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Love after Marriage

Dear Anay,

I talked about Love before marriage here. I post about Love after Marriage now.

Love after marriage is extremely underrated and highly un-celebrated. Most of our movies, songs, market, sells you love as between young people. No one is interested in selling or buying the subtle love after marriage. And that is precisely the tough nut, which needs to be taught.

In earlier times, stone-age/medieval times, children perhaps used to see it in their homes. Between their parents, grandparents and learned the art. But, now, the education has dwindled. Neither the parents know about it, nor do they share it, and hence, the children are completely deprived of it. So, the only source is the movies/songs/market. And, that sets our expectations of love from our relationships, which gets extremely twisted. 😦

I think it’s an extremely important lesson, which needs to be practiced, learnt and taught. Just like sex education, there should be a love education too 🙂

All the things movies tell you about love, let’s enlist those – sacrifice, emotions, spending lot of time together, sharing common interests, even sharing uncommon interests, losing yourself in the other person, standing up against the world for your love, giving up your happiness for the other person’s happiness.

When we’re in a love relationship before marriage, all these things play out as follows

– Sacrifice means sacrificing your friends, personal time, classes/education, for the loved one

– Emotions mean thinking of nothing else but love. Being so deeply in love that cutting your wrist is valid if you’re turned away

– Spending time + sharing interests: Being on phone, available to each other so much that everything/everyone else gets zoned out. Family, friends, ambitions, goals, pretty much everything

– Standing up against the world : Usually turns out to be standing up against your parents so that you can marry him/her, no matter whether that matches the world’s judgement or not.

– Giving up your happiness : This usually happens as it should be between two people in love.

However, when love happens after marriage, all these play out very subtly. I cannot generalize it. I can only explain how they played out in my life. Here goes my story with your father.

I had an arranged marriage. Just like any other youngster, I always wanted a love marriage. Having grown up with a serious inferiority complex about my looks, I didn’t want someone to have the right to reject me based on my looks. This was the reason for my aversion to arranged marriage. I was much much more than just looks. But, like any other girl, I wanted someone to fall in love with me with who I was, and how I looked too! From the first time I met your father, I knew he was head-over-heels on me for the way I looked.

I went for my first meeting with your father with only basic requirements in mind: My parents should be happy with the match + I should not feel totally repulsed by the person + IIT tag should not mean heady, the guy should be humble. I had zero expectations. It was completely a leap of faith. I found the eyes and the smile genuine. So, I went pretty much with my intuition.

Hence, an arranged marriage is zero emotions in the beginning. You just make efforts to make things work.

Tarun’s parents had some concerns about my being a working woman. They could also see I was an ambitious girl. Even I didn’t know that fully at that time. I knew at the end of the meeting that they are against the alliance but Tarun is totally interested. Pretty much everyone around me thought he would be the henpecked husband. I never wanted that! So, I knew if he can convince his parents, he’s not the submissive guy he looks like. That was my litmus test for him. 🙂 He went on to meet his Grandparents, convinced his sisters, pretty much whole of his relations to convince them of the alliance. This was the act of ‘Standing up against the world’ for him. He didn’t need to go against their wishes. We met couple of times independently to understand each other some more. And, he convinced them of his choice. He took each of their questions and solved them one by one, thus convincing them that his choice is right.

We both genuinely worked to make things work. I insisted on meeting regularly to create a bond before we got married. And, he followed/complied. And so many more such incidents where we worked around complexities to make things work.

Marriage brings lot of responsibilities and social obligations. All the relatives who were a choice to meet previously, become an obligation that must be fulfilled now. So, finding time with each other becomes a task. You cannot get away from your work responsibilities either. So, all the time you create to spend with each other, is a choice. It is a quality time that you’ve snatched out and hence, you keep the worries at the back burner and try to simply enjoy the little time you have. And, Dear Son, as life progresses, the responsibilities only increase. So, if you want the love to continue, you’ve to keep making efforts all through your life to sustain it.
When I was upset with my job at HCL, Tarun taught me (Verilog, Digital Electronics :P) so that I got the confidence to even apply at companies like Cadence. Marriage is not about asking the other person to adjust as per you, it is also about bringing the other person up to your level, if you find him/her lacking somewhere.
I had been recently married and I needed to spend time with family, I was worried that changing job now would mean spending more time to work. Tarun gave me the moral strength that I would simply be changing the work I do in the same hours. So, I should give it a try. Love is the support you extend to each other in the times of uncertainty. And then, standing together, even if the results are not so perfect. When things didn’t work out as well at Cadence because of the politics, or work quality, Tarun took the hard decision of moving to Bangalore with me. He sacrificed his career moves to support me. He valued my happiness more than anything else. Things didn’t work out there and we had to move back. But, that has never been a point where he blames me for the outcome. There is no blame game that can be allowed in marriage. You both took the decision, you both stand by it, no matter what the outcome. Now, when Tarun decided to pursue his dreams of doing business, I stand by him. I know the results may not be what we both have dreamed of, but that doesn’t mean I will/can blame him for them. We are both together in this. From the beginning, till the end. No matter what the result.

