Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. In this episode, you will hear about a moment of adversity called An Insignificant Marriage , a moment of an encounter called Most Valuable Person, and a moment of perspectives called The Wonders of Perspectives, I.
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Hello and welcome to Episode #17 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. These are real life stories that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about An Insignificant Marriage, The Most Valuable Person, and The Wonders of Perspectives I.
A moment of an adversity: An Insignificant Marriage
Most people would say any marriage would be a significant part of a person's life as it "should" be. As I thought of things to write about in my book of life, I noticed two boyfriends and a special platonic friend would come to mind, and they would reoccur in my mind. When I have fleeting daydreams or random thoughts of past loves, these three people will come to mind. But my ex-husband of seven years would not be one of the people who would come to mind.
Two of my friends would ever so often ask about my ex-hubby. And it occurred to me that I don't think about him. I only think about him when a friend asks, and then I would have to think and recall him. Strange, I thought. One of my friends said it was not strange at all. I thought, thank you! What she said I agreed with, and it explains why my ex-husband is of insignificance in the deep recesses of my mind and heart.
I may love him at some level, but I was never in love with him. The two previous boyfriends that still reside in my heart are ones I loved. While it is now clear why my ex-husband is of insignificance to me, it is troubling to know that I married him. And I never married any of the two I truly loved.
While I know why I married my ex-husband Anson, I never overthought it. Perhaps I was in a prolonged state of denial and adamant that I did the right thing. When people asked me why I married him instead of four others I could have married, I'd say he's like a good resume. He looked good on paper. I thought it was cute at the time, but now it sounds terrible! How does the resume read?
Anson is an engineer with a stable career and income. He comes from a good family of engineers. His ancestry is similar to mine, and we're both born in America. He's a family man, not a player or playboy. He doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs, or fool around with other women. He already owned a home and had three cars. He was most agreeable. He was a planner. It sounded like husband material to me. I used my head; I trusted my head to make many decisions in life, including marriage. I did not and would not depend on my heart to make decisions. My heart was broken before, so why follow the heart? How complex are humans!
Aside from choosing the "right" resume, I also thought I decided on the "right" man. After all, Anson wined and dined me, he showered me with gifts, he did whatever I wanted, he liked to plan things, and he gave me a sense of security. He opened doors and carried things for me like a gentleman; what more could a girl ask for in a man? That was what he did BEFORE we got married. It sounds like more rationalization or more reasons I give myself for why I married him. It all made sense to me.
One time, while we were dating, Anson said, "You're special." I had the funniest and greatest reaction, in my opinion. I said, "I already know that." I was at a point in life where I was more confident with myself, and it didn't hurt that I had heard it several times before. When I laughed, he said, "It's the first time I've said it to someone, and I thought you'd like it." Though it was his first time saying it, it was not my first time hearing it from a guy.
Now a supposedly romantic moment was to occur, but it didn't. Anson was still smiling like he was happy he had me as his girlfriend. I was sitting there wishing I had better. I told him I wanted a best friend. He didn't know that I had a best friend with whom I could talk about anything, and it was my ex-boyfriend, Keith. And Anson, he couldn't measure up. How I wished he would be a best friend, someone I could talk about anything. He wasn't. I told myself, you can't have everything. I suppose I settled.
After six months of dating, Anson asked me to marry him. He said, "I thought you would like to hear that." I said I had heard it before. It was not the first, second, or third time I heard it said to me. He seemed to think it was special to propose to me because he had never done it before, but for me, it was not.
Looking like good husband material and using my head or logic, I thought it would be a good idea to marry him. We got married, and life appeared wonderful. We moved into his newly renovated home. His mom frequently brought over groceries or cooked food when we came home from work. We'd have dinner with his parents every so often. I felt a sense of family that I didn't have the chance to enjoy before. Going to Costco was like a visit to Santa Claus. Hubby said I could put into the cart anything I wanted. I seemed to have everything money could buy for a middle-class girl like me as I didn't demand much. Hubby doted on me and stopped whatever he was doing to attend to me if I needed anything. We were both planners and planned our weekend errands and outings together. What more could I ask for?
