By Tricia & Grenville Noronha –
My wife Tricia and I were married on January 15, 2010 after going around for nearly three years. I’ve known Tricia now for over 10 years and during this time, we have gone through so many adventures, shared our sorrows and worries, overcame obstacles and even gave birth to our one and only child – a daughter. But our journey to where we are today has not been easy and in fact one might even say there have been more breakdowns in the past seven years of our marriage. But that’s untrue.
Let me begin.
Date of Marriage – January 15, 2010
Date of Marriage Encounter – 21 – 23 February 2014
Like any other couple fresh from their marriage, we were focused on only two people – husband and wife. At the time I made it very clear that I was in no mood to bear any offspring because frankly I did not want the hassle and to take any trouble. I know very well that having kids is not a joke and I was never too fond of children, the exception being my sisters children. I had made this very clear with Tricia during our courtship days (2007-2009-end) and she agreed.
Then something changed. After our usual Christmas lunch at my parents place in 2011, we came home only to be greeted to sheer silence. The tree was up and the house was clean but I knew that something was missing. That was the very first time I realised that this is no longer fun. We need to have a child. Thus began our journey to meeting doctors and the arduous task of trying to having a kid. But for some reason or the other, we were never lucky in getting pregnant. We were both working and at the end of the day, we were exhausted to the point that having a basic conversation was out of the question, let along try and make a kid! And all the while, we were having our own tussles, arguments and moments of distance from each other.
Two good years passed by and no child in sight. It was shortly after our fourth wedding anniversary when Tricia saw the announcement for ME put up on the notice board of Holy Ghost Church. She approached me and said that we should go for this 2.5 day retreat. And like most men, I was in denial! Was our marriage so bad that we have to go and stay with a bunch of strangers and have our marriage looked upon and dissected and analysed?
Lucky for Tricia though I did not put up much of a fight. We spoke to the then-ME couple (Walter and Patricia) and inquired details about the retreat. And we did this the very next day of seeing the announcement.
Funny incident – I still remember riding on my Activa with Tricia as pillion and we got lost on our way to Montfort Spirituality Center and we ending up fighting!
Anyways, during the 2.5 day course we learnt so much about us, as a couple. We came to the realisation that we were not really being husband and wife, but rather just man and woman who happen to live with each other. By talking about our feelings, writing them down, learning to let go and forgiving and loving each other, we were able to move past the bitterness and embrace marriage as a true sacrament.
Now the best part of the story. Later in the year, around June, after years of disappointment and struggle and tests and medication, we finally got pregnant. And on March 1, 2015, our beautiful daughter Emily Josephine Noronha was born.
You might ask what’s the connect between ME and Emily’s birth.
Deep down inside I have always felt that the reason why God never blessed us with a child was because of the friction that was there between me and Tricia. In my mind, God must have given us ME so that we can reconcile and come together as a couple. Because a child should be born to a loving family. Not one that squabbles day-in and day-out.
Maybe I am wrong with my interpretation. But this answer is the one that gives me the most satisfaction and I know that someday, when I meet my maker, he will give me the right answer as to why ME came to our lives and then Emily. And deep down inside, I feel his answer will match with mine.
This does not imply that everything is hunky dory at home. There are stressful times and situations and they still exist. In fact, it is safe to say that the stress and unhappiness levels have increased post the birth of our daughter. But that’s natural. Raising a child is not easy, especially when you are doing it by yourselves. I may have my parents nearby, but we don’t burden them with our responsibilities given their age and the fact that Emily is OUR child. Not theirs.
We both have sacrificed beyond and more for Emily. I virtually have no hobbies, I rush back from work to spend time with her (God is great to have given me a very good job that is close by, and with envious work timings). Tricia too has given up a lot, like working. It’s never easy for a mom to stay at home and take care of a child, and not having the comfort of talking to colleagues and meeting people. It can get frustrating. And in that frustration, we take it out on our spouses. So yes, these arguments do continue. But we do recall our ME training. And we are working on our marriage every single day. There is a lot that we can do. And slowly, but surely, we will get there.
We do miss not playing an active part in ME like before. But I’m sure that we will come back in full force once things stabilise at home.
To all the couples reading this – I wish you well. And do remember that you are not alone. And that your story is very similar to ours.