Punctuate Life

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Marriage 101

What with it being our 10th anniversary this week, I simply had to write this. For all you people out there who think marriage is something straight out of the pages of a Mills and Boons novel – think again! Sure you’ll have several steamy scenes playing in your wedded life but to imagine that your whole marriage could exist between the covers (no pun intended!) of a Mills and Boons novel is plain foolishness. And I was that foolish when I got married.

My expectations were way too high.  So were his! End result – huge clashes, waterworks, calls to India. Interference from India. To put it mildly our marriage was almost falling apart. I threatened to walk away convinced that we were incompatible. And this was the man who had me on my hands and knees, eating out of his hands and hanging onto his every word. What ever happened to all that spark, attraction, head over heels in love dizziness? It was just gone and I didn’t know where to go looking for it. The funny thing is I have never read a single Mills and Boons and so I never understood where I got my warped ideas about relationships.

So what saved my marriage you ask? Hate to admit it but it was P (initially and later on the new and improved me had to step in!) . He simply didn’t believe in divorce. Divorce is not an option and will never be an option. He said when something bad happens in a relationship you should stop and think about all the good times. When you are hopping mad at your partner remember the good things they did for you. No one’s perfect. People say and do crazy stuff but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They are just having a bad day and taking it out on you. Took many years for me to see the truth in what he said. This is not to say you have to stay with an abusive, co-dependant, alcoholic, philanderer! But in all other cases you can apply the P rule.

My refuge during the what I call the ‘adjustment years’ was prayer. Everytime we fought I prayed. I was certain that God had sent this man into my life because I saw signs before my wedding day right when I was having pre-wedding jitters. It just didn’t make sense. So I had angry conversations with God – why did you send me this man who doesn’t understand me and treats me so-so? I am special. I need to be treated special! The answer to this I got several years later. I was immature when I got married. A 23 year old who had lived all her life in Chennai and didn’t know anything about anything. It so happened that God intended marriage to be my platform for personal transformation. It’s true marriages are made in heaven but you have to do the work to keep it there. So I stuck it out, didn’t quit, stayed long enough to learn the lesson and grow out of it. It’s not so much about Kama Sutra as it is about Karma Sutra. What you put into a marriage you will get out of it.

Another mistake I made – I was trying to be the person P wanted me to be even though that wasn’t what I wanted. I lost myself in the first few years of marriage. And that was a source of great unhappiness for me. Took me a long time to love myself and BE myself before playing all the roles I had to play in life. The moment I did that I met with a lot of resistance. Why? Because people don’t like change. Even the people around you. But if they love you enough and see how passionate you are about the NEW and IMPROVED you, they will come around and be supportive.

You have to be patient and be in a place of love and compassion. What if the tables were turned? What if P quit his job and wanted to be a rockstar? I would be totally paranoid right? Even though he thinks that’s his ‘calling’. So that’s how he reacted to my new fangled blogging idea. Well, there was little or no paranoia involved but a lot of – are you sure? and I don’t know if this is a good idea! But I knew from the nucleus of every cell in my body to the recesses of my soul that this is what I was meant to do. This is my calling. So does this mean I have to choose between him and my purpose? Do I have to end this relationship? The very thought brought me to my knees. Because P is a great guy, a great Dad, a great provider, always there for me and my kids and such a committed person. He goes to all of the kids’ doctor’s appointments, music recitals, soccer games ( he does it all and still keeps his job!). So I did what I always do. I prayed and prayed and also strongly conveyed my enthusiasm for this new idea and my vision to make it a reality. I knew in my heart that this man loved me and although he may not go to the moon for me, he would do other meaningful things.

Again, I was tested and I remained patient. I waited and kept the faith. Two days ago, on our 10th anniversary we registered my new domain and got web hosting for my new blog! Yes I know what you are thinking…Why couldn’t you do it yourself? Why did you need him? For all your feminist values D!!! But that’s what marriage is about. Togetherness, love, growth and compassion. The fibers of his life and mine are enmeshed in an inseparable fashion, so much so that you cannot tell them apart. Now, finishing eachother’s sentences, we haven’t gotten there yet! Maybe in another 20 years.

