Mat­ri­mo­nial har­mony

A fa­ther im­parts nuggets of wis­dom to his chil­dren as they em­bark on the jour­ney of mar­riage.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By MOHD AMIN­UD­DIN ROUSE > TURN TO PAGE 26

SOME say that mar­riage is an in­sti­tu­tion, given its es­tab­lished laws, cus­toms, tra­di­tions, rit­u­als and prac­tices, while oth­ers pro­fess that mar­riage is more akin to a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion.

When my son, Ar­dian, mar­ried Maslinda, and my daugh­ter, Nada, mar­ried Dar­ryl, they and their re­spec­tive spouses were their own wed­ding plan­ners.

They painstak­ingly took care of all the de­tails of their own re­spec­tive wed­dings and both wed­ding cer­e­monies turned out to be very suc­cess­ful.

I told them that if they worked on their mar­riage and life to­gether just as hard as they had worked on their wed­dings, then they’ll do just fine. In­deed, mar­riage is hard work. Be­lieve me, most of us are still work­ing at it.

My wife, Ar­fah, and I told our chil­dren that, as par­ents, all we wanted in re­turn for our life­time ef­forts and sac­ri­fices in bring­ing them up was to hear the pat­ter of lit­tle feet.

There is a need for my ge­netic lineage to be per­per­tu­ated. It would be awe­some to be be­stowed a gen- uine, well-de­served ti­tle of datuk (grand­fa­ther), an “hon­orific” which can’t be re­tracted, re­gard­less of any fu­ture mis­de­meanours on my part.

A grand­child in the off­ing, when I join the king­dom of the un­em­ployed, will also do won­ders to pre­serve my own mat­ri­mo­nial har­mony, as the fre­quency of my wife and I bug­ging and ir­ri­tat­ing each other would reach tsunamic pro­por­tions! I told my wife that if she re­ally wanted to hear the pat­ter of lit­tle feet, per­haps I can help in its crea- tion. Need­less to say, her re­sponse was pre­dictably neg­a­tive and it took six weeks for the stitches to heal.

There are many nar­ra­tives, fables, myths, jokes and even facts writ­ten or spo­ken about mar­riage. If you were to scour var­i­ous lit­er­a­ture in search of in­spi­ra­tion for your speech for a wed­ding, you will prob­a­bly find plenty of jokes and anec­dotes on mar­riage, but most of them make fun, al­beit un­fairly, of the weaker sex.

For ex­am­ple, why do men die be­fore their wives ? Be­cause they want to.

I have not spo­ken to my wife for weeks. Why? Be­cause I don’t like to in­ter­rupt her. The last fight I had with my wife was my fault. She asked me what’s on TV and I said, dust.

They say that be­hind ev­ery great man there is a woman and if you look closely, be­hind that woman is his wife. But some­times we un­der­es­ti­mate the weaker sex. The sil­li­est of women can man­age a clever man but it takes a very clever woman to man­age a fool. And men are some­times fools.

Dur­ing a wed­ding cer­e­mony, it is cus­tom­ary for a fa­ther to im­part his knowl­edge and ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence on what’s ahead for the un­sus­pect­ing cou­ple.

It’s al­most be­come a rit­ual at Malay wed­dings to ex­pect a se­ries of pan­tun (poetry) laced with wis­dom and insight, sup­pos­edly meant to im­part ad­vice to the new­ly­weds, but it’s re­ally to keep the au­di­ence awake and en­ter­tained.

I broke away from tra­di­tion a bit and did my verses in English: My son asked me, “Dad, there’s some­thing I need.” I said, “Yes, I hear what you’re say­ing.” “Dad, how much does it cost to get mar­ried?” “I don’t know, son, I’m still pay­ing.” When I was a bach­e­lor I had a ball, Free and happy and never looked bad, I thought I had no faults at all, But mar­riage cured me of that. When you’re an­gry, you grit your teeth, Be­cause your life, there’s no im­prove­ment, You need a wife to find fault with, Can’t blame ev­ery­thing on the Gov­ern­ment.

I also ren­dered some ad­vice to the hitched cou­ples, as they pre­pared them­selves for mar­riage. For the new wives, I of­fered th­ese words to my daugh­ter and daugh­ter-in-law: What is the best way to a man’s heart, You have to sep­a­rate fic­tion from fact, Through the stom­ach is the wrong part, It is ge­o­graph­i­cally in­cor­rect. You have to do all that you can, To let him know that you re­ally care, In time, you’ll be re­warded with a man, With a pot belly and no hair. To each other you have to be kind, It’s not al­ways satin and laces,

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