Today is my 4th Wedding Anniversary. Nothing much really since for the 4th time also, I am so much distant from my lovely wife whom I should be celebrating this glorious day. But not to be dismayed, and after reading a couple of Nicholas Sparks novels, I am inclined to make my effort to remember this day even if just through this blog, hoping that in one way or another I will be able to communicate my love for my dear wife through the words that I write and through the people that will read this.
I believe we are like most couple who have the usual episode of disagreement even with our frequently distant set-up. The Army has not afforded us with the normal marriage such that my wife will say that in the years that we are married, we have actually been together only for at most a year. In reality though, I do not like to hear those words. Although I pretend to be unaffected by those words I also wish that days with her and my little girl would be more frequent. If truth be told, if not for practicality reasons I would have no qualms leaving the ‘glitz and glamour’ of a Philippine Army Officer in favor of a more normal family life. But by some divine providence, the cards drawn out for me would have to be this and I am determined to make this work.
My wife, unlike me, did not have the luxury that we had growing up. Although mine is not well-off either, hers is more of a survival thing having a mother who moved heaven and hell to provide for them and a sister who placed it upon herself to sacrifice some luxuries in favor of her siblings getting an education. That was primarily the reason why, I would like to think, it became easy for me to woo her. Here comes a young and dashing lieutenant coming to her hometown at a time when the peace and order was very volatile. I would like to believe that it seemed to her that I was some knight in shining armor that can protect her. In the early part of our marriage, it was evident that her feeling was that of difficulty of accepting the life that I introduce her to. Specifically, the family that she suddenly found herself a part of.
As newlyweds, her self-esteem, especially when around my family, was very low and even with me, I often recognize her insecurity as not being good enough to be part of our bunch. For my part, I felt that it was my foremost responsibility to usher her into the “weirdness” of my family. It was a task that involved me having to say hurtful but honest things to other people that I love. In several occasions, it entailed me feeling hurt as it felt that I have to choose between her and my family when all I wanted was a relationship where all of them becomes one big happy family. The drama unfolded with me writing letters to my father, sending long text messages to my wife and praying hard that all will be well.
Unknown to my family, although they were part of the reason that made it difficult for me, they were also the inspiration that helped me choose what to do in every situation. While they criticize my wife, I understood that it was just their way of showing that they wanted the best for me. In the same way, while I feel the hurt that my wife felt in those occasions, I also understood it was part of the painful way of accepting the out-of-this-world way my relatives show their love for each other. It was my love for all of them, my wife especially, that cultivated in me the patience to endure the sometimes disconcerting situation I was caught into. It was a love that I learned from a family that had difficulty of showing it but is able to express great amounts of it in ways unimaginable.
I write all of this now as a tribute to the marriage that has been nurtured for the past four years. Last week, as I saw my wife being part of a family that I loved so much, I felt greater joy and admiration for her as somehow I knew she has found her place. The greatest gift that I have received would have to be the words of my aunts, uncles and most especially my father validating that I married well. I also write this for my wife, who had to make drastic adjustments on the kind of person she is especially on her perception of family. More importantly, I write this as a reminder to myself to constantly work to make my marriage work. Four years has been a difficult but fulfilling adventure but in those times, above all, I learned that my choice should always be borne out of love, and nothing else.