A few days ago I overheard 2 of my junior colleagues – in their mid 20’s talk about marriage and wonder when will their turn come. They were looking at the decked up pics of cousins, school and college friends who were all tying the knot, the artistic lehengas, jewellery, picture perfect moments with their beau all sent out to the world through Instagram and FB. Hearing their wishful thinking I smiled and it took me back to those days 6 years ago when I was in a similar situation.
I turned, put my best smile on and told them “I know how this feels, trust me I have sailed in the same boat. But being on this side of the grass now, I would like to tell you don’t hurry up. Yes the whole world may get married , people younger than you may get hitched but who said its a norm. If you have met the right guy, by all means go ahead. But if you haven’t or have met someone but aren’t completely assured that he is the one with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, then please don’t join the bandwagon. Wait and take your time until your heart and mind both give you an undoubted “yes” If you make a wrong decision, its not that its irreversible and you are doomed for life, but it does get ugly and messy especially in the Indian context. That is not to say that one must succumb to pressure to avoid any mess, but why not put in your best in trying to make the right decision now before you tie the knot”.
I dont know if they completely got what I was saying, I understand its difficult being on that side of the fence, have been there and know the immense pressure if not from family, but from people around.
I remember I was barely 26 and after lunch a male colleague casually asked my age. I replied 26 and his instant response was “Oh my God what are you doing, go get married”. This was not the only conversation, I remember a few such instances over coffee and lunch where colleagues (In all cases I remember were male) were always asking me about my status many exclaiming that its late and I should wait no longer. These men are all educated, CA’s like me if I have to be precise.
A blogger friend wrote an article recently about what would one give more importance to- passion or stability in a marriage It was quite interesting to read her article and more than that, the comments of readers. I thought of what mattered to me if I were to choose today and typed my reply to her comment. If I was asked the same question 7 years ago, my response would have been quite different.
Hell its passion without a doubt- a younger me would have said. How can anything matter more? I have to be madly in love with the man, he should be someone who sweeps me off his feet. What use is stability, the world’s riches and everything I desire in the absence of burning passion?
It took me back to the day when I met a guy from a matrimonial site. He was well qualified had a stable job but was quite older than me. I wasn’t too happy with the fact but my mom reasoned out with me. In the pic he doesn’t really look that old and unless you have met him in person, how can you say for sure. Maybe you both may hit it off, who knows! Stability does matter in life, you may not realise it at this point but a few years down the line you will know why it matters. I decided to have an open mind and meet him. The meeting was a total disappointment. Not just the fact that he looked really old and I just couldn’t picture us together as a couple, but there was this awkward feeling in the air. We both spoke, but there were long pauses, somehow this was surely not meant to be. We departed and decided to contact each other later. I was fervently praying that he doesn’t find me desirable for I knew if he says a yes, I would have to convince not just my rational family but myself as well that between passion and stability, why would I just not consider the latter. Thankfully after a torturous night and no response I messaged him. He said he needed time to think, I left it at that. Thats surely not a good sign but worked out well for me. After that I never heard from him to my relief.
The first year of marriage and the brief courtship that preceded it is what I will fondly remember as being the most romantic period of my life. All that mattered was being together, holding hands, or hearing each other’s voice when we were apart. I was so smitten by this overpowering feeling that the fact that I wasn’t happy in my professional life hardly mattered to me. I just went to office, did my job , exchanged many messages with my husband and made the customary phone calls- waiting to get away from work. Isn’t this heady feeling something every couple goes through in the initial phases of marriage? One almost feels intoxicated by love and this mirage of happily ever after. Its a novel thing- at least it was for me. I was in love with my new role of a “wife” and was enthusiastic to do my best. Be it experimenting with my new found culinary skills or planning a short getaway together – it was like this had become the most important thing in my life and I was enjoying it. Nothing wrong with that. And that is not to say that love has gone out of the window now after 6 years of being married- but it has certainly taken a new form.
Priorities have changed. The birth of our daughter was a significant milestone in many ways. Not just that it gave me a new identity as a mum, but I evolved big time as an individual. I found that I could no longer tolerate unfair treatment from people. It is pointless for me to spend time amidst people who do not value me- this made me take the big decision of changing my job after having spent 7 years in an organisation where I started my career.
I was always a competitive person who chased her goals and never accepted mediocre results – I had lost this winning streak somewhere over the years but I was finding it back. I was passionate about my career now and I could see the tangible results- I delivered solid performance and I could see that my potential and ability was recognised. At the same time, I discovered my love for writing and I put in my soul into my blog. The love and acclaim I received only strengthened my resolve to put in more. My job and writing had become an integral part of my life.
At this point of time, what I needed from my partner was an understanding of things that matter to me the most. He need not share the same passion like me- but knowing that these matter to me so much and being a part of my journey is what mattered. I did not have the time to cook, attend to household chores like earlier, there are days when there is no time for a phone call too, leave aside messages. I could not have imagined getting past a day without talking but there are days now when I am in a frenzy – I sometimes do not have time to use the washroom as well – things are that crazy. I know it sounds melodramatic but there are tense moments like these at the workplace . At end of the day, if I can ride back home with tired eyes but an accomplished smile on my face, then its worth it. And so far, every moment spent has been worth it.
My priorities may change with time, I do not know. Maybe when I am 50 I may chase different things- I may slow down or want to run faster. I do not expect my husband to share the same goals or passion.
Many expect that a spouse should be one’s best friend but I have a different view here. I feel its unrealistic to place so many expectation from a life partner. A husband and wife should be good friends no doubt but having this one person with whom you share every tiny detail of your life, turn to for all sorts of advice be it work related, your hobbies, relationships – it just feel surreal to me. It again indicates over dependence on one person around whom your life revolves. I have always found a handful of special people – some of whom I can share my work related matters, a few with whom I can talk about blogging and my journey in writing and someone else whom I can talk about parenting or my relationship with my parents. I do not expect my spouse to fit into all these shoes. Life would be very boring and predictable if it does happen.
A spouse who stands by you in spirit, knows the people and the things that matter to you the most. He may or may not see eye to eye with those people but the fact that they matter to you a lot-is something he knows , accepts and respects. He knows what gets you ticking – be it your work, hobbies, spending time with your kids- he does his best to help you in your quest to achieve your dreams, the same way as you stand by him in his quest to achieve his dreams.
A few years into marriage , after kids, the word “passion” in marriage acquires a new found meaning. Its not just about passion under the sheets , but the fact that you understand and stand by your spouse as he/she pursues those things that matter beyond the 4 walls of the house. The fact that you give space, trust them, let them know that though you may not see eye to eye on everything , you are around watching, they just need to look around and call your name and you will be by their side. The confidence that you can can instil in them is what keeps the flame of passion alive and burning.
Eager to hear your thoughts- what matters the most in a marriage? Have your thoughts changed over the years? Please share in the comments section. I would love for this one to be an interactive post.