To summarize…

If marriage were a door to a strange and exciting land, a sign above the door would say these words – Enter at the risk of losing yourself, enter only if you are willing to do the work, enter if you want your life to be changed forever and enter if you wish to be held in the tender embrace of love for this lifetime and many lifetimes to come. DO NOT ENTER if you wish to reside in the pages of one hot and steamy Mills and Boons novel!

All my friends who are happily married please share your insights below. My single friends are also encouraged to comment and to my friends who are struggling with their marriage  – there is hope. Hang in there.


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A Sign From Above?

The first instance that came into my head when I thought about signs is of the time we were driving to Orlando or Tampa (I’m not sure which one). It’s a long drive, an hour or two depending on where you are headed. Somewhere along the way P and I started arguing and when it was over I was feeling lousy as ever. I wanted to step out of the car and go to a far away place. And then there it was – an airplane doing loop de loops in the sky. I watched, fascinated as the jet fumes turned into the letter G and then an O and then the word GOD. I was barely breathing. I had never seen anything like this before. But the jet kept going and when it was finished the words GOD LOVES YOU were written in the sky. I often say I was blown away but it was probably the only time in my life when I was totally bowled over, blown away and blasted into space, all at the same time!

I read about ‘signs from the universe’ in?…yes you guessed it – “The Secret”. It talks of the universe as a living entity with ‘ears’ to hear your every request and respond to it. I started looking for and asking for signs when I felt stuck or unable to make decisions. Once you start asking and stay open, signs start appearing when you least expect them or even before you ask for them. Let me share what happened a few weeks ago. Remember I wasn’t sure if I should use blogging sites or start my own blog (website)? I even went as far as setting up a poll on facebook asking you to decide. Of course not many of you saw the poll and just two people responded. I really wasn’t sure what to do. That week every time I went up to my car there was this huge web between it and my neighbor’s car in the parking lot. It was on the driver’s side of the vehicle. So I would walk all the way around the car so as not to walk into the web, get into the car and then back out. Of course the web would get destroyed as I backed out of my parking space.

But the next day when I went to the car there was another beautiful web waiting for me. It happened all week – web after web after web, woven perfectly by this incredible spider with a never-say-die attitude. That’s when it dawned on me that I should go for a website! Duh! Thank you universe and thank you spider for being a medium to get the message across.

 

Another way the universe speaks to you (yes it apparently has vocal cords in addition to ears) is through the radio. Do you hear the same song everytime you turn on the radio? Then the universe is talking to you – pay attention to the lyrics! Recently I heard what doesn’t break you makes you stronger, we belong to the light we belong to the thunder. Also been hearing it’s gonna be a good life, ever since the beginning of this year and it has been amazing so far!

Also pay attention to your dreams. Some of us are so over stimulated during the day that we miss many signs and the only way the universe can get through is when we are sleeping, in which case we are completely relaxed and open. I had some very powerful dreams right after my daughter broke her arm. It was a very stressful time and we both slept fitfully at night for several weeks. I had to make sure that she didn’t sleep on her cast. I woke up so many times during the night that I was able to vividly recall my dreams. This dream came before I started writing these posts and at that time I was seriously contemplating doing some course to hone my skills and improve my chances of landing a job. I felt rusty and like I didn’t have anything valuable to offer.

In the dream I was getting a ride to Walmart because I urgently needed groceries. Getting a ride from total strangers. Women I had never seen before. It was late at night and when we turned the corner into the Walmart parking lot, I felt something by my feet. I looked down and saw that all the groceries I needed were in a bag on the floor. There are many ways to interpret this dream but the overpowering emotion that permeated the entire dream was a feeling of relief washing over me. I’ve got everything. I don’t need to make this trip to Walmart. The urgency vanished and was replaced by a feeling of strange contentment. I’ve got everything I need right here with me. I am enough. I am good just the way I am. It was a very powerful dream and the feelings associated with it washed every iota of doubt I had about putting myself out there.

