Married Life

Can books enrich relationships and make a couple grow closer?

Shared interests are wonderful, but what do you do if you find your tastes are opposed?
A couple reading their favourite book on the couch

You like Joyce, your partner likes Bhagat – so is it time to call the whole thing off? Absolutely not. It is, in fact, probable that the Bhagat fan in the relationship can offer more informed and spontaneous commentary on the favourite works.

The Joyce devotee will spend the time Wikipediaing rather than cuddling to warm up the book talk. Reading tastes are thought to provide only minor embellishments to personality when a person advertises the self in the quest to find a partner.

How do you deal with a husband who won’t stop buying books?

Job, wealth, education, civility, humour, and of course looks, are the most visible aspects of the partner-seeking publicity campaign. The bookshelf is bared, as it were, at a later stage of the enticement game. This is where the flirtation can become fraught.

You show off your Shakespeare and want your partner to reveal a Jane Austen collection but you find only general interest magazines? Conversely, you have only Phantom comics and your presumptive partner has a room stacked with metaphysical poets? What then?

Tuli with her husband
Photo credit: Monica Prasad

Fear not. Books reveal a particular type of mind, but all minds expand at the urging of mutual sympathy. Won’t it be great to admit, “I can only tell you about my beloved Phantom comic episode. In return I would love you to tell me about the plot of Pride and Prejudice.”

Here’s a list of books that couples can read together. Check it out!

Couples confess to shyness and unmatched traits all time: “I have never kissed. But I would like you to know that and teach me.” Why not similar candour in accepting a diversity of passion in reading? Research shows that people like those who share a bunch of characteristics – dressing sense, the level of education or bank balance. However, when it comes to reading, often, hasty presumptions are made.

Not everyone who enjoys pulp is a moron. Not everyone who can felicitously quote Homer is a phony or a bad bet in bed!

Humans live life at multiple scales of emotion and longing. The key to finding a successful resonance with your partner is to recognise that you need not harmonise but appreciate a different intellectual register. Let us say you want him to learn about the boundless, ageless beauty of the 9th Symphony of Beethoven? Why don’t you make it the song of your intimacy? Read about the history of the song as the lead-up to the beautiful moments! Tell him that the familiar European Union anthem played before football matches is part of the symphony. Playing that portion, Ode to Joy, will cause a surprise: “I have heard that! Didn’t know it was Beethoven!” Bang! High culture would have immortalised a beautiful moment in the relationship!

The example is gendered. It must be considered only an illustration because not all men are boorish! The relevant idea from the illustration is that high culture can enrich relationships and make a couple grow closer and higher. But what is high culture you ask? That is the beauty of such intractable questions! Why don’t the two of you set up a date in the library? Won’t that be fun? Discuss a little Plato while exploring singularly non platonic joys!

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Published in Married Life

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