Social Media, Neither Good nor Evil

Social media has become a hot topic in recent years. When it was first unveiled Myspace and later Facebook were hailed as innovative. People flocked to join and become apart of this new trend. Recently these social media sites have been blamed for suicides caused by bullying among adolescents, as well a tendency for people to actually become less social. There is a new movement of people who are “deleting” their Facebooks and unplugging from social media. “Facebook” has become a dirty word associated with inflated egos, “selfies” and superficiality.Week-of-evil-400x255

I agree that social media platforms have attracted a certain type of attention seeking individual who feeds on praises from “friends”. It has brought about an obsession for sharing every detail of individual lives. The need to keep up with their friends and to shape their family photos into perfection! To be more interesting, thinner, and happier than everyone else on their friends list. 

I believe that social media is simply a stage! On that stage you can build anything you want. Some people choose to make it all about them and post “selfies” and pictures of their vacations or new car purchases. Others use that stage to discuss political issues that are important to them. I use my stage to share my family’s life with those that I love and care about.

I have three sisters and four brothers. I also have have 11 nieces and 1 nephew and another niece on the way! My husband is from India,  where his mom and two sisters and a niece and nephew still live. We both went to college in Southern California and now live in Northern California. I have traveled to South America. In short, Facebook is where I keep in contact with all of my family and friends. 

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We had a small wedding, most people found out about my wedding from a facebook photo like this

To be honest it hurts me deeply that I can not be with my nieces and nephews as they grow up. I have always wanted a close family, but for varies reasons we are scattered around the world. It fills me with so much happiness to see their pictures, videos, and milestones on my Facebook feed. This may sound corny but I feel as if I am there with them as they grow up. On the occasions I do get to see them in person I feel like I have not missed any time with them. I do not feel like a stranger. I feel that I know them and their interests and personality. I have seen them play sports, dance, sing. I have seen their videos and I have watched them blossom. I have seen friends wedding photos and births and graduations. I have laughed at jokes and video and cried and connected with people over tragedies.

I can send out emails to all these people in my life, but Facebook just makes it easier. I can post a picture of my daughter at ballet, and now my mom and siblings and family all can see this important event in my daughter’s life. I am not ashamed to say that Facebook keeps me connected. 

Social Media has allowed me to make new connections as well. To make new friends. I mean to use the word friends, not just the people on my facebook account, but real friend I actually care about and who care about me. Specifically Facebook has allowed me to meet other “Masala Couples”. When I first met and then married my husband I did not know any other mixed Indian couples. I had questions and concerns. We Masala couples face unique issues that only other Masala couples would understand. Since starting my group for mixed Indian couples on Facebook I have made so many friends. We have all connected and bonded over shared experiences.

The problem comes when people judge their self worth by how many likes they get on their photos, or by comparing their lives to others. In the past our life events were not judged and evaluated so easily by others. Facebook has made our lives more public.

I have fallen pray to comparing my life with others,  and feeling inadequate. I see a friends new house, vacation, or career. I feel my own self esteem sink. For a moment I feel like failure in comparison. The reality is that Facebook is a stage and we control what we put on it. We do not know all the details of that person’s life.

My favorite quote expresses my feelings pretty well on this issue. 10881630_10204797737377402_8605916332973807662_n

” Life is a Journey not a Destination” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have to remind myself of this often.

Everyone takes a different rout in life. There is no meter of success! No scale, no bench mark! It is all relative!

I have had people tell me that I am such a wonderful mom because I do so many activities with my daughter. I have heard people say they feel inadequate in comparison because they do not have the time to do those activities with their children. It was never my intention to have that effect on other people. No one sees the tantrums my daughter goes through. No one sees the doubts that I have as a mother or my feelings of inadequacy. I dont share all those things daily on social media. Sometimes I share issues I am having with my daughter because I believe in reaching out for support.

Social media is a communication tool, like a phone, letter, or email!