You may also see numbers repeatedly like 11.11 or 3.33 or 4.44 on digital clocks. They are also signs from the universe. Finding pennies, feathers. Seeing rainbows, butterflies, dragonflies. Everything is a sign. The universe is alive and speaking to you – you only need to listen to its whispers.

Would love to hear what signs you have seen lately. Do share it below in the comments box.

 

 


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For All My Single Friends

Funny that this note started out as Love 101 – everything you need to find and keep the love of your life! But then fate intervened and I read this book called “Empowering Women” by Louise Hay. Changed my life (just yesterday by the way!)  So let me start by apologizing to all my single friends. I’ve been a blundering fool. I’ve judged, I’ve compared, I’ve used outdated standards to measure the worth of women such as yourself. Beautiful, talented, self-sufficient women who can very well do without men. The notion that you are incomplete without a man has to be thrown out the window. I’m sorry but I held onto to that belief too – unconsciously. It’s a lie that we have accepted as the gospel truth.  We are not here to marry or procreate. That is not the ‘sole’ purpose of our lives! At least not everyone’s life.

If that were the case I would have been blissfully happy and continued to be a stay-at-home mom, cared for my husband when he retired, stayed a dutiful wife till my dying day and then shed my mortal shell and lined up at heaven’s gate. Puh-leez! Mind you for centuries women did just that. It was not ‘genteel’ for women to work or sweat! Women had to stay home and knit, cook, sew and take care of kids and support their ‘man’. But the good news is you don’t have to do that. However, if you search your psyche you will find remnants of these outdated ideas. Media plays a big role to propagate these ideas.

Take a moment to reflect on the last 5 chick flicks (FYI I hate that phrase!) you watched.  What was the storyline? How to find a man? How to please a man? How to fix your flaws so you can find a man? The taming of the ‘supposed’ shrew? Isn’t there something wrong with the picture? No wonder women feel the pressure to marry and have babies. They think that it is the only happily ever after scenario! They feel the stigma attached to being single. The clock is ticking they say. I have to settle down. Something is wrong with me (this is the most horrible conclusion you can come to). I’m too social. I’m too smart. I’m too sensitive. I should stop being me, then I can have a good man in my life. Infinite excuses. I’m sure you can come up with some unique ones yourself.

Stop! Don’t start whipping yourself with insults. It’s time to love yourself just the way you are and enjoy the life you have created sans men. I implore you not to look to a man to ‘complete’ you. You were born whole and complete. I’m not asking you to take a vow of celibacy but please don’t beat yourself up and think you aint worth nothing if you aint got a man. Love yourself and all that you have accomplished. Having a man in your life could have slowed you down, could have changed your course, he could have imposed his grandoise plans on you. He could have tried to ‘fix’ you to fit his needs!

If there is a man who complements you he will come along soon enough. If not, be happy anyways. This is what God intended for you. Stop fighting it and stop hating yourself for being single. Surround yourself with people who love you and honor you, not well-meaning friends who want to fix you up with some guy they know.

I see I’ve ruffled a few feathers. You are thinking what do you know about being single, you got married at 23! Well the grass is always greener on the other side girlfriend. Marriage aint a piece of cake (but I’ll save that for another post!)

Don’t let anyone make you feel like a lesser mortal. I’ve known that feeling. People thought I was wasting my time staying at home and taking care of my kids. I didn’t have a job so it meant I wasn’t smart enough. I couldn’t drive so something was wrong with me. You see if you let the world decide what you are worth, it is going to find ways to diminish you. And I am here to say you are perfect just the way you are and that you are right where you are meant to be. To conclude love comes in many forms. Bliss can be found at many levels. A ring aint what your heart is aching for sister!