But I think it’s mostly because the whole fairytale feels, which really began with William and Kate a few years ago. That of a normal, commoner kind of girl, marrying a prince. Didn’t we all want to be that girl Cinderella whom the prince chooses to marry? Or okay, maybe not all. Maybe some of us are just fascinated to see cross-cultural unions as such. To see how two extremely different people, at least in terms of background, can actually make something like this work.
It definitely was beautiful to hear of racial healing and representation during her wedding. That was one of those things we all loved about the union of these two very different people. It is like different powers joining together to make something better.
But the charmed life of turning royalty overnight and the opportunity of doing something good, in royal proportions, does not come without a cost. I am not sure what this means for Harry, but at least for Meghan, much has to be given up, apparently. No social media, no public voicing out of political opinions, no unplanned travels with no security, no acting or modeling career and possibly any career at all, no long and late night dinners anymore because eating with the Queen means she must stop when the Queen finishes, no Christmas with your own fam, no games of Monopoly, no indecent dressing and missing hats in public appearances before 6:00PM, and God knows how much more she’s not allowed to do as the wife of Prince Harry.
When I heard about these rules, it actually reminded me of myself as a Pastor’s wife. As someone married to a man called by God to serve in His house as an official minister, I’ve come to understand that my position as his wife also implies quite a lot of unspoken agreements. Although we are no way near in scale of influence and power as the Royal Family, we can be just as public and prominent in our own small crowd. It does not matter if we are to 100 people or only 10, the point is that we are because of our church and our roles in it.
Some examples of that would be, like Meghan, it isn’t wise for me to have unchecked or unfiltered political opinions and indecent dressing. Not that I would be crass and improperly dressed if I were single today or if I had married a man who isn’t a pastor, nope. I just know that given who my husband is and the kind of community that we have, I have to be extra careful, at least more than the average person, about my personal opinions, and be a little more conservative about what I think is modest dressing. I have to, especially now that people will inevitably identify me with my husband and also the church body. Meghan’s life is now always seen in relation to the Royal Family, and mine always in the light of my husband as a pastor and as one of the leaders in our church. One can easily say that this shouldn’t be or it isn’t fair, but that is not enough to stop the public from doing so.
A perfect instance of this was when I sent out this Tweet expressing my strong opinions a few years back and the nation hated on me. (Well, hindi naman nation, sige, many Pinoys nalang, haha.) So many people from religious circles digitally stoned me for my careless statement, just because they expected me to act better and wiser as a Pastor’s wife. At the time I thought, does it mean that being a pastor’s wife makes one magically sinless and clean and right all the time? Moreover, does it mean I can no longer speak my mind in public? Well, the answer to the first question is obviously NO, but the answer to the second question is YES. Or at least, never should I now release statements without much regard. What I could be getting away with as a single person, as simply Rica, now has the potential to hurt someone I vowed to be one with. The thing is that marriage binds you to another person and that person comes with a background, a culture, a community, that you’d have to be a part of as you become one. In my case, it is my husband’s church and calling. I need to respect this and I need to understand the rules within his space if I really want to stay true about being his suitable helpmate.
Now, I am not saying that I should be agreeing to everything that his world calls me to do or not do. There are certain rules that are just plain silly, and we need to discern ways to go about it. But generally, at least as far as some of my rights are concerned, many have to be given up in light of my husband’s calling. I am not sure about what Harry has had to give up for Meghan, but my husband also has had to sacrifice many of his previous cultural beliefs in light of mine. And that’s what I really want to get at today.
I can’t remember who, but someone said it on my timeline. Something like, “Meghan has to give up her social media, political opinions, her right to taking dinner for as long as she wants. Now she cannot do all of that. She actually already deleted her Instagram account. No way I am gonna do that, I love my life!” Some people think it’s unfair for Meghan to be asked certain things, and there was a time I felt the world was unfair for expecting me to be a certain way just because I am a Pastor’s wife. But the truth is that even without having to marry an earthly Prince or Pastor, to be married in itself, is the vow to be as one with a spouse, which means that both must give up the preference for oneself in order for your worlds and lives to become truly one. We may differ in magnitude or scale, but all wives are to give up something for the husbands, and vice versa. I am not sure where, when, and how, but the point is that there is no point to getting married if you just wanted to keep yourself and your ways. Why marry if your standard of living is all that you want there to be?
Again, I do not mean that all rules are equal. Some are silly, some are unnecessary, but I do mean to say that marriage really is asking us to be a different person once joined in it. It asks us to now exist always and exclusively in relation to someone. And that whoever that someone is, has had an entire life behind him and also, one that he is pursuing forward, which the spouse is now crucially a part of. So really, this blog is written to remind us all that while it seems a bit unfair to be asked to change for marriage, there is also no other way. I’ve seen so many couples try to keep themselves within a marriage and they, more often than not, end up in either misery or divorce. Marriage really isn’t for those who cannot love anyone beyond themselves.
So yo single people, do remember that marriage is a whole lot of selflessness. Whether you are marrying a prince, a pastor, or just a normal human being, it has its own asks. So whoever you propose to or say yes to, make sure he or she is one with a purposeful calling and a person who can make you say, in every way, that he or she is worth it.
Photo credits: From Quartz Media LLC