Few people know that at 25 I was not only married (to the love of my life) but also tightrope-walking my newly found status of a ‘young wife’.
And like any other woman in that status, I had hopes and dreams of a romantic forever. What I didn’t know was that these hopes and dreams are almost never shared by the man on the other side of the equation.
My husband had never shared a room ever since he left home at 18. He had many friends but by nature he had a lot of limits to the amount of human interaction that could permeate his life. Even while dating, we were never the ‘four hour night conversation’ couple. We almost always lied to each other about being sleepy and after a 15-minute night chat went back to our favourite sitcoms.
You may at this point say, “So you did collude with him over this whole ‘give space’ relationship.”
I did. Many of my friends felt that given my extreme need for space and individuality, I might have a lot of problems in adjusting to a 24-hour marriage setup. But, as they say, fate plays games.
My husband was a lot worse than me when it came to space issues. Right from the beginning he started to feel suffocated with the idea of sharing a room with someone all the time. He would walk out of rooms to almost run away from me. If I came and sat next to him, he would at times react and shout, “Can I not even watch a TV series all by myself now?”
Once when his parents came home and along with them a flurry of relatives, all of a sudden he walked out of the house with his car keys and without as much as a word. With tears welling in my eyes I gave a range of excuses to my obviously flabbergasted in-laws.
And that very evening while folding clothes and setting up the room for sleep, my mother-in-law casually asked, “Is everything okay with you guys?”
Something in me snapped. And I quietly said, “No.”
Related reading: I did not marry for love, but I found it in marriage
She didn’t look surprised. She quietly moved closer to me and said something that literally changed my life.
“Don’t make your husband your routine, make him a part of your routine.”
And that was it. Then I knew what a horrible mistake I had been making. I had almost sacrificed all my activities and things to an idea of ‘us’. There was no scope of an ‘I’ in me.
Why would he even crave my attention and time when I gave it to him unasked the entire day?
I got back to my old ways. I started reading, writing and listening to music. Plugged my favourite shows on download and assigned a time every night to run through them. Slowly, a pattern formed, a routine flowed and suddenly I found my husband looking forward to the time I would be free and all his. Those 30 minutes of evening chai looked so much happier.
Sometimes in life you need to be more ‘you’ to help someone else discover you properly. Marriage is not about discovering a ‘together’; it is about re-discovering yourself in a ‘together’.