Make Me A Believer

As I sit here looking out the windows, listening to the pouring rain and staring at the blank Word Document that has been staring back at me about half an hour…I have no idea what to write, what to blog about.

My last post was dated April 2, 2012.

I better post something, right?


Although I do have something on my mind that I can’t shake off. Usually, I knew, I have to write about it…to pour my thoughts out into words but today I hesitate. I held back.

After our big family dinner last Monday with my brother’s girlfriend and her families I can’t shake this out of my head.

You see it is part of my culture, Indonesian culture that once a couple is getting serious, the families will get involved. As we, Indonesians believe that marriage is a merging of two families. Not merely the lovebirds. The union does not only involves the happy madly in love couple but also their big families.

That Monday dinner was the first time we met the girlfriend’s family. No, they are not getting married anytime soon – is that right, bro? – or that’s the plan anyway. So it was a casual dinner where two families get to know one another. Oh, and some bits of advice were given to the couple.

That’s the first in our family…

Although I was once married. I never experience anything like that. Heck, I didn’t experience a lot of things that follow my cultures.

Don’t get me wrong…I really am happy for my brother and told him “Hey, I don’t mind if you get married before I get re-marry!” to which he laughed and brushed off. Typical of him being the mysterious kind!

But I did felt a little uncomfortable because I overheard my mother told the girl’s family “Oh, yes…she’s Reggy’s eldest sister and yes, that is her son.” Pointing at the boy who was busy playing iPad.

My automated deafening systems work well because I didn’t hear what questions followed after that but I’m sure it’s somewhere along “Where is her husband?” then followed by an awkward silence after my mother would say “She’s divorced.” and the other party usually said “Oooh…” just nodding.

I’m no longer ashamed of my status but yes sometimes there are moments where I hate being in the spotlight.

Looking back to 7 years ago, the only ‘family dinner’ I had only involved Mr. X, my parents, and my two brothers. That’s it!

It’s common to hear the couple being grilled asked what their plans are for these kinds of meetings aka family dinner. So if you’re not serious you better not do this!

The key is prayers…”

If she’s your missing rib then she won’t go anywhere…”

Pray together, ask for the Lord’s guidance…”

Those were just some of the advice being given to the lovebirds.

Coming from a very religious family, part of me nodded in agreement while wondering if I will get the same kind of dinner somewhere down the line?

I was the rebel. The one that ditches family’s traditions and eloped. Well sort of…

You see, I was adamant chose to do things my way back then. Which was, got engaged, got the fiancé visa and flew halfway across the world to marry him, the love of my life without any of my family around. Promised my parents that I will return and give them that big dream wedding they must’ve always dream of throwing for me, their first born and only daughter.

But that dream never happened. I ditched my childhood dreams of walking down the aisle holding hands with my father. Of the father-daughter dance that never takes place.

I was that rebel.

Yet my parents and family love me even when I know I had disappointed them in a way. I am still their daughter. They never voice it but they don’t have to. I can feel it in my soul. Not so much about the big fat Indonesian wedding that I never have, it’s more about their only daughter who didn’t get married in a church with them witnessing it all. It must’ve been their dreams too to see me in a white gown.

Mr. X and I got married at his house in Upstate New York with just two people witnessing it, his eldest son and his girlfriend – four actually if you count the Justice of The Peace and my dog, Elvis! At that time I thought that’s all I wanted but secretly I still have regrets about not having the kind of wedding I thought I would have.

Maybe that’s why weddings have always been emotional for me. Apart from my skeptical side after my divorce, it brought a bit of sadness because I never have that.

When I went to my cousin’s wedding last February, I used the excuse of being the family’s photographer to not listen to their wedding vows because I’ve heard them before in English of course and they meant nothing on my case. I didn’t cry because I was too busy taking pictures to even think about what a precious moment that was.

It may take time – or a really strong man – to change how I feel about wedding vows. Only time can tell but I know when my time comes I will eventually restore my faith in that union between a man and a woman as husband and wife again. I will be a believer again.

So to my brother…good luck, bro! May everything goes well for you!

If you are divorced, how do you feel about weddings and all its trimmings? If you had remarried – what restored your faith in marriage?

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8 thoughts on “Make Me A Believer

  1. Migdalia - @MsLatina Reply

    Hi! I found you through Maria of

    I can relate to so much in this post. Like you, I eloped, come from a religious family, am my Mom’s only daughter, and eventually got divorced. I do regret not having a church wedding. Sometimes I wonder… would things have turned out differently if I had not rushed and eloped or if I would have involved our families in the ceremony? Would that have bonded us or our families? Also, will I ever have “that” wedding? I try not to dwell on it too much. If I do, it makes me sad. And sadness won’t help me be a single Mom to my boys so I do and I do and I do. Honestly, I have forgotten how not to do. Sigh.

    • Bicultural Mama Reply

      I’m glad you two met…both of you are amazing women and bloggers who I follow and support. Maureen, I love your honesty in your posts and that’s why I feel like I know you even though you live on the other side of the world!

  2. Jessica Reply

    Oh, this is tough, Maureen. Very tough. I think it’s normal to feel weird at weddings or similar engagements. I know the lessons you’ve learned from your first marriage/wedding will carry you far in life, in your next marriage, as a woman. I think the important thing is that you remember that you have learned. I’m sure your parents and family will love you regardless.

  3. Esti Reply

    Oyen, don’t stress yourself with all these thoughts, I am a strong believer that everything happen for a reasons. You no longer with Mr X because he is not your true soulmate, at some point earlier maybe you think he is but he’s not. Let bygone be bygone, somewhere out there your soulmate will meet you half way since he is also searching for you. Sending you lots of happy thoughts from here, hugs.

  4. John Reply

    Love this post, Maureen. Especially after I’ve just been to a wedding this week in Jakarta. It was in a Catholic church but as small as you could imagine by Indonesia standards. An Indonesian woman and a Spanish guy. But it was really nice. Her mom was upset cos it wasn’t the big wedding she wanted but a few friends were there and the Spanish groom’s mom came to Jakarta and the vows were sincere…

  5. John Reply

    sorry I hadn’t finished when something made my post get published. The wedding itself was great. The priest was Indonesian guy who had spent several years in Mexico so the service was half in Indonesian and half in Spanish. Anyway, I don’t know what the point of my response is,.. you’ll get your time again, I hope my friends have a great married life together and we’ll all be happy sometime… I love your honesty and openness Maureen and I hope you have a great time ahead of you with whatever kind of marriage you might do next!!! Salam hangat

  6. Nami Reply

    This was such a sweet post – your brother is lucky to have such a spunky big sister like you. First, I hear what you’re saying about posting. April just slipped away, what gives? As for big weddings, I love going to them and I have my fun but it’s so much money and so much pressure! You’ll have your chance again, and by that time, those vows will mean so much more.

  7. Robbie Reply

    Great post! I cannot imagine how difficult it is for you to attend weddings, to e a part of something you rebelled against b/c it’s what you thought you wanted at the time. Glad to see you back writing!

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