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In an entertaining episode of What Women Want, Kareena and Saif discussed modern marriages – from the lack of fixed roles in a relationship, to the do’s and don’ts of a good relationship, to idolizing celebrities for couple goals.
Kareena Kapoor’s What Women Want talk show is always entertaining and often insightful. In the most recent Valentine’s Day episode, the special guest was her own husband, Saif Ali Khan.
Kareena began the episode on modern marriages by talking about how every woman has been told by elders that after marriage, she would have to “adjust.” The problem, according to Kareena, is not the adjusting, but the fact that the adjustment often requires undue sacrifice, and that is not okay.
However, things are changing –not for everyone, but at least for cosmopolitan urban couples with exposure to higher education and a global outlook. The age where wives had to “compromise” in a marriage is gone, and as Kareena says, “it’s all about equal partnership now.” It is this sort of a modern marriage that Kareena and Saif spoke about.
Saif opined that even if one doesn’t set out to define roles, it naturally happens depending on the respective talents of each partner. For instance, in their relationship, Kareena is the more organized one, and so she does a bulk of the work that involves planning or time management.
However, as Kareena pointed out, these roles are not defined by their gender. When she is busy he stays home and takes care of their son, Taimur, and vice versa.
Saif shared a piece of advice that he was given by Rani Mukherjee when he first started daing Kareena, “just pretend that you are in a relationship with a man,” in the sense that just like one doesn’t expect a man to be submissive or constantly put their career on a backburner, one should not expect a woman to do so either. Treat your partner/spouse like your equal in every way.
In response to a question about what he would say to people who idolize their relationship and consider it #couplegoals, Saif said that “idolizing is a dangerous thing generally,” and while one can admire someone for their work, and even for the way they handle a relationship, at the end of the day, celebrities are also just human beings, and they have normal relationships, even though celebrity relationships have some unique stressors. “If you are going to idolize someone, more than movie stars, you should idolize the non-famous person next door,” he said.
He also pointed out that while couples may look like they are “acing marriage” that may not be the reality.
Speaking about what one must never do in a relationship, broadly speaking, disrespecting ones spouse/partner is a definite no, according to Saif, and in a more specific way, cheating on them and being unfaithful are “relationship destroyers.”
Asked about what couples should do to keep the spark in a relationship alive, his tongue in cheek response was, “role-play.” On a more serious note, he added that having different interests and ideas also keeps the couple fresh and helps them avoid repetition and mundanity in the relationship.
Also, couples must not pressure themselves to keep the spark alive in a relationship, and find ways to keep their own individual spark alive, as this will in turn have a positive effect on the relationship. According to Kareena a little bit of effort goes a long way in a relationship. “Laziness is a villain,” Saif added, pointing out that love must be shown in practice.
Work-life balance is also important, as Saif illustrated using a mountain climbing metaphor. “People have compared marriage to, like, a base camp. You know, and if you want to climb mountains, you need a good base camp before you can climb a mountain. But if you spend all your time climbing mountains, there will be no base camp left,” he said.
Responding to a question about what he has learnt from his parent’s marriage, Saif replied that he has come to understand that the two individuals in a relationship can be very different from each other, have very different interests and careers, and at the same time have a healthy relationship. They can respect each other’s lives and support each other, without taking over their life.
Good relationships are all about respecting each other. There are no gender roles. “As long as the house is running and it’s running decently, and kids are being nourished in a loving environment, it doesn’t matter who does what or how it’s done,” said Saif wrapping it up.
All I can say is, Saif, we agree!
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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a
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