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Gayatri and Ravi were college sweethearts. They were married for 10 years now. Whenever I met Gayatri she looked all stressed and dull. She was looking for a marriage counselor to get hold of her marriage.
Like any other new love birds, Gayatri and Ravi were madly in love with each other when they met and got married. Ravi would give her sweet surprises. Gayatri would bask in glory, blushing and smiling, feeling all flattered and on the top of the world. Gayatri would pamper Ravi by cooking his favorite food and had her own ways of expressing her love for him. Ravi felt special and loved her more every passing day. Soon Gayatri got her first job and they both were excited. She started working and her projects demanded long working hours. She would get tired, stressed and now Ravi had to pitch in and share the load and responsibility of their routine which he was not very consistent with. With parents visiting them often, adjustment issues started popping up and started the episodes of arguments and disagreements. Three years into marriage and the romance started to fade slowly. They were then under the pressure to have kids. With career on the peak for Gayatri, she realized she was pregnant. The presence of a third member in the family did bring in a lot of happiness but then the sleepless nights, parenting challenges and the responsibility of bringing up a child, demanded lot of team work from the couple which resulted in impatience, loose tempers and arguments. Both Gayatri and Ravi expected a lot from each other and would get disappointed if the other did not live up to it. 5 years into marriage, and the spark was no more. Gayatri got back to work when their daughter was 3. The guilt of leaving the kid in a daycare would force Gayatri to give more attention to her daughter than her husband. The stress of managing home, work and their kid started taking a negative toll in Ravi and Gayatri’s life. They decided to take things slowly and give each other some time. They would go for lunch dates during their work days. Things started falling in place.But boom, they were pregnant with their second child. Now they were more of parents than husband and wife. This time around Ravi could not contribute much in helping Gayatri with the baby and her job. Ravi’s parents pitched in to help and moved in with the couple. Although this was a great help, but somewhere between the crazy work routines, demanding kids, tired parents and stressful routines Ravi and Gayatri had no time or space for each other. Hugs and intimacy were once a month thing now. Valentine day was like any other day. Birthdays and Anniversary were more of rituals than specials. They were too tired to take out time for themselves. It was always about kids, parents, work, friends and house. There would be days when all they spoke to each other was good morning and goodnight. Their conversations were more in tone of arguments, frustration and disagreements since the topics they spoke were only about responsibilities, kids, family decisions and parents. After only 10 years into marriage, they were only parents to their kids and care takers to their parents. The closeness between Gayatri and Ravi was very distant. This distance was now increasing because of all the THIRD factors (kids, career, parents, stress, finance etc) Neither of them was happy about it but none of them was left with a mind to work around for a solution to their problem.
It is so easy to become a Gayatri or Ravi these days. A marriage is about a team of two human beings who start their journey in to the world of responsibilities together from the same ground zero. They start climbing the ladder of responsibilities together. Sometimes one gets ahead of the other, but the love and respect between the two becomes the strength to pull the other one along. The moment this is lost the journey of togetherness breaks.
What could Gayatri and Ravi have done in the last 10 years? Ravi could have still kept his wife on the top of the world by giving her the same surprises that he would in the beginning. Gayatri could have still pampered her husband the way she used to. A deliberate effort to hug each other on a daily basis, a weekend date, a movie time together is all they needed in their routine to get back their love and respect. It is called the “US” Time. Those small expressions of love that made the couple happy when they started together should not have got influenced by the THIRD factor. It is very important for a married couple to maintain their love and respect for each other. A happy couple is the best team for the budding future. Do we really need marriage counselors to tell us this?