I am new to this. Not even three months have gone by since both of us signed the legal contract that formalised our union as partners-in-crime. During this short span of period, I have had to embrace plenty of changes. Not something as life-changing as expecting kids like what some of my newlyweds friends are embracing, but we moved to a new home pretty much right away. For me, specifically, I moved to a new city quite far from my old home. Sometimes, at nights when he is sleeping or during the day when he is away for school or work, I see what is around me and think.
I am new to this. But, I think, I might have started to be able to grasp what this is all about.
Like most Indonesians, I had never cohabited with my partner before this. We did travel to a few places together, so I had gotten a hint on how his days usually go by. But, to live with each other for more than, say, five days? We have never done that.
Well, maybe it is not especially about this. Maybe it is ‘only’ about moving in, or any other similar sign of commitment that two romantically and sexually attached people make. Nonetheless, going through these past two to three months, I have realised that the difference is about turning what matters over.
In dating, what matters (and therefore irritates) us are usually “the big things” that might prevent us from being together forever. In my 14-year-old self’s case: religion — which might be applicable to plenty of couples out there. (Yes, someone broke up with me because I am a Muslim and he’s a Christian when both of us were 14. Ridiculous, but it happened.) In my 20-year-old self’s case: different planned career directions. Many couples have their own “big” things: parents’/family’s disapproval, distance, difference of race or socioeconomic status, and the list goes on. With these “big” things, the little things did not matter. We would not mind our partner eating fast food twice a week, or installing an overwhelming set of stereo sound system in his car, or spending two hours just to put make up on. In my case, I did not mind the fact that he does not like taking medicines when he is sick, as long as I get to take medicines immediately after I feel unwell.
In this, at least for us, it goes the other way around, as if the “big” and the “little” things are switching places. On one hand, the little things irritate me. The first official fights I had with him was about how he and I have different sleeping *and* eating schedules. I like writing and working when it is quiet at nights, so I go to sleep at 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. A morning person that he is, he unintentionally woke me up at 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. because he was busy making his breakfast, coffee, and watching series on TV (or sometimes football matches). I like eating fresh food at random times — depending on what I want and when I want it. He does not like throwing leftover food, yet he is very disciplined about his eating times. It’s amazing how these little things could become so big in the arguments. On the other hand, we easily agree on most of the “big” things. It was a walk in the park to agree on who has to manage the money, which television and refrigerator should we get, what kind of job should both of us after, when should we sell our car and get a new one, or even more importantly: when should we have kids, etc.
Perhaps, it is how this unfolds: when you and your partner argue about the little, seemingly unimportant things; but, in return, get to agree and support each other on making life-changing decisions. After all, they said this is about being yourself, only with someone else. So far, I agree with that statement, whoever first said it.