Aki & Nini
Do you guys remember, this post? http://suamigila.com/2006/09/pemuda-bernama-djuhro.html
Yes, the only reason I exist in this world is because my grandpa (aki), gave someone a pair of shoes. When I was 11 years old, he passed away. The interesting part is, after he passed, we caught grandma (nini) said, “My job is done here. I’d rather go with him. Three weeks later, she too, passed away.
Aki and nini were not the most romantic couple in the world. Just like any other couples born, raised and wed in an era of pre-Independence, hardship has taught them to be calm, receptive, closed, and very private. They never displayed any excessive expression or emotion. Everything was in moderation. Including showing/displaying love towards each other.
One thing I did notice, that whenever traveling was required, they always traveled together. When I was little, I thought nothing of it. Growing up, I recalled the reasons why they traveled and actually, you know, they could have gone alone. But they didn’t. Turned out Aki always travel with Nini for her errands and like wise.
Behind that calmness and closedness – never shown to anyone, they were inseparable. Later growing up I learned Nini understood and accepted every part of what and who aki was. And so did he. They have grown into each other that living by themselves – especially that all kids are flying on their own – is just not right.
They grew into each other.
The other end
Time went by and I grew up. I started seeing senior couples at the other end of the spectrum. Let’s say couple A & B. As husband A and wife B grow older, they begin to understand less of each other.
“I cannot stand his snoring.”
“I cannot stand her whining.”
“I am tired that he never changes.”
“I asked you a billion times, you never do it…”
These are real couples. These are what we hear every day. Sometimes we even hear ourselves saying these to our couples. Yes? Most of these couples, they don’t get divorced. They are too old to do it. Too tired to do it. But they fester and bicker every day. Becoming less and less happy.
They grow apart.
I tried to drill down the root causes on couples who experience growing apart, and you know, this is what I found.
- Each of them, are incapable of (or unwilling to) change and instead, expects the other half, to understand and accept.
- They get tired of understanding, and wanting to be understood.
- They, fail to communicate.
- They, avoid conflict.
Let’s take a simple case of husband A, snoring.
Instead of saying ‘I can’t stand your snoring. Let’s go to the doctors…’ wife B sleeps on a separate room.
Let’s say wife B does come up and say that. Husband A gets offended. Instead of saying ‘Oh I’m sorry, I’ll go to the doctors and have it checked, so that I can get a good sleep and you can too.’, husband A says ‘This is who I am, accept it.’
This is a case as simple as snoring. You can imagine what the complexity of conflicts on bigger issues…
And it’s important not to grow apart. After I become a parent, I learned one very important thing.
Happy parents, make happy family. I love it when my parents smile all the time. My kids love it when I visibly treat my wife nicely.
The way we treat our wives, will be the way our kids treat their spouses one day.
What I learn further, is this:
From a husband perspective, a muslim husband, that is, you see, in Islam, when a man ask a woman to be his wife, he says
‘Pick me, choose me, trust me, follow my lead, support me and I will love you, care for you, and protect you.’
See, our wives, they, picked us. They chose, us. They could have chosen better men, but no, they chose us. So it makes sense, for husbands to listen to their wives. we promised to care for her and refusing to listen, is actually breaking that promise. Later, all husbands make sacrifices just as all wives makes their share of sacrifices. It actually makes sense to listen to each other.
I remembered, one time, we heard about a dire case of a couple fighting. Everything just went wrong. The story was painful just to hear about it. We felt sorry for them. But there was nothing we can do. We both sit in long silence in the car, heading back home. And then I told her,
“You know, whenever we can, let’s not grow apart…”