Gossip, bullying and judgment has been around since the dawn of time. I bet the cavemen even criticized each other. You know they probably competed for best cave paintings! cavemen-art-critic

Forget about blaming social media! Its like blaming a piece of paper because a mean letter was written on it!  Lets instead realize that social media is just a tool for communication. Lets teach our children that happiness is more than things that money can buy. That popularity is fleeting and human kindness is more important. That no one is perfect, and that we should embrace the journey and not just the destination. 

Facebook has connected me with my loved ones and allowed me to be apart of their lives even though we are thousands of miles apart. It is a tool that I control, and is nothing more then that. Deleting Facebook is like destroying my mailbox for its potential to bring bad news. It does not make sense, and has more to do with the individual than the site.

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Whats in a Name?: Foreign Name Prejudice and Hiring

This is the third and final article in a series on the subject of names! It all started on accident really. A few weeks ago I wrote a post reflecting on how I felt about my name. I liked it so much that I wrote about my daughter’s name and the process we went through as a mixed couple to choose it. As you might have expected I am now going to talk a bit about my dear husband’s name.

My husband has a a long complicated name! Even for a Punjabi it is quite rare and even a bit serious in nature. Names are incredibly important in India. In the United State most people I know choose names for their sounds or family tradition. In India most names have a deep meaning. It is a hope that the tributes of that name may impact the life of the person with that name.  

Punjabi names are exceptionally long, usually in two different parts. Sikh names are traditionally gender neutral, which further teaches the Sikh tradition of gender equality. There are some names that are gender specific( my husband’s name is very masculine so I cant imagine a girl with his name) but it is less common.

Examples of Punjabi names

Sapandeep/Manmeet/Jaswinder/Simranpreet.

You can actually mix and match names to get a different name result

So one friend might be named, Gagandeep and other friend may be named Gaganpreet

Many Indians choose nick names. Sometimes it is a western name other times just a shortened version or their original name or sometimes something completely different. For example Jaswinder can become the nickname Jessie.

Many Sikh names are known to have a meaning associated with God. My husbands name is very religious in nature!

His name is Gurucharan

Guru-religious teacher/prophet

Charan-At the feet.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of Sikhism

So the translation is “At the feet of the Prophet”.

I love his name, I believe it is very noble and beautiful!  I have to admit it is a long and very foreign sounding name to Americans. Most Americans that try to say it usually over complicate it. The truth is no one really uses his full name. I dont even use his full name! When we met for the first time he introduced himself as GC, and that is what most people know him as. His family has a childhood pet name. Gaggi. Which I think sounds adorable! I could never use this name for him because I imagine a very small child.

It has really shocked me to realize that something as simple as a name can effect a person’s life so dramatically! Here is his story. 

My husband and I were married the weekend before graduating from college. He had to switch his visa from a student visa to a greencard once we were married. It took about six months for this process. He was not allowed to legally work during that time. He literally had to wait and do nothing. I was pregnant and working nights and we were struggling. He wanted to provide for our family but could not, and he was frustrated! He had a masters degree and spent his days watching TV. Once we got that green card in the mail we were overjoyed. He jumped right into the job search! He looked everywhere. Sent out hundreds of applications and resumes.  He heard nothing for over a year! Not a single interview! He finally took a job at a gas station making minimum wage because we needed the money!  He felt defeated.

One day I decided to go over his resume and cover letter to see if I could make any improvements. Everything looked great. I made one suggestion, to change his name on his resume from his full name Gurucharan to his nick name GC. He was resistant to this idea, thinking that GC sounded too informal. He also thought that resumes required the full legal name, but I explained that applications require legal name but resume can be any name that people call you.We decided to give it a try, there was nothing to loose.

With in a week he received three calls for interviews that resulted in two job offers. Our whole life changed in a single moment! He had finally started on his career path!

We were so happy, but there was a part of me that was really upset!

Did his name really keep him from getting a job? This could not be a coincidence!

