(As told to Mariya Salim)
In the initial years of my marriage to my wife Pannaben, I was all engrossed in making our family tea business successful. She understood my passion and while I was busy with work outside the home, she took care of all other responsibilities, including our 6 lovely daughters. Today, as part of our daily routine, as we sip tea together in the evenings, she gets very annoyed with me constantly fidgeting with my phone and fixing work related appointments. It annoys her but she still understands, like she always has.
I got married to her in 1962 and all these years later we have found a common love for music.
When I started learning how to sing, she would complain about me singing all the time, and now we sing many a duet for friends and at family get-togethers.
I accept that I used to feel ignored earlier when we were younger, when our children came into our lives. Like most husbands, I felt like my wife’s priorities had changed but then I understood her situation as well. They were our children after all and we were both responsible for them. We were young parents and she was doing all she could to take care of all of us.
Also I’m very practical when it comes to anger issues, etc.
I often joke with my friends who fight with their spouses, that it is us who will be most affected if the blood pressure of our better halves rises!
The impact of our actions will be borne by us, so it is best to stay calm! Anger is the root cause of many a problem. It’s best kept at bay!
Related reading: Surviving the dark days of a marriage
How you sustained interest for 50 years together
Many youngsters ask me to share how we have been keeping up with each other. Did boredom never creep in? Did we not have fights? Well, it is natural for every fruit to dry after sometime, but marriage is a relationship that God has blessed us both with, for eternity.
What the young generation is doing wrong
There are times I look at how our generation has lived our lives and then I see my kids and their contemporaries. We had to maintain a certain discipline and decorum as a couple when we were around our parents, but I see young couples getting into confrontational situations and arguments in front of their parents, including my own children, and it worries me.
There has been no boredom, nor have we let monotony hamper our companionship. The years, the struggle, the pain and the joy have only brought us closer.
We are both spiritual and find solace in contributing to social causes in whatever way we can.
We have everything we could have wished for, with God’s grace, and so we feel it’s our duty to give it back to society in our own little way.
It’s been over 50 years now, and both Pannaben and I can say we are content. There have been times when anger or pain or some kind of suffering may have crept into our lives, as is natural, but none of it has been significant enough to have affected our relationship.
Our families arranged for us to get married over half a century ago and after all these years of adjustment, love, sacrifice, annoyance and care, we are growing stronger and drawing strength from each other.