“Why should you continue with your cook? After marriage, I’ll cook for you,” I said confidently to my fiancé. This conversation started casually during one of our evening calls some days after our engagement and though my fiancé was a little apprehensive about letting go of his dear cook, I was quite sure. Like a true gentleman that he is, he relented. Only, the next day, coming home tired from a hectic day at work I realised going to the kitchen compulsorily to cook wasn’t even the last thing in my mind. I wanted to relax. So next evening I started again, “Hey listen.. uhh I was thinking maybe you shouldn’t fire your cook immediately after marriage. It won’t look nice. We’ll figure out all that slowly.” He simply laughed in a “I told you so” manner.
Now I cook when I want to, sometimes I do it happily alone. So does he. But most of the time, we do it together! Believe me, the food you cook together is the most romantic feast you can ever relish!
Earlier brides weren’t supposed to talk to grooms before marriage. Without an exchange of ideas, marriages were limited to assigned roles where the male partner wouldn’t value the intelligence of his female partner, believing her to be capable of only doing household chores, that too under the strict guidance of his mother. That also led to very few women achievers outside the kitchen. Many women would lose their self-confidence, unable to recognise their voice, accepting right and wrong from their husbands meekly.
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My parents hardly trained me in household chores. They made me study, sent me to hostel, gave me wings, let me fly. But when it came to marriage, I was happy to think that I’d leave my job to take care of my husband and home. This is what I saw my mother doing always. She is a good homemaker. She loves taking care of her home. She loved looking after her kids and her husband and pampered us a lot. And since this is what I grew up watching, I got programmed about my ‘role’ after marriage. I was under the impression that I have to follow my mother. Most kids get this impression. We are wired like that.
It does take some introspection to break the mould that our previous generations set for us and the courtship period can be used for that by two people who are on the verge of living together and starting a family.
After all, marriage needn’t be a relay where parents pass on the baton of their lifestyle or thinking to their children.
My marriage was arranged by my parents. So, I was all set to take up my ‘role’ in the arrangement but for our courtship period, during which my husband and I discussed a lot of serious stuff (apart from the regular censored ones LOL). The more we talked about sensible stuff, the more I was clear about my own personality. You can give 100% to a relationship only if you understand yourself. That’s how you can convey to the other person your vision for the life you’re going to lead together.
Related reading: A symphony in love
A marriage is beautiful when you have surprises for each other; on the other hand it becomes hell if there are only shocks in store.
Like I realised that I really, really wanted my husband to be independent when it comes to personal grooming. So, another time, I asked him straight away, “What are your expectations from me? Would you like not to be bothered about the laundry stuff?” The legendary towel-throwing, socks swinging macho man was a strict no-no for me. “No, but it will feel nice if you can plan my office wear,” he quipped. Ahhh, does he want me to dress him up every day like a child?“Hmm, every day?” I charged ahead. “Er, not every day. I mean sometimes. Or you know, when I’m really in a hurry. I’ll do that for you too when you need it,” he said defensively and this time I laughed, feeling relieved.
Courtship is, no doubt, the most romantic period in a couple’s life. The valuable discussions we had affirmed my belief that a couple shouldn’t waste this golden period (short or long) in mere dates or whispering sweet nothings. Enjoying the elusive meets has its own charm but getting to know each other can save much pain later. Life is not all a bed of roses. Marriage is not all about mushy days and nights. It is made up of millions of moments when two partners need each other’s support to grow in every sphere of their existence. From my own experience, I’d advise young couples to discuss at length their expectations, dreams, strengths, weakness, fears with each other during this time. It’s impossible to discuss everything but this helps in laying a good foundation for a healthy marriage.