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I went on a second honeymoon a few years into my marriage, and to my surprise I discovered intriguing things that made it so much better!
When I got married, I always thought that the initial bloom of love would last lifelong. Little did I then comprehend that with time, love doesn’t die, but feelings surely do mellow (maybe for the good?). They then tend to settle in a kind of comfort zone, which is both warm and secure to be in.
This truth was apparent to me on what I call our second honeymoon, after 4 years of marital bliss.
We had decided to take a breather and planned a trip to Kullu-Manali to spend some quality time together. Unfortunately, we landed in Manali, smack in the middle of the honeymoon season. Everywhere we looked, we spied newly weds enjoying the first few days of marital content.
Though we were by no means married veterans, we were still quite out of place and time and managed to identify quite a few traits different. from the newly weds.
For example, we walked the streets of the local bazaar, each looking into the shop of our interest, unconcerned with what the other was admiring. While the newly weds walked hand in hand, each craning his/her graceful neck, to peek into the shop and spy the particular treasure that had caught the other’s fancy.
We ate at the cheapest of restaurants, they dined at the most expensive hotels.
We ordered “The local Thali” for a meal, they ordered the house specialty.
We sat on opposite ends of the table, in order to facilitate conversation; they sat at the same end, in order to whisper sweet nothings into the other’s ears.
We contentedly each ate only our meal, they shared theirs in a most touching manner and occasionally also fed each other.
We shopped for household goods and bickered and bargained with the shopkeeper for cheaper wares, they shopped for curios (memories of tomorrow) and paid the same shopkeeper with a flourish, never once complaining of the price paid.
We dressed casually in our most comfortable rumpled khakis, they wore their party best, ironed to perfection.
We visited the parks and went for nature walks, they hit the hot spots of the city and partied till dawn.
Although, the sight of these happy couples did nothing to mar our holiday spirit, it did make me feel old in comparison. But gradually I came to realize that our relationship was a lot more special and comfortable than theirs. True, with our marital and financial responsibilities, we could not order the most expensive dish in the restaurant, but we could order for each other. We had learned to appreciate and respect each other’s tastes and talents. We no longer dressed in expensive wear for excursions but only because we completely accepted the other as he was.
We had, over the years, made peace with the other’s shortcomings and faults. We did not sit on the same side of the table and feed each other, but we did enjoy that time, sitting at opposite ends, sharing the silence and quietly understanding the unspoken gestures of love. We may not have walked the streets hand in hand, shopping for curios, but we did understand instinctively when the other’s eye caught an item of interest. We stopped when the other did, instinctively attuned to the other’s need. We understood when the other needed to sit on a park bench and quietly reflect on the days past. We understood the other’s need for space and companionship. We understood why the other just had to watch the sun set behind the mountains and why he had to dip his feet in the icy waters of the river.
All in all, the trip made me realize that although we would not be forever whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, we would certainly be growing old together with understanding and the warm security of being loved. We would be sharing our lives and caring for the other just as the newly weds would do too in the years to come.
Image source: By Faisal Akram from Dhaka, Bangladesh (A Day Out With Friends) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.
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