What Is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me, No More.

What do you think marriage should look like?

I’m going to try my best to explain what I think it should look like. I believe that it should be a best friendship where there is love, respect, and trust with a lot of attraction mixed in. There should be understanding on an emotional level. There should be laughter and fun. There should be a belief that no matter what, you both are a team together.

So then why are there so many people out there making fun of their significant others? Why is joking about our marriage something that serves as way to bond with other people? Why is your spouse not held in the highest regard?

I understand that marriage isn’t always heaven. We show our worst to that person. Everything bad that happens in our lives will fall on the other person. They are our rock and our punching bag.

But isn’t degrading them in front of others disrespectful? Or is that just another way that people show their love towards their significant other? Maybe that is the bond between a couple, the ability to tease and make fun without resenting them. Maybe there are stronger people than I who can deal with this type of relationship.

For me, though, I can’t do it. I know that my husband and I will have to fight about things. I know that when the kids are exhausting, it takes a toll on us as a couple. As long as we can create some space to enjoy each other and continue to respect each other, I think we will be fine. But I don’t think I could survive being with someone who thinks putting me down is an acceptable form of affection. I might be too sensitive or I might just need something different.

I know we have all seen it throughout the generations and throughout different cultures. We have “husband” jokes and “wife” jokes. We hear this in wedding speeches all the time. There are stereotypes like the uptight wife or the messy husband that get reinforced over and over again. Can this change if we don’t agree with it? Why must this be the way to connect with others? Why can’t we use something positive instead?

I’d like to know what your thoughts are. I know that all marriages are different and have different bonds. I’d like to hear about what keeps your marriage strong. I’d like to also hear about what things you’ve heard between a couple that really irks you.

Is It Really Just “Teasing”?

I watched a couple interact a few days ago. There was a lot of “teasing” or as I’d like to call it “putting each other down”. Whenever they spoke to each other or about each other, it had to do with correcting each other or mentioning what they other person didn’t know. They seemed comfortable doing that as well. It made me wonder if that’s just how they communicated. It also made me wonder if that’s how they spoke to each other in private or if this was the case all the time.

I feel like I used to be like that at least in public. I didn’t know how to interact with someone I was in a relationship with. It was like, if I was nice to the person in public, I put myself in a vulnerable position. If I put my significant other down, it made me the stronger, more dominant person. Honestly, I don’t know exactly why I did it. But I do remember doing it.

After enough failed relationships, I learned that being vulnerable isn’t the worst thing in the world. People are built a lot stronger than we think. It’s hard if the relationship doesn’t make it but with the right help and work and time, we will get past it.

It taught me that I’d rather be vulnerable but be nice to my significant other. Putting them down doesn’t make me a better person. Teasing them doesn’t make me a stronger person. If anything, the opposite is true. Being good to them makes me a better person. And if I treat them with respect, then I’m treated with respect as well.

So what is it about these types of relationships and communication? I’ve seen it enough. Is it a form of affection? I don’t feel like I’d be very happy if someone I trusted with everything constantly made fun of me.

If you’re in this type of relationship, could you let me know what the deal is?

Those Wife Jokes

Have you ever noticed that there seem to be a lot of wife jokes? I saw a post in my one of my mommy groups on Facebook where the mom had mentioned that her friends (male and female) kept forwarding jokes where the wives were being put down.

Why are there so many wife jokes? What makes being a wife a job that is allowed to be made fun of? And why would women partake in this at all?

I do know people who do this. They are consistently making fun of their wives (whether in front of their face or behind their backs). Does it serve as a connection with other men? Is that all they can connect on?

And if you are the women, how do you react?

I remember an ex doing this to me once. I then spent a few hours trying to explain to him why it hurt my feelings and why I would appreciate it if he would back me up in public and not put me down. Needless to say, we did not last. I see other women tolerating it. I don’t know if it is for the sake of their marriage or if they feel like that is the only way they will keep their relationships (friendships, marriages, etc). Do we have to let others say negative things about us in order to have friends?

