The Marriage Series 002
1. How long have you been married?
We've been married for 11 and a half years.
2. Did you love your spouse when you first got married? Do you love your spouse now?
I'm not sure if I loved him when we first got married, but yes I still love him now.
3. Do you have children, and how have children affected your marriage?
We have two boys and we're expecting our third and last child. Having children obviously has affected our marriage but in a good way. They've taught us to be more patient and learn to be more responsible in the sense of watching our kids and providing the best of the best for them.
4. Do you live with your in-laws? If so, how does that affect your marriage?
We've lived with my in-laws since Day 1. There are pros and cons to living with my in-laws. I appreciate and love my in-laws for always helping us watch the kids when we want a night out or have to travel for family events, even leisure events. But it's hard sometimes because as a married couple, you can't work out your problems, or argue and talk things out around your in-laws because in the eyes of the Hmong culture, a nyab shouldn't be yelling back and talking back to her husband. It gets uglier when your in-laws intervene and you end up arguing with your in-laws altogether just because you're trying to work things out between each other.
5. Describe the cycle of your marriage, from the beginning, middle, to where it is now. What were the hardest times? What were the best times?
In the beginning, everything was great. We were young, both still in school and lived apart due to the different schools we attended. We spoke to each other everyday and saw each other every weekend. During this stage, we were fine with the space apart because we knew we were each pursuing/finishing our own educational journeys.
As the years flew by, we found out we were expecting our first child. This is where the rocks started to crumble in our marriage. There are women who are fortunate with no symptoms with pregnancy and there are those who are less fortunate who have severe symptoms during pregnancies such as myself and my siblings. Those who are fortunate and have never experienced severe morning sickness ALL throughout their pregnancy will never understand what the body and mind goes through. And in that, one of those people was my mother-in-law. She didn't understand why I was sick when she didn't have any signs herself. I keep assuring her that I'm different from her and that every women is different throughout their pregnancies. But despite it all, she just kept persisting that she was like that, so I shouldn't be either. She didn't understand; therefore, it led to unexpected events that almost separated my husband and I due to our first pregnancy.
As time went along, my husband understood that my symptoms were indeed severe and was very supportive in making sure I get the rest and have what I need to be comfortable throughout my pregnancy. Let's just say that he got a lot better throughout the second pregnancy and has blown my mind with our latest addition.
Although this isn't my first or second pregnancy, my mother is still the same and thinks the same. She'll say hurtful words and I'll defend myself and she'll just turn it down still today. My husband is very supportive of me and knows what I go through.
With or without my pregnancies, the relationship I have with my mother-in-law is still the same. I will never be good enough for her son. And she says a lot of times that she can easily find anyone for her son which just blows my mind. I guess the hardest times I have are throughout my pregnancies. It's hard when someone doesn't understand you and assumes we're all the same. Don't get me wrong. I have always went out of my way to do anything and everything for my in-laws even though it goes unappreciated most times. I try to make good memories, but I guess when you'll never be good enough or reach their expectations no matter what you do.
6. What advice do you have for young couples? What advice do you have for struggling couples?
My advice to young couples is to fight for your marriage. Do what you can to save it. Talk it out, yell at each other to get your emotions and feelings out. Some may not be able to hand it, but some will. If you love each other enough you'll realize that you can both overcome any situation together. It takes you both to support each other physically, mentally and emotionally. There may seem to be perfect couples out there in the world, but know that sometimes perfection comes with a price.
For struggling couples, think back to the time when the love was still new and fresh. Find out what happened to that light that lit your fire for each other. Remember when you both first decided to get married and the thought of not seeing your significant other kills you.
Honestly, I've been in that struggling situation where every sad Hmong love song I felt were for me. There was a year where it was Valentine's Day and I couldn't find a card that said anything I felt was true or real. At this struggling point of my marriage, I felt nothing towards my husband anymore. This feeling scared me. I approached my husband and told him my biggest fear was finding happiness from someone else other than him. Some men would have taken this pain in differently, but my husband understood where I was coming from. He was hurt that I confronted him with these words, but his first reaction was, "We need to fight for our marriage," and we did. We went back to having date nights, dinners, talking to each other, opening up to each other, and building our relationship and communication with each other.
If you love each other enough, it is worth fighting for each other. Even if only one of you is fighting for both of you, if he or she still loves you, they will see it and come around. There is hope. Take it one day at a time.