Friday, 8 August 2014

Keys to a successful marriage (as learning from my parents)...

Tomorrow is 9 August.

No, it is not my birthday or any day of any value to humanity whatsoever.

But the day has a special significance for me.

On this day, in the year 1978, my parents were tied in holy matrimony.

This might come as a surprise to my non-Indian readers but my parents never went through any courtship process... As far as my knowledge goes my parents had an 'arranged marriage' as in a marriage arranged by the families of the prospective bride and groom.... and they met only once before they actually got married!!!! On the said day my father had gone with his family members to my mother's house to see his 'future wife'. And the second 'date' they had was when they got married on 9 August, 1978.

Since then they have been together for 35 years and will be entering their 36th year of married lives tomorrow. I myself have been married for a little over two years and needless to say I or rather we are  still learning...

For me, my parents represent a successfully stable relationship. A relationship, based on ruthless honesty, both about themselves and about their partners, tireless commitment to the cause of one's family and an absolute sacrifice (especially on my mother's end) of individual ambitions.

They got married in 1978... a whole lot of things were done differently then.... for e.g. my parents had a ten year old age divide between them... my father is ten years older than my mum. I don't think I could have married a man even five years senior to me... maybe that's one of the reasons they have stayed together for so long... a whole lot of inane research shows that women's emotional ability to grow is twice that of a man... I do not know how credible the research is... but if it is true, then it makes perfect sense why husbands have to be at least a decade older than their wives. So what my mum thought when she was 35 five, my father got up to that level when was 45...!!!! It's incredibly difficult to imagine but probably this worked for them..... I also realize why Rahul (my husband) is such a kid some times and why my brother still has a 12 year old outlook towards relationships... More to girl power...!!!! yeah...

Also my mum absolutely and intentionally sacrificed all her individual ambitions to take care of the family. Though I have yet to meet a more intelligent and independent woman than my mum... and I am not saying this because she is my mother but because I really haven't met anyone as intelligent as her... it strikes me to be astounding. The values she imbibed me and my brother with have saved us from many a could someone like her completely devote herself to house-wifely duties, immerse herself in the everyday humdrum of cooking, cleaning, washing, chopping and so on and so forth and still retain a sharp mind that even at this age, is capable of giving deeply insightful solutions to both our professional and personal troubles.

In the individualistic age that we live in... can women really survive by putting an hold on their ambitions and making their family the focal point in their lives? On the heels of that question, comes another one... An absence of any individual ambition on a woman's part but to raise a successful family, is it a highly selfless trait or an acceptance of personal inability to achieve anything outside the rituals of a domestic household?

I really do not know, but this has actually been a key reason why my parents could have a stable relationship. My mum was always at our beck and call while my father was away in office and sometimes on official duty all over India. In my school going years, till I left home for college and my brother even now, when he has grown up to be a hot shot lawyer, we always came back home to find our Ma waiting for us, ready to lend a patient ear or a plate of hot home made food.

And what about my father... My father is a self made man. An incredibly intelligent, hardworking and honest to boot kind of person... Being a retired defense estates officer, he counts punctuality to be an essential human trait... He was a bit more lenient to our childish misdeeds than my mum.... he did and still does like poetry and among my parents he was a better dreamer than my mum was (is)...  My father, I do not recall ever spent a cent of his earnings on himself nor did he demand any special treatment for being the sole breadwinner in our family and for working exceptionally hard to meet his children's needs, dreams and aspirations.

My father is the philosopher in the family, a position now taken by my brother... he always told us and still tells us, 'don't fill up your basket of dreams with the small ones otherwise you would not have place for the bigger ones." He lives by the phrase 'simple life, great thoughts.' I do not know whether he took up this philosophy after becoming a family man or before it... but it really worked for us.

I have had the fortune of spending a part of my adult life with them and some (well most) of the things you miss out as a child especially in grave matters such as relationship, you start noticing when you are an adult and you start appreciating only when you are yourself married.

A successful relationship can only be forged if two people in that relationship is committed to doing their bit towards it. I don't believe that any 'marriage' can be devoid of arguments, squabbles and debate, especially because I have seen my parents argue a lot... about not so cause worthy issues. Even I and Rahul quarrel on issues which are mostly worthless at best. But I guess that forms a part of married life...

For me, my parents represent a relationship that should be aspired to. It is not the one that romantic books talk about nor what glossy lifestyle magazines preach, but a relationship that works: a relationship between two individuals grounded in strong values about respect, honesty and  commitment to each other and to the the family they have.

Love you Ma, Baba... you guys rock...!!!! :) :)


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