While we were dating, I frequently asked my husband, "Why do you think you love me?" And my poor husband had to hunt for a new answer every time. The other day I wondered, why have I stopped brooding over these things? Has the mundane taken over? What was it? After being married for over a decade, I revisited the idea of love. How has its meaning changed/evolved for me over time? The images of romantic love for many of us would include roses, romantic dates, diamonds, and fiery sex. We all fall prey to that kuch kuch hota hai feeling. We want our partners to be mushy, romantic.
I have to confess, we have had our fair share of romance. There have been many occasions loaded with roses, surprises, and even long romantic vacations. We have read Pablo Neruda’s 20 Love Poems together. I have enjoyed every bit of that phase; but then these popular images fade and become mere memories. I still love flowers, but the romantic meanings attached to them have perhaps changed. What are the things then, that keep us going?
He encourages me to chase my dreams. After nine months of our marriage, I joined an MPhil course, in a different state. I lived away for almost two years; he never complained. He happily joins me in all my endeavours, and that makes the journey more beautiful. I remember he was really anxious before my doctoral defence. He was the first person I called after I was awarded my doctorate degree. He waited for me to come home and narrate the entire sequence of events, the proceedings of my defence. He was as involved in my struggles and success as I was, happy and proud.
We don’t have matching interests, yet we take deep interest in each other. He is usually the first to read my write-ups, not always by choice. He has no inclination towards poetry, yet he manages to sit through my occasional poetry recitals. My husband once came home from work and told me, “I shared with my boss that your write-up is doing so well.” The look of pride in his eyes then is something that is etched in my memory forever.
I think the success of any relationship lies in respect for each other. Things we wouldn’t dare admit but secretly admire about each other. The way he has accepted my family, their strengths as well as their eccentricities. I keep falling in love with my husband yet again when I see him with our three-year-old daughter. He is so calm, patient, and engaged.
There are times when we catch each other thinking about things in a similar fashion. Sometimes it is: “Isn’t this person too cheesy?" And I would be thinking the same! We also share spontaneity: "What should we have for dinner?" And the instant answer is kebabs! I see other couples and I know that they are in sync as well. By the way, that has got nothing to do with kebabs!
Yes, we celebrate differences and entertain arguments too. We do have flaming fights, but over the years we have learned to have happy endings to our conflicts. I am short-tempered, I need to vent my emotions. I am in the habit of writing long text messages, expressing my grievances. I seldom get a reply - instead a contemplative silence follows. At one point, we had even started writing our complaints on little notes of paper and would pin them on a board. I finally created a scrapbook out of those stickers, some fond memories to cherish.
I believe that we have evolved from our previous definition of love as mush and romance to one that is about ‘finding love in small things.’