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In India, love marriages face a lot of judgement and scorn, heaping guilt and tough times upon the couple. Here are 7 keys to making a marriage thrive!
India – the land of great love stories like Shree-Farhaad, Soni-Mahiwal, Laila-Majnu etc, is also the land where love marriages are still scorned at by certain sections of society! Recently, I found out that it’s not just the generation before us, but even people of similar ages as us, who get judgemental over the issue. Here’s the conversation I had with a male friend, who is an old school friend I happened to meet again on Facebook-
Him: So, you got married? What does your husband do?
Me: yup. He is an engineer too.
Him: what’s his name?
Me: (I provide the name)
Him: (surprised smiley) Love marriage?
(Pause for 10 minutes)
Me: what about you?
Him: oh! I married in my caste only. Arranged marriage. It’s simple and respectful to parents.
Here’s a person with the same education as me, but in his eyes I obviously did the wrong thing. True, no one can make you feel bad without your permission, but the verdict is out – just because I had an inter-caste love marriage. That’s the hypocrisy of India, an eloped couple loses respect in the eyes of elders. SRK gave a solution to the eloping issue in DDLJ, where proper respect is given to the parent’s wishes. So, the new trend is of waiting for your parents to give in. But even if one did not elope, even if you had a proper marriage, things are assumed and judgements passed.
But it also made me think of the other side of it, how mane marriages survive? And what’re the statistics of how many arranged marriages fail versus how many love marriages fail?
And by failure I don’t mean divorce, I mean failure in the sense where a couple stays together for society, kids, or just resigns to fate.
I have nothing against arranged marriages, I think it’s a beautiful way of union where everyone gets a say, two families come together – not just two people – and you always get someone to blame if things go wrong!
But then I have nothing against or for love marriages too. If two people are mature enough to feel that they can spend their lives together, nothing/no one should stop them. And if the same couple, after some time, feels that they made a mistake, nothing should stop them at doing what is right. Only love and mutual respect should be the reason for two people to be together, not the “what will people say” fear, not kids, not finances, and not the fear of being a social outcast in case a marriage ends.
Sadly, in India, a divorced man or woman becomes a social outcast. And that makes many unhappy couples stay together. In my opinion, we have one life to live, and we should max out on it. It’s not worth spending the one life we get in regrets or worry or sadness.
So, here’s a list I formulated for love-marriage couples to stay in love:
(Applicable to arranged marriages too, I guess, if the couple is in love and not in a compromised ah-that’s-my-life stage)
1. Respect each other
One of the reasons you got married was your respect for each other, don’t let anything or anyone change that.
2.There will be judgements
Accept that there will always be people jealous of you, or just people like my school friend above, who will be judgemental towards your decision. Don’t let them affect you. True, we get carried away with people trying to instigate us, but let your reaction remain calm. Let a little sacred spot in your relationship be untouched. As long as you both have that spot, nothing can break you.
3. Be bold enough to point out when the other is being an ass
Remember the time before marriage when you were just friends and you rocked your friendship by being brutally honest to each other? Dont let the label of “husband” and “wife” change the honesty. Above all, don’t let responsibilities ruin your friendship.
4. Have realistic expectations from your partner
You are the best judge of who you married. If you fell in love with a modern, jeans-clad colleague, don’t suddenly expect her to wear sarees, and when she does once in a while, appreciate her. And girls, once in a while, try wearing a saree just to please your friend. Trust me, nothing beats the look of awe and happiness in your partner’s eyes!
5. Most importantly, let go of the guilt
We have a tendency of feeling guilty, thanks to society – which thinks you somehow robbed your parents of something by marrying according to your wishes. And if you yourself feel guilty, and at every moment overshadow your marriage with that guilt, you won’t survive long. Your partner should not have to suffer for your guilt. Grow up, and move on. No one is suffering because of your decision. Only you are.
6. Fight fair
There is no real relationship without fights. But when you do, fight fair. And most importantly, don’t let the other person feel unwanted. Because, in a marriage, the most important person for your partner is you. Don’t ever forget that, try to see the love beneath the anger.
7. Lastly, know when to give up
In spite of all your efforts, sometimes people change. If it’s not working out, maybe it’s not your fault. Learn to give up at the right time. Don’t be a 50-year-old person regretting a loveless marriage. Have the courage to call it quits.
There are many more things that might work for people based on their individual experiences, but I think the basic thing is to make it work. Like the father in the movie “Just Married” tells Ashton, most days you have to work on a marriage. A photo album will not have the days you worked on a marriage, but the album is made of the happy days that were there because of the days you worked.
Pic credit: Image of bride and groom via Shutterstock.
Author, Blogger, Mother, Daughter, Wife & Mechanical Engineer
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