1st anniversary @ Bukit Tinggi (2010)

Have you ever dreamt a dream so bad that you were bummed out the entire morning? In your dream, a parent has died, or you relive a break-up, or it’s the morning of your pre-u chemistry test and you’re running late.

Last night, I dreamt a real doozy. In the dream, hubby broke off our engagement because I had lied to him about something, and before I could bring myself to believe that our relationship of five years was over, he found someone else.

It was horrible. Everything moved in slow motion. I couldn’t believe that a lie had caused this; it wasn’t even a big one. I remember going over our entire relationship in my head, picking out all the Hubbies in happy moments, and kind moments, and loving moments, and comparing them to the Hubby who had just broken up with me. How could a person change overnight?

How can someone just stop loving you?

I sought closure — Hubby wouldn’t give it to me. I sought forgiveness — Hubby told me that trust, once lost, could never be recovered. Anyway, he was with someone else now and really shouldn’t be talking to me.

I obsessed over the past. Memories of our courtship, our meals, our trips, and our days in the Christian Fellowship all marched past my mind’s eye, and because this was a dream taking place in the past, memories of what could have been followed suit. I watched as our wedding day, and honeymoon, and family dinners, and moving into the new house — every precious, mundane moment — shimmer out of existence, ghosts of futures past.

I woke up devastated.

It took me a few minutes to realise that it was just a dream.

I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, thinking about all the ways my life would be different if hubby and I had, at any point in our five-and-a-half year courtship, decided to break up. It wasn’t the big, surface things that came to mind, like “I probably wouldn’t be in the U.S. now”.  The first thing I thought about was the fact that if we had broken up, I wouldn’t have the exclusive family pass I have to [insert Hubby’s last name] family gatherings.

I wouldn’t have gotten to hold my little niece on her first day in this world, or watch her learn to use a fork (she’s a genius). I wouldn’t have gotten to know my sister-in-law better, or be there for important family announcements of engagements, promotions, new jobs.

I got up and looked for Hubby, who was in the living room, and made him hug me for a really long time.

About a month ago, I had dinner with a few people I had just met. Upon discovering that I was recently married, one unmarried guy asked me how married life was different from when we were just boyfriend and girlfriend.

I rummaged through my head for an answer, and the best I could come up with was that I could have my best friend around all the time.

So cliché lah Jenna.

Ya, I know.

It’s bothered me that I didn’t give him a better answer. I felt that I did a poor job advertising marriage, because it struck me as the words were coming out of my mouth that if you have a live-in partner, then my answer sucked.

Unmarried guy, I wish I had told you this instead:

I think your married life can only differ significantly from your pre-marriage life if you don’t believe in the concept of divorce. If you keep the option of divorce on some back shelf in the storeroom of your mind, then your married life won’t really be different from when you moved in with your partner.

Knowing that Hubby promised to take me to be his wife,

to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.

and knowing that he meant it — there’s no room for divorce in the marriage vow — gives me a security and a feeling of being loved that nothing before marriage could have given me.

When we were dating, there were a few times when things were hard, and I toyed with the idea of breaking up. It didn’t happen very often, but sometimes I would imagine an alternate reality, where I was single and could try out that Tinder thing all my friends were talking about.

The option of breaking up gave me a sense of relief when things were bad, because I knew I had an exit, but it also meant that Hubby had an exit as well. What if he decided that one of his colleagues/church-mates/schoolmates/Facebook friends was a better fit for him?

What if he meets someone who’s prettier/skinnier/more ambitious or — God forbid — smarter than me?

He has, but he’s stuck with me.

And that’s the beauty of marriage.

Soundtrack moments are rare, but this morning’s awakening could have been perfectly accompanied by this song, which I share with you because how often does a song perfectly describe a moment you’re living in?

Lean back, close your eyes, open your eyes to click the play button, then close your eyes again and prepare to fully identify with the feelings I had this morning:

If this makes you emo, remember —

There’s ARFI.


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