I wonder if the men who do this do not have a high enough self-esteem that they have to put their significant others down in order to feel accepted in their peer group. Or is it that they have to feel like they aren’t good enough for their significant other so they have to put them down in order to equalize the relationship?

For a while, I was around a lot of people who do this. Then, I realized that I hated listening to it. It wasn’t okay. You can’t necessarily change others but you can change yourself. I stopped hanging around people that do this. Now, the people I hang out with (along with my husband) have a lot of respect for women. They admire and respect women. And it doesn’t bring them down one bit.

There are no more wife jokes in my life.

Yes I’m Vain….But It Keeps Me Healthy

When I was 15, my metabolism quit. Like it got up and said “F*** you” and left. Prior to that, I was a super skinny kid and didn’t really worry about what I ate. After that, it’s like everything I ate just stayed on me. I ended up at around 130 pounds at the time. For a 5’2″ girl, there’s nowhere for that weight to really go that will look attractive. I wasn’t consistently athletic at the time so it wasn’t even muscle weight.

Now take a look around you. Take a look at yourself. Are you in shape? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you being healthy?

If the answer (the honest answer) is no, join the club. There are way too many of us out there that aren’t taking care of ourselves. The American Heart Association recommends walking around 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day. This is hard. I bought myself a Fitbit because I thought I must be easily hitting this number daily chasing my kid around plus working out once a day but nope. I still have to take another walk and really push my activity levels to hit this number. I rarely ever reach 5 miles. It’s frustrating.

After my metabolism quit, it took me another 6 years to come out of denial that I couldn’t just eat what I want and not work out and look like how I wanted. I always wanted to have the perfect body. I’ve always been a perfectionist. And somehow I thought that it would just come to me without me having to work for it.

One day, I looked at a picture of myself and saw how I looked in a shirt I really liked. It felt awful. I realized that I wasn’t just going to magically get into shape. It was, at the moment, I decided that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I joined a gym and started counting calories. I lost a ton of weight and not only was working out regularly but had joined a professional dance team so I was dancing regularly. I felt stronger and healthier.

I’m writing this because when I look around me and see so many people who don’t seem care, it’s frustrating and scary to me. My metabolism quit early and it took me 6 years to figure out what to do about it. But, mine quit earlier than it does for a lot of others. For those of us who are entering our 30s and inching towards our 40s, there are things that won’t work as well as they did before. We are at higher risk for health problems if we don’t start taking care of ourselves as soon as possible.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that you like the way you look or you’ve accepted your bodies for what it is. I applaud that. Here’s the thing. We don’t have to have the perfect bodies but we shouldn’t be treating our bodies like trash cans either. We don’t have to not enjoy food but we shouldn’t ignore the consequences of what we are eating as well. The point is that we aren’t eating healthier and exercising to look like supermodels. We are doing it so we feel better about ourselves. We are doing it so we can be there in the future to take care of our children. We are doing it so we don’t miss out on something just because we thought it was too much work when we were younger and couldn’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, I see way more people around me who don’t care than do. I hope they realize that change starts when you take the action to change. I’m hoping that most people understand that those who are physically fit really work hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even for those people who are naturally thin, they have to watch what they eat and work out so they don’t end up with other health issues. In the end, we should all feel better about ourselves not only physically but emotionally.

Exercising and eating right does wonders for your mind and soul as much as your physical body. For me, it’s a coping mechanism. It helps my stress levels stay down and for me to deal with whatever problems happen in my life. It also boosts my confidence levels regardless of what I look like or how I’m feeling at the moment. There are plenty of times I’ve gone into a dance practice or work out feeling down or mad and 3o minutes later, I will feel really good about everything because I just needed to take a break from my mind and focus on my physical activity instead.

There are plenty of groups and articles to help you learn how to take care of yourself if that is where you are stuck. This is something I really believe in (even if I slip up every so often and eat a bag of jelly beans myself or have more alcohol than I probably should have). I hope you will be inspired to take the step to treat yourself with the respect you deserve.

