Earlier today, through a private family event, Andhika and I got engaged. It was a simple lunch between two (later on, one! :p) families, followed by a sincere conversation expressing the good intent and our plans for the future.
For us, the decision to get engaged (and subsequently, get married) was not an easy, I’m-certain-he’s-the-one-upon-first-meeting kind of decision. It was a decision made over the course of five years — five years worth of dinners, discussions, and debates.
Andhika and I knew each other from a selection round for an ITB MUN team back in 2011. Months later, catalyzed by our love for museums and evening stroll to fetch a document we left in the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, we started dating. Since then, we’ve been together and witnessed each other grow from university students with awful hairstyles to office workers trying to make our marks in this world.
When we realized we’re already a fully-functioning adult, it can’t be helped that we ask ourselves (and peer pressure, and family, too), what’s next for us? Surprisingly, it’s easier to answer such question in career and goals-related context rather than in a romantic context. We are in love and undoubtedly have grown fond and dependent on each other, but we can’t quite figure out if, when, and how we’re going to get married. It was a topic that we usually shrug and dismiss, replying instead with an answer “the time will come, just wait and let it come naturally”. Only later did we realize that shrugging, dismissing, and “waiting for it to come naturally” is akin to, well, not letting it to come. Simply because the topic is in uncharted waters for us, we chose to put it on the back burner. Perhaps we were afraid (mind you, it was a big decision to make).
When we finally sat down and talk about what we’re going to do about this “marriage thingy”, a lot of questions pop in my mind:
- Aren’t I too young for this lifetime commitment?
- Do I really, actually love him, or is it just a matter of habit to having him around?
- Holy cow, I’m gonna be with this guy for the REST OF MY LIFE. Is he really the dude for me?
- Will I still be the Cahya I know today? Will my friends steer away from me? Will I still be able to have an impromptu solo lunch at Yakinikuya?
- Do I get to achieve my career goals? Will I be limited in any ways?
- People say once you get married you’ll lose all the freedom in the world! You won’t enjoy life!
- and the vilest of them all… do we deserve better partners?
When faced with difficult questions, I resort to the way I’m most familiar with: being my own devil’s advocate. After many monologues made during the hour-long drive to-and-fro the office, I wasn’t able to find enough solid answers not to get married, and was apparently able to note down more practical reasons and benefits of getting married (jokingly to my colleague: “it seems like a decision that can bring a higher overall IRR to my life”).
Some of my closest friends could testify my worries and doubts I had about choosing a life partner. After all those lengthy discussions and video call, trying to contact different friends with different personalities, I realize that there is no single person I can consult to give a silver bullet for all my questions – eventually I have to decide on my own, take a leap of faith, and just… go with it. After all, I believe that there could not be a person so perfect at any given time, as the definition of “perfection” evolves as we do. It’s not in human nature to be fully satisfied with what we have, hence I reckon that at some point in our life, one should just be selfish and decide for one’s self on the grounds of what feels right (which, by the way, can also mean not to get married to someone at all. You don’t need a “marriage” to complete you. Someone is not less of a person without a spouse or a partner. Just a PSA.). Anyways it’s intangible emotions not a science on how to fly men to Mars — you can’t logic your way out of this subject.
Being with Andhika for the past five years wasn’t always a smooth and enjoyable ride, but most of the time I was happy. Seeing myself as an independent woman, I’ve always thought that I want someone who will not limit me and respect my personal space and goals, but is still able to love me whole. Thus, I consider myself lucky to have found someone who can be my punching bag and trash can, and at the same time my biggest supporter.
Claire Underwood of House of Cards once said this, affirming its position as my #1 favorite series:
We’re two independent people who have chosen to live our lives together
which I think smartly summarizes how I contextualize me marrying Andhika (go Claire!) (we don’t aim to be a despotic White House couple, though).
I believe that this decision will not negatively alter who each of us is today and what we aspire to achieve in the future. If any, it will positively impact me as I will be able to live with the person I love and provide emotional support for each other. Create synergies and climb the mountains we want to climb together. Walk side-by-side as we unravel life’s challenges and pleasant surprises.
There are days where I still have doubts, and I guess in a way I’m grateful that I constantly question about things around me. It put me in a state of non-complacency and drive the hunger to better our relationship and the two of us as a person.
Eventually, I realize that as much as I’m afraid of the commitment and consequences that entail, I am equally excited to officially live my life together with Andhika, even more than what we have thus far.
So, yeah, we put a ring on it!