When I was in high school, I didn’t make many fellow female friends. The only conversation I remember having with one happened during our sports subject. At that time, the smartest girl from my class asked me, “At what age do you want to get married?” she said calmly.
We sat together in class for our whole last year, and happened to be really close friends. “Well I’ve never thought about it. Have you?” I asked back. Then she replied undoubtedly, “I plan to be someone’s wife before I turn 25, then have a child before 27. You know, the pregnancy health risk is getting higher after 30.” Then she added about how time will go so fast without we realizing it, and we have to be prepared for everything. Her words made me a little bit nervous, and I was thinking, “Oh damn, I better be prepared with plans when I reach my 20.”
Then last year, when I was 20, another female friend asked me the same question. Unsurprisingly, I haven’t braced myself with any answer until now.
Meanwhile, this thing is really getting more complicated, or at least that’s what I see happening in my country. Every year, many convention centers will be early booked by the wedding communities for their exhibitions, which usually be done twice a year. New wedding organizers, wedding vendors, and wedding magazines pop up everywhere. As a graphic designer, I also observe that calligrapher and hand lettering artists started to get busier, because they have that magical personalized touch for the wedding publications.
Many professions are growing from this industry, and some people even made YouTube live-stream of their wedding ceremonies. Last year, there was also a viral video about one female teenager who suddenly slapped another woman in a public yogurt stall. It happened because the teenager found out that her dad had been cheating with that woman. People then praised her action as bravery, and even started becoming experts in her parent’s marital obstacles. Crazy, huh?
Now, calm down, let’s step back for a while from this madness, and think a little bit about following questions I’ve been having inside my head:
- How do you know that you’re really ready to be married?
- How do a real couple get prepared for a marriage?
- And how do they really feel when standing between all those bright wedding decorations?
In this “How to Get Married” miniseries from kuwé jahé, we will unveil the answers to several questions above, and hopefully, it will bring fresh air to our overwhelmed heads. If you’re ready for this learning, then let’s meet our soon to be married couple:
Diah Sita & Raden Mas Dira
You can call them Didi (27) and Dira (28). These friends of mine are getting married in August 2018, and I see them as “unusual” people that you’ll love to have deep conversation with. When I was about to meet them a week ago, they picked a gold jewelry shop in Melawai, South Jakarta as meeting point. And guess what, they casually bought wedding rings there, and it made me so honored to literally witness their behind the scene preparation. Ah, that’s the perk of writing for kuwé jahé 🙂
“At first, I didn’t expect us to stay together this long, because I know that he didn’t want to be married.”-Didi
After done picking their rings, we walked to a near Japanese restaurant that served great sushi with pretty affordable price! We got along really well and dived into deep conversation pretty fast. Later, we spent the rest of the night at Ayodya Park nearby. During our meeting, I rarely pulled my camera out from the bag, since I truly wanted to feel their real chemistry as a couple. Besides, not every beautiful thing can be captured through the camera lens, right? Some of them can only be captured through words, like these questions and answers we had bellow:
Before you stepped into adulthood, how did you see a marriage?
Didi: I saw marriage as a sacred thing. It’s where a couple really respect, protect, and make each other happy. It wasn’t perfect, yet I saw it from my parents. They tried their best.
Dira: Since early age, I learned that there were broken homes, there were fine ones. Some people were lucky, the others not so. I might say, I got a place to sleep, to eat, but not a home. It’s blood but it’s no family. So, I saw marriage was like attempt to self destruct, or worse destroying each other. Nothing more. Hence, I used to not having any desire to go through it.
What is your man or woman type?
Didi: A man with self-confidence, (not over-inflated ego). I don’t have time for a passive guy.
Dira: I have no type. But after assessing and reviewing my past, I guess I’ve always had drawn to someone who have lost a person close to them… in terms of death, to be exact.
How was the situation you were in, before you met each other?
Didi: I was in the darkest situation and had the worst dating experience. There was a guy whom I got close with, and we’d been together for about a year. Together, except that I declined to have any official status. Briefly, I found out that he also had an affair with a girl he called “best friend”. Since then, I decided to go into solitude, until I met Dira.
Dira: The situation was merely content. I worked, I met people, I lived in solitude (you know… me and the concept of detachment). Although I’ve had already known there was no future in my relationship at that time. Already think to end it without damaging anyone’s feelings. Then she came, and the turning point of my life happened. I guess God wants me to be with her because somehow I can imagine / foresee / depict myself spending the rest of my time with her. “THAT” never occurred to me while I was with other girls. Hence, I was quite sure about God’s clue. I still am.
