Aug 11, 2014

On Love

This blog post is going to be in full English, and you know what that means. It means it’s gonna be one of those “serious” posts. Eng ing eng!

***
Did you know, Teguh and I did NOT get married because of love? We got married because, at that time, we thought it was the most logical and practical thing to do for our lives. There was a huge age and family pressure back then. On top of that, our marriage was somewhat political, too.

Of course, it was not a forced wedding. The realization of “we need to marry each other” (instead of “we want to”) came from ourselves. During the whole process of courtship until our wedding day, I was contented, and Teguh, too. Heck, I even made a lengthy, cheesy wedding preparation blog. 

Thankfully, over the next four years, Teguh has proven himself to be a decent husband and an excellent father. So my decision is right, so far.

However, we still don’t love each other.

And by love, I meant LOVE love. Romeo and Juliet’s love. We care about each other so much, but we agree our feelings are very platonic. Almost like siblings.

***

The question is, though: are we happy?

I am definitely comfortable, content, and still manages to find beauty in my marriage every now and then. But am I overall happy? I think no one is.

What about Teguh? Well, Teguh was not raised to aim for love. Teguh was raised to aim for integrity, honor, power, financial success, and secure future. I believe his parents taught him to find a girl 'who brings honor to the family’ not ‘whom he loves’. So, living with or without love actually doesn’t bother him.

So, are we living proof that loveless marriage is possible?

In the early days—pre 20th century—marriages were cold and harsh. Kings and noblemen got married to settle dispute between kingdoms, to gain more power, and many other political purposes. And I’m sure most common men wed for reasons not so different (dijodohin keluarga karena bobot, bibit, bebet, de es be. Halo, Siti Nurbaya). Pokoknya, cinta bukan prioritas.

This practice went on for a long time, until early 20th century, when we started to prioritize love. Since then, culture fiercely glorifies love, and we learn to pick partners solely because of love. Look at the movies we watch, the songs we hear—they all tell us to find a man or woman who give butterflies in our stomachs (but what about real food in our stomachs?! Zzzz). We even have that classic song from The Eagles, “… when we’re hungry, love will keep us alive.”

Mankind was so traumatized by the harshness of political marriage pre 20th century, we now become obsessed by love. Mankind now believes that love triumphs all.

But does it really? I have no idea.

Today, Indonesia’s divorce rate shoots higher than ever, while back in our grandma days, pasutris probably don’t even know what ‘divorce’ means. It was simply out of the question.

Secretly, I think people back then had long lasting marriages because they were not focused too much on love. They had many other considerations—family’s honor, dignity, kids, financial security, and of course, the sin of divorcing. All of those were equally—if not, more—important than love. If there were any deeply-rooted unhappiness in their marriage, they sucked it up.

I’m not saying people back then were holy and invincible. I’m sure many loveless couples were depressed or even cheated on their spouses. But they toughen up, and eventually stayed together.

I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing, though.

***

Am I defending loveless marriages? No. In some cases, it can even be a lifelong torture. However, I’m not glorifying love, either.

What I’m saying is that there’s no fixed “template” for marriage. Every marriage is different, and mine happens to be loveless, practical, logical, but overall (still) solid with strong partnership.

I sound cold, don’t I? I’m not, actually. A part of me longed for butterflies in my stomach so damn much, and I’m worried that one day, I wouldn’t remember ever experiencing those butterflies at all.

***

Last but not least, I once read a quote that more or less has this haunting message about true love:

“You might have that one person who epitomizes ‘true love’ for you. And when that happens, you lose, because the feeling that he gave you forever becomes your definition of true love. Even when he’s long gone, he becomes your standard, and his presence will reign over your love life, probably forever.”

(Sadly,) Isn’t it so true?

Udah, ah, jadi laper *ngajak Aliya Rajasa curhat sambil ngebakso*

PS: This.

