It sure has been a long time since my last post. I apologize for that. Things have been hectic! In the span of the last few months, my status has changed from single to married; I’ve moved out from my family house and relocated to a new area; and I’ve got a new role at work.
Yes… talk about a huge shift, huh?
I was asked this a lot in the recent weeks post wedding: “So, how’s married life?”
This question got me tongue tied every time. I want to say it’s utterly blissful, but I know it would be a half-lie. If I said it was just “okay”, the other person would raise a worried eyebrow. Don’t get me wrong, I have been enjoying married life. I was just telling my husband the other night that marriage is like a never-ending sleepover with your best friend. 😊
Someone recently told me that life’s Top 5 most stress-inducing events (in no particular order) are: 1) getting married, 2) relocating, 3) death of a loved one, 4) giving birth, and 5) changing jobs.
Now based on that list alone, I was going through 3 out of 5 of life’s most stressful events in the span of about 2 months.
Needless to say, there were repercussions which were *ahhem* unleashed rather heavily onto my dear, understanding, compassionate newly wedded husband *sheepish smile* … (I’ve apologized incessantly!)
People talk about post natal depression, but for your knowledge, post nuptial depression is a very real thing.
Okay, I wouldn’t say that I was depressed, but I sure was very emotional (or hormonal perhaps).
For anyone reading this who’s about to get married, I’m sorry if I made you worry a little. Please don’t. I don’t mean to deflate your bubble in any way, but it could just be useful knowledge to prepare yourself for what might happen. This doesn’t happen to everyone – it really goes on a case by case basis. So it might or might not happen to you.
I opened up to a few friends about what I had gone through, and was rather shocked when I received nods of acknowledgment. Perhaps this occurs more often among us Asians ladies, as we usually live with our parents till we marry out. I have been living with my mother since forever – except for the time when I lived abroad for a year (6 months in Singapore followed by 6 months in Paris) for work. During my student years, I studied at an Australian university which had a local campus here. So basically, I’ve lived most of my life with my family.
My mum has always been protective over me. She refused to let me move out to live on campus back when I was in uni. But I was doing fine when I lived alone abroad for that 1 year. In fact, I was really enjoying it.
The months leading up to the wedding were rough. My mum and I were practically arguing over every little thing at home. I suppose for her, it was the emotional build up – she knew that the day for me to move out from her was coming closer. She was nagging me over little details of the wedding preparations, my outfits, my attitude, etc. It was tough. It made me feel like I wanted to move out quicker, you know? I knew somehow that her out-lash was stemming from her fear of losing me, and I knew I was going to miss her presence too, but little did I know that the impact would hit me like a ton of bricks.
I wished I had known about this potentiality sooner, so that I could mentally prepare myself (and my husband) for it. The first few days after the wedding, I felt this emotional black hole within me. I felt the emptiness yet fullness of pain. I felt a yearning or a deep longing to return home. I felt foreign in my new house with my new partner. I questioned my identity. I found myself crying at odd times of the day whenever I thought about my mum or my home. I would spend a longer time in the bathroom because the sound of water somehow triggered my tears.
Every small mistake by Victor (my husband) irritated me, and instead of practicing the grace of Christ, I chose to pick on it – so we had countless arguments over stupid things like “why didn’t you help me store away the groceries”, “why must you leave a trail of crumbs around”, “why can’t you keep the plates in the cupboard”, “why are you leaving your things everywhere”, “why are you SO MESSY!” – you get the point!
You must be thinking, Oh no… poor Victor.
In retrospect, yeahhh, I guess it was hard for him. He said it was like trudging on a minefield – he couldn’t anticipate what would cause me to or when I would explode. To be honest though, I think our fights made us a better couple. We talked each argument out and we came up with actionable items which the both of us have to work on. I love him for correcting me even though I was emotional. Some of my demands were irrational, come to think of it. (Wives, please do your husband a favor and own up to your irrationality!)
Many have told me that I wouldn’t feel a difference because my mum lives only 15-minutes away from me. I once told a friend of mine after her own wedding the same thing – that she shouldn’t feel emotional as her parents were only in the next neighborhood from her. That was before I got married. Now that I’ve experienced it myself, I can attest that it’s not something to downplay. My mum could be living down the road from me, but I guess I would still have gone through the same emotional void.
That’s just part 1. The other stressful part came from a change in my role at the work. A little over a week after the wedding, I accepted a change of my job scope to something entirely new. Still within the same function & company, but it was a different business, a new manager, new stakeholders, new procedures & policies. It was, honestly, something rather stressful to juggle with at that time. I would wake up to 30 emails that came through overnight, and the stress would fall onto me like a wet, heavy blanket.
Some days I dreaded going into work. There was a point where I felt like I wanted to quit my job and just do something else more meaningful in life. I was constantly asking myself what was the point of going through this if I didn’t find fulfillment from doing what I was doing.
I knew I had to do something to break out from the unhealthy mindset. So I turned to the word of God. Since I was taking the train to work every day, I made it a point to read His words in the morning as I commuted to work, while listening to some gospel music. I committed myself to reading His word before looking at my emails. At first, I really had to fight the urge to clear off my emails before doing anything else. See, I’m the kind who likes (needs) to clear my inbox. The sight of any unread email sitting in my inbox is unnerving. I have a bad habit of checking my emails first thing in the morning upon waking up. The thought of having a pile of email waiting for me always made me more anxious about getting into work.
The first week of consecration to reading His word helped calm my nerves, but I still felt like I had to drag myself to work. I used to enjoy my work, but now I felt like it was a burden. A necessary act to get the paycheck to pay off our mortgages and ever increasing bills. The second week passed, then third…
I’m glad to say that it has become a habit which I look forward to whenever I ride to work. It really does wonders in calming my mind, body and soul. Things are definitely much better now. I feel more in control of the situation and of my emotions. Amazing that all I had to do was to put aside 15 minutes or so to read His word.
Okay, I realize now that this isn’t your typical “happy, bubbly, honeymoon-ey” type of post one should be posting after her wedding! But I felt the need to share this side of the story. Of course Victor & I are living our “happily ever after”, but this isn’t a Disney fairy-tale and there are many aspects to a happily ever after, and one of it is learning to cope with any emotional coaster ride. Husbands, don’t cease to be understanding and loving to your wife to help her through if anything like this befalls upon her – bearing in mind that this could happen to anyone at any stage in life (especially if it falls under one or more of the Top 5 categories mentioned above).
I promise to talk more about the wedding day itself and share some pictures next time round! Hubby & I are doing well. We are adapting to each other and learning the ropes around marriage life. Our love for one another continues to grow with each passing day as we commit our marriage to the Lord.
Always with love,
“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalms 73:26 NKJV