Much has been said and written about marriages…and other demons. It still remains the most interesting, the most challenging and the most intriguing of all human relationships.
We all have our best collection of jokes on husband-wife, inlaws (outlaws), and all of us almost always enjoy a bad joke on the subject. There are numerous online sources, television shows and inspirations from daily life that some of us rely on for advice on managing a good relationship with our spouse. What makes a marriage work, what are the rules defining a good and steady relationship are almost available in a ‘checklist’ in addition to learning from our family and peers and sharing their experiences for our own benefit. Despite all that, we see each other learning new lessons and encountering different experiences. Some of us are really lucky and some continue to struggle. One then wonders what is it that defines a good and steady relationship and it is even more interesting to see the ever changing dynamics in the world around us. While I find the current generation luckier than ours in terms of the freedom of choice they have in terms of selection of a spouse, I find them less tolerant and more ambitious in relationships. I also find them less forgiving, but then I could be absolutely wrong and perhaps on the verge of what we used to define as the ‘generation’ gap.
One thing is very clear to me, for sure. For any relationship to survive, the concept of companionship is extremely important. Your life should not just revolve around talking only about your children, bills that need to be paid and what happened at work. While it is important to do all the above anyways, it is still important that you do take time out to enjoy a silly movie together, go for a very random lunch/dinner and still have time to hear each other out…reading out from a book even better. It is important to realize that while our children serve as a strong ‘bond’ for the relationship to survive, it is for our own sanity that we need to feel important and cared for, by the other man or woman in our life.
The concept of being ‘there’ for each other has never been so true especially in this relationship! You have got to take time out for each other, because when you don’t, the relationship starts slipping out of your hands, and before you realize it, you are two distant entities in a mechanical motion, almost on an ‘auto pilot’ during the course of the day. We all focus so much on the concept of courtship before marriage that most of us tend to neglect the very critical courtship that is required to sustain a relationship. You have got to keep the relationship going, you have got to remember to call him/her if you know there was an important incident in the day and you have got to make sure you are, at the minimum, courteous to those who matter to your spouse. Nobody likes a constant complaining machine and nobody likes to see a constant grumpy expression all the time. It always works both ways: you need to give respect to get respect.
I was once given an advice from my sister inlaw and I still cherish it with all my heart. She told me never to let go of my own friends because friends are the ones who keep us going in life and I cannot agree more! I also encourage my husband to have his weekly golf on Sundays where he hangs out with his own friends and spends time on what he likes to do best. I have accepted the fact that I do not always have to share the frame in everything he enjoys because there are so many things I like to do on my own too. You let each other be. You have to give each other that space to have fun on their own, hopefully to realize how much more fun it is to be with you!!! Strategy my dear, strategy!
Okay so maybe things may not always be as simple, I agree, and I have seen many near and dear ones falling prey to broken relationships and hateful exchange of baseless arguments. Sometimes, two perfectly normal people also do not get along and that’s when you fail to understand the ‘checklists’ and why the theory fails to support the practical reality. That is when you realize that its not just marriages that are made in heaven, but also lightening and thunder! And that is the point when good old KG flies to our rescue, and I quote from the Prophet, my favourite from Kahlil Gibran:
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.