40 comments:

  1. After reading it.. I have a loooong long long thought all over my head.

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  2. Dela: Seneng dengernya, cause that's the point :)

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  3. Hi mba Lei :)
    Now I also got a lot of thought in my mind, about marriage, my marriage (and somehow some of my friends', idk why)
    To be honest, I like this post. Tapi bikin gatel dan bikin banyak pertanyaan baru (buat diri sendiri).
    "not a forced wedding" , "family pressure", are familiar words for me..
    *jujur aku bolak balik ngetik dan pencet "delete" pas komen di sini* takut salah ngomong :')

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  4. Iya.. I am married btw, and to be truth I cannot imagine having loveless marriage like you do (for myself). But, I have no doubt that some people can work it out. Yang penting komitmen dari kedua pihak ya.. yang aku liat, both Mbak Lei dan Mas Teguh satu visi dari awal pernikahan ini. Seandainya salah satunya aim for love mungkin makan ati terus kali ya..

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  5. jadi mbak mau divorce ? jangan mbak, sayang banget

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  6. Hmmm interesting...poin lo soal pernikahan jaman kakek nenek kita itu yg suka bikin gw mikir kalo nonton oprah trus ada yg cerai dgn alesan "i'm not happy" waktu itu gw nonton belom kawin tapi gw udah mikir kok begitu amat alesannya ya, gak mungkin lah mau bahagia terus kan.. Fight for it dong..
    Btw gw bisa relate sih sama loveless marriage krn di lingkungan gw pun ada juga beberapa yg keliatannya begitu, kawin krn keadaan..ada yang awet2 aja, anak bererot tapi di depan orang gak keliatan mesra, ada juga yang pisah, dan yang bertahan biasanya berprinsip kaya Teguh..

    Aduh quote terakir itu pernah bgt gw alamin jaman2 kuliah..subhanAllah pas ketemu suami gw semuanya ilang, walopun sekarang kalo galau suka kebayang kalo gw kawin ama yg itu gimana ya tapi jawabannya untung kawinnya ama yang ini hehe

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  7. Hi Lei! im your silent reader for couple of years now but something about this post really struck me and encouraged me to leave a comment here :D.

    I like the bluntness and the honesty in it. Something that most people nowadays are too afraid to share because of "image" and other reasons.

    I strongly agree with you. Glorifying love is not a guarantee for happily ever after marriage. What make a marriage works are basically mutual respects,caring for each other, integrity and trust... which something i think you have with Teguh :)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think this is one of your best pieces :)

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  8. wow! such a brave and honest post! marriage of convenience kadang di hargai lebih rendah dan dianggap old fashioned ya.. btw do u envy couple who are outwardly affectionate/loveydovey ga? curious aja..

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  9. jeez! udah 5 tahun!? *mengingat-ngingat

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  10. but you said on some of your posts di what took us so long that T loves you

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  11. Hmm,
    I married out of love. But outwardly bibit bebet bobot match bgt. Sampe byk desas desus kita dijodohin.
    Well, g sih yha, yg namanya nyoba pacaran aja kaga bisa kalo no feeling apalg sampe married.
    Character wise, heaven and earth, intro vs extro, diem tp njleb vs berapi2. But we make it work, with work :)
    I had someone yg I thought was the one. But with time, that dimmed, and what we have now grows and evolves. He was with me each time I gave birth to our 2 kids, and his reactions each time were really something :)
    So yhea, I married my true love, just took me 20 yrs of friendship, 3 yrs of dating and 5 yrs of marriage to realize that.

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  12. Hi Lei..selama ini jadi silent reader dan ketika baca ini pengen ikutan komen : are you sure that you did not get married because of LOVE ? karena kalo baca blog satunya, yg what took us so long, kok justru keliatan kalo kalian in love ya ?

    Di post yang judulnya "the beginning" :
    When T first asked me to marry him, I hesitated. The second time around, I rejected the idea. And again. And again. And then we start to fight a lot, mostly because of my uncertainty. Until T tried again for the fifth or sixth time, with a proper proposal (nyaris berlutut deh, lengkap dengan speech dalam bahasa enggris. Maklum, orang Singaparna alias Xinjiapo...), I finally said yes. But I'm sure you'd do the same if you're me, because the first time T asked me to marry him was only after we've known each other for....
    2 months!!!