Did love at the first sight work for both of you? And, who said “I love you” first?
Didi: I forgot who said it first, and I didn’t believe that love at the first sight really works. However, since the first time I met Dira, I was sure deep inside my heart, that someday I would have a special relationship with him.
Dira: Well, love happens to anyone, anytime. I didn’t know back then, but I did know there was gonna be something happens between us. Gut feeling, you might say.
When you guys started dating, did you think this relationship would come this far?
Didi: We’ve been together since the end of 2016. At first, I didn’t expect us to stay together this long, because I know that he didn’t want to be married. Then unexpectedly… He changed his mind hahaha…
Dira: I think so, yes. Although it’s unpredictable, and that’s exciting. The feeling of not knowing about tomorrow is what’s been gone in my life for a while. What I know is, If I’m gonna have a serious relationship, it shouldn’t be more than 2,5 years. More than that, I gotta end it before it gets worse (My past relationships always ended when it reached after 2,5 years). But of course marriage and dating are different.
When talking about love, what the quotes on the internet, or the romantic movie at the cinemas never mention about?
Didi: Umm… I don’t really pay attention to that (sorry).
Dira: “When expecting love, prepare for the tragedy. That’s the only ending suitable”. (Sorry, I didn’t quote. I wrote my own line).
Before being engaged, how many times have you imagined yourself holding hands with each other, and standing together as husband and wife?
Didi: Almost every day.
Dira: Every day. We would likely be sitting together, with each holding a cup, one a coffee, one a tea. Then we talk about life ahead of us. That’s what I foresee. Simpicity has more meanings.
Can you tell us about your proposal, and your engagement day?
Didi: I got proposed a few days after we got engaged. We did it backward, right? hahaha…
On our engagement day, we only invited our closest friends and family, to make it a sacred and simple ceremony. However, the guest amount on that day really exceeded our expectation! Anyway, it was a quick event that started with the ceremonial speech from my dad. Then Dira’s father gave a speech too. At that time, I was really touched because it reminded me of the warm atmosphere I used to have with my main family. It also saddened me because my little brother couldn’t be there on my engagement, since he passed away in 2015.
Few days later, Dira proposed me at a place where we first met. On that day, I could see that Dira acted strange, and turned out that he was about to propose me! Of course I said yes…because we’d been engaged few days before. Hahaha!
Dira: The proposal was almost just like everything else in my life; I just felt like I was gonna propose, then I did it. She looked so happy. Well, Plans don’t work as you expect, so improvise!
In the engagement day, I was mostly giggling and grinning. Still couldn’t believe I ended up getting married to someone. On that day I was (and still am) sure, God has the power to turn our life, our feelings, our path to different way in just a blink of an eye.
What do you expect from this matrimony?
Didi: I didn’t expect. I do hope, just like in my prayers, every day. I ask for things to go well, and ask for strength and patience. I know that in a marriage, people will usually face unfamiliar problems.
Dira: I don’t. But I believe that God expects me to be ready to the next level. That’s why He allows us to go for it so far. When (God thinks) you’re ready, you’re ready. I just hope I only need to do this once in a lifetime.
What made you think, that the person you’re dating right now, is strong enough to walk together with you, in an unexpected journey you’re going to face in the future?
Didi: I believe that we can do this until the end of our lives.
Dira: I believe in her weirdness, her odd way in seeing things, and that’s what I need; different solution for common problems (all marriages are only filled with similar problems (like the rest of married couples) , we shouldn’t look for solution. We need TO BE the solution here, so the result may be different).
Is there any specific theme for your big day?
Didi: Nope. At first, we got confused about the theme, then finally we decided to match it with the attire. Simple taste, really.
Dira: Getting Married in Simply an Unconventional Way. That’s the most fitting theme.
What do your family expect from this wedding?
Didi: They hope for everything to go smoothly and happily.
Dira: They want us to not worrying about the wedding only, instead focus on the after (the life of the married). They asked us to learn, to build a better family (than what they built). To know what it feels to collaborate, to work together, to suffer together, to make no promises but to accomplish things. And most importantly, have a peaceful life.
