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Laying The Foundation of Marriage

By Sarabpreet Kaur

If it helped, one would get ready to gulp down magic potions for having a fairytale-like marital bond. While that is nowhere near to being useful, making sincere efforts, right at the beginning, definitely is. Here’s how to embark on the journey to happily-ever-after abode…

A soft shadow, not mine
A loving look, eyeing me
A carefree croon, my comfort
A subtle smile, I cherish
Blessings I see...
…as now I am ‘we’

“Ideally, marriage is an equal, harmonious, and compatible relationship between two individuals”, puts very well Dr. Nikhil Raheja, psychiatrist, National Institute of Psychiatry. And that’s how it should be for all of us. While for some being ‘partners for life’ comes naturally, others need to introspect and struggle a bit.

Love or Arranged?

Raheja opines, “Spending an hour or two a day is enormously different from living 24 by 7 with a person. After getting married you may come across facets of your partner that you’d have never thought of.” There’s no denying that people in love marriages may feel relatively secure as they are already much aware of what all can be expected. But this also means that they’ll be taken aback on coming across a surprise. So, arranged or love, every marriage needs heartfelt desire of two individuals who are committed to make their relationship last.

Reading Each Other

Take mind notes of your partner’s likes, dislikes, desires, fears, etc. However, make sure to be your natural self at all times, so that your partner also gets to know you. Actually listen to what your partner says, rather than just hearing without paying any attention. Trying to learn about each other will help you both make the sweet little gestures that make the memories of a lifetime. Staying together all the time means you will find out some not-so likeable qualities of your partner. There is no need to worry though. If you find any habit of your partner to be really irritating, then talk it out. The keyword here is ‘talk’, do not complaint, nag, or make fun. Just make it a point to clearly express what displeases you.

Accept, not Expect

It is the best to expect your partner to better any habit only if it really hurts you. Always remember that nobody is perfect; you aren’t either. So, be realistic. “Be practical in your expectations. If one has subtle and well-defined notion of what to expect, then the chance of the feeling of betrayal or frustration is much less” shares Raheja. Besides, you have to accept and love a person as a whole. Although it is good for both of you to improve as human beings but try and lead by example. Raheja further says, “One should not misjudge the priorities. The need is to have a smooth, loving relationship which involves giving respect, not being critical. This do not, however, means that you should overlook what you deserve. The idea is to create a balance.” It is wrong, for any of the partners, to expect the other to completely change their lifestyle for their sake. Small compromises and much love on both sides are sure to sail a couple through everything.
Sometimes people unknowingly disconnect with their social life due to the choices they make after their marriage. This leads to undue pressure on the other partner as they are ‘supposed’ to do the same. Care should be taken to avoid this.

Being Best Friends

It may sound clichéd but developing friendship with your spouse does help. In fact, it will help you not get burdened by the societal norms of how a typical married couple should be. Every marriage is different. So, you make rules for yourself. Share your work-related stories, go out to fun places, or just watch a movie together, one that both of you like (pun intended), try and discover a mutual hobby. All such things will help you grow closer without even having to try.
Marriage does entitle you to care for and love another human being as your better half, but it doesn’t license you to stalk him or her. Here comes the trust. According to Raheja, “Marriages are 99% trust and 1% of living together.” You have to have faith in your partner and that he or she loves you. If you have any insecurity, then again introspect. Every individual has his or her personal space- while it is decent to be aware of ‘whats’, ‘whos’ and ‘wheres’ of your spouse, it is simply cheesy to stress on them every single time.

Mutual Efforts

“A successful marriage needs equal contribution. If efforts will be equal from both the sides, so will be the rewards and respect”, states Raheja. For instance, if it is a single-income marriage, it will be wrong on the part of the salaried partner to say that the other one has to always be patient and understanding. Similarly, if a homemaker expects his or her spouse to follow their instructions, it is not done. For workaholics, it is important to understand that nothing is worth it if you have no room for your spouse or relationship in your thoughts. Untill and unless, both partners consistently show interest in others’ life and respect each other’s choices, the bond won’t become strong.

My Our Family
Raheja makes it a point to put in perspective that “Marriage is not just about the couple but it involves two families as well, be it Indian or western culture.” It is important to respect each other’s families and accept them as your own. Once you consider your partner’s family to be your own, you would become more accepting of their flaws. Do not stress if you are unable to develop the kind of bond you would like to have with your in-laws. It is the best to let time take its course and just follow the basic courtesy every time you meet them.
If you are a part of joint family system, then not having a cordial relationship with the family of your spouse might give you sleepless nights. But if you remind yourself that ‘nobody is perfect’, you won’t find it as hard. Keep your focus on developing a strong bond with your spouse for generating mutual confidence and keeping channels of communication open.

Making a lifelong commitment of love, trust, and companionship is a beautiful and once-in-a-lifetime kind of gesture. Do not let small issues let you miss the bigger picture, which is you having a trustworthy and loving person by your side during all highs and lows of life. It cannot be denied that marriage brings a lot of changes in one’s life but creating brouhaha over it is going to only worsen the matters. Think of ‘being married’ as another level or milestone in life like schooling, graduating, starting a career, et al; it will help you retain the excitement.

And above all always remember the famous quote by Eartha Kitt- ‘It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.’ Wish the magic of love enchants your marriage forever!

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