    Katanya sih karena dia udah jatuh cinta bewrat. Idiiiiiih, geuleuh pisaaan.

    Dan di post yg judulnya "the romance"

    T: Do you realize that we're lucky?
    L: And why's that?
    T: Because we're in love.
    L: All marrying couples are in love.
    T: Not really. Some people got married just because they wanted the party, some others just felt it's the right time. With you, I want to marry you because I really, really love you.
    L: Bohong.
    T: Eeeeh, bener!
    L: If it's not because of the parents, we'd totally getting married in KUA to save money, won't we.
    T: Totally.

    Dan post2 lain di sub yang Mr. Man mengesankan kalian tuh in love :).

    Or am I reading (interpreting) those posts wrong ??

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  13. La... kenapa ya, justru menurut gue yang sok logical ini (kadang gue bingung gue laki apa pereu), menikah kalo cuma berdasarkan cinta itu = RIBET! Menurut gue cinta itu justru faktor kesekian doang yang justru bisa tumbuh saat kita menjalani kehidupan perkawinan. Cinta gue ke suami ya tentu ada, cuma kalo dibilang cinta banget, gue rasa gue lebih cinta ke dia sekarang dibandingin dengan dulu pas pacaran. Justru gue malah lebih demen yang nikahnya cintanya dikit aja tapi tumbuh, daripada cinta membabi buta di depan, cayang2an lope2an, show too much affection, tapi nanti pas nikah beneran, malah hambar kayak sayur tanpa garam.

    FYI, engkong dan emak gue, nikah dijodohin. Awet sampe maut memisahkan, di usia kakek gue 80 tahun (so mereka udah nikah di atas 50 tahun at that moment). Kalo gue tanya nyokap gue, hepi gak sih mereka merit? Apalagi punya 7 anak. Dijawab, ya brantem mulu! Apalagi nenek gue udah kehilangan pendengaran dari umur 40an tahun karena melahirkan, bayangin gimana susahnya komunikasi. Tapi nyokap bisa melihat cinta itu tumbuh. Saat jalan-jalan, engkong gue gak segan-segan jongkok, memakaikan sepatu ke emak gue, memastikan kain dan kebayanya tetep rapi, every single day.

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  14. Hehehe,
    amin le
    Justru g pas mau married, I was asking myself also, why him? Is it out of convenience? Because he loves me? Age?
    Coz we had it sooo easy, been friends for a long time, parents know each other, similar background, lengkap lah. Ngga heran byk yg ngira yha itu, dijodohin.
    But I guess I just did it out of faith, a leap of faith. I already knew that I love him, but the one? A question mark at the time.
    But g pernah ngga mau punya anak, I'd rather adopt anak yg disia2in which is plenty kan. But with him, I get why ppl have kids out of love, I truly do. So yhea, luckily my bet paid off. I married the one :)

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  15. IT GIVES ME CREEPS OMG NOW I CAN'T SLEEP WELL FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. *berpikir ulang dan panjang tentang cinta* *jiga ABG* *teuing ah mbak lei*

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  16. I was the same.. i thought we were in love, but turned out that i was in love with the IDEA of being in love and being married.. we are now divorced unfortunately.. yes i know we should fight for it bla bla bla.. anyway, what is done is done.. you are so lucky bisa merasakan ga cinta (-cinta amat) ini dan (mungkin) bahagia :) i sincerely wish your marriage will last forever.. :)

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  17. komen lagi ya..

    in some ways relatp macam ini lebih jujur ya, soalnya kalo dipikir bedanya romantisme dan gombal tuh beda tipis :D

    both parties at least know upfront the applicable "rules of engagement" jd ga based it on some sujective konsep yg cenderung abstract

    much like happiness is a decision, then love is a response to value (sedaaap ini bagai film existentialis perancis ga sih lol)

    btw mau dong ikut ngebakso bareng aliya, penasaran apakah........... (kepo)

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  18. hmmmm aku sih percaya kalo pernikahan bisa tetep berjalan walau tanpa ada cinta yg lovey-dovey. aku dan suamiku juga kayaknya nggak saling secinta itu deh satu sama lain. makanya istrinya insecure, sehari sekali nanya: "Kamu sayang aku gak?" dan dijawab oleh si suami, either: 'lumayan' atau 'sedikit', hahaha.