We had suffered and gone without for two years while my husband had the qualifications for a much better job.  All because of his name! To this day I am still very upset that we went through all of those struggles simply because some hiring manager made conclusion about my husband based on his name alone?

Were these people afraid to say his name wrong on a phone call requesting him for an interview?

Did they think that he would not speak English or would not fit into the working environment because of being foreign?

Did these people understand the effect that they had on our family?

I had read studies in the past about how traditionally African American names effected a person’s ability to get a call back for an interview in comparison to traditional “white” names.

“In a study done by The National Bureau of Economic Research, 5000 resumes responded to help-wanted ads in Chicago and Boston newspapers. Half the resumes were send with African-American names and the other half were send with white-sounding names. The number of callbacks for each resume received for interviews was counted. Thus, they experimentally manipulated perception of race via the name on the resume. The results indicate large racial differences in callback rates to a phone line with a voice mailbox attached and a message recorded by someone of the appropriate race and gender. Job applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback; those with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback. This would suggest either employer prejudice or employer perception that race signals lower productivity.”(i)

Even Forbes, a Buisness magazine has a article titled

“Have a Foreign-Sounding Name? Change it to Get a Job” (ii)

There needs to be more study done on the topic of foreign names and the chances of getting a job. The study I cited above was done in cities with diversity.

At the time my husband was looking for a job in Sonoma County, Northern California where my family lived and I worked. The population is mostly white and Latino. This may have further effected his ability to get a job , where most people had not  interacted personally with a person from India.

It angers me to know that some thing as simple as a name can change a person’s chances of success. That people with the power to hire can make such an opinion based on such little information. My husband’s name is beautiful! Its long, but it has deep meaning! To this day he still applies for jobs with his shortened named knowing that using his full name can mean failure. 

My Name

There comes a point in most kid’s lives when they ask their parents about the origin of their name. A name is a very serious issue in a kid’s life. The name cant be too strange sounding, but it also can not be too common. Kids are known to make fun of other’s for their names, making up cruel rhymes. On the other hand no kid wants to be a multiple in a class with the same name. I once had a class with 3 Jessica’s, to differentiate between them we had to use their last names initial.

I remember the day when I asked my mom the meaning behind my name. It went something like this….

“Mom why did you name me Tina?”

” I don’t know, your dad and I just really liked it”

(I was disappointed with this answer so I pushed further).

” Why did you like it? Was I named after anyone?  Does it have a meaning?”

(My mom thought for a bit and then smiled)

” You were named after Tina Turner”

Tina Turner

(Yes Tina Turner the singer! Famous in the 80’s for her hit song “Rolling down the River”)

Four letters! No ancient history! No biblical reference! Not a family name! Tina is a name derived from another name, Christina. Tina is usually a nick name or a shortened version of a longer name.

At the time I was so disappointed in the explanation behind my name. A singer! I know I was the fifth child out of eight kids but I still wanted a name with meaning. I was a kid and the thought of being named after some singer was a bit disappointing. Especially because Tina Turner was my parent’s music.

From a young age I was quite dramatic. I used to spend hours pretending to be a princess or queen in Renaissance England. Princess Tina, just did not sound right!  I wanted a long historical name, like Elizabeth, Alexandria, or Guinevere.

I am embarrassed to even say this now, but I used to lie as a kid. I told everyone my name was actually Christina! That Tina was just my nick name. I don’t know why this issue was so important to me?!  I think I just wanted to feel special. To have some larger meaning.

I don’t know exactly when I started to appreciate my name, I think sometime in my teens. I realized the benefit of having a short name that everyone can spell and pronounce. I was always the only Tina in a class. I have met a few other people of the same name but most of those people only have Tina as a nickname. Even Tina Turner, the Tina I was named after, was not named Tina at Birth. Tina is her stage name, her real name is Anna Mae Bullock. People actually chose to have my name. It must be pretty special.

As I went to college and started to travel, and then married my Indian husband I soon realized that I may have been destined for this name!

