This post has almost aged two years after its initial draft. First, I tried writing a piece titled, “Why I Married At 24” after my husband gave me this blog site as his 1st wedding anniversary gift. It was then aprilcarlen.com but I was too afraid nobody would click on that link except my husband, my dad, and my supportive aunts.
Whatever happened to the draft, I remember trying to fix it after reading Pope Francis’ message for the 30th World Youth Day and after he spoke to 20,000 engaged couples about the fear of forever at Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square on Valentines in 2014. Pero sa di ko malamang dahilan, hindi pa rin natapos ang sulating ito.
Today, I’ll try to finish this blog for a friend and someone who might just need it. Thanks to them, I found this old draft.
How do I start?
How does one start writing again a piece that has long been left hanging? How do I recall what I have actually intended to write? This was exactly how my heart felt after I realized that I have long been trying to hold on an unrequited love. A love that was kept hanging for a while, a long, long while. It was a love I thought would unconditionally wait… forever. That was not too long ago. 🙂
But it’s not like I woke up one day and I knew I had to put an end to my love story. Just like this blog, I found my heart again and simply felt the need to continue writing. And just as how I found this draft, SOMEBODY reminded me to write again the story of my love.
What made me try?
I really do not know. I feared being criticized for wrong grammar and for even trying to write on what was called by some friends as ‘elitist’s language,’ and I’m a lot more comfortable writing in Tagalog complete with cursings and all but still, I write.
So even as I feared falling in love because falling is falling and getting hurt, I gave love a chance. Not because I knew I’m falling on a soft pit. Not because somebody would catch me. But because I tried to write knowing there will be people who will always try to correct. And just the same, I let myself fall knowing it’s the only way to know more about love, about the story I’m trying to write.
When is the right time?
Before I married, I would always be asked how old I am. I would often not say 24 because they’ll say, “too young” and then ask so many things — Why? Are you pregnant? (Kaya ka ba tumataba?) How long have you been together? Is he rich? Wala ba syang anak sa iba? Are you successful? Are you done paying your parents back? Do you know what you’re getting in to? ARE YOU READY? Get set. Go! Kaloka!
So to keep things short, I’ll say… “I’m turning 25.”
25! Quarter-life! About time! (Singles at 25, I’m not trying to pressure or whatever) …But yes, 25, still too young. And even if I answered each and every Juan’s question, I know I’m young. I will always be young. And proud.
Guilting guilty naman ako sa tanong na, “Nasuklian mo na ba ang mga magulang mo?”
My parents loved me so great nobody can measure. I know I can never pay them back and getting married would not stop me from loving them more and more each day. Marriage actually allowed me to understand and appreciate them even more.
Still, they said I’m young. There’s so much ahead of me. But isn’t love supposed to inspire and empower us?
Look, I know that most celebrities on trending wedding videos are on their 28’s, 30’s, and so on. I know that continents drift apart so maghihiwalay din kami. I know that cliche, “Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi parang kaning bagong saing na isusubo at iluluwa pag napaso.”
But marriage is not about knowing what you ought to know. Marriage is about learning what you ought to learn. What could be wrong about learning young(er)?
Sabi ni Pope Francis, the “search for happiness is shared by people of all times and all ages.” Here’s a part of Pope Francis’ message to us, young people:
Youth is a time of life when your desire for a love which is genuine, beautiful and expansive begins to blossom in your hearts. How powerful is this ability to love and to be loved! Do not let this precious treasure be debased, destroyed or spoiled.
Are we ready? Somehow, maybe. Nothing can ever prepare one to become a great parent. No school teaches how to become a perfect wife. I was just ready and willing to learn by beginning to be a wife and a mother… And then, the time became right.
Have I found the right one?
Honestly, I wanted to dismiss every question why I married by simply saying this: “I found the one.” Mas nakakakilig ata ‘yan pakinggan.
But in reality, I don’t know if the man I married is the right one.
We don’t have a fairytale-like love story. And even if I try to make a movie script out of our most kilig scenes, I bet no producer would risk filming it. It’s just an everyday kind of love that has not endured a Romeo and Juliet kind of trial. But what makes it more beautiful than a fairytale, a movie, and a novel is that it’s REAL.
It doesn’t have to pretend. It is what it is. I did not have to force myself making a beautiful love story out of a SIGN. It doesn’t have a theme song but a lot of songs would remind me of our journey together.
