22 December 2013, by Tan Li Lin
Following my blog entry “23 Days After Marriage: What No One Warned Me About“, questions came in asking what Ronald thinks about the topic – more specifically, what has changed for him after signing on the dotted line. I guess we’re sometimes starved from the guys’ end of the whole love-relationship-marriage experience since we know most guys don’t (or can’t) articulate what they are feeling. Mind you this interview was one of the most challenging I’ve done – not because it involved me as a subject – but because Ronald is the ‘only-child’ and thus isn’t used to talking to others.
Ronald: *dirty glare*
KIDDING. Ronald’s really good at talking and he’s pretty intelligent and (sometimes) wise about things. Those of you who know Ronald might know what I mean – however that happens once in a blue moon, thus getting him to articulate his thoughts on this matter required dialogue surgery that sometimes resulted in me shrieking at him.
Congratulations on your marriage Ronald! I must say you’ve nabbed yourself a beautiful wife and you certainly looked quite charming yourself during your recent solemnization. Let’s see… it’s been more than a month since you changed your status to ‘Married’. What has changed for you since then?”
Ronald: “There is now a stronger sense of responsibility and accountability towards Lin and myself, in terms of taking care of myself or making financial plans, like getting insurance to get myself covered adequately. At least if anything happens to me down the road, my wife and kids won’t have financial concerns. Hmm, also, keeping myself healthy and scheduling body check-ups. Right now it costs $100+ a month for $200k worth of coverage – and this is when I’m only 26. With medical costs rising it’s important to start now or else I’ll be a burden to the family in the future.”
“The other focus is career development – I don’t want to be in a 9-6 job next time when I’ve kids. I want to worry less about finance and have more freedom to spend time with my family. This means finding opportunities and investments now to build myself up so that by the time I’ve kids in the future I’ll be out of the rat race.”
Right..good move. What else has changed?
Ronald: “On a lighter note, attention spent on looking good and dressing up is compromised. Last time when we were dating I’ll wax my hair, but now… I’ll just put water and make it look decent…” *sheepish grin*
“Besides growing up and feeling more resilient, nothing has changed… which makes me feel at ease, and at peace…”
Huh, what do you mean?
Ronald: “Well, if I got married and my wife suddenly wants a huge wardrobe full of clothes or wants to make major changes to the furniture….”
Furniture??! How did this move from being at peace to furniture???
Ronald: “Aiyah, whatever la… you know Women like to do this and do that suddenly… I’d find it uncomfortable if these big changes came my way ‘just because’ we got married. It’ll be inconvenient.”
What!? I’m now looking at him like he’s speaking Alien.
Ronald: “Aiyah. Why not you just write something in here.”
No! I’m not going to do that. Never mind, let’s move on to the next question.
Is there a difference in the way you now ‘see’ your Wife?
Ronald: “The difference is that I’m more committed to upholding my promises or our promise to each other that we’ve set.”
I see. Let’s rewind a little to before you got married. What made you decide ‘this is the girl I want to marry’? I’m trying to get the guy’s perspective here…
Ronald: “Umm. Understanding.”
Argh! Give me a full sentence, not 1 word!!
Ronald: “Okay okay, like last time when we were dating and I was serving NS, I was broke but she was really understanding. Also, I guess she’s someone whom I can trust and I can talk to…. (long pause)… heheh actually that’s really shallow because it’s very ‘Duh‘. This is a ‘feeling‘ thing and it’s really difficult to describe – once the feeling is there, of course you’ll feel like you can trust the person and feel comfortable with her.”
Staying on this topic, what’s important to you in deciding to commit to Marriage?
Ronald: “Its important to be certain of yourself. Your future wife will be someone who will be going through thick and thin with you. Communication is very important – if you have a fundamental communication problem, it’ll be a tough road ahead.”
That’s true. Is there a difference between what’s important when you’re dating, and now when you’re married?
Ronald: “I feel that Marriage is about learning to be open and forthcoming. To share and talk about issues and work things out together. In the dating phase, there’s still a degree of ‘your problem is yours‘ and ‘my problems are mine‘ but now after marriage our problems are each others’ and it’s important to share our state of mind and what we’re going through so that we can seek support and advice – whatever is necessary for me (and us) to pull through. Then the solution would naturally appear.”
Speaking of working things out together, what are the decisions that you include your Wife in now?
