Words of wisdom on handling relationships
In India people can’t stay out of other people’s lives. There are good and bad sides to this. It can be irritating to know that your friends and family are more interested to know about how you treat each other, who earns more, when a baby is on its way, etc. Sometimes, married couples or even the ones who are dating, get upset about this constant microscopic view on their love affair. The good side of this is that, those who are genuinely concerned will come forward to share their wisdom on making your bond everlasting. Here are some words of wisdom on relationship/marriage management that friends and family give in India.
1. Let go and compromise
“Marriage is all about compromise”, says Arya. She says that her mother always told her to be ready to make compromises and adjustments with her husband to be able to have a loving and affectionate relationship. While most people may think that only women must compromise, they are wrong. My best friend from Mumbai, Abhishek says “Compromise is from both sides. I have learnt to compromise because in my family there are 18 people living under the same roof. In a joint family, it is only natural that everyone including the men need to compromise. So I have been culturally trained to do the same in my marriage”. We are in a progressive time period, where men and women both have to make equal adjustments/compromises. Yet another close friend of mine, Swati mentions, “My mother always told me that after I get married I should be able to let go of certain things.” It is both letting go and making adjustments that makes any relationship last.
2. Learn as it comes along
Abhishek, my best friend explains, “There has never been a plan or an algorithm. My family told me that I should be able to tackle things in my marriage as they come along. Making a master plan would be useless. So here I am happily married, taking one day at a time. My wife and I gel very well because of this”. This by far is the best advice. You cannot have everything planned in a relationship. There always needs to be some spontaneity and impulsiveness to keep the spark alive. Breaking patterns and routines is another factor associated with this advice which works wonders, some say.
3. What’s ours is ours, but what’s mine is mine
A colleague named Sujoy shared this with me. “It’s very unlike any Indian family value and yet it’s the need for today’s fast paced and progressive landscape,” he says. When asked about what advice his parents and family gave him, he answers, “My father told me keep some money as ‘ours’ (my wife and mine) and also told me that apart from that I must have my own savings and investments”. As much as it may be inconvenient, you can always keep some money aside to support yourself, whether a man or a woman. He adds, “My mother also mentioned that once I get married, I should have a control over expenses and that my wife and I should only plan for things that we can easily afford. She said that if we only kept working hard, we would reach the destination earlier than others but miss out on the journey.
4. Spend time with each other
My sister in law’s grandmother told her that she should grab every possible opportunity to be with her husband, i.e. my brother. She still remembers, how her granny pushed my brother to go along with her to a supermarket for grocery shopping. She laughs and adds, “He has never even entered a shop to buy eggs, and there we were spending time together, grocery shopping. But it helped. It gave us our time. Especially after having two daughters, we were not able to spend time as much”. Again, an advice from a lady who has the wisdom from her experiences of her life of 80+ years.
5. Learn to shut up at the right time
“When one person is angry and fighting, the other one should keep quiet”, says Rahul. He explains that his friend who got a divorce because of anger management issues, explains that it is best to keep shut when one’s anger levels are at a boiling hot temperature. Once their temper has cooled down, either you can forget about it or discuss it logically. Very often when your partner is angry, he/she is overpowered by emotions. If the other person can think rationally and keep quiet at that moment, there could be an end to the fight. Rahul says, “My friend has told me to learn from his mistakes, rather than going through that ordeal myself”.
In most western countries where the culture is individualistic, the focus is on “I” more than “us” and hence one also gets to see more separations and divorces in such cultures. Luckily, we have a support system in India that guides us through the ups and downs in a marriage/relationship.