Not long after marriage, however, everything seemed to change. It seemed like Anson turned into a monster. I must have been naïve. I didn't anticipate; I didn't predict that a person could change how they treated a person after marriage. Before marriage, he was so agreeable, so compliant; I thought it was too good to be true. It was.
After marriage, it seemed that after he had the girl he wanted, he was free to be his true self and express his dislike of everything. He went from being most agreeable to most disagreeable. Nothing seemed to satisfy him. He complained about every minute detail of things. It was like walking on eggshells. You didn't know what the next thing would be that he'd get angry. You couldn't be perfect enough. I'd often remind him that I was human and that I wasn't perfect. He'd say, "You could try to be." I thought I was a perfectionist, but he was far more demanding of perfection than me! It wasn't easy to live with a person who couldn't be happy with anything. Worse, he wasn't like that before marriage.
Before we married, we traveled a little as he was agreeable. After marriage, Anson didn't want to travel anywhere, not even once a year. It was as if he caught what he pursued, and now his true colors could show, or now he was the controller of our union.
Before marriage, Anson seemed like an easy-going person and was quite funny. He gave me many laughs. I enjoyed these parts of him, but even his personality was not the same after marriage. He was most anal and calculated. It was hard to enjoy daily life. I was walking on eggshells, and I never knew what I would do to trigger his raging temper. When he raged, he would scream at me for two hours before he would be satisfied.
Most memorable, but in the negative sense, was the time I broke a toothbrush handle and attempted to glue it back together with superglue on the bathroom sink counter. To squeeze the right amount of superglue on the edges of a broken toothbrush handle was not easy. I got a drop onto the sink counter, and it was not easy to get it off.
Anson came into the bathroom and saw all this. He screamed at me for two hours. Hubby told me how irresponsible I was not to have laid a cloth or paper towel on the sink counter beforehand. He called me all the names that could break down an entire person's self-esteem. It was amazing how he could find so many things to say in two hours. If I said anything, it wouldn't stop his line of talking; if I were silent, he wouldn't stop talking. It seemed that he couldn't stop and wouldn't stop until he had his two hours of a rampage.
I told Anson that he was more concerned about the sink than he was about me. And it made me feel unloved. He said with one superglue drop, if not unglued from the sink counter, he would have to buy a whole new sink. That would cost time and money he didn't want to spend. As for superglue on my finger, that could be rubbed off and cost nothing. I tried to understand how the incident could cause such rage, but I couldn't. The superglue did get rubbed off my finger and the sink in the end. Seriously, it was just a drop, but his reaction to it all was traumatizing.
Another disturbing incident was when Anson's brother bought a new house. I suggested we buy his brother a house-warming gift. Anson didn't care to do so, but he did get him something cheap. I said it would be nice to gift-wrap it and proceeded to go downstairs in the basement to get wrapping paper. I came back up with the wrapping paper and proceeded to wrap the gift.
Anson discovered that there was a red smudge on the white basement door. In a moment, I realized that it came from the wrapping paper, where I guess the color dye came out a little. This incident threw Anson into a rage. He began to scream at me. I went to clean the smudge off the door. I finished wrapping the present and washed my hands for fear that I might make a smudge anywhere else. All the while, Anson was screaming at me for not being careful enough and not realizing that color came off the wrapping paper.
I remember this particular incident because I did something different and unpredicted. After I wrapped the gift, we were supposed to go to Anson's brother's new house with his parents. Instead, I got in my car and drove off. I thought, I told him to get a gift for his brother. I helped him wrap the present, and this is the thanks I get?
I stopped somewhere; I asked myself, how can I tolerate his raging temper any longer? What will set him off next? I didn't have an answer because divorce was not an option at the time. Anson's mom later told me that she told everyone else that I was not feeling well, so that was why I wasn't there. She also told me that she reprimanded her son and if he didn't treat me right to go on over to her house. Her kind heart reminded me why I married into this family. His parents were so good to me; I couldn't figure out where Anson got such a bad temper.