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  19. Mawar: KENAPA BERAT AMAT?! Hihihi, but yeah, overall we're very logical. Soal Aliya, ya nggak usah pake ditanya.... :D

    Sophia: Yang paling penting, may we all experience true happiness ya (but is there such thing? Hihihi). Kalau didapat dari cerai ya udah, kalau didapat dari staying married ya udah. Thank you so much ya :)

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  20. sebagian besar pointnya aku setuju bgt :)
    aku share ya mba..

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  21. hai mbak, ini pertama kalinya gue baca blog lu. anehnya setelah baca ini gue nangis hahahaha. karena gue sedang mulai berpikir bahwa konsep menikah seperti yg lu tulis ini harusnya yg gue pilih untuk akan dijalani. kalo landasannya cuma cinta, sepertinya beberapa tahun ini perjalanan idup gue menunjukkan bahwa cinta is not working.

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  22. Lei, napa sik bikin postingan macem gini? kan gue jadi ikutan mikir. *tapi emang orangnya doyan ikut-ikutan aja sik* :D

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  23. Abis baca post ini jadi pengen mandi biar bisa mikir panjang dibawah pancuran shower

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  24. My reaction after reading the post: WOW.. so honest and blunt.. Kenapa dalem beneeurr, ceuu??

    Lei, kalo boleh sok nganalisa yaa, from what i see it from what-took-us-so-long, I could see that T does want you, maybe out of love maybe not. You? Not quite, but you just did what you think you had to do, and it was marrying him.

    Hahaha, analisa sotoy dari silent reader yang baru ketauan penggemar berat..

    But maybe somewhere along these five years, you guys got your standard equalized, and as long as everybody's content, heck with love, aite? Hihihi...

    Agree with elle, this one is absolutely your best piece..

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  25. GW SENENG BACA PART INI!
    dul gw pacaran pake love melulu..bisa cinta mati lah sampe curambay, kayanya kalo ga ada itu orang dalam hidup gw, gw bisa hopeless. nyatanya sekarang gw kawin sama siapa? Samid baru putus oktober 2010, dikenalin gw akhir desember, terus nikah sama gw November 2011.
    Yudadahbabay sama pacarnya yg almost 10 taun!!! GILA LAMA BANGET KAN!

    Apa pada saat memutuskan nikah itu gw sama samid really in love? Gw rasa engga. lebih ke faktor kesiapan kita berdua. dan kita nyaman satu sama lain. gw nikah dengan Bismillah aja kali ya.

    now? banyaaak berantemnya ko gw gara2 ada sikap dia yg diluar ekspektasi gw. Tapi ya itu kan salah gw, suruh siapa gw berekspektasi kan. dia ya dia. and yes, biar cueknya kaya apa juga deep inside dia care ko sama keluarga.

    perjalanan masih panjang, proses adaptasi ya terus menerus kan. emang sih sekarang gw lagi dalam fase gitu-gitu aja, ga elop-elopan gitu. wong lagi cape ngurus anak satu dan oh, please gw hamil lagi sekarang!Mikir banget kan sekarang dana ini itu, rumah dan lain lainnya itu.

    disisi lain, gw tetep suka ko liat pasangan yg emang lovey dovey, pacaran lama, akhirnya nikah, dan tentrem2 aja. Itu udah jalan mereka ko. Kan ga semua garis hidup orang mesti sama ya.

    Really wish you an enjoyable marriage, fun with kiddos, dan tetep liburan kemana-mana ya la!

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  26. alhamdulillah....ada yg "nasib"nya sama...me sdh sebelas taun lho dan kadang bertanya sendiri...masihkah akan terus berlanjut?
    #bingung, mau miris ato bahagia ya..

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  27. My take.

    Ok, so I've been reading this piece over and over again. Rethinking about MY goal, MY priorities, MY LIFE.

