HAPPILY EVER BUT WHAT COMES AFTER?
“Marriage is about becoming a team. You are going to spend the rest of your life learning about each other, and every now and then, things blow up. But the beauty of marriage is that if you picked the right person and you both love each other, you will always figure out a way to get through it.” -Nicholas sparks
“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale”. Every girl dreams of a magical wedding. In her head, she has woven a thousand images, painted many a beautiful sketches of herself on her wedding day. The day she gets besotted, she lets her imagination take her to the land of fairies and princesses, surrounded by a thousand crystal chandeliers, lilies and cherry blossoms. She envisages herself and her handsome groom, covered in fairy dust, standing below intricately knit arbors; saying the two words ‘I do’; which will bind them infinitely, irrevocably, forever.
Weddings are works of myth and legend and fantasy but they are also very much placed in realism and set the precedent for what is to follow in near future for a bride and groom. From the day a bride is betrothed, her sole focus is her wedding day and she embarks on a never-ending quest to make her nuptials the talk of the town. My intention here is not to bash every bride for trying to turn her dreams into reality. It’s her right to make this day the most extraordinary, to stand out and to be noticed, to look spectacular, and to make it a grand affair. But, in pursuit of achieving all this, she tends to forget that this is not about one single day. It’s the beginning of a whole new chapter in her life. There is so much that lies ahead that she needs to make provisions for and it is in her favor if she lays the groundwork for what is to follow in order to achieve ultimate wedded bliss.
MARRIAGE IS ALL ABOUT COMPANIONSHIP, INTIMACY AND FRIENDSHIP AND ALL THREE ARE BASED ON COMMUNICATION
“They say marriages are made in heaven, but so is lightning and thunder.”- Clint Eastwood. When you are past the initial marital bliss, and the ‘gazing into each other’s eyes the whole day’ phase (widely known as the honeymoon period); that is when you actually step into the institute called marriage. Odd little arguments creep up. Habits that you found endearing previously are annoying now because you have to put up with them daily. Before getting married you used to tease your partner about being messy, but it’s not cute anymore now when he walks all over the carpet in muddy shoes or leaves his clothes lying around in ten different places in the house. Little differences turn into bigger disputes, and your relationship slowly starts to crack under the burden of misunderstandings and failed expectations.
Although each person has their own set of problems and nobody can compare and find solutions from somebody else’s past experiences, what one can do is to be cognizant about relationships before entering this sacred bond. They need to understand what kind of sensitivity and tact is needed to handle such delicate situations and not blow things out of proportion on the basis of a tiny argument.
“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy the differences”. Post-marriage, it takes almost two years to find your place and enter the comfort zone with your better half. This transition is not always smooth as living together under one single roof is a wholly different experience as compared to dating. Here are five tips that will take you a long way here:
- Always be ready to forgive. Tiny mistakes and flaws are of little consequence when looking at the bigger picture of a long-term relationship. There is a famous saying that goes: “If you’re wrong and you shut up, you are wise. If you’re right and you shut up, you’re married.”
- Always appreciate the good things in your spouse instead of focusing on their flaws and whining about them
- Be vocal about your insecurities and voice your concerns regarding any issue. Your husband does not live inside your head therefore he wouldn’t know what you have been sulking about the whole day. He has pledged to protect you his whole life and there should not be any doubts left in your mind about his willingness to keep this bond
- When in doubt, always recall what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place and keep introducing something new into the relationship. Spice things up a little bit, plan outings and dinner dates. These things will keep your lives from getting into a rut
- If you have to criticize, do it lovingly.