These days, if two people face issues, uncomfortable situations, they simply break up. Distance, bad phase in life, money issues, trust issues. Petty things and they part ways. That is not a choice in marriage. If it’s not working out, you simply need to find out how to make it work. There’s no choice of leaving things. Yes, there is divorce. Yes, you should not remain in a relationship just because you made the mistake of marrying the wrong person. But, trust me, once you get married, you’ll realize a lot of things you thought were extremely important to you, don’t matter in the bigger scheme of things. Because this is not frivolous. It’s not abut the wrong choice, it’s about incapability of not being able to make it work.

You know why marriage is meant to be done only once, or why it’s for a lifetime!? Because when you get married, you start building something together. A home, a family, a castle together. Think of the castles you made at beaches. They take hours to make. And, you feel very sad when the waves come and shatter it. Because you built something there. Spent so much time and energy in making it. And, to leave something which took so much effort always causes pain. So, never give up on your marriage easily. If hard tides hit your castle, protect it with both hands, both pairs of hands. If something is damaged, you repair it. You fix it. Giving up in not an option.

And, that is why, marry somebody not because of emotions. Marry someone with whom you make a great team. In Hindi, they say ‘purak’ = ‘complements’. Marry someone who’s opposite to you. Not in terms of your hobbies or interests, but in terms of traits, life skills. If you’re decisive and sensible, let her be a little carefree/lively. If she’s a good planner, let her do those things. Don’t bring your ego if you find you’re a better cook that her and she’s a better manager of finances. You both are a team and you both decide the best way to run this ship called Life and Family.

If you find such someone before your parents, do not hesitate to stand up for your choice. Explain to your family and explain why there concerns are wrong in the bigger scheme of things (if their concerns are like religion/meat-eating girl). But, also be mature enough to listen to their concerns/reasons if they have a valid point. Marriage is forever. And, you haven’t seen how your life will shape in the next 30 yrs. Find somebody who can stand next to you strong and capable even after you’ve transformed into a new you after 30 yrs, and so has she. If your parents feel there is such thing which is crucially missing in your choice, listen to them.

Wait till you mature a bit before you marry. Don’t get married too early. And, your age number is no parameter for deciding your maturity. Let life decide when you’re ready. If it’s meant to be, the girl will wait for you. Marriages are pre-set. So, if she’s meant for you, everything will work out and she’ll be there for you when you’re ready.

When my mother gave me a reason against my choice, I listened to her. And, I think that was the wisest thing I ever did. Her point was “Be with someone with whom you can walk into your social circle with your head held high, even 20 yrs later”.  When I weighed my choice, I wasn’t so sure. So, I followed what my parents wanted.

And once you’ve chosen, no matter whose choice it was in the first place… start building your life. Once you have, stick to your choice and decision and make it work.

Remember: No choice is right or wrong, it’s your actions that follow which make it right or wrong decision. (More details on this later but take it as a universal truth. Understand it!)
PS: I have been married 6 yrs, 2 months to your Dad as I write this to you. And the best thing I can say about us is, he can make me laugh no matter how mad/upset/teary I am. We are a great team. And, second, I can see him light up whenever he sees me happy. My happiness means his happiness. And, that’s all the love one can have!
PPS: Love is like a tree. The more you water it with your time and energy, you’ll find it growing strong and big and healthy. The moment you stop putting your time or energy, you’ll find it dwindling. There will always be choices, areas where it’ll be easier to spend those time and energies, or you may find them yielding quicker results, but if you chose the easier path, you’ll lose the bigger thing – the love that is eternal, that goes till you’re old. If you trust the choice that you made while getting married, then be strong and stick to it no matter what the distractions.

PPPS: Anay, I know that if you find someone by yourself, you’ll fight till death to be allowed to marry her. That’s mostly because you’re stubborn and resolute. You don’t give up on things easily. But, I really hope to God that as you grow old, and your time to get married arrives, you take the decision with maturity than stubbornness.

Make a mature decision when getting married and trust God and yourself, you’ll find the ever-elusive love forever in your marriage.

I sincerely pray to God to bestow that to you.

Love,
Hope
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