    Got me thinking:
    1. Are we naturally monogamous creatures?
    2. Is love overrated?
    3. How is Walt Disney doing in the parallel world?
    4. Say, in a perfect world. Can we ever be Jay-Z and Beyonce?
    5. Whatever my grandmother was made of obviously God ain't giving me not one bit.

    But anyway, I wish us all some good ol wholesome lives.

    Namaste.

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  28. Dear Mbak Lei,

    Ini pertama kalinya saya baca postingan mbak, dan saya cukup wow :D,
    keberanian yang luar biasa buat nulis hal ini, dan kaya yang Mbak Lei bilang, ini pasti pro kontra :D...

    hal-hal semacam ini pernah mampir di kepala saya mbak, dan itu juga yang bikin saya modifikasi do´a saya :D
    dulu saya suka berharap pernikahan itu cepat terjadi, (ini sebenernya do´a keluarga saya juga si), cuman kemudian saya mikir, cepet atau lambat nggak akan ngasih garansi apa2... dan ini argumen yang saya kasih ke ibu saya, oh sekarang do´a saya diganti jadi semoga pernikahan itu terjadi di saat yang tepat, dan semoga takdir apapun itu datangnya pelan-pelan dan natural, jadi saya ga kaget.

    saya suka sama kalimatnya mbak lei:
    ¨So my decision is right, so far¨

    meskipun saya ga bisa ngukur ini, dan ga tau gimana kondisi mbak lei dulu,
    saya rasa dan dr apa yang saya baca (jadi stalking blognya mbak lei saya) you are awesome,
    saya inget pas saya pernah diposisi depresi beberapa bulan lalu dan banyak nyesel sama banyak keputusan yang saya bikin, sampai akhirnya saya tersadar,
    ¨Heys, you only can make a decision based on your knowledge at that time, you do not know at all about the future¨ itu bikin saya sadar bahwa berbagai hal yang saya alami setelahnya yaaa emang takdir, bikin saya nerima itu as it is.. sekarang malah saya mikir kalo balik lagi ke waktu itu saya tetep bakal ambil keputusan yang sama :P..(nggak kapok) meskipun it caused so much pain.(ini cerita saya mbak, nggak ngait2in sama cerita mbak, kecuali soal ambil mengambil keputusan)

    ada hal lain mbak lei, yang mungkin bisa dicoba, mungkin feeling jatuh cinta dan kupu-kupu itu harus diminta secara khusus dalam do´a *ini saya baru mikir-sambil nambahin list modifikasi ke do´a saya*

    saya pernah berfikir sekolah sampai strata tertentu, sekolah di tempat tertentu.. bisa bikin saya bahagia, dan setelah semuanya kekabul, persis.
    ternyata nggak gitu juga. jadi saya skrg nambah2in doá saya sama hal2 yang berkaitan sama perasaan.

    ----
    waduh panjang ternyata komennya, meskipun nggak kenal, I sincerely wish for your happiness Mbak,



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  29. Agreed. I just love how COLD you are. In a good way.

    1st. Love cannot be quantified but easy to be marketed. Diamonds, Hallmarks.

    2nd. Interestingly, we discussed this in our Southeast Asian class (in Anthro dept.), most couples in SEA (esp. Malaysia & Indonesia) consider themselves as siblings after they got married. Easiest example would be the use of "Mas, Abang, Kak" to call the husbands and "Dek" for the wives. Marriage is most areas in Asia is for practical reasons, but sometime arranged marriage easily mistaken for forced marriage.

    3rd. As someone who glorified love in the past relationship, I am rest assured that relationship that FUNCTIONS in a healthy "partnership" is important.

    4th. I MISS YOU

    xxx

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  30. I read "I DON’T: A Contrarian History of Marriage"
    by Susan Squire, which is a goodread. It illuminates the dirt behind the making of marriage as an institution.

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  31. Thanks for this post, lady :)
    -snd

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  32. thankyou mba lei...thankyouu for this post...
    :)
    really gives me something to think about love & marriage.
    postingan ini diperkirakan akan membekas di sanubari sepertinya...

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  33. I love this piece.
    Very much.
    I adore your writing always.
    But this..this is one piece I was hoping you'll write. You have a way telling your point of view without condemning other and I envy that :)
    Please do more..