Time is the best teacher and slowly and gradually you learn to make mood adjustments according to your partner’s temperament. You also realize that it is not necessary to stretch your fights to weeks on end. Sometimes it’s just better to let go for the sake of keeping a peaceful relationship because disagreements eventually do die down, but the distances caused by hurtful accusations hurled in resentment take longer to mend.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP VS YOUR CAREER
If you have a stable career before marriage and you are gradually riding up the ladder of success in your chosen field of work, all this might change subsequently, so mentally prepare yourself to accept it. It is important that you discuss your career plans and priorities with your prospective husband. If you don’t decide beforehand what route you want your profession to take, your marriage might break your career dreams. There are several aspects that undeniably come in the way of your career trajectory. Stating stepwise:
- Firstly, you will now have to think about your house before moving jobs or cities or accepting promotions
- Secondly, the nature of your job might result in contrasting time shifts, giving you hardly any time to catch up or relax with your spouse
- Lastly, the most towering factor is the financial aspect. According to a new survey by the Savills Studley real-estate firm, Chicago is the 14th most expensive city worldwide to live and work in. With those statistics, there is no doubt that couples have to keep their nose to the grindstone in order to maintain a certain standard of living. Undoubtedly, disagreements do materialize about where to spend your hard-earned money or who is going to pitch in more, but balance lies in sorting out your liabilities and dividing your financial obligations accordingly. Also, in most cases when a girl is single, her parents have her back financially. She can always spend her earnings unencumbered by money woes, treating herself to new clothes and fancy outings. But now as a couple living in a metropolitan city, there are lesser opportunities to give way to extravagance and wisdom lies in maintaining equilibrium amidst ever-growing expenditures.
There is no denying the fact that couples have successful professions of their own and they are still the happiest pair on earth but only few people really know how to keep a balance between their professional and personal lives. Sometimes a girl with a sound profession has much more to lose after marriage than a guy. While a guy just goes to his job and back home, a girl has the added responsibility of keeping the house in good shape, mostly without any domestic help. More often than not, she is the one who is cooking meals, doing the laundry and clearing the mess with hardly any time left to spend with her partner. even though her husband is hundred percent supportive of her career choices, she will at some point or the other find her own self questioning if her career is worthy enough to sacrifice a bond she has formed with so much love and affection. At this juncture, forgoing the notion that she is super-human and admitting that managing both lives is not easy on her, she should consider giving her career a backseat for a certain timer period and focus on attaining inner happiness and contentment.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP VS YOUR IN-LAWS
Most desi families want to uphold their traditional family values back home by living in a joint family system. It is important that you are ready to make adjustments in such an environment and mould yourself accordingly. Although before marriage every single one of your in-laws is showering you with love and attention, this might change later once everybody comes out of the wedding fever. If you were used to having your way before, it might not always be the case anymore.
A newly wedded bride wishes that her husband is by her side all the time, but it’s crucial here that she acknowledges his responsibilities towards other members of his family. The slightest effort you make to bond with your in-laws will only draw him closer to you. He will be enamored to see his wife giving his parents their due respect.
There is also the saas/bahu factor playing in such situations. Don’t get into a competition with your mother- in-law and start a vicious cycle of getting even and point scoring. Remember, if you show total disregard for her wishes and do whatever you deem fit right from the get go, your mother in law will be even more compelled to make sure you don’t have your way. This is just human nature, so aim for mutual respect and be aware of what you need to fortify about who you are. It is understandable that one gets irritated by unwanted advice dished out by mother and sister-in-laws but openly disregarding it will be perceived as an invalidation and dismissal on your part. It is even more hurtful if their advice, although freely given, was well-intentioned. It’s intelligible that deep down you are dying to do things the way you always imagined it to be so if you explain what you have in mind, they will surely understand. If they don’t, it is alright to give in at some occasions because when all is done and dusted, what matters is that there is no ill-will between all of you.
If you possess generosity of spirit and have the ability to see things from the other side, things will be easy on you right from the beginning. Your mother in law might be finding it difficult to share her son with you and vice versa but it is your job to let her know that her son still holds a special place for her in his heart and you are not here to take him away from her. Once all insecurities are dispelled; you can slowly form a bond of friendship and will be now in a better position to subtly set boundaries without making the other person feel like they have been trampled upon. It just all depends on how you are planning to take things ahead.
As they say, “Marriage is finding the person who puts up with your shit, admires your weird little ways and still says they love you at the end of the day”.
Written by: Faiza Abdul Rafay