I loved being a Tia in Peru

Tina is universal. I have never met a person that could not pronounce it. That is not the case for many names.  When I traveled to Peru during college and worked at an orphanage my name was easily said by everyone. The kids there called me Tia (aunt ) Tina. It was also funny because in Peru the word for basin is la tina. So the kids all thought it was funny when I would be washing their clothes in the basin! Tia Tina washing clothes in la tina. They all got a good laugh out of that one.

In India, Tina is a common nick name. When I married my husband and then traveled to India I never had an issue with people not being able to say my name. Indians would actually say, “oh your name is Indian” and then they would smile. Having a name that is used in so many different countries makes me so happy. I can relate to all cultures, even if it is just a name..

I believe that everyone has a path in life and are blessed with skills and attributes that help them on their journey in life. I honestly believe that my purpose in life is to be a ambassador among people. To meet new people and break down cultural barriers. To travel and better understand the people and the world.

My name allows me to stand out in a crowd as well.  I don’t like to blend in! In a class I always want the professor to know my name. I have made up little ways for people to remember my name. I would introduce myself, “Hi my name is Tina, T is for talkative, so just remember talkative Tina”. They always laugh and no one ever forgets my name.

As a kid I was silly! I did not see the beauty in the name my parents gave me. My name may be short, but it has given me a voice around the world. It has united me as well as set me apart. I have realized that my name does not need to have a historical meaning. I give my name that meaning! .

“Do you Know Him?”

Me and my very Punjabi looking daughter

Last weekend my husband and I went to the Gurdwara, we go nearly every weekend. This specific weekend we had dropped off our daughter Nasreen at our friend’s house for a day of fun with them and their daughter. For the first time in a long time, I was without my very Punjabi looking child at the Gurdwara. I always felt confident having my daughter with me, like my reason for being there made more sense. I am always the only gorri (white) in that Gurdwara.

After the service we went to the Langar Hall for lunch. Langar is a shared meal that is very important in Sikhism. We sat down together on the floor, like everyone else, with our food and started to eat. Two little girls were walking around giving cups of water to people. The girls must have been 4 and 6 years old. This is common for people to come around refreshing peoples waters and food, it is considered a community service. The girls came to us and stopped.

The elder girl said ” hey your not Indian, your English”. I really didnt know what to say. I had never really been called out like this before. I knew people looked but no one ever said anything. I said “yeah I’m not Indian”. I really wanted to clarify that I was not English, but American. I knew that this would complicate things further. They then pointed at my husband, an Indian, and said ” do you know him?”. We both laughed it was a bit awkward. I said ” yeah hes my husband”. Both girls looked completely shocked! ” But your English and hes Indian!” We both answered “yeah….and?”. What do you say to that? The girls then started to talk and gesture how my skin was a different color then his. They asked me if ” I spoke Indian”. I laughed at this because of the misuse of the term. I said ” Yeah I speak some Punjabi” and then repeated that same phrase in Punjabi. ” Mainu thordi thordi Punjabi Onde Haan” . The girls looked so shocked.

This was a unique chance to really hear what a child had to say about our inter-racial relationship, without the politically correct parents hushing them. Kids are honest, they say what they mean.

I wanted so badly to ask her questions. Did her parents say these things? Is it seen as unexceptionable for a Punjabi to be with a non-Punjabi? Were these her own independent observations? Was it simply the fact that we did not match? Was it the fact she had never seen a Gorri in a Gurdwara and definitely had never seen one married to a Punjabi man.

The girls were called by someone and they left. I did not get to ask my questions and the girls were gone. Later when I threw away the disposable plates I heard the little girl talking to an adult about me. She pointed at me saying ” Thats the English girl, see!!”

