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A few years ago, Facebook came up with a new challenge – The Love Your Spouse Challenge. Is it really that tough to love your partner?
A good husband makes a good wife. – John Florio
I am sure many of you remember a few years back, there was a Love Your Spouse challenge on FB. As that memory cropped up today, I wanted to share with you what I had written then. I added my own thoughts to this ‘challenge’ as it is called. Here is it is.
For me what is interesting about marriage is the stories and the journey behind all the happy, smiling pictures. I truly believe that the journey is where all magic happens, where the potential of your relationship unfolds.
After all, you spend most of your ‘growing up’ and ‘grown-up’ years with your spouse. It is during this journey that you have all the momentous moments of a marriage from aha! moments to the ‘You and Me’ turning to ‘we.’ Mutual takes on a whole new meaning, since not only are you bound together but also bonded for a lifetime.
You learn to smile through the hiccups, sail through the detours, communicate through chaos and learn to work as a team, no matter what.
They say opposites attract. But do they, really? I am not sure. I don’t think opposites attract or repel in the case of marriage. In fact, it gives us a life lesson on how to make it work, no matter how different or alike you are. It teaches you the art of compromise, of adjustment and that of collaborating to find middle ground.
Marriage is also about sticking it out and making it work, come what may. Through the good times and bad, through being rich or poor, through bad decisions and good, through recession and boom, through gossip and facts, through parenthood, the list can go on. And this could also be different for different people.
You love and you hate, you fight and make-up, you shout and you whisper. But the key is to remain friends through the process, to be civil. It is to know that its ok to let your spouse win at times, forgive and forget just like you would your best friend, be happy for each others success.
Be strong and be together in times of failure, be a good listener, be loyal, supportive and honest, set boundaries. And most importantly, laugh at each other and together, after all isn’t that what all good relationships are about? It’s about a solid friendship that’s been through all of life’s highs and lows. And still stuck together for the long haul.
Marriage is a partnership after all. Not a sole proprietorship. These are just some of the things I learnt during my ‘Love your Spouse Challenge’ of 26 years.
3 years have passed since I wrote the above and some things have changed in my household; one son flew away to find his wings and the other is about to.
We celebrate 30 years of the ‘Love your Spouse’ Challenge… (oops, I meant marriage) next year. Though my husband and I are facing the empty nest syndrome. Are we equipped to live by ourselves after nearly 24 years of having our extensions around us? I am really not sure.
I keep telling Sridhar (my spouse) we have to build a new and different life right now. Maybe like the one that goes back to the early years of marriage – the “before we had kids” era. One which is independent of the dependency on our children. Sometimes when we are planning anything, we look at each other and ask, “Just the 2 of us?” Soon, it will be just the 2 of us, no question marks!
The early years of a marriage are not the same as the latter ones. We are different people now, are we as accommodating as we used to be? Are we willing to collaborate as much? Are we happier in our own space?
Having the children become the common factor or the glue that binds us together? And will their absence leave a void in our relationship? Do we need to find some new common factor or glue? Will it now become a real challenge to ‘love your spouse?’
Phew! So many questions crop up in mind!
On a positive note, I predict what will happen. Maybe as we move into this new dimension of our lives, we would be better friends who forgive and forget easily. It would be easier to move on from the fights. Our children will be a part of the sum, instead of being the whole. Together, we will find more of our true selves through each other rather than through external sources.
It will be interesting and fun I am sure to be on this new kind of partnership – as we downsize from 4 to 2. Though Vikram, the younger one always reminds us that we will not be just the 2 of us, Newton, our dog, will still be there for us to look after. And yes, of course, we will take care of Newton, he is the fifth member of the family, I guess!!
The ‘Love your Spouse’ Challenge continues in a different era – keep in touch as I share with you what unfolds.
Relationships last long not because they’re destined to last long. Relationships last long because two brave people made a choice. To keep it, fight for it and to work for it.
The article was earlier published here.
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