Aside from being anal, Anson also wanted to control my money expenditures and social life. People know me to be frugal and careful with money, but I felt like a child with Anson. It was worse because I did not have to experience what I experienced with him, even as a child. When I got my paycheck, he would demand to get it immediately, and then he would put it in the bank. He gave me twenty dollars a month to spend on whatever I wanted. All other household expenses would be paid by him or with our money in the bank. I was okay with it since he did pay for things when we went out, but it did feel demeaning.
Whenever he had any social gatherings, he had to include me. At first, I thought that to be a good thing, but sometimes I wanted some me time. He would not go out with his buddies if I didn't also go with him. I thought that was not good. Why can't he sometimes go out with his buddies without me? I certainly had no problem going out with my gal pals without him.
At first, I thought it was because he loved me so much and wanted to be with me, but later I found it suffocating. Even as a married couple, I still needed some space and thought it only healthy to have a little. As I reflect, it was another form of control, or it showed his insecurity. I felt trapped and chained. This kind of love was not the kind I envisioned for myself.
How was I going to survive this marriage the rest of my life? I sought one of his brothers for help. Anson respected this one brother, and I thought he'd have something encouraging to say about Anson. To my surprise, he told me Anson was anal and that he wouldn't be surprised if I divorced him because Anson was hard to bear. I first learned of the word anal from Anson's brother, and it was precisely the correct word to describe Anson.
On one occasion, Anson and I were in the car with his brother. They were chatting, and Anson seemed to get argumentative, like trying to pick a fight. His brother asked him to stop, or he'd turn the car around and drop us off. This occurrence told me Anson's brother knew the personality of Anson. And he said that Anson was like his other older brother and that it didn't look like anything would change, even with age. So, again, he said he wouldn't be surprised if I divorced Anson.
I asked a male friend to give me a male perspective that might help me understand Anson better. I suggested we all go on a road trip to visit Anson's brother (the one I mentioned earlier). I thought myself ingenious for coming up with the idea to please Anson. He would spend less money while staying at his brother's house.
He liked this brother, so he was happy to visit him even though he didn't care to travel for some hours away. He also liked my male friend, Sonny, so he was looking forward to spending some time with him, too. Sonny liked Anson and was happy to help me, too. Sonny helped me by keeping Anson busy with him while I squeezed in to speak with Anson's brother alone.
Thankfully, Anson's brother, Greg, did give me his honest opinion and thoughts about Anson's personality. Unfortunately, I didn't get any suggestions on dealing with Anson because he didn't know how to deal with his volatile temper, argumentative stances, and nitpickiness.
One time, Anson's mom stopped by and heard his screaming rampage through the door. I couldn't be happier that she happened to stop by. She asked if it scared me. She said if I was scared, I could always stay over at her house until he cooled off. I told her I wouldn't have children with him as long as he had such a temper. She looked shocked. It was the first time she discovered that I was in control of having children. She probably concluded that since we didn't have any yet, it was because of his temperament, and I was the decision-maker of having a family or not. She was right. From then on, she treated me even nicer. I appreciated it, but it didn't help change anything in Anson or me learning how to deal with him.
Finally, I went to where I knew I could find miracles: Landmark Education. Here in the personal development courses, I always found breakthroughs and transformations. I was in dire need of some. The outcome was not what I expected, but miracles did happen! I was hoping for a solution to a marriage on eggshells that would not involve divorce. Why? My view at the time was that divorce was a sign of failure, and it was a grave embarrassment. I didn't think I could live with that, so it was not an option.
My friend Selina once asked me what led me to get a divorce finalized. The answer was simple, but it took a long process to get there. First, I refused defeat; I sought help from Anson's parents and brother, who knew him best. I sought male friends to get male perspectives. I sought Landmark Education to work on myself and see how to make things better. Finally, through Landmark Education, I became clear of the life I wanted. Through Landmark Education, I found the courage to stand up for my happiness and freedom. With clarity and determination, I got a divorce and regained my freedom and joy in life.
