received was ‘lol ok’.
I understand that there are too many couples in our culture/community that are together because one person in the r/ship doesn’t have anywhere else to go, or they don’t go their different ways & forge healthier environments because ‘what will people say’. I totally get this and I am by no means putting anyone down.
this is just my parents’ story/life. they weren’t forced to stay together, there was never an instance of my mom not having anywhere else to go – I get that this comes from a place of certain privilege as my mom has a good job and has always been an independent woman. I understand that not all women are in the position that my mom is in & don’t have a choice & its hard to explain the hollow feeling this gives me.
I simply just wanted to share my parent’s story - marriage ended up being a blessing for my parents and it’s hard to explain how grateful I am and yes there are (naturally) things I would do differently with my (future) partner as times have changed and I as an individual (& a millennial) think differently about a lot of things.
also please dont come @ me with the ‘ur brainwashed and naive. my parent’s marriage is by no means perfect. it was arranged (surprise surprise) but its a blessing that it worked out. i just want to appreciate it.