Will love alone ever be enough?

Will love alone ever be enough?

Some people have told me once that when you love a person, it’s all about you two, yet if you decide to marry them, it’s not just about the two of you any more, and sometimes, it requires a lot more than love to get things done the way they should.

I have never actually tried to believe that, not until now.

I used to think that it would be a different story in the West, yet I still remember reading a piece of writing from someone in the US, probably. She mentioned her philosophy of marriage, that when you marry someone, you marry their whole family. That is even truer here in the East when family values are highly placed, and when a decision to start a new family is discussed, it is not discussed as an individual decision but instead a decision of the whole family. And even when you are completely capable of moving out and living your own life well and responsibly, most of the in-laws still expect the just-married couple to share life with them under the same roof. That, sometimes, makes things even more complicated.

My boyfriend just told me last night about how his favourite cousin managed his marriage. He had been in love with the girl for 7 years, at least that was what he said, and he insisted that they spend their life together. However, that got rejected by everyone else in the family, and by family, I do not mean his immediate family but rather his grandparents, aunts and uncles and even other siblings and cousins. Even my boyfriend’s mom said no, as she assumed the girl was not his right match. And other things were also put into consideration: their stability of job and income, their social status, their being “equal” in terms of education and level in all senses. Although that cousin and his girl still succeeded in proceeding with their marriage plan, the story still freaked me out. I kept asking my boyfriend that, if I happened to have nothing, no social status, no capabilities of relationship to push him further in his career, would his mom also say no to me?

That idea does hurt me a lot, even though my boyfriend has confirmed a thousand times that the same thing will not happen, that his mom used to say no back then because of other things that weren’t merely how his cousin would benefit from the marriage. Yet I still get frustrated and pissed off, as I have held a strong belief that love is the core of marriage, and is the only thing required for marriage. I mean, what can even be more important than that? And will marriage stay and stand if people just count how much they are going to get from that relationship instead of how much they are willing to give up for each other?

It hurts me thinking that just that we love each other is not enough, and sometimes, efforts are still nonsense. Perhaps, love is meant for love and love alone, yet to start a stronger and more serious commitment such as marriage and living together, much more than that has to be given in.

Our whole family are atheists while my brother’s girlfriend is a committed Buddhist and a vegetarian, the latter of which is opposed of by my parents for reasons of health. Yet they are still willing to accept change, and they still tell the girl that if she can prove that her being vegetarian doesn’t harm the diet and nutritious care of my brother and their future kids, just keep on being vegetarian and go on with my brother. The matter doesn’t stay at what she is now, the matter is at what she is willing to do to make sure the best will come to those she loves, and that is all my parents care about.

I love it that my parents are supportive, I just wonder why others can’t.

And no matter whether it is good or bad, the whole thing still makes me rethink what marriage needs to succeed. Love, for sure, but then the serious decision to live with someone, have and raise kids and face all difficulties and challenges of life for 60-70 years or even more takes much more than just romance of youth. Yet that must be match of soul, understanding, sympathy, and above all, the willingness to give up some of one’s own good for the other rather than money or other futility.

Love alone might not be enough, yet without it, nothing will be enough either.


So it’s another winter

So it’s another winter

I have been so obsessed with winters, and I don’t really know why.

I live in the tropical zone, so basically there is so winter, or no whichever seasons at all. People keep saying that in Ho Chi Minh City, there are one hot season and another hotter. That must be true.

I just miss the winter so much, although time after time, I still don’t think of any great reason to do so. Probably because that was when he confessed his love to me. Well, now I sincerely think that the reason is great enough.

My first proper winter ever was spent in the UK. In Portsmouth, Hampshire, to be more exact. It did not snow when I was there although I would really love to build a snowman or play myself into a snow angel. Yet it did not snow. And yet the winter was not any less fierce. It was so funny that I wished for the sun to set earlier in the summer so that just in case I wanted to go to bed early, I did not have to feel guilty that I slept in the sunlight. And just a few months later, I did wish for the sun to stay on longer, as the day seemed so short for anything to get done.

Even love.

Life was so carefree back then, as if all concerns had been washed away in the breezes of Gunwharf. No actual duties, no actual responsibilities. Whether I completed my assignments or not was all up to me, and of course, that affected me only, and I did not have to worry much about upsetting or putting anyone in troubles just because of my mistakes.

Probably I am obsessed with winters that much now because that winter back there in that faraway land was the best time of my life ever.

When I said that winter had its own taste, I mean physical taste, no one seemed to believe me. Yet I know it was true. That winter got me with its flavour of a cube of ice marinated in the sweet scent of end-of-season strawberries, the fragrance of hot chocolate condensed in the harsh cold on Commercial Road and the hot taste of his hand wrapping mine for the first time.

Winter in Portsmouth was just so different from what I had ever imagined in my whole life. Deciduous already happened in mid November, and soon after that, there were only empty branches stretching out to the sky. Cold fell down on me and froze my ears right at the moment I walked out of class. Yet he was there, pulling my hood on for me and putting my hand into his jacket pocket as if it was his own possession.

During that winter when daylight was so rare that it became a true precious, we grew our love together. We started with fear, worry, even some kinds of sin, and in the crazy frosty night by the beach, I just knew that we were meant for each other. He had never been the romantic type, and he still isn’t now, but during those starless nights in the place thousands of miles from home when the sun set at 4 pm, he kept the shivering me in his warm, broad arms, and it just became clear that he would be my whole world.

We could not be together last winter, and I do think that we still cannot be together this winter either.

Winter here is so different. It is not as cold as in the UK, it is not as loving as in the UK either. I still tell him everyday that I miss the winter so badly, and even when I don’t tell him so, I still do. Probably not for the winter. Probably that is for all of the memories that I placed in the winter that year, and somehow, I believe that our love can only grow most strongly and healthily in the chilling year-end days when the cold ties us tightly together. Perhaps. I don’t know.

Last winter without him was hard. So hard that I thought I could never overcome it. And he kept telling me that everything would be alright, and we will be back together soon.

He still does. And I still struggle to find my way back to his arms. Not just for those short 2-3 day visits, but for longer, much longer.

The first monsoon has come. Bairnwort flowers will soon start to bloom on the bicycles along the old antique streets of Hanoi…

Another winter has made its way to your front gate, my beloved!

How many more winters does it take for us to be together again?