[Introduction] What Happens Before 'I Do'?
By Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla
When I said that my first novel, Before I Do is a must-read for every Filipina, regardless of relationship and Facebook status, I meant it. Contrary to first impressions, it’s not a book you buy when you’re engaged or getting married soon. It’s a book you read if, like many of us, you’re unsure about how getting married could change you.
I’ve had my own doubts. I’ve had them for years that even I, one of the most romantic persons I know, thought that maybe I’m not fit for marriage. Why? Because I am selfish! Oh, god, not just selfish but also very, very spoiled. Or used to be. I don’t know. I guess a part of me will always be selfish and spoiled but, as fate would have it, I’ve found myself a partner in crime.
I met my husband on Friendster. Yes, that ancient social networking site. The first time he met me in person, I was gearing up for a fight with some people from high school. When we started dating, I took him to back-to-back media events because I wanted to see if he can survive in my world. I’ve dated jerks, insecure sons-of-bitches and good-looking men who couldn’t understand what I do for a living. My husband passed the tests and became my constant plus one since. Fast forward some years and we finally tied the knot, twice. First in civil court in 2013 and in church in 2014.
The thing about getting married is that many of us think that love is enough. Perhaps it’s a case-to-case thing but, at least for me, it’s made up of the big three: love, respect and trust.
A few years ago, I made a decision to follow my husband abroad. That decision broke me. At that time, my career in corporate communications was just taking off. I was in a very good multinational company, a post that had so much potential. I was renting my own condo. I had a great social life. And I am blessed to have such a close-knit family.
But I dropped everything and followed my husband to Malaysia.
We both knew that the stint abroad would launch his career to greater heights. And we both knew that a long distance relationship would be the end of us. For someone who is career-obsessed, egotistic and downright stubborn, it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done to date.
You see, I initially wanted to be a powerful and successful woman on my own. I thought that joining him abroad without a job offer of my own was a sign of weakness. But I realized that joining forces with him is what partnership is all about. I’ve gotten so used to doing things on my own—methods and timelines—that I didn’t know how to tag team. Two years ago, he told me this:
“Don’t worry about it babe, maybe your time to be successful is not now. Maybe in the future, when my success is waning and I am too lazy to work, you will be the successful one.”
It was one of the most amazing and honest truths he has ever told me. At that very moment, I realized that love (and marriage) really is about compromise and being each other’s greatest supporter.
Our life abroad has led me away from the corporate arena by choice. It brought me to a new path, which is actually an old one that I shied away from because I thought I didn’t have it in me: writing books. I’ve always wanted to make my mark and for me, nothing better does that than powerful stories. That’s what my first novel and this anthology project is all about.
To be continued...
Photo by Aceron Studios
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