How To Avoid Being A Shadow Of Your Partner In A Marriage

Posted: June 20, 2017

Do your partner and your marriage a favour; don’t build your life around him. Be there for him but first be there for yourself first.

A young colleague who is about to get married complained that her fiancée keeps busy and does not give her time. While she wants to spend all or most of her time hanging out with her fiancée, the guy is busy setting up his entrepreneurial venture and not able to spend as much time with her as she wants. She was looking for advice on how to keep engaged.

This set me thinking – How and why do girls set expectations from marriage and their partners? What is a fair expectation from both?

The ugly truth nobody ever tells girls

Sociologically marriage is supposed to be one great milestone for girls,“teri shaadi mein aise hoga, waise hoga”. Often Indian mothers tell their little daughters, “I have kept this gold jewellery set for your wedding”.

Ask any young girl what marriage means to her and she will tell you about her ideal partner, a romantic courtship period, what she is going to wear on her wedding day, jewellery, finery, cosmetics, trousseau shopping, etc. A lot of hype and expectations is inbuilt into the concept of marriage.

No doubt it is a milestone but nobody gives girls a realistic picture of what to expect after marriage. Nobody really prepares the girls for the adjustments that she has to make once she leaves her parents’ house to go and live with another family. Nobody tells her that she needs to maintain her own identity when she is joined in holy matrimony with another soul. Marriage is a new experience for him too (mostly), and he is also getting used to have another person share his home, his space and his life.

Being completely dependent on your partner is not a sign of love

Generally once a girl gets into coupledom, she wants to be with her partner in all her free time. She wants to hang out, go out, eat out and have every experience with her man to the point that all her happiness and joy depends on her guy. While the poor guy might enjoy this attention initially, eventually he could feel cloistered and burdened by your expectations.

Give the man a chance. Make him a part of your life, not the centre of your universe.

Invest in yourself

Love …yes. Unconditional love… of course yes. Loving you partner/spouse, however, does not mean that you stop loving yourself.

Love yourself completely and unconditionally. Pamper yourself. Take care of yourself. Remember you used to have an identity before you met your partner. Don’t lose that girl. And if that girl is lost somewhere, seek her out. Visit a parlour, learn a new craft, buy books to read or get membership to a library if you love reading, take self-improvement classes, in short invest in yourself.

Discover your talents

Each one of us has a gift or a talent. If you have already discovered your gift, nurture it. If not, explore and discover it. You owe it to yourself and your parents. Don’t tell me you don’t even remember what your hobbies are. Think what is it that makes you happy and fulfilled without any input from anyone else. Your spouse may or may not share your hobby/passion in life. Irrespective of that, find time to indulge your passion in life.

Be yourself; not a shadow of your partner

Be someone your partner will be proud of. Have your own identity.

This is a peculiar problem faced by the feminine gender because it comes naturally to them – to make their spouse the raison d’être of their existence. When the spouse gets busy earning the daily bread, butter, cheese and the occasional dessert …ladies have a lot of time on their hands with absolutely no clue what to do. Rather than waiting for him and cribbing that he doesn’t give you time, find your centre within you.

Don’t forget your friend circle

Your friends are one of your biggest support systems. They were there before your Prince Charming came along. Take the initiative to keep in touch with your friends. Hanging out with friends has a therapeutic effect, believe it or not.

Exercise daily

You owe it to yourself to keep your body healthy and disease free. So aim to exercise daily for an hour every day. Aim high so that even if you skip a day or two in the week, you still exercise at least five days a week. Exercise helps release chemicals in your body which promote feelings of well being and happiness.

Published here earlier.

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4 Comments


  1. So well said. Married or single, we are all individuals and should never forget that.

  2. This is a huge conversation which is avoided worse, we are told at least I was told I should not earn more than my husband should not have ambitions and desires above his payscale. when I think back those damn Chandamama books we read only re-em-forced this thought process

    • Kaamna Jain

      Hi Parwati,
      I do wonder why this conversation is avoided, as you rightly pointed out.

      There is this dialogue from EnglishVinglish in which Sridevi’s character advises a newly married couple that, ” marriage will be beautiful if it is a life long friendship between two equals.”

      That is what we need to tell our children.

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