Recently, I had the privilege to solemnize the marriage of a cross-cultural couple. Mark, a handsome Indian, born and raised in Austria with an Indian father and an Austrian mother and Jisoo, the beautiful bride, who has the look of a K-Pop star, is of Korean heritage.
|Mark and Jisso, at the Solemnization Ceremony.|
They met while working in Tokyo. After dating each other for some time, Jisoo decided that she had found the man who will share her love of Kimchi Jjigae for the rest of her life and Mark felt that he had found the one who will join and support him to go through life's adventures.
Recently, they came to work in Singapore and decided to make permanent their commitment to each other by entering into marriage.
The Chinese often quote this phrase, 姻缘是天注定的, which means marriages are decided by heaven. To some, this seems to mean that a marriage is fated, since the gods have decided for the couple to be married.
I am pretty sure that there is an Indian and a Korean saying that has a similarly auspicious meaning.
The French had also been using this phrase, and from as early as the 16th century. They say, "les marriages au sont ciel," which commonly translates as marriages are made in heaven.
A little different from the Chinese, the French allured to the idea that marriage is more than just the physical & emotional union between a couple, there is a spiritual connection too.
I agree wholeheartedly with this French idea.
Whether you believe in God or not, when you commit to another person in marriage, you have chosen to enter into a wholesome relationship with that person. Such a relationship does not only include the physical and emotional bonding of your body and soul, but also a spiritual bond.
Even in this 21st century when many couples take marital commitments more loosely than it was intended to be, surveys done by marriage experts, such as Dr Gary Rosberg show that "58% of the women, of over 700 couples surveyed, ranked Spiritual Intimacy as their top sex need" (Reference  below).
A woman feels more secured and thus becomes more committed to support her husband, if he constantly connects with her spiritually.
Now, coming back to Mark and Jisoo, for whom I quoted "les marriages au sont ciel" in my short message during the solemnization, I told them that even if they believed that their marriage is made in heaven, they will have to work hard to make their marriage meaningful and enjoyable, so as to fulfill their vows, which ended with "I vow to love you, until death do us part."
The reason that prompted this post was how Mark and Jisoo had demonstrated that they are committed to working hard to make their marriage better, and they did that right during the solemnization. While both articulated their vows to each other in English, so that I and the rest of the guests can understand and thus be their witnesses, Mark did a Korean version and Jisoo did a German version (which is Mark's mother tongue).
Mark and Jisoo clearly struggled reading out the vow in a language that they aren't familiar with. But in their actions, I can see how much effort they had put into learning another new language, just to say their vow in each other's mother tongue. I saw the delight in their parents' eyes when they heard the vows spoken in their native language.
Before concluding the solemnization, I offered them two simple tips to grow build their Maximum Marriage:
Tip#1 - Do not look to each other to be the Mr or Ms Right. Instead, be determined to be the right person for the other.
Tip#2 - Every morning when they wake up, deliberately think of what they can do that very day to please the person lying beside.
So, indeed, if you want to have a meaningful and enjoyable marriage, and move from simply being husband and wife to be lovers for life, then work hard daily to please each other and grow your love for each other. Practice the two tips daily and I assure you that your marriage will grow stronger and stronger.
Reference  - The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women by Dr Gary and Barbara Rosberg, page 115.
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