On our fifteenth Wedding Anniversary (Feb 9) Sury and I marveled at the years gone by, cherishing the fact that we’ve been happily married for fifteen years (phew!). I couldn’t help but think back in time. Do we have a happy marriage? Of course, we do!
I found myself smiling a lot, and how Sury manages to make me laugh no matter how bugged I am. And I also fondly realized many other things. He never makes me feel worse when I’ve goofed up something big time; instead, he’ll say it is okay and look at how to sort it out.
Oh, so he’ll tease me about it later, but that’s all in good spirit. He writes me a poem for every anniversary and every birthday. Mmm. How can I forget that he bought Prince’s movie “Purple Rain” at a ridiculous price just because he thought I’d love it? Sigh.
I am really lucky I have a partner such as Sury. Amazingly understanding, he’s a forthright and very down-to-earth person. My mother and he were such good friends, and for that I am grateful. He has a terrific sense of humor that makes for a lot of laughter around the house, even when situations are sometimes tense.
This may probably sound a little silly, but we admire each other’s qualities. Ah, he sings a lot (and quite well, too). We believe in the division of labor at home and have a nice balance. If one of us is mad at the other, out of the three of us (Our son, Sury, and I), there is always someone to arbitrate and defend each other.
We always make it a point to share our day’s happenings with each other. Heck, Sury even reads every single blog post I write! AND he tells me that to him, I am the most desirable best woman on earth. Seriously, can I ask for something more? Yes, I believe. Another couple of fifteen years, maybe?
Why this post?
So, yesterday, I was reading Arvind Devalia’s epic Valentine’s Day post. And commented. And Arvind immediately emailed me to wish me on my anniversary. And jokingly (or so I thought) mentioned that I should write about the secrets of my happy marriage. I grinned, I admit, but it got me thinking, why not? Now is a great time to feel good about what makes my marriage tick. Thanks, Arvind!
The last fifteen years have been wonderful in retrospect. We’ve had good times, bad times, sad times and scary times. Yet we have come through it all. quite happily. And what have I learned?
Ahem! Please allow me to share what I’ve been lucky enough to learn – and what I consider are the “secrets” of a happy marriage. Here we go!
Secrets to a happy marriage
- Always make it a point to communicate. Don’t expect telepathy. That comes later. And when you least expect it. If you have a situation, talk about it. Get it out of your system.
- Never go to bed without saying I love you. Even if your partner does not. Probably didn’t occur to them. It is okay to initiate and have them follow.
- Don’t keep score about how many times you did something vis-à-vis how many times your partner initiated it. That is a lousy thing to do.
- Never ever go to sleep angry or with resentment. Resentment is pure poison. Of your own making, usually.
- There are times when life won’t go the way you expect it to. Accept it.
- Marriage really is about “I take you, your mother, your aunts, your cousins, your uncles, your friends….” It is okay. Share the same vows! We cannot argue that while marriage is between two people logically, it is actually between two families and all the people in the periphery. Think of it as fun. It becomes a lot easier to deal with.
- Use your intuition. This always works when you love.
- You don’t have to be a perfectionist. I know. I tried being the perfect daughter, wife, mom, and caregiver all at the same time. Until I realized nobody expected it. In fact, my lovely family and friends kept telling me to relax and that it wouldn’t really be the end of the world if I left something undone.
- Respect each other’s work, personal space, and each other’s interests. It is okay not to have similar interests. Now, Sury is passionate about everything he does (as am I). What we admire about each other is what we are both good at. It does not matter if we are not crazy about the same things. Over the years, we have developed a lot of common grounds for togetherness, which we enjoy tremendously.
- Happiness takes effort, effort that is well worth it.
- Above all, let there be trust
- Be committed. Even if you have to make okra more often than you’d like to. I am.
- Develop a friendship with your partner
- Remember there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Thank God. That would be so boring.
- Don’t be shy
- It is okay if there’s burnt toast for dinner.
- Speak your mind. It is okay to fight. It is even more fun to make up afterward.
- Be quick to praise each other
- Laugh a lot. It relieves a lot of stress (and a lot of icky situations)
- Sometimes, it is a good idea to ditch your gadgets and focus on face-to-face.
- It is okay to date in your pajamas. It is all about the time spent together – not where, when or the clothes you wear.
- A happy marriage takes a lot of give and take. Hmm. A lot of give. Do it.
- Make sure you enjoy every moment. Even if it is scrubbing the bathroom floor. Or clearing up after each other. It is so easy to get caught up in life’s various crazies.
- Don’t take your partner for granted. Don’t just go assuming things on their behalf. Ugh!
- Throw away that silly argument about “You have changed” Appreciate any changes you see. After all, people grow in a relationship, and I’d think it is a blessing if they change and adjust. And by the way, the “changing” works both ways.
- Oh, it is okay to argue. Strengthens the relationship.
- Appreciate every little thing. Just because you’re crazy about each other does not mean there’s no need to say “sorry” or “thank you”
- Hug a lot. Diffuses tension instantly.
- Remember, life is always full of hope.
- When you’re upset, take a little time to stand outside yourself, take stock and calm down. Choose your words carefully if you have to speak.
- Make love, not war.
- Share your feelings.
- Love may be a bed of roses, but there are thorns to make you appreciate the roses. What is life if there are no downs to appreciate the ups?
- Always remember, you are in this together and have equal responsibility.
- Do not let fear come in the way of doing anything you care about.
- Avoid looking for black and white – enjoy the shades of grey. Grey is one of my favorite colors.
- Spend time together. Did I say that already? Okay, I am saying it again!
- Try maintaining a positive outlook
- Relish every moment
Valentine’s is just around the corner, folks, and Love is in the air! So don’t forget to say your I love yous. If you think the air you breathe is made of 78% nitrogen (N2), 21% oxygen (O2), 0.9% argon (Ar), 0.04% carbon dioxide (CO2), and some trace elements, you’ve missed an important ingredient. L-O-V-E. Yes.
Okay, am pretty sure I listed whatever I wanted to say. That said, I think the above would work for any close long-term relationship between two people.
What do you think? What are YOUR recommendations for a happy and healthy relationship/marriage?