Nov 12, 2013

To Have and To Hold

12 November 2013 : Today marks the 25th year of my life as Mrs Benny Lim. Benny never wanted us to celebrate our anniversary for reasons he believed that if you chose to marry someone and to love her for life, then you better wise up and do it daily. Why pick a day to remember her or to give her flowers or bring her for a meal?We learned over time to show love, concern, care and kindness to each other every day. Some days we get it right, some days we frowned at each other. But each day, we closed it with a bit of contentment. Sure, there were days I wanna strangle him for making me upset and some days he was just downright angry with me for reasons I couldn't give in to him because I am typically a woman who thinks she is always right.

On the eve of our wedding, my mom took me aside and told me what is expected of me as a wife and a daughter-in-law. She says to me :

"Ting, don't be so bull-headed, such a spoilt child. Once you are married, your duty is to serve him. Not to be his servant because a servant works for money. 

But to be with him, for him and by his side. 

Whatever you do, you must always think that your actions will affect him. 

When you go out with him and eats with his friends, never speak up unless you are spoken to. 

Never walk in front of him, but always be by his side or behind him.If he comes home late from work, you are to stay up and wait for him. 

Make sure he is fed before he turns in.If he is tired, let him rest and don't disturb him."

But Mama, that's a slave, not a wife! 

 Then my mom told me "in everything we do, we do for the future. If you plant a seed and it grows, you must nurture it daily, pull out any weeds that grows around it, pick out all the worms that tries to eat the leaves, water it, and soon you will get a pretty flower. So with our husbands, we as their wives, have to do the same. As God has instructed us to be. Be the wife the Bible talks about. Sure, you will not go wrong.As it has been written."In the beginning of our early years, it was easy to be that 'slave' like wife to him.   

Over time, when our girls came into our lives, with work, housework, almost seems impossible to be the wife like it was said in the Bible.Some days I swear I could just melt and die. Some days I was overwhelmed with just the normal things we go through each day. There were heated words exchanged. We are definitely not that perfect couple. We have our faults and differences. In the way we saw things that needs done, right down to how dishes are to be washed, cleaned and kept away. In the ways how we should educate our girls. Yet each day, I am reminded of what my mom told me. And I would go back to God and ask Him to teach me and to show me how to be that perfect wife to him.In all my days as his wife, all I could think of was "how can I be better to him? How can I please him?" It was never the thoughts of "Why can't he give in to me? Why can't he be nicer to me"   

Its in my wildest dreams that should a day come I became my own boss, then I wished he could stop work with others and work with me. And when he does that, he would be my boss and I would be his assistant.And so, in 2011, he quit his job, swallowed his pride of working in a high profile job and work alongside with me. Many who knew me, thought that we are that perfect couple. Well, to be perfect, you have to work on it.25 years and still counting. We are definitely not perfect, still work in progress you might say. As God has intended us to be, on the day we swore to family and friends to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer and till death do us part.   

"Till death do us part" was Benny most hated words/phrase. He told me years ago : "Let's do everything together, go everywhere together. So if some thing unfortunate happens, we go upstairs together too and no one gets left behind."   

If you have  wondered why my mom called me a spoilt child. Well, she is right about that. My mom spoiled me since young. I never had to help in household chores. Or learn to cook or bake. In the early dating days, my mom told Benny that I was the youngest child and utterly spoilt. Marrying me would mean alot of expectations and adjustments on both ends.  

So what did I do to please him? You must know that in my family(aunties, uncles, cousins, etc), they knew I can't cook or bake. During family gatherings with pot luck, I would get KFC or Pizza Hut deliveries. That's me! I have really big shoes to fill in as  Benny comes from a family whose parents are good cooks. He grew up on teochew cuisine, simple home fare meals. I can't even figure out what it means to boil water to cook instant noodles, let alone make soon kueh. :(So a year before we got married, I started practising and honing in my cooking skills. I would go to my mother-in-law's house and would try to cook there. Because my mom would kill me if I mess up her kitchen. And my late father-in-law would come and poke around and watched me. Most of the times, he would just barged in and cook and Benny would argue with his parents to stop telling me how things are done and let me do everything myself.When we finally marry and we got ourselves a flat, I would struggle at home and sometimes cried because I burnt the rice in the rice cooker or the soup too salty because I over-boiled it. I will forever remember our first anniversary in our new home. 

All I could figure out back then was instant noodles in a soup base using the packed ingredients. I tried to cook an egg but its over cooked. The chicken was under-cook so blood was oozing out. Benny tried to please me by smiling and said "the soup is nice, the chicken is like Hainanese Chicken, so its okay". Then tears rolled down my face because I can see that he is trying very hard to please me. So that was how our tradition started..and so he told me "

We will NEVER celebrated our wedding anniversary but always to love and care for each other daily. All the time"And I swore to myself from that day onwards, I will learn to cook. And to cook anything he wants and likes to eat. No matter how far fetched or how difficult that dish may look or seem, I will try to figure it out.

So what you see of me today, the so called any-how cook and still look pretty on a plate, that's LOVEA good 4 letter word. For all these years, Benny did more for me that I ever knew. He always tell me "you tired? then we go ta-pao(take away) tonight". When he says that , I know what he wants. Its home cooked meals, any kind, any simple fare. Even though its just soup and rice, that's good enough for him.When we open the retail shop in 2009, I asked him why..because I am not into retailing and have no knowledge whatsoever. And he said to me "You are resourceful, quick witted and has a good marketing flair for culinary stuff. And I have at least 30 years of retailing experience. Together we can rock this part of the world with our mad-skills. Plus, I want this shop for us, to grow old together, to be like last time when we use to see each other."Its not the same with being married and stay in the same house and you see each other every day. With us working together, we had our set of differences emerging. My bull-headed ways seem to get into his ways too. He was so used to be at the top and ordering people around. It will  take time for him to mellow down and to take a step back to work things out.Trust me, it wasn't easy. We prayed about this, put the matter to God to fix for us. And God showed us the Bible, and taught us that if its LOVE we have for each other, then we learn to do things together again.Ok, I am still spoilt. And I still want to win. ALWAYS! But if I needed him to be with me at work, then I have to swallow my own pride, my ego and all of it and step back. And being the first to admit its my fault, brings out the best of someone too.     

Marriage is not something you swore to God or a piece of paper contract you sign and sealed. Marriage is something you need to work on it. And if its 'torn' up somehow, you need to get tape to stick it back. You need fix it as and when you can. Not when its all torn up and crumbled and beyond repair.I have always want to love someone and when I find that someone to love, I already told myself, I would do anything and everything I can to make him happy that he chose me..and only me.For Benny, I made a drastic change to my lifestyle, my character just to suit his needs.And everything I have done for him, in turn, he returns it back to me double fold.So to many who visits my blog and read the occasional story here and now, Love is not something you heard of or read of or gossip about. Its something you want for yourself, something that will keep you happy and joyful but you need to work on it and keep it. If you don't, it will 'run away' from you.As I look forward to the next 25 years, each day I know and I breathe the joy and the love Benny and I have sworn to give to each other..May you be blessed too..