My husband writes a blog called “Aiming the Lens” which is all about faith, the beautiful photos he’s taken and our dog Piko.
Today, I asked him to write a post for Thought and Musing. I gave him two questions: What’s it like to be married to me (go for it – be honest, warts and all)? What’s it like to live in Tonga?
From my perspective, marriage to Hannah is like being married to your best friend whom you are constantly fighting off the desire to see naked. She may blush at that, and she may also censor or edit it, but that’s what it is like for me. (Sorry Dad. Maybe skip over that part…. Hannah)
I’ve never met someone whom I’ve been able to have so many things in common, yet she is unique and different enough that I can still learn things from her and grow as an individual. I find this very comforting in my marriage to her and edifying in my walk with God.
One of the things I appreciate the most about Hannah is her backbone. Whilst we, like any other normal couple, argue at times and have disagreements, she never, EVER lets me get away with something that would either be detrimental to her or our marriage. Or, for that matter, myself. See, she identifies when I’m being a lazy bum or selfish or arrogant in something I have done or in something I have said to someone and calls me out on it.
Hannah is not afraid of me and this is both a good thing (as I feel I can provide a healthy relationship environment where she can speak her mind) and a profitable thing as she will, in my best interest, speak out against the sillyness that I succumb to at times.
There are some compromises that I have to make for my beloved. She does love girly chick flicks and a range of TV series I would channel skip over. Now, I really don’t mind what we watch on TV and there are times when I’m more interested in what she is watching than other times. For instance, she got me on to the series Community and I’m very thankful for this as it’s a hoot.
But I must say that watching Sex and the City* at the movies was something done out of love for my wife – Not begrudgingly, mind you, but I did do it because I loved her and wanted her to, in her own words if I remember them correctly, ‘Not be the only woman in Sydney who hasn’t seen it.’
What I most enjoy about our marriage is the fun and happiness we have as a result of just being together. For instance, yesterday we took our not-so-little-anymore puppy Piko for a walk to the supermarket and then along the wharf looking out to sea.
I really enjoyed the talking, the fun with the dog, and watching my wonderful wife enjoy herself by playing with Piko. It lit up my entire day. We got home and did some house cleaning, watched some TV and the entire evening and night made every issue in Tonga seem so small and worthless. These are the days and times I look at my wife and know ‘I do’ was ‘I smart’ on my part.
Finally, but not least, is Hannah’s faith. Her trust in Jesus, although she doesn’t think it, has stood as a witness to me. Her understanding of the outworking of faith to ‘love thy neighbour’ is something that has genuinely impacted my life. It has shaped how I view Jesus, shaped how I view and treat people and kept me aware of how ‘real’ my trust in Jesus has to be in order to walk in line with the truth of the Gospel. This is what she has given me, and I am indebted to her because she lives it every day in her job and I see the impact it has on people around her.
It is a great thing to admire people for their efforts but it is a profound thing to be married to a woman whom you respect and love for their faith as much as for who they are themselves.
Living in Tonga… hot. Humid. Wet. Occasionally windy. That sums up the weather.
More seriously, living here is enjoyable. The work environment here is quite relaxed, work / life balance is much more favourable than Sydney and the people generally live up to their ‘Friendly Islands’ name.
What I really like here, however, is the community living. Back home in Sydney, I found Hannah and I sometimes lived life in a very frustrating and tiring rat race. Here, it is the exact opposite. More time is spent with the people we love hanging out with. More time is spent at the beach. More time is spent exercising (I play two to three games of footy a week!!) and more time is spent reading and growing personally. The outcome is a more relaxed and ‘free’ living environment than one I’ve ever experienced. The intensity of work is probably the biggest difference; people understand that life is not about consumerism, materialism or ‘buying everything’, although there are a small proportion who do desire that. They understand that life is about the friends, family and activities you take part in.
Whether it’s building a goat house with a bunch of mates, travelling to the beach with people you’ve only just met and getting along with them like family or spending time building an umu – The fact is I go to bed with a great sense of fulfilment than when I was in Sydney.
Couple this with the time to read my bible more, pray more, learn more about God and really – Why wouldn’t you live here?
Sure, there are negatives, like crazy neighbours, wild weather and frustrations at work and culture clash but the reality is I’ve discovered where my emphasis on life was incorrectly placed by finding out what I was getting ‘obsessed’ by and working to correct it – Another thing Sydney doesn’t give you the time to do.
All in all, Tonga is a great place to live, and I’d recommend you all to come here and visit!!
* The shameful thing was I didn’t actually hate the movie. I dutifully removed a man card from my wallet and popped it in the bin when I walked out of the cinema.