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.
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.