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And Then There Was Marriage

Posted: January 11, 2013

The glorification of marriage is the refuge of the insecure. After 2 years of socio-legal sanction, I am no more or less his than when we first committed to each other, voicing our shared desire to build a life together. The world views me now as more important, the fulfiller of a position and a role, but may I never make the mistake of viewing myself as others see me.

Seek instead, partnership. Independent of labels, a bond that values the person and not the institution within which millions are housed, regardless of the wildly varying degrees of affection and disaffection for each other.  Value not your pedestal of “wife”, for signing on a dotted line didn’t grant you instant superpowers or transform you into a paragon of virtue. Your relationship is only as worthy as your closeness. Or else there would be no divorce. There would be no lonely marriages. Others wouldn’t slide in to spread warmth in the hollows you carry within you.

Get neither outraged nor uppity for being a piece of the puzzle. The world only needs you to fit. Let it not dictate the minuet within the mating dance of your marriage. Fight for that fiercely. Let it be yours alone. Unearth subsets of fresher relationships between you. Hiking buddy. Fellow foodie. Aggravator with prescient powers. Partner in crime.

Tell him your home is cleaner when he travels. But also honestly acknowledge that he is your heart. Marvel at how he slid into your mindspace; and how his nose finds the perfect parking spot in the chubbiness of your cheek. Laugh at your failures as a team. Accept you won’t be perfect. What do you plan to do for the next many years if you have nothing to mend?

Call him your roommate. Your boyfriend. Breakfast chef with benefits. But for the love of god or glitter, (if you’re atheist), spare him the relegation to the “husband” tag. That ugly black tarpaulin of a descriptor, covering all manner of bonds and equations, a pre-outlined sexist title of maleness that does a disservice to the thousands of same-sex relationships with mighty ties and loose social definitions.

If I am as radical as this, why did I bother with marriage, you might ask. And to this question, I will only smile and say not all that we do is for ourselves. I may be one among its many members, but far be it for marriage to define me, or read aloud its Manual of Acceptable Wifely Behavior while I obediently nod. I’m happy to play the game, but the rules, my friends, are his and mine alone. Within our little plot of sixty-four squares, the only person I check in with is my mate.

Dilnavaz Bamboat manages communications and social media for a Silicon Valley non-profit. She is

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  1. Congratulations on the 2 years of legally sanctioned togetherness 🙂
    I so loved reading this piece. As someone who is going to complete 7 years of marriage, completely agree. It is so true that beyond all the labels and expectations from the outside, it is the willingness and desire of two people to be in it together. It’s not always romantic, it’s not roses and sunset, but it is so much more fun than I thought it would be, perhaps because we have also done so much together and learnt so much about the world and ourselves in the process. Its also liberating to be in a marriage where neither spouse believes that ‘wife’ and ‘husband’ should behave in a certain way, but in that, I do think we are lucky.

  2. very very well-written 🙂

  3. *applause” Loved reading this 🙂

  4. Congratulations to an amazing couple. Your article is so well written, filled with love and passion and overall respect for your partner. I applaud you for being so outright with your thoughts and ideas.

  5. Beautifully written 🙂

  6. Double thumbs up! Marriage is an institution period…but the relationship can be so much more if we let be. Neatly written!

  7. Dilnavaz Bamboat -

    Aparna: Congratulations on the upcoming 7th anniversary! 🙂 I agree, it’s a lot of fun. And in my opinion, if someone expects romance and roses all the time, they should seriously reconsider being in a relationship. Although romance can have varied definitions. To me, taking the garbage out and making the bed (and not as a one-off event) are both romantic gestures.

    Aarthi, Shail, NS: Thanks a bunch!

    Lajja: Yes, I’m really up to my eyeballs in the world simpering over people just because they decided to be socially acceptable.

    Meera: That’s just the thing: I’m not institutionalizing myself if I can help it. 😉 Thanks for your compliment.

  8. Clearly, crisply written
    Both equally smitten
    Balance maintained
    Dignity retained
    Agendas up-front — never hidden!

  9. Dilnavaz Bamboat -

    Gulshan: Being direct (but not brutal–big difference there) saves a lot of time, effort, and energy. 😉

  10. Keeping the spark and how.. very beautifully articulated.. Had a smile all throughout that para ” tell him the room is a lot cleaner…..” loved u article..

  11. Dilnavaz Bamboat -

    Kavitha: 🙂 Glad!

  12. Hi Dilnavaz. This was a wonderful read! Beautifully expressed. I’m going to complete twenty five years of marriage so can say with confidence that the only way marriage can remain socially relevant is if its treated as a partnership and not a social obligation. Which also implies that sometimes partners can part ways without being socially ostracised. We have a long way to go before that happens but at least if people start recognising the mutuality in a relationship, we will have made progress.

  13. Dilnavaz Bamboat -

    Beyond Pink: Thank you for your kind words and congratulations on your silver jubilee! 🙂 I agree with you. I do believe, though, that some people think it is not in their interests to fully admit to the mutuality in a marital relationship, since they are typically the ones with the leg up and don’t see why they should lose the edge. A shift in that perspective can be a starting point.

  14. I loved the clarity and the compassion that you bring to every post!!!! And congrats on the second ‘socio-legal’ anniversary!!!!

  15. Good thoughts..I echo your thoughts. My 4 years of marriage, I was trying to be a good wife and wanted to fit into the shoes of a good daughter-in-law. I was so very smitten by the idea of being the ideal person that I forgot to value the relationship and the person involved. Marriage was a family thing for me and being married was always related to being married to a family and not to a person. And I suppose I was wired to have such faith a belief. Not any more..I was so very wrong.And thankfully only 4 years were enough

  16. Beautifully put across! Very true – your relationship is only as worthy as your closeness.

  17. Wow! So well written! You managed to translate the thoughts I struggle to put into words into this beautiful little essay.. amazing..

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