Be intentional in celebrations.
It has been more than 2 weeks since our wedding anniversary but the memories of that day still lingers and give strength to survive the drudgery of every day living. Last week at work, we were having a school session (via Zoom) with some youth who are experiencing challenging home situations. One tool which we equipped them is to recall good memories they had with their family. Recall to reminisce. Reminisce to be thankful of a happy shared past. Being thankful helps one to alleviate current pains and lift one's spirits. (Try googling: effects of being grateful.)
Happy memories need effort to create. To celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary, we made the follow efforts.
Effort 1: Take leave and informed everyone at office that we will be unavailable.
Effort 2: Order tasty breakfast and set it up nicely in the balcony.
Effort 3: Dress up even though we are at home.
Effort 4: Set up the home to take photos to commemorate the day.
Effort 5: Write cards. (Write in the middle of the night and put beside glasses as surprise.)
Effort 6: Buy flowers. (And hide them in the toilet all night in order to flash them out at the right timing.)
Effort 7: Cook noodles for another when the person is hungry.
Effort 8: Go out for a walk.
Effort 9: Prepare reflection questions to review the marriage.
Effort 10: Review the marriage and plan forward adjustments.
Effort 11: Order our favourite type of food (seafood) and eat till food coma happens.
Effort 12: Make a 1 minute video to reminisce our history together.
Recently I saw an online video on a couple sharing about their divorce. Every divorce is painful because two joined lives are now tearing apart. For this particular couple, I especially felt that it was a pity. It seemed like they found each other really suitable and have such implicit trust in each other but have decided to part because there is no more spark. Frankly, you live with anyone over a long period of time, sparks will wear off. We see the ugliest side, the darkest side and sometimes the smelliest side --- all the undesirable aspects of the person. So to counter, we need to intentionally create beautiful shared memories together so that it balances us internally.
In addition, if we can adjust our mindset to see the privilege of journeying with someone to make one's ugly side less ugly, one's dark side less dark and one's smelly side less smelly, we would share a bond that is quite difficult for any third party to intrude. Well, let's face it, not many people will be willing to take my sh*t and true love sticks around even when things are sh*tty. So in my opinion, good marriages evolve beyond a romantic and sparkly phase, it moves into kinship, it moves into a phase of "I can't live without you".
That being said, the youth girl inside me still dreams of Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet. Hence, periodically, we still need to create sparks. Even silly things like dressing up and taking beautiful photos together in our own house, adds a little fun to all the mundanity of ordinary life. My dad says "情趣是把无聊当有趣!" (Fun or romance is amusing yourself with 'bo liao' [silly] stuff.) So, do many silly things together. Let's keep our brilliance at work and be silly with each other =)
Asher, my husband, always say, all the romantic movies and dramas have 2 elements which makes romance possible everyday. First, one party is rich, eliminating the need for work and responsibilities. Second, the movie or drama usually ends at the sparkly moment. No one screens a sequel of living together after a longer period of time, dealing with daily operations and mundanity which is probably our daily reality. Therefore, to learn from movies and dramas, we create the sparkly moments for ourselves and keep the sparks going. Let's accept the fact that we long for sparks. Let's also accept that sparks will wear off. Let's learn that sparks can be re-created again and again =) Jiayou everyone!