Walking out of a marriage is not an easy decision for any person - man or woman. It is putting an end to a way of life. And only the one going through it knows what it feels like to be in it.
When two people are in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives together, a range of dreams, hopes, plans and expectation span around them, almost wrapping them up into layers. These layers of the expected future and the chase to a perfect married life keeps thickening around the individuals in this relationship. Some of these expectations are shared by either or both, some are unsaid. Once married and the frenzy of the newly wed effect wears off, the 'marriage' actually begins and penetrating into these layers is when the relationship begins wearing off.
Beginning with minor disagreements leading to major arguments, the relationship gradually moves to being hostile and partners being alienated from each other. The expectation of waking up beside each other, the expectation of returning home to each other, the expectation of making love at odd hours, the expectation of having a listening ear at all times, the expectation of being the perfect couple - all seem to be short-lived, or yet-to-be-encountered. Expectations that seemed so simple to be met are not met and gradually these expectations are lowered. Finally, the whole marriage feels like a compromise. Like an adjustment made for the rest of the couples life.
Constant bickering, brawls, and a disgruntled atmosphere take over the relationship and the not so difficult thought crosses the mind - is it time to end this marriage? Whether couples with kids or no kids, the decision is never an easy one, especially if it's within the Indian society.
In addition to dealing with the emotional mayhem within, a default consideration of society becomes imperative.
While some may decide to move on, being the best judge of their relationship, others may decide to continue with the suffering for reason best known to them. Yet others (a small number), will try and work it out. And this initiative comes from both partners. What these couples understand is simple - They still want each other, despite the shortcomings. They still need each other, despite the disagreements. They still love each other, despite the unmet expectations.
The irony of what I am going to enlist next is that these things are mostly understood by those people who have saved a wrecking marriage. For those who are yet to get into this space, will find it preachy. Yet, I humbly ask you to keep this in mind at least if it can help your marriage when you get there. And although you may see couples content in their marriages, modeling a perfect relationship, every marriage goes through this wrecking time.
- Accepting each other: Easier said than done. When I made my vows at the altar, I didn't really pay attention to this. Five years down, I know whatch'ya talkin about! ;) This is the most difficult part. How do you accept someone who has totally contradicting thoughts on where the towel is to be placed? Yet, it takes a lot of work to begin to accept things. This doesn't mean you have to give into everything your partner says, it means that you either convince him/her or find a mid-way. But know the difference between that which will change and that which will not. For things that you know will not, there is no point fighting over it. Accept it. Live with it. People cannot change, expectations, on the other hand, can!
- Alienate external influences: We are human beings and being influenced is an integral part of our being. But when it is a relationship in question, know what influence is healthy for the relationship and those that are not. Sometimes friends and their idealistic partner stories make life seem wretched. But it is for you to know whether comparing another's relationship to yours is going to get you in a better space. There sure could be things that your friend desires in their relationship while looking at yours. Parents can be strong influencers too. With all due respect, know where to draw the line.
- Materialistic desires: Every person has these. A bigger house, a better job, more money... This list can never end. When you have a bigger house, you'll want a bigger car and then a bigger school for your kids and then bigger parties and the list never ends. When aspiring for more, if both partners aspire for it together, the journey towards achieving it is much easier and simpler. With a plan and each others support you can make it up there. But, the pitfall is when only one desire's and the other is content. This is a very slippery space. Common sense says, when two parts move in one direction, they move ahead. When they move in two different directions, they are bound to be stuck.
- Space in a marriage: In the Indian community, we view space as being negative. Just like the saying, too much of anything can be harmful, similarly, too much of each other can be harmful to the relationship too.
While you live a shared life, have some alone time too. Having common friends is great. But all your friends cannot be common. Having individual sets of friends gives you a perspective from the outside. If there is no freshness that you can bring into the relationship, the relationship will get stale. Tagging along together always only makes a pellet look like a mountain.
- And finally, learn to be happy and appreciate what you have:
Appreciating that you have each other, grateful that one of you is not dead or disabled, thankful for having all the material possessions that you have together, will help you see what makes your relationship perfect. Learning to be content is an acquired art. No everyone can do it, but those who can are the happy ones!
Do leave your comments on this and any experiences that you may have had that can help a marriage come around. Happy reading!