It was a very uncomfortable feeling being watched like that. I know that I stood out. I am very vigilant of my appearances. I make sure my chunni is always just right and I keep my daughter behaved. Other kids can run around the Gurdwara, but not my child. I dont want to be the Gorri with the rude child. I used to think that these feeling were all in my head. The conversation with that child made me realize that there was truth to my feelings.  I did stand out and I was being judged. My presence was noted by those in the community.

I am unsettled by the girl’s comments. I know that she is just a child, and children say things without thinking. It just makes me wonder what are children being taught by their parents? Will my daughter be treated any different at the Punjabi school on Sundays because her mother is white. Will she face issues at the American school because her father is Punjabi?

These are the issues that most people dont think about when having a bi-racial child. To be honest I am more worried about the criticisms in the Punjabi culture then in the American culture. The United States, especially California is very mixed and diverse. People inter-marry constantly here. Punjbai culture is not! Most Punjabis we know have arranged marriages still. Our “love” mixed marriage is very rare in my husband’s culture.

Yes I know him, my husband 🙂

That little girl’s observations really showed me the type of thinking that is occurring in this community. I am hopeful that as we continue our marriage others will see the beauty of our union and know that is not weird or strange or taboo. That people of all colors, ethnicity, and religions can fall in love and be happy.

My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Like thousands of people around the world, I am sitting down and writing a list of resolutions/promises/goals for 2015. I know that in most cases people do not follow through with these goals. It is said that New Year’s Resolutions are often a waste of time. I personally like the idea of having something I am working towards for an entire calender year. I am writing these resolutions here on my blog so that it is public and therefore I am more apt to follow through. This year I have made very specific goals that I can actually achieve. In the past I have left them vague, such as loose weight, without a specific goal in mind or a means of doing it. This year these goals are specific and some may lead to other goals being accomplished.

1. Log every single thing I eat on ” my fitness pal” website for a whole year never missing a day. I need to loose weight desperately! I am tired of trying to find clothes in my size, being judged for my weight, and really not liking what I see in the mirror.The best way for me to loose weight is to control the food that I eat everyday. To stay within a healthy calorie limit, fulfill my needs for protein, fiber and vitamins. To control snacking, sugar consumption, and avoid overeating. My fitness pal is a wonderful application on my phone that lets me log all my food, exercise and weight changes. I can connect with other trying to loose weight as well. I find when I log my food I make smarter choices. In the past I have started this program but quit on a day I overate, being ashamed to log it. My goal is to log even on those days! To stay aware of what I am consuming. So my goal this year is to LOG, which I hope leads to losing weight.

Our first hike of the year, promoting active lifestyle

2. Walk 15 miles a week. I love to walk and I find that I do better when I walk instead of going to a gym. Gyms are boring and confining to me, I dread it. The weather in Sacramento is generally nice in the winter, so I will use that time to walk. I love the sights and the sounds of walking outside. There is a path my husband, daughter, and I walk that is 5 miles round trip. My daughter can ride her bike which is fun for her and gives us some bonding time. If I do this just three times a week I have completed this goal. I plan on doing more then this, but this is my minimum. I need something realistic. We also plan as a family to be more active, play sports, and hike.

 3. Find a job. Since moving to Sacramento I have been unemployed and I very much need to find a new job. I hope to complete this goal sooner rather then later. The problem is finding something that can pay for child care and come out with an income as well.

 4. Drink a gallon of water everyday: I am terrible at drinking water. I know that my body is often dehydrated. I pledge to fill a gallon jug every day and finish all the water in it. I hope that this leads to better health, hydration, and weight loss.

New years Eve was spent watching movies and putting puzzles together. It was wonderful!

 5. Spend dedicated time with my daughter and husband. I feel like my attention is often split between chores, internet, phone calls, cooking, and other activities. I multitask during time with them, and I want to give my dedicated time. I want to be completely present.  I know this will be hard for me, because I am a multitask-er, but these people deserve my time and attention.