Though I followed my head in marriage and ended in a divorce, I can't say I regretted it. Divorce was not easy. Dividing up belongings, money, and properties took some work. Moving back to a single life was another life adjustment. The emotional toll was the most distressing, but I learned some lessons.
Because Anson enjoyed picking fights to engage in his self-righteousness, I learned that to fight for you being right is not always worth it, even if you are right. I even told Anson, "The price you pay for trying to prove how right you are or trying to persuade me how right you are in your opinions is making me love you less and less. As you keep screaming at me with your self-righteousness, I am losing any love I had for you." Anson would pause for one or two seconds and continue with his rationale. It became clear that his self-righteousness was more important to him than our relationship or marriage.
I still believe we have a right to our own opinions, but we don't have a right to force another person to have the same views as our own. Because Anson worked so hard, two hours at a time, to make me agree with his ideas, I felt disrespected for having my own opinions. I told him he could have his own, but why did I have to agree with his? Because he was right, he said. His stances stress me out; I need to be left to be me.
Because of Anson's great need to be correct, I learned to let go of more things than before. If I didn't agree with somebody, it didn't bother me. If you disagree with me, it didn't bother me. It didn't bother me to the point that I didn't care what others thought! I thought, only I have to live in my shoes, so only the opinion I want matters. If you're going to fight, if you're going to claim to be correct, pick your battles carefully, and most importantly, before you go to war, ask yourself if it is worth it. Is it worth losing a friendship, a relationship, or something else? Most freeing is not having to be right or trying to prove to someone else how right you are! Instead of getting emotionally drained, I can feel free as a bird!
I have been accused of being a perfectionist, but I am certainly less of it after being with Anson. While it is always great to strive for greatness, you need not do so to the extreme. Through Anson, I found out that when you demand perfection down to the most minute details, you lose perspective, enjoyment, and satisfaction in life. The price you pay is not worth it.
Joy and fulfillment in life are more important than being perfect, having things perfect, or doing things perfectly. Each time I want something more perfect, I remember that it is creating dissatisfaction and stunting growth. When I let it go, I am free, and that is a most joyous feeling!
Despite a difficult marriage, there was some joy in between, and importantly, I learned valuable life lessons.
They are lessons about humans or reminders of how humans could be. For example, when they are chasing after what they want, it is fun, thrilling, and they seem to enjoy it. But once it is gotten, the thrill is gone, the pretense is gone, reality sets in, or the desires change. And of course, married life is not the same as the single dating life. More, what looks good "on paper" does not necessarily look good in reality. That is just part of the complexity of human beings. If not, we'd get bored. Despite an insignificant marriage, because I wasn't in love with him, I learned lessons about myself and life. So, there was something significant out of it.
A moment of an encounter called: Most Valuable Person
I can always count on her to be there for me.
When I am struggling,
she gives me the strength to press on and keep juggling.
When I face challenges,
she helps me create solutions and take the plunges.
When I am having difficulties,
she is there to simplify them and take care of necessities.
When I am at the end of my rope,
she is there to give me hope.
I can always count on her to be there for me.
When I achieve a milestone,
she lets me know that I have matured and grown.
When I attain an achievement,
she tells me to acknowledge that I am skillful and have made an improvement.
When I reach a turning point,
she encourages me to move forward and not disappoint.
When I have a breakthrough,
she helps me realize that I am coming out of my cocoon anew.
She will never leave my side; she will always be there to comfort me.
She will never abandon me; she will always hang on tight with all her might.
She will never break and detach; she will always connect and reconnect with me.
She will never forget me; she can count on me to always be ready to fight.
I can always count on her to be there for me because she is me.
The Wonders of Perspective I
1. You can change your mood in a moment by altering your thoughts; do it!
2. You can change your mood in an instant by jumping up and down; try it!
3. You can change your mood in a blink by talking to someone; call someone!
Though I had a difficult marriage, I learned many lessons from it.
Though I may have challenges and difficulties, I can always count on me to be there for me.
Though we will have bad moods, we can always change them with a new perspective and a new behavior.
Next week, you will hear three new real-life stories called Jealousy With A Twist, One With The Biggest Heart, and From Greed to No Desire.
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