Ronald: “Looking at our strengths and weaknesses, when it comes to finance decisions, I won’t seek Lin’s view first until I’ve done my research and I have a firm plan. That’s when I’ll discuss the situation with her. This is because nitty-gritty stuff like calculations and figures are her weakness.”
Ronald: “Things like what I should wear when we head out, I’ll discuss with her because she’s very opinionated.”
(Inserts silent opinion about this.)
Ronald: “Every night before we sleep, we’ll talk about what we’re planning or thinking – even if it’s mundane stuff, I’ll still share and discuss with her because her strength is in giving me clarity. Actually, we’ve been together for 3 years and we know each others character, thoughts, patterns and habits very well. I guess this makes it easy for us to consider each other when making any decision – whether we talk it out or not.”
What changes do you foresee moving into the future?
Ronald: “What I wish will change is that we both continue to improve – even though I have my own weaknesses like …. (long pause)……like…..ummm…………..”
(Bursts out laughing – This is very typical Ronald by the way.)
So what’s your point? Are you saying that when we improve we no longer rely on filling in the other person’s weakness and that brings our decision making to a whole new level?
Let’s move on to questions about your family. Pray tell, how do you face your in-laws after Marriage?
Ronald: “Our daily interaction has not changed, but now because they are my new family members, decisions that we have to make we’ll bring it across to them. Last time as ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’, we can discuss on our own, but now we’ll ask for their view to tap into their knowledge.”
So you’re saying not much as changed? How is that so?
Ronald: “I’ve been in and out of Lin’s house almost every day for the last 3 years. These 3 years have given us enough time to build good relationships. It’s not like I met her parents once a week only and then decided to marry her – from the beginning I already saw them as my future in-laws.”
Ronald: “So because of that I decided to contribute to the family culture by helping to wash the dishes when the maid wasn’t around on Sundays, or offer to buy lunch back for them. This is why little has changed since the marriage.”
I see, you did your due diligence before Marriage. Well, do you have expectations of your Wife towards your family and relatives?
Ronald: “I don’t have much expectation because I trusted that Lin will be a good wife. Her character is good… enough; Generally my family is simple minded so they aren’t too particular about things.”
(He should’ve just stopped at the first sentence.)
Someone wants to know – What are your living preferences now – do you see yourself staying with your parents, or on your own?
Ronald: “There is no personal preference.”
Okay c’mon you’ve got to give them more than that. No one wants to read this blog if you reply like that.
Ronald: “Ideally we stay at our own place for 3 days, and the other days we stay at our parent’s place. This is why we got a place that’s convenient for us to access both. I feel that it’s good to stay with more people – its ‘livelier’ and if we have problems there are people we can talk to and seek advice from. And when we want our personal space, we’ll head back to our place.
Do you feel less ‘Manly’ staying with parents?
Ronald: “No. What era is this?! Staying with parents doesn’t mean I’m less manly…. that’s determined by who I am as a person.”
So… you’re ‘Manly’ huh.
And so as the ‘Man’ of the family now, do you feel it’s important to have a place of your own?
Ronald: “Yes definitely – we can have a place of our own but we don’t have to stay there. This is so that when there are emergency situations at least my family won’t be homeless. A place of our own represents stability and comfort which I always feel is important; It doesn’t matter if we decide to rent it out, or stay in it.”
Last question, and probably the most important of all – Practical stuff aside, where do you see LOVE in all this? What are you beginning to understand and experience about Love?
Ronald: (Long thinking pause)
“I feel that it’s about being happy making the woman you love smile.”
(looks at him with glassy eyes that urge him to say more)
Ronald: “Yah. That’s all.”
Okay last question I promise. How do you view other women now that you’re married?
Ronald: “BABY. Seriously?! Same. What’s the difference?! It cannot be that now I’m married I cannot see other women right???”
Not quite the response I was hoping for.
At this point, my Dad butts into the conversation.
Dad: “How come never interview what your father thinks??”
Thinks about what?
Dad: “Thinks about having a new son in law and marrying my daughter off.”
Okay sooooo, what do you think?
Dad: “No la no la nonsense la I’m doing my work now.”
Looks like my Dad will be needing more attention now that Ronald’s in my life…
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicates more time to making society a better place over making babies. Follow her blog on ilovechildren.sg/blog and journey with her as she embarks on all things ‘life after 30′.