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  34. I am not shocked knowing you were not married out of love, I knew it by reading your wedding blog. IN FACT, your wedding blog inspired me to say yes to be married to my husband now! I was not in love with him, but I knew he was such a nice person, a husband-material kind of guy. So I thought, bismillah, let's commit for once and for all, good guy don't come twice. Didn't take long for us to 'pdkt' and preparing our wedding. Next thing we knew we were husband and wife.

    It was one of the best decision in my life! I believe love will grow, and IT WAS! Now I can proudly say that I love my husband!

    My point is I agree with you and with most commenters here that marriage is bibit bebet bobot and commitment and mutual respects.

    Menurut saya ini lebih romantis "I love you because of Allah" daripada sekedar I love you :D

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  35. Tante...sorry ya Dija belom bisa bahasa inggris...
    tapi Dija suka lihat foto pengantin cantiknya itu

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  36. Duh, post inih....
    Thank you SO MUCH for :
    1. baring a little private corner of your marriage life
    2. giving a "shush it" to this little insecure voice in the back of my head about "what if laki gw tetiba fall out of love?"
    3. reminding me that there is so much more to aim for than guarding someone's affections
    4. igniting all those amazing comments from your readers. you have a great bunch of smart ones.
    5. igniting all those hilarious other comments :D it made my day

    Aku sungguh ngefans padamuh. Jangan cerai ya Mbak :p

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  37. you're superwoman Ka Leija..

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  38. Ngakak baca Aliya Rajasa disebut-sebut.

    Btw, saya setuju bahwa komitmen plus bibit bebet bobot memang lebih penting daripada cinta di dalam pernikahan.
    Secara alami, cinta roman yang menggebu2 itu memang biasanya padam setelah 2-3 tahun, berganti jadi cinta yg lebih platonis.
    Kalau orang itu prioritas hidupnya condong ke cinta roman, ya ciloko, apa coba yang bakal kejadian setelah umur pernikahannya di atas 3 tahun?

    Saya sendiri juga memutuskan menikah dengan menimbang baik-baik faktor bibit-bebet-bobot.
    Waktu jaman pacaran abege sih ngasal banget yak, mau beda agama, beda gaya hidup, beda status sosial keluarga, hajar bleh!
    Tapi setelah masuk usia menikah, mulai hati-hati mempertimbangkan "apakah saya akan bisa tahan dengan dia dalam jangka panjang?"
    I do love him, that's why I dated him for 3 years prior our wedding.
    Tapi seandainya bibit-bebet-bobot kami nggak setara, saya yakin kami nggak akan sampai ke jenjang pernikahan.
    Saya nggak tahu apakah itu bagus atau enggak, but it works for us.
    Seenggaknya kami sudah di tahun ke-9 pernikahan kami dan sampai sejauh ini sih nggak ada kejadian berantem heboh sampai bunuh-bunuhan dan nggak ada perselingkuhan juga.
    Mudah-mudahan aja kisah kami beneran langgeng kayak Carl dan Ellie ya, aamiin.

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  39. Saya nyasar kesini gara2 dari IG nya mbak Alodita. Padahal ini post udah lama bgt :p

    Saya setuju sama kalau cinta ngga bisa dijadiin based on marriage. Karena cinta itu semu dan gak logis.
    Malah hubungan yang seperti a bestfriend atau sibling lebih awet, karena sahabat atau sodara selalu 'nrimo' kita nya kayak gimana pun.

    Wish you a happily marriage and family ya mbak Lei ❤❤

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  40. Baca postingan ini sekarang udah gak kaget lagi soalnya pernah baca juga kayaknya dirimu tulis ttg kalian nikah lebih karena bibit bebet bobot dan la la la di what to you so long dan sudah kaget disana. haha.

    At the end, I'm happy for youuu :* You two have become a great partner of life with a cute little boy of course. Walaupun kita beda banget, secara aku nikah ama suamiku ya karena cinta banget..Sebelum nikah ud pacaran hampir 9tahun. haha. Tapi setiap orang kan memang beda-beda, nothing wrong with that :)

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