After years of being in the twilight zone of being “Forever Single”, have you finally partnered up and just had that big, fat, Indian wedding that you’ve always wanted? Even as you nurse that gorgeous honeymoon tan, handle new relatives, a name change, comes the age-old question, “So how’s married life?” The rose rimmed glasses are finally off, and you slowly start taking stock of what is fantasy and what is real as you adapt to the newness of getting married. Adjustment in marriage is a lifelong enterprise that begins just after the wedding.
There will be loud fights, broken cups and bruised egos for days. An Indian newly married couple is the coming together of two imperfect people from different backgrounds and life experiences who are getting to know each other amidst spending most of their waking hours together. A new marriage, therefore, needs to have patience, time, a lot of room for adjustments, disagreements and imperfections.
Ten tips for married couples to strengthen their relationship
Whether you have a love or arranged match, the trick here is to communicate clearly with the partner of your moods, anxieties, food traits, health issues, ailments, eccentric relatives et al. This exclusive information about your partner can inform your communication and relationship style and encourage bonding. We tell you how to deal with situations and irritations, and make adjustment in marriage to make your bond stronger.
1. Some things will irritate you about your partner
Mind you, not everything in a new marriage will impress you. Tiny details like a partner’s spending habits, his/her hygiene standards, workaholic nature, social media and gaming addiction, to their bond with their parents or his best friend may annoy you silly.
However, stay authentic to yourself and your expectations from your spouse. Convey clear cut boundaries on issues that are non-negotiable for you. Iron out the less essential pain points or disagreements by addressing it with patience, humour and conversations with your partner. This will help you to adjust better in a marriage.
2. Get inventive while making up after a fight
Many, if not most, of the slinging matches, will be over innocuous things like the TV remote, screen time, vacations, money, children’s names or even pets. Add to that factors like work stress, adapting to change, expectations and tiring lifestyles that can make a modern marriage shaky.
But remember to ditch that ego and cool tempers with romance and humour. So indulge in romantic gestures, ‘date nights’ and some passionate bedroom antics to work up that magic again.
Give space to your significant other and wear your creative cap. Sometimes just the right gesture, a raised eyebrow, a smile, a hug or a funny conversation is all that one needs to set the equation right. So don’t hold back.
3. There will be relatives and unsolicited advice, galore
The great Indian family stands on the legs of its large family base and endless chacha’s, bua’s, mamas and their paraphernalia. Getting married can open you up for scrutiny and gossip.
If you want to make peaceful adjustment in marriage, then learn to ferret out relations or people who matter to your spouse and your immediate new family. Mute the rest! Avoid dwelling on somebody’s opinion and guard your emotional energy from gossip and slander. Keep the focus solely on each other.
4. You will fight about each others’ parents
Apart from money, this is a common area of disagreement for Indian couples. Parental expectations on future grandkids, home interiors, child-rearing, financial assets, investments and savings, holidays and interactions with them; bear down heavily on a newly married couple.
Remember not to crowd your marriage with multiple opinions and do what suits both of you the best. Have frank conversations (sometimes loud ones) and air out your woes. Let your partner know what you think and feel. Empathise and remember to draw healthy boundaries for both sets of parents if they are overbearing and also stand up for your partner if need be.
5. Your partner is not your best friend
Remember, your partner was raised differently to you. Remember that they had a completely different set of life experiences. They may not agree with everything you have to say or do. Avoid falling into the trap of avoiding real connections or friendships expecting the same only from your partner. Nobody can be objective about your life experiences 100% all the time, so do not expect it.
6. Nobody has marriage figured out
Every wedding is different, but respect and mutual love and understanding are pivotal to its success. No one, including your parents or grandparents, has figured out the rules of this game. Each marriage has its rhythm, and it can be custom-built according to the partners. The adjustment in marriage must happen on your mutual terms and conditions.
Unsolicited advice on marriage, expectations and other’s opinions just end up crowding a marriage. Talk things out and give utmost importance to each other’s feelings.
7. Marriage is a lot of work by both partners
Invest time and passion into the marriage and build up mutual trust slowly. Keep sight of each other’s goals and dreams, have your spouse’s back always and every day. Be each other’s rock and sounding board. Let your consistent love give confidence to the other.
8. Let the past be
We all have a history, and no one should have to be its prisoner. Similarly, avoid mentioning your ex or high school sweetheart as you step into a new husband and wife relationship. Don’t compare your partner to past lovers or your peers and reinforce negative feelings and lack of trust in the relationship.
9. Don’t let social media into your time together
Try as we might, social media and electronic devices have found a way into our lives and wield an unhealthy influence in our lives too. While many of us have jobs which require us to be connected to social media or work 24/7, remember to make time for your spouse.
Start by having switch off zones inside your bedroom for social media, watch popular shows or movies together and take digital detoxes on a regular basis together through the holidays, date nights etc.
Do not compare your relationship with your peers on social media as it creates unnecessary anxiety and burden on the marriage. Steer clear of stalking your significant other on social media and liking their posts. Keeping abreast of all their interactions online is unnecessary and immature.
10. Stay authentic to yourself always
Finally, we all come with their own set of vulnerabilities and flaws. So, while adjusting to marriage, it’s good not to lose sight of who you are, in trying to fit into the stereotypes of the society of a typical husband or wife. Cultivate your passions and friendships as they will help you stay in touch with your authentic self. Do not change your identity to fit into anyone’s mould.
Listed above are simple ways to help you adjust in your marriage and avoid the common marriage adjustment problems. Both men and women take different approaches to fit in a marriage. Marriage adjustments do not happen overnight but are a result of a conscious strategy. Patience and respect, coupled with love, will make your wedding more reliable in its foundation.