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*