Why do we marry early

DISCLAIMER: Since this post is a complementary to a post titled “My Wife was Judged by a Wife of Judge in Sweden”, it will be only relevant to read this post if you read it (click here) prior to continue reading the passage below. Enjoy!

Our reasons to marry early

My wife married me when she was 22.5, Indonesian average age of first female marriage is 22.3. We decided in April 2011 to marry in August 2011. I was about finishing my medical bachelor degree. It’s common in Indonesia to marry after you finish your degree since you are expected to have job and able to finance yourself though it’s rare among medical bachelor. I was the third to marry among 200 medical students from my batch. My wife was approximately the fifth among her 300 high school batch mates. At that moment we lived from my salary as mobile health consultant for a project between my medical school, Gamatechno and Nokia Indonesia also from my Erasmus Mundus scholarship in Belgium.

My proposal was accepted because, other than we love each other and knew we were meant for each other, she accepted my idea to have a life full of adventure following our wedding. Living and studying in different countries even continents. Learning things, visiting places, seeing different people, enjoying cultures and know more people in the world to be able to prepare our descendant to become a fluent global citizen. We agreed to start making our own adventure in Europe in August 23rd 2011. We got married only 10 days before we flew to study in Belgium in 2011.

Since Indonesia has a strong communal culture, regardless your religion, our wedding must have conducted and celebrated with all of relatives and friends who wish to come. We had 1500 attendees. We had even our kindergarten friend attended the wedding. Isn’t it lovely ?

Our decision to have children early
We decided to have children attempt at our 9 months wedding age. Psychosocially, we looked up to our parent’s history. My mother in law had my wife, the oldest kid, when she was 23 and my mother had my brother, her oldest kid, at her 27. My father died when he was 49. My dad’s father died when he was 49 too. And also my dad grandfather was dead around early 50. They all have different social risk factors, thus I suppose the genetic risk factor is strong. I told my wife I potentially would die when I am 49. So it’s better that we have our first kid early like her parents. Medico-biologically, the lowest risk factor of maternal mortality is between ages of 20 to 24. Noting this we were very optimistic and more than happy to welcome our son. Financially we thought we had enough resource to feed or first child. Though both our families also do not mind to support us.
My wife education
My wife graduated from high-school when she was 16, 2 years earlier the she supposed to do because she had twice special acceleration program for intelligence student. She got her bachelor degree from Ritsumeikan-Asia Pacific University Japan with a full scholarship. One of reasons why she is not eligible for master scholarship from other developed countries though she had been offered a place at Karolinska Institutet, Nottingham University, Twente University, Mannheim Universität. I always motivate her to apply different master programme and scholarship yet her ineligibility to get one mostly due to the fact that she had her bachelor degree in high income countries which is more political matters. Therefore, if she plans to study master very soon I have to reside in socialist country in education like Belgium, Germany, Sweden or Canada to work as a PhD and therefore my wife can have free access to master education. It is very possible for me to get PhD in Europe, but we also still think that we need to expand our adventure to USA so we can extend our adventure with our son to see more things. We are also thinking of coming home to Indonesia first because our son is currently the only grandchild of our parents that they miss so much.

While Indonesia is economically the fastest growing nation in the world where American and European are investing like crazy that more international vacancy for local person with international qualification like us are more available in Indonesia compare to in Europe. See Paris St Germain, Manchester City website, they have it in Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesian language. Even my campus Karolinska invests research to find potential medical treatment for aging population from one of our richest marine site in Moluccas. For now, Europe may be only good for us and our son for educational experience, learn the language, and enjoy the social benefit, eating pizza, Frankfurtbradwurst, kaneelbullar, olliebollen, escargot, waffel, churros. But ultimately, the East, Asia, Indonesia is the future Giant.

My wife employment history
She worked in ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta before we got married (2010-2011). At the same time she had been offered an internship at WHO European Regional office in Copenhagen. She volunteered at Unicef and AFS Brussels when I studied in Brussels (2011-2012). She worked at faculty of medicine in Indonesia in 2012 when she was pregnant while managing her Guest House at the same time and after giving birth in 2013, she taught English and studied psychology in Indonesia (2013-2014) before leaving for Sweden. She currently works and studies sustainable development as an intern at Global Action Plan. Now, as her resident permit relate to my student permit she is not eligible to apply for a paid job in Sweden. Her working experience and achievement have no causative relation with my wife decision to marry early or having children early or her religion. Her inability to get a good paid job today in Sweden is more about a political issue regarding immigration policy.

When we moved to Sweden we planned not to go back to Indonesia immediately. We think possibility to stay in Sweden longer as everyone suggest that it would be great environment for our son. Finding PhD and enjoying the social benefit for my wife to get a free master education and our son to learn his friends in forskola better. But sometimes we consider American degree would work perfectly for our future career in Indonesia. Seeing Indonesian current economic growth, it’s very tempting to move from Sweden upon my study completion.

My wife foreign language skill
Socially, we haven’t studied Swedish simply because it is not our priority for now. My wife has an internship in international organization with job conducted in English. I have a 10-month international intensive master programme at Karolinska Institutet. At night we are studying our things in English. On the street, people speak perfect English. Politically, due to immigration policy, “less than 1 year student studying in Sweden is ineligible for Swedish personnummer (ID)” we are therefore unable to apply Swedish for Immigrants course and my scholarship doesn’t include language course fee. So, in our situation it’s both social and political factors that we haven’t improved our Swedish.

However, before we got married my wife already speaks Italian and Japanese and understands Spanish. After we married, we flew to study and live one year in Belgium. There, we received Belgian ID so we could take French course for immigrants; people speak less English on the street, now we both speak simple French and appropriate English. My wife language skill has not been reduced by my wife decision to marry me or live with her religion. Yet, her language skills seem to correspond with social and political situation in Belgium and Sweden.

We also like to know and learn from new people. To learn about us, simply view our educational and career background video down here
Cultural Understanding Towards Peace and Sustainable World:

Education for Sustainable Development: Act Locally, Impact Globally:


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