6. Do well in school. I am going back to school. I have a Bachelor’s degree in political science but I have had a hard time making a real living with this degree. I had the choice of either furthering my current degree with a masters or Phd, or changing completely. I have decided to pursue my dream of being a nurse. So back to school I go! I have to complete some prerequisites before I apply for a Bachelors in Nursing program at the local State college. This process will take about three years, but I am excited for the journey. I am taking Organic Chemistry and Nutrition this semester and I am excited but nervous. Its been 5 years since I graduated from college, and that was with a liberal arts degree not hard sciences that are required for nursing. My goal is to do as well as I can because admission to the nursing program requires very good grades in the pre-requisite classes.

7. Take time to read. I love to read but internet, facebook, and Netflix has reduced my reading time! I am taking the time to sit and read and be inspired by other writers and their journey’s!

8. To keep writing. Blogging has really changed my life and has given me a unique creative outlet. This year I plan on pushing the limits of my writing and write about topics that I have avoided. To be even more candid and forthcoming! To truly write about what matters to me! My goal is to really WRITE!

9. Be inspired and stay positive. This is my most important resolution because it supports all the others! I am dedicated towards being positive about my journey, over coming set backs, and persevering! I think its easy to get down and become pesmisitc. I want to be hopeful and happy. To see the good through the bad. I want optimism in my life. It will take work, but I am avoiding negativity this 2015.

I wish everyone a happy prosperous 2015! 

What are some of your goals for the New Year? 

How do you keep motivated? 

Dear Blog: Happy 100th Post

Dear Blog:

Yesterday I finished my 100th post! I did not even realize it until WordPress gave me the special notification that I had completed this milestone.  It had taken me so long to start this blog, years in fact. I had tried so many times to write about my experiences and feelings, but I failed each time. This milestone is especially important to me.

In the past I had started journals, diaries, and even a few books. I would start out excited, but in short time I would become frustrated with the task at hand. I would feel Insecure about my capabilities. I was frustrated with my inability to capture my true feelings and experiences into words that others would understand. These thoughts paralyzed me from continuing any further with writing. I would give up; not wanting to even look at the papers I had started! I would feel this horrible guilt. A deep longing inside to finish what I had started. That feeling mixed with complete and utter embarrassment at my inadequate words. I know this all sounds so bizarre and even a little neurotic on my part, but the desire to express myself is incredibly strong.  

Seven months ago I finally got the courage to start this blog. I was living in Michigan at the time and I was so incredibly lonely. I needed an outlet because I felt my sanity slipping away. I had spent the worse winter of my life in a state where I knew almost no one.  This blog gave me hope. This blog gave me a safe place to express my feelings. To feel heard! I needed to feel like an individual once again. When I started to write I felt hope and life return to my thoughts. When I started to write I did not stop, I did not look back. I no longer second guessed myself and I just wrote.

My blog is not perfect, the spelling is often wrong, my grammar is horrible, and God knows I need to open a thesaurus! In reality my blog represents who I am. I am imperfect but enthusiastic. I have a wide variety of interests and a very diverse background. My life is very much Masala! It is masala because we have created a multi-cultural family that marries eastern traditions with western ones. It is Masala because life is always interesting, a bit spicy and definitely all mixed up.

I want to thank all of my blogging friends that I have met on this journey so far. You have inspired me in a way I cannot even explain. I look forward daily to your lovely words, stories, observations, and recipes! I feel privileged to have this window into your beautiful lives.  I want to also thank all my wonderful readers. Your supportive comments fill my heart with so much happiness and motivation.

Dear blog you have given me a wonderful outlet, and for that I am grateful. Doubt has been replaced by inspiration, and loneliness with a sense of shared experience.  Dear Blog you have helped me overcome my own mental block and I know I will keep writing! Thank you for always being there! Happy 100th, may we write many more posts together. 

                                                                    Sincerely Yours

                                                                               – Tina

What does it mean to be married?

What does it mean to be married? There are many romanticized concepts of marriage involving ideas like “one true love” and “destiny”.  These ideas are sweet and great for movies, novels, and inspiring legends of old. The reality of marriage is really quite basic. A marriage is a union.

