Decision review: Marrying W-

W- and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary last Sunday. It’s been a fantastic year! Time to review just how fantastic it was, and how we can make next year even better.

Reasons for getting married (instead of continuing to cohabit):

  • [X] Build a stronger foundation for long-term plans (including paperwork): Yup, really helps
  • [X] Reduce social friction from uncertain relationships: Yup, worth it
  • [X] Bring families together: More grown-up relationships, too

Our day-to-day lives are much like they were before the wedding, but being married has subtly changed things. Long-term planning is easier when you’ve got the commitments and paperwork in place.

It’s great being able to use familiar words that fit into social structures. I like being able to namedrop my husband, and I grin when W- tells a salesperson that he has to discuss things with his wife. J- occasionally refers to me as her stepmom when she’s talking to her friends or writing on her blog. It still takes some getting used to, but it’s handier than saying “my dad’s… umm… girlfriend? partner?” in situations when referring to people by name doesn’t give enough context.

Clear relationships also make it easier to relate to family. I get along better with W-‘s family now, I think. There’s been a shift in how I relate to my family, too – we’re more grown-up and less stressed.

Even though more people are going through life without marrying, it still seems that getting married is acknowledged as one of those growing-up milestones. The simple wedding ring I wear shifts small-talk conversations. People more frequently talk to me about kids than before. Thanks to being part of W- and J-‘s lives, I can relate to the anecdotes people tell of family and teenagers.

Life is great.

Next year

Next year promises to be exciting. We’ve developed great household routines like bulk-cooking, we’ve been tweaking our space for better flow and organization, and we’ve been improving our communication practices for an even stronger relationship. With a solid foundation in place, we can step up our game. Looking forward to it!

2011-10-02 Sun 15:20

  • Nicole B

    Wa~ Time flies by sometimes, doesn’t it? I saw your post about marrying W- last year, but it was so late that I felt…weird saying anything. So congratulations! And Happy Anniversary!

  • http://charuzu.wordpress.com Charles

    Happy First Anniversary Sacha and W- !!!!

    I’m sure you agree it was the best decision you made :-)

    Charles

    • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

      Charles: One of the better ones, although perhaps not as awesome as the decisions to:

      study for my master’s degree at the University of Toronto, which was the reason I was in Canada and how I ended up being sponsored by the IBM Center for Advanced Studies
      conquer my intimidation and write an article for the Linux Journal, which is what W- recognized my name from
      help a friend by joining the judges for a LEGO competition, which is how I met W-
      invite W- to watch Wicked, which resulted in a reciprocal invitation to watch community opera months later
      rent my own apartment and ask W- to help me with the paperwork – he was easily the most respectable of my friends, I think
      confess my feelings for W- when he hinted about his, which meant planning and mindmapping to explore the ramifications before I said anything
      cohabit despite the protests and worries of family
      start making long-term plans despite my initial apprehensions about relationships and commitments

      There was considerably more uncertainty and sacrifice (personal and relational) in the decision to study at the University of Toronto than in the decision to formalize our relationship with paperwork. Cohabiting was a much bigger gamble than picking a date and hoping everyone’s visas arrived in time (we rescheduled to accommodate paperwork, actually). Decision-wise, marrying W- was easy. There wasn’t a lot of risk in it. The benefits and consequences were well-understood, and the process was also well-documented.

      If I had to pick one decision that was tough and really worth it, I’d say it was the decision to confess and start a formal relationship with W-. That wasn’t easy at all. The odds were stacked against it. My studies were wrapping up, and I was supposed to return to family and friends back in the Philippines. He’s a fair bit older than I am, so my best-case scenario is still losing the person I love relatively early in my life. He has a daughter, so family life was going to be different. Shared custody with his ex-wife meant that I’d be signing up to stay in Canada, which meant needing work permits, permanent residency papers, and the ability to not just survive winter but deal well with it. I had recently finished another relationship, so there was a chance that rebound was messing with my brain. There were a lot of things going against it. Plus sides? I knew he was kind, thoughtful, good at communication, and a whole host of other good things besides. After I mapped it all out, I decided that it was still worth it, and I wrote him a letter. It’s been more than awesome since.

  • http://mylenesereno.wordpress.com Mylene E. Sereño

    Happy 1st Anniversary to you and W-!

    I’m glad to know that marriage doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your career or lesser opportunities for personal/professional growth. You seem to have made your marriage work for everyone. Congratulations! =)

    • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

      It’s all a matter of priorities. I like my work, I do excellent work, but if I ever had to choose between my current job and my personal or marital happiness, I’d pick happiness every time. (And I’ve made tough decisions like this already, such as staying in Canada instead of moving back to the Philippines.) I can always find or create another amazing opportunity, so work is non-scary. I’m easy-going and good at being happy, so personal happiness is non-scary. Relationships require other people’s input and they benefit from investments of time and energy, so they get more weight when I make decisions.

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Nicole: Never worry about commenting on old blog posts. =) If I’ve changed my mind since then — and I’ve written about lots of things I’ve changed my mind about, although this isn’t one of them so far — I don’t mind posting an update. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://mylenesereno.wordpress.com Mylene E. Sereño

    Hi Sacha!

    I really appreciate the note to Charles.. It makes me understand that you really took major risks (confessing to W-, staying in Canada, etc.). Reading your posts gives me the idea that everything just went on smoothly like “magic”. Reading this comment made me realize that you took conscious effort in making all these things possible.. =)