The 3 rules that help this couple manage a near-perfect marriage

Athika Karolia
Happy couple teasing

We are like opposite poles

My husband and I met about 8 years ago. We were young and in love and nothing in the world was better. We seemed to connect over similar ‘mental states of turmoil’ and it was perfect, because we found someone that understood us. Fast forward 8 years and we’re now married and life has progressed. I still love him and he’s still someone who understands my needs like I do his.

But to the world, and sometimes each other, we are two individuals who couldn’t be more different. For those who know me, all you have to do is flip everything about me on its head and you will for sure find my husband. He’s everything I’m not and I’m a whole world apart from him.

Related reading: Opposites attract

Exactly and perfectly opposed

Let me explain our differences a little. I’m a social human. I thrive on interaction with the world and I need a village around me in order to function. The husband is one video game shy of being a monk up in the Himalayas. He thrives in solitude. And I don’t mean solitude as in ‘he prefers not interacting with the outside world but at home he’s all talk and giggles’. I mean even with me he stays silent. I love the city and bars and dance music. He loves the mountains and books and slow dark music. I’m all about talking and communication and unnecessary banter about things that really don’t matter. He is matter-of-fact and precise. I’m a romantic and he’s a pragmatist.

With all these fundamental polarities between us we somehow work really well. We’re so different that it makes us almost perfect for the other. Our relationship is centred on independence from each other and a strong understanding that we’ll always be different, so there is no need to fight it but instead accept it.

Related reading: How our differences make our marriage a success

The unspoken yet critical rules

This realisation was never easy nor was the process perfect. A lot of battles still ensue, but we have clear unspoken rules:

  • I won’t ask him to change his core being for me and he won’t ask me to either.
  • We’ll love the other to our fullest, without needing a compromise
  • We’ll live our own lives to the fullest, regardless of the other but preferably with the other.

We worked towards it

In order to get to this point we had a lot of fights. I had some serious issues with him wandering off into the wilderness every other week. I couldn’t understand why he wanted to be away from me so much or why I couldn’t find joy in his love for hiking and mountaineering and join him in his adventures. Either way I was unhappy and couldn’t for the life of me move past it. But as time went on I realised that while he was out doing the things he loved, I could do the things I loved and discuss everything we loved about our time apart in the weeks to come. This made us closer strangely enough, because we had two lives to discuss.

In the same way, he had to be ‘OK’ with me going gung-ho into fostering animals and working at our local animal rescue. Now he has to share our house with 20 cats and more than a few dogs on a regular basis and that was hard for him. His home had been invaded and he had to fight off the enemy with every tool in his belt. But after a lot of trying and failing, he came to believe that I’m kind of a rockstar who pours her soul into saving all these creatures… and that’s a good quality to have in your spouse.

Athika and Ayush

Athika and Ayush

The differences are less important than the similarities

How does this realisation come about? It came with the understanding that all these differences between us stem from one fundamental similarity – we both appreciate each other’s innate qualities and thus see that asking the other to change in any way would be disrespectful to the beauty that is the other’s heart.

My husband is a beautiful man with a zest for exploration and need to wander. He goes miles on his motorcycle just to love the world even more than he already does and comes home with stickers on his bike of places he has been to, like a road map of his adventures. There is nothing in the world that would make me want him to change that.

Related reading: Our choices didn’t match, but our hearts did!

I’m a passionate and kind human being for everyone and everything around me. My life is like a moment out of the movie We Bought a Zoo, with my incessant need to save every animal that comes into my life and pouring my heart and soul into working at an animal rescue. I love hard and fast and nothing would make my husband want to change that about me.

We love ourselves well and we love each other with pride and we live our lives with courage and trust that what the other wants and does in their life has been thought through. Once that is clear, I don’t need him to like the things I like or do the things I do and nor does he with regard to me. We meet somewhere in the middle and share our lives with each other and share the things that make our days more interesting, even if that may be with other people. That to me is perfection and even though we will never actually attain it, we sure as hell try!

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