Some marriages are based on mutual love, where the couple chooses each other. While other individuals have their partner chosen for them by their parents and family; this is the case with arranged marriages.

Why do we marry? Love and affection can be achieved through dating, no need to tie the knot. A marriage is also not meant to create children, because as we all know it is the sexual act not the marriage ceremony that produces offspring. Unmarried couples live together and share financial responsibility, so that’s not the reason.

To take all the romanticism out of the idea of marriage, the reason we marry is because marriage is a social/religious convention. It is what is considered proper and deemed correct by most people in  society.  Dating is meant to transition to engagement and then to marriage. In the case of arranged marriages the phase of dating is skipped and the couple goes straight to engagement to marriage.  The term dating is considered slightly juvenile. The titles of Boyfriend/Girlfriend sound inferior to the terms of Husband/Wife. The concept of marriage is considered sacred and important in society.

Why does society and religion dictate that a couple should formally announce their commitment to each other? Stability! A marriage, whether religious or civic is a legal union. It is viewed by the government and the church as an agreement. A clear commitment to stay together.

Look at Western Wedding vows. Commitment is riddled throughout it!

“ I,  ”your name” take you,” spouse name” to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

WOW!, until death, now that’s something I can plan a future around!

The reasons I married are no different then what I described above. The honest answer; I loved him and wanted to spend my life with him. It was not enough to me to just be dating; I wanted his future tied to mine formally. I wanted that agreement in writing. I wanted to know I could plan my life with him and that one disagreement could not end it all so suddenly. I also wanted the rights and legal privileges of marriage. A legal marriage requires a formal divorce, which included a huge stack of paperwork, lawyers, and a headache. I was secretly hoping that the thought of the process of divorce would make us realize the disagreement was really not that bad. I married for stability.

Did you know that people are generally happier being married then being single. Many studies have been done on the topic of happiness in marriage versus happiness being single. Here are the results from the Pew Research Center; 43% of married respondents reported that they were “very happy,” compared to 24 % of unmarried individuals. Stability and a sense of security are directly tied to one’s ability to achieve happiness. Having an idea about the future and being able to plan for it gives a person a sense of meaning and control of their lives. Marriage with all of its ups and downs is still a very formal union at its core. It gives the individual a sense of stability.

When you marry another individual you tie yourself to their life. Your future is combined with theirs. Your plans must include this individual. You must also communicate your plans, actions, spending, and general movements to this other individual. At times you may have to compromise on something that you may want. In my opinion the secret to a happy marriage is finding an individual with similar values and goals.  The more similar the values and goals in the marriage the less compromises that are needed to be made.

Honestly marriage is not for everyone. If you are the type of person that needs complete autonomy in life, marriage may really not be for you.  To put it quite basically you lose some freedom being married. Someone else has an impact on your life. This can be frustrating at times. Having to factor in another person, their goals, their family, their emotional background all into something you are trying to complete is challenging. This is especially true for finances, raising children, and career planning. If the two individuals are not on the same page on those issues, then that relationship is doomed to be a difficult one.

Marriage is really quite beautiful. Marriage is a union of two people. Two people that love and support each other. Two people that are bound together by experience and habit. I have only been married four years, but I cannot think of life without my husband in it. My everyday habits are formed around our relationship and its history.

A marriage is a process. Most people assume you are married when you finish your vows at the wedding ceremony. The reality is the longer you are married, the more married you become in each other’s lives. The more connected you become to each other, the stronger the union becomes. This is especially true if the couple has endured obstacles and came out stronger on the other side.

In my experience marriage is not the romanized concept of true love and destiny. A marriage is just two simple people trying to make a future together. Two people bound together by a promise. Two people tied together by a history and mutual love. Two people working towards a dream. It takes some work. There are good days and bad. When all is said and done having a partner to travel through this journey of life really is quite beautiful.