One of my favourite quotes on marriage is from the movie- Shall we Dance- where Susan Sarandon says,” We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything- the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness."
As the 11th anniversary of my wedding approaches I pen down my lessons from these years of marital bliss.
Pic courtesy- Suman Suhag
2. It’s all right to go to bed angry- Sometimes you are too angry, or tired for any clarification or reasoning. Resting through the night helps declutter the head and prepares one better for resolving issues.
3. Speak up instead of playing guessing games- Men cannot guess and I wonder if it’s because I’ve been married for too long that I am not good at guessing games either. I miserably failed in any attempt where I subtly hinted at something and expected my hubbby’s dysfunctional radar to pick it up. Since clairvoyance is not a gift easily found- it’s always better to spell out what’s in the head.
Pic courtesy- Sumita Roy
4. Raising kids is a joint responsibility- even if the wife is a stay at home Mom. I am one of those “homemakers”, but I appreciate the fact that the father of my kids puts them to bed and drops them off to the bus stand. This is a gesture that also helps strengthen the bond between the father and children. The weekends that I get to spend reviewing restaurants and not fussing about kids because Hubby offers to look after them are therapeutic. These much deserved breaks make me grow fonder of “D “.
4. Stay fit- I visualise a long life with my man so why not stay healthy and fit as well. Infact this also could be a joint effort, I seek advice from my ex army officer hubby on core strengthening while he takes mine on yoga. I read somewhere that men love the post workout glow in a woman. It’s also no secret that flexibility can spice things up in the boudoir. Ultimately we are bound to get frisky then why not look good naked.
5. Taking joint decisions-This could involve something as important as buying another property, investing in a mutual fund, planning a vacation , hobby classes for children to something even as trivial as where to go out for dinner. When the decisions are mutual no matter how difficult, it keeps the lines of communication open which is imperative to the success of any relationship.
6. Make friends- The best part about moving so often is my ever growing friend circle. It’s important to have your girlfriends- for shopping, talking and hanging out with kids, male friends- for their no nonsense, straight talks and also couple friends to go on double dates with once in a while or for those picnics with kids.
Pic courtesy- Khusbhoo Phogat Ahlawat
7. Resist Temptation- We all have weak moments, and once in a while temptation may raise its ugly head. However always remember – every relationship runs the same course, has the same graph, so why start something new instead of working on what’s at hand. Cheating is an option always best ignored!
Pic courtesy- Nayana Ayachit Nawathe
8.Love is a continuous ebb and flow of feelings- There are days when I wake up next to my man feeling like the luckiest woman on earth and can’t keep my hands off him and then there are those moments when I question every choice I’ve ever made. Everyday will never be same, accept this fact and dwell on the positive aspects while addressing any issue that threatens the marital bond.
9. Don’t stress too much about relatives and extended family- Learnt this lesson the hard way. We all make efforts but if the gestures are not reciprocated, it’s better to keep distance than stress over it. It’s impossible to please every relative, but important to atleast remain cordial.
10. Keep it hot and heavy- This can be difficult especially if one of the partners travels a lot or after kids come in to the picture. Take some time off without the kids even if it’s a couple of hours a week. Dress up, go on a date, talk silly and mushy and feel the romance rushing back into your life. An useful tip- experiment , experiment and experiment !
11. Sharing common interests- One of our favourite ways to spend us time is watching “Seinfeld” together, but he loves movies while I am the bookworm. So he watches that action flick while I devour Paulo Coelho sitting next to him. Respecting differences is a very crucial aspect of marriage. He likes football while I prefer baking, so he takes the children out for a footie session while I whip up that strawberry cake at home. There are times though when it gets complicated like when I have to stay up watching those FIFA matches with him or when he accompanies me clubbing, but then those are just minor sacrifices for the one you love.
12. Travel- It’s a blessing to have a partner who enjoys travelling as much as I do- discovering new places, meeting new people and relishing new cuisines perks up just about anything. Walking around holding hands, getting lost and then squabbling, kissing under a tree without caring about onlookers, or just watching the flowing river without having to worry about schedules. As I look back, these are the moments that enriched my life with joy beyond measure.
13. Pray/ meditate together- Some studies prove that religious couples have lasting relations. One realises that the universe is interdependent and there’s a plan, a reason in bringing two people together.
Pic courtesy- Khushboo Phogat Ahlawat
14. Change is the only constant- Nothing stays the same forever. Our priorities, interests, even our (good) looks change with time. It’s important to evolve in the same direction or atleast accept the developments.
15- Communication- The perfect relationship can go downhill if a couple becomes incommunicado. In this day and age with so many platforms available to connect , this should be very easy .In case there are any differences I advocate fighting rather than letting it simmer .Holding grudges, letting resentment simmer inside will corrode the core of your being. Fighting, airing differences , venting prevent this negativity from dwelling inside a person and ensures mental as well as physical health.
Like Khalil Gibran says,” But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. “
A happy marriage is the union of two happy individuals!