The scientific way of solving problems wouldn’t let me know if my husband is the right one. All I know is that we are two people trying to learn more about love every single day. We are totally different personalities who complement each other and we are two souls who wouldn’t want to find a way out of love.
Marriage made me realize that it’s not every ideal thing I have imagined it to be. I thought this man was the one who will make me forget that my heart was ever broken. But no. This man made me cry. This man made me angry. But this man would always try to make me happy.
How did I find him?
Again, I don’t know. Sabi nila, ‘wag hanapin. Pero sa totoo lang, we all have one love story. It’s not like every man that comes my way is a love story. More like my love story includes that time I had a crush in 1st Grade, then in 4th, highschool, college, and so on. At one point, I found myself ACTIVELY searching. Not once, I had to make SIGNS work for me because I’m bored and I started worrying why the ones I like don’t seem to like me.
Even when I found him at a time I was tired of searching, each of those times I tried to open my heart before I met him was part of finding him.
Oh, no! I didn’t find him. I think I found myself. I found myself not just opening my heart to him but also, I found myself seeing the beauty of heart which he had opened for me. And there, in his heart, I found myself.
I think finding oneself takes deep appreciation. I have not really given myself a chance to be called beautiful (except ‘pag gandang ganda ako sa salamin). But each time I had an unreciprocated admiration, I felt less and less attractive.
Though somewhere along the way, you’ll see that Someone will always see the best in you because He sees the beauty in your heart. We know who He is. And to those who are called to share their lives with someone else, the opportunity of our hearts’ beauty to be discovered comes in the face of our brothers and sisters.
When we can be boyfriends and girlfriends for life, when we live in a time when people are trying to put expiration on marriages, and when money can easily nullify such… Why marry?
I remember telling our student-teacher in high school, “I don’t believe in marriage.” I thought, why marry when man can just end it? Why marry in our Church when others’ belief allow them to marry more than one?
I have never found the best answer to those questions. Maybe not yet.
But why marry now? Can’t it wait? Why not make the most of life while you’re still single? All these questions led me to thinking, marriage, perhaps, was not really a good idea. Most people in it seem unhappy. But instead of backing out, I tried asking: Why are they still in it?
Does marriage hinder one from being happy or does one hinder oneself from being happy by avoiding marriage? I guess we’ll know when we start asking, what is life asking from us?
Are we being called to build a family? Are we being called to live independently and be pillars for others? Or are we being called to serve the consecrated life?
The challenge, ultimately, is to seek what truly makes us happy. Does happiness make us successful by whatever definition we have of successful? Not sure. But success is empty without happiness.
Let me share another part of Pope Francis’ message to the youth:
“Dear young friends, in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of ‘enjoying’ the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘for ever’, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love.”
There is pressure in having to prove ourselves today. I feel that!
But marrying does not keep us from being successful. It offers a different path, a different perspective. Marrying is all about reaching goals together, celebrating love with someone else, learning and sometimes losing with someone else.
May forever nga ba?
Bakit ba ang hirap mangako ng forever? Why do we say, “as long as we love each other?” Isn’t love a solid kind of thing that grows? Does it really end? And if it ends, is it love after all?
Does it make sense making relationships official? Can we not be happy together if we’re not married? Of course not! But what keeps us from committing forever?
Sure, it isn’t about security or having a paper to hold on to or having a video to post. And I may never have a good way of ending this article by showing an unshakeable proof of FOREVER. It is way easier to prove #WalangForever. Siguro dahil sabi ni John Lloyd, may mga taong nang-iiwan nang di ginagalang ang 3-month rule. Siguro dahil may nasasaktan nang paulit-ulit.
My forever is not a destination. It’s not something one must have. It’s not a painless state of relationship. It’s a chance I take everyday. It’s a commitment I declared the day I married the man I chose to love every day of the rest of my life.
It’s a promise I will always try to keep because I believe that I am capable of loving someone for a lifetime. (And after this promise, God blessed me even more when he entrusted me the gift of bringing out someone into this world, another life for me to love forever–my firstborn. 🙂 )
In the end, when we get hurt because #WalangForever, we bravely and undoubtedly say that we can always turn to our families who are always there for us. Families that were built on love, hope, and unending support–basically, all things founded on forever. Families!
Now how do we start a family? 🙂 I guess we start with forever.
Are we going to make it? I don’t know what lies ahead for us. But I tried to complete this article because… I was not afraid to say “May forever.”