Until now, have you guys ever panicked about the big day? If not, then what do you feel about all the preparation?
Didi: No way. Panicking only make it harder for us to think clearly.
First thing first, we should do some research or ask question to the experienced ones. Find out about the wedding tips and trick, also the do and don’t. We definitely have to take time, since the process expects us to be patient. After we gather enough information, start looking for the wedding vendors. Remember, don’t hesitate to ask for people’s opinion, since each one will have different perspective about the vendor.
I can say that I’m really enjoying this process. In fact, my job is somehow identic to this kind of stuff. At the office, my colleagues always assign me to arrange events as my extra role.
Dira: Why be panic if you have the brain and the faith? It’s because We deal with it ourselves (with our supporting family) so we know where we are and what else to do. We are on course. I expect things wouldn’t be that easy, but I know we can manage it. Didi is a good planner and I’m good in improvisation. Also, we’re both realists (means we can make our dreams come true). The rest is in God’s hand.
Give your perspective about wedding tradition in Indonesia. Can marriage really tell if someone’s been in a well-established point of life?
Didi: In my opinion, well-established life means a condition where we are able to feel satisfied, in physical, emotional, and spiritual way. With it, we’re already able to provide our prime and secondary life needs. I believe that condition doesn’t include the tertiary needs, since I believe that it’s not form of a well-established life. It is just a sign of greed.
Indonesian people commonly think this way; “How would you want to get married when you still can’t afford your own life? If you don’t even have a stable job, so how would you provide a good life for your family?”
Usually, women are dreaming to have a well-established life before they get settled down. For me, the ideal age for women to get married is between 25 until 30 years old, where we just had finished our study (if you graduate on time). Funny thing is, some (or many) women that age are expecting to get a well-established (common) man; who most likely already have a house, a car of his own, and are able to treat them fancy things. Well, I guess those kind of men actually exist in real life, except that they may already be married, divorced (or pretend to be), or maybe just want to find some booty calls. So I don’t get why people think they really have to get a ‘walking insurance/ATM’ before getting married.
It is dangerously wrong in my opinion. Being married means becoming a unit, and balancing two souls under one roof, right? That way, we can invest ourself as a corporation, a partnership, a team, to build a wealthier (financially and emotionally) life for both of us. Moreover, I also see that starting life together from scratch would create more pleasing impact for each other, especially in terms of mental and spiritual growth. It will be better than if you’re just marrying a (financially stable) man with lack of self awareness with ego bigger than his actual competence, so he’d more likely treat you however he likes, since he’s given you a lot of his money (buying you from your parents, like an object).
We’re starting everything from scratch. Not without anything (of course we already have savings). But we have our commitment and we’re two responsible growing and learning people. I really believe it could lead to so much greater result. Although it’s probably full of challenges in the beginning.
Dira: I don’t really care about the tradition, really. As a human, we decide our own establishment point, not what people say or think. I prefer stabilize our own mind, emotion, sanity, and competence. Everyone has potential to get rich, but to be wise? To be responsible? To be commited? To lead in a fine way? I don’t think we have enough time for it unless we learn from early age. To do that, we have to make mistakes, get hurt, hurting, forgive, redeem our mistakes, and pay attention to others’ mistakes so we wouldn’t fall to the same hole. So when the time comes to grow up, we won’t bring our past ‘boyish/girlish unstabilities’ with us. Especially if we haven’t had enough ‘messing around’ time in our youth. “Every great player aims to be a great coach” so to speak. So take your time well. Don’t be too late. Know your limit.
All I know is that I’m marrying her to help her find happiness, peace, and prosperity, to fulfill her emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, to put her ahead of myself. In the other hand It’s her responsibility to choose whether she’ll do the same for me or not (it’s still her choice). I may get hurt. She may as well. Get real, your fairytale daydream phase is over. The important thing is, when I’ve made a decision, I’ll see through the end of it. God already provide me with her. It’s my opportunity to be grateful.
“…I believe that God expects me to be ready to the next level. That’s why He allows us to go for it so far. When (God thinks) you’re ready, you’re ready.”-Dira
After meeting them and went home that night, I was sure that something intriguing would grow from this interview. It could be much more impressive than expensive wedding videos I ever watched on internet, or any exchanged wedding vow I ever witnessed at church.
I hope you feel the same way too, and let’s learn more about it in the coming soon part of this “How to Get Married” miniseries. See you!