Dowry

So, yes, it still exists in India. One of the drivers we met in India told us that he was working as hard as he was because he had three daughters that still needed to get married. That means that not only does he have to pay for the cost of the wedding (which will be over-extravagant and way beyond the family’s means) but he has to give the groom’s family a variety of gifts.

The official definition of dowry according to Google is the property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage. In India, as far as I know (and you can correct me if I’m wrong), the groom’s side asks for a bunch of things from the bride’s family as part of the requirement to marry her. Yup, that’s right. The bride’s family is required to give him all sorts of stuff in order to marry her. Now you tell me how that makes you feel if you’re a woman.

My mother-in-law told me the other day that the ratio of men to women in India is now 6:1. That means there are so many more men than women there. Women are valuable and in high demand. So why and how the dowry system still exist? And I know it does because I’ve heard accounts of people dealing with a situation where the demands of the groom’s family are getting out of hand.

My big question is what if that driver invested the money he was saving for his daughters’ weddings into their education instead? Wouldn’t that then provide these girls of a way to become independent and financially support themselves? They wouldn’t need to marry unless they wanted to. They wouldn’t need a husband to take care of them. They could choose a partner based on mutual respect and equality.

Is that even a possibility? Could you imagine what would happen if so many more women were able to take care of themselves?

If these women could get an education and financially support themselves, would they have the confidence to refuse to marry someone who was asking for a dowry?

Undervalued and Unappreciated

Talent is a great thing. We all have talent in something and we’re lucky to be able to share that talent. But what about when your talent isn’t appreciated?

I don’t know if this is all groups of people but I feel like sometimes this happens especially in the Indian community. We just take other people’s talents for granted. And this shows up when something such as price is discussed. We just assume anyone could do whatever we want someone to do, all while making that person feel expendable. We then go on to insult that person and talk to them like we are doing them the favor of giving them an opportunity to work with us. 

I’ve seen this happen over and over again (and yes , it’s happen to me a few times as well). If the person was not within our own community, would we expect free work? Would we feel like we could just say whatever we wanted to them and they will do whatever we ask for? Would we even try to appreciate them for sharing their talent with us? 

A long time ago, I had an event and a family friend of ours mentioned to my mom that we should hire dancers for the event. For some reason, that family friend failed to comprehend that people actually hired me and my sister to do the same exact thing at their events. He took our talent for granted because he had seen it all his life. 

There are times when I believe doing something for free is warranted. One of those things is donating your talent to charity. Unfortunately, most of the time though, people are trying to make a profit off of your hard work. And usually, it’s not a request. It’s assumed that you will do it because they gave you an opportunity. 

I’m glad I’m at a point in my life where I understand the importance of respecting myself. If someone decides to undervalue my talent, I can walk away because no one is allowed to make me feel like I owe them something or like they are allowed to treat me like crap.

We need to start appreciating the talent that people share with us and actually valuing those people. We need to support those within our own community especially. No one deserves to be disrespected.

And a specific recommendation to the Indian community: If you would pay someone of a different race and treat them with respect, you should do the same for those within your race as well. 

Having Courage In The Face of Uncertainty

It’s one of the hardest things to do. When you know something has the possibility of going wrong or bad and yet, you still try to make that thing happen. It’s scary. It’s hard to walk into that situation and know that things might not work out the way you want them to. It takes serious courage.

There are many risks we take in life. Risks that could cause us serious disappointment or pain. Yet, we take these risks anyways. Why?

Is it because we know if we can finally get what we want, we’ll be happier for it? What makes us put ourselves in a position to get hurt?

I see people do it all the time and I really admire and respect them. I think that they are some of the bravest people I know. The funny thing is that they don’t always realize what they are doing or how inspiring they are. They are just living their lives and doing what they need to do to be happy. But I watch them go against tradition, against what’s expected, just so that they live their lives the way they want to.

We never know what the plan is for us in life. We might breeze through with everything handed to us. We might have a lot of struggles and still come out good in the end. We can only follow the path that is in front of us. Sometimes, if something doesn’t make sense, it’s because we are meant to go in a different direction that we are unaware of.

Taking a risk is scary but hopefully, the rewards for taking it are well worth it.