5 RULES OF A Great Mar­riage

LIKE MOST THINGS IN LIFE, RE­LA­TION­SHIPS TOO RE­QUIRE TIME, AT­TEN­TION AND PA­TIENCE TO SUC­CEED. AU­THOR MAD­HURI BAN­ER­JEE TELLS YOU HOW TO KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE IN YOUR MAR­RIAGE.

India Today - - WEDDING SPECIAL -

Some­how, the ear­lier gen­er­a­tion got it right. The hus­band was the provider and the woman the nur­turer. They had their roles de­fined. Al­most writ­ten in stone. There were no com­pli­ca­tions, no an­gry bouts over not un­der­stand­ing each other and def­i­nitely fewer divorces. Our gen­er­a­tion, on the other hand, is just lost when it comes to the sub­ject of re­la­tion­ships. When we think we know ev­ery­thing, we de­cide to set­tle down and get mar­ried and make the other per­son just as con­fused as we are. With the rate of di­vorce in 2010 as high as one in four cou­ples in In­dia, many are grap­pling to find that per­fect roadmap for a healthy mar­riage. Here are a few tips:

COM­MU­NI­CATE POS­I­TIVELY

Don’t just talk to each other about what you did dur­ing the day, your boss’ angst, the traf­fic prob­lems, your chil­dren’s school is­sues and the dead­lines you need to meet this weekend. That’s bor­ing stuff. In­stead share what ex­cited you about your day. Con­vey how you ac­com­plished your dream to­day or how you over­came a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion at work. Share some gos­sip about friends that you over­heard. Ex­plain a new prob­lem you might need your part­ner’s help with. Speak about how your part­ner made you proud that day. Ex­press ef­fu­sively. Be gen­er­ous in your com­pli­ments. Your part­ner wants to make you proud. But re­mem­ber not to stretch it too far or the com­pli­ments will just lose their value.

On some days while your part­ner is at the of­fice or out of town, cor­re­spond with him through mes­sages or emails. Text him a fan­tasy you have about him, click a photo of your­self and send it to him or just write him a mail say­ing how much you miss him. Even a sim­ple “I love you” would suf­fice. Hear­ing those words will give him a feel­ing that he is wanted in your life and this will help you to stay con­nected. In­dulge in a lit­tle sex talk. Be naughty and wild. Rou­tine com­mu­ni­ca­tion can hap­pen once a week when you are both loung­ing around at home.

BOOK A HO­TEL

So you and your part­ner are work­ing like crazy. You are jug­gling your ca­reer and man­ag­ing chil­dren. It is tough and you need a break just to unwind and re­con­nect with your part­ner. If ev­ery weekend re­sults in sit­ting in front of the tele­vi­sion, hav­ing din­ner with friends or play­ing with the chil­dren then you need to take a va­ca­tion. Not a long va­ca­tion of a few weeks that you have planned in sum­mer, but a mini va­ca­tion for a night. You need to leave the kids with re­spon­si­ble adults or fam­ily mem­bers who can look af­ter them and check your­self into a ho­tel. Go on a Satur­day morn­ing and check out on a Sun­day. Just a day’s break from the minu­tiae of daily do­mes­tic­ity and work dead­lines can re­ju­ve­nate you. Do not put on the tele­vi­sion in the ho­tel room, but use the fa­cil­i­ties of a pool to lounge to­gether or swim to­gether and spend time walk­ing around the premises. Con­nect with your part­ner phys­i­cally and men­tally. Get a cou­ple’s spa. Do this on a reg­u­lar ba­sis where some­times he makes a book­ing and some­times you pay for it. Both of you will come back re­freshed.

PAR­TIC­I­PATE

You like capoeira, he likes read­ing. You like par­ty­ing ev­ery evening, he likes hav­ing sin­gle malt with his friends. You like clean­ing, he is a slob. You have dif­fer­ent tastes, dif­fer­ent back­grounds, and dif­fer­ent group of friends. How do you com­bine your in­ter­ests in or­der to have a healthy cou­ple life?

The thing is you can’t most of the time. You have to give each other space to en­joy what both of you like do­ing most. Nev­er­the­less, this doesn’t mean you can’t share in each other’s ac­tiv­i­ties. For ev­ery three times you or he does some­thing, the other per­son has to ac­com­pany you on that ac­tiv­ity once. So if you’ve gone par­ty­ing with your friends three times, the fourth time he needs to go with you. Then you must not in­clude other peo­ple and just spend an evening with him alone. If he has gone golf­ing three times, you must

ac­com­pany him the fourth time. Even if you sit and cheer him on from the stands. You need to par­tic­i­pate in each other’s lives. You can­not live in a bub­ble, con­tent with who you are. You mar­ried him so that he com­pletes you in some way and you need to make an ef­fort to grow and learn from one another. One way you can do this is by get­ting in­volved with each other’s hob­bies. You’ll get to know your part­ner much bet­ter this way.

WORK, SPACE & IN­TER­NET

Most of us are in a rat race of some kind. We want to work hard, earn well, and re­tire early. There­fore, we work like ma­ni­acs. We of­ten for­get that the peo­ple we are slog­ging for need our time and at­ten­tion rather than the things we buy them. Find­ing the bal­ance seems to be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult. More­over, what most of us want at the end of a day is space and on the week­ends some peace. We live in a world where we con­nect with peo­ple ev­ery day but find it dif­fi­cult to con­nect with our spouses. So why not use the web to get and stay close.

Have a steamy Twit­ter re­la­tion­ship, send some en­cour­ag­ing words about his Face­book pro­file pic­ture, What­sapp him about the stuff you did or are do­ing. You have to start sup­port­ing your spouse in his dream, the life he en­vi­sions for both of you and he will, in turn, sup­port you back. Mar­riage is team­work. Give and you will get re­cieve. Don’t ex­pect things to fall into place on its own.

COM­MIT­MENT

Many of us get mar­ried be­cause our par­ents want us to. Some get mar­ried be­cause they think it’s the “cor­rect time” and a few to pro­cre­ate. How­ever, mar­riage is an ex­tremely strong bond that two in­di­vid­u­als choose for them­selves. You’ve made a de­ci­sion to spend a life­time to­gether and that’s a a huge com­mit­ment.

Many of us give up eas­ily. We feel we’ve done enough. The spouse doesn’t “get” us any­more. The love, un­der­stand­ing, con­sid­er­a­tion is gone. We may even feel we’ve found some­one else with whom we share a spark. All mar­riages are the same. At some point of time, the pas­sion will die. At some point, nei­ther of you will un­der­stand each other and feel that the love is gone. And you will want to move on. It, then, be­comes im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that this is just a phase. Your mar­riage is go­ing through a rocky patch and you both need to hold on to it tight and see it through this tu­mul­tous phase. This could take a few months, even a few years. But even­tu­ally you will come out stronger and wiser.

Rekin­dle that spark with your spouse and fall in love with each other all over again.

Mad­huri Ban­er­jee is the au­thor of Los­ing My Vir­gin­ityand Other Dumb Ideas and Mis­takes like Love and Sex

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