The trick to a happy, joyful marriage

Harshad Sharma

So ours is a rather clichéd relationship. We both work with mass media. It isn’t uncommon for a lot of people who work in the media to find their spouses from the same profession. The wife has dabbled in everything from radio, to TV, film, internet content and has even done a stint in journalism. Me? I am advertising. Not hardcore advertising – because I have flirted with TV and film too but advertising is my core competence and area of interest.

We met when I was pitching a TV idea to her. And yes, the show got made. We fell in love during the making of the show. So we never worked together again – ethics et al.

Despite the various media we dabble in, we do have a lot in common. We discuss scripts, ideas, casting, background music…be it for my ad films or her movies/shows.

We have been around the block – we are both in our 40s and this is our second marriage each. And are seen as (hopefully) a pretty relaxed couple.

So that’s the good part – understanding and appreciating the pressures that come with the business. But we are very different people. With very different habits.

The wife found advertising people pretentious and over confident. And a lot of the ads they make – boring. I had to introduce her to my friends and ensure she spent quality time with them – also explain how unlike TV or movies, advertising is not an end to itself – it’s a small part of the marketing mix and the overconfidence is necessary to sell an idea to a client in 15 minutes. The ads she finds boring are selected from thousands to do the job – it’s part science.

She interrupts. When you are narrating the idea to her, she will interrupt. Not just her – all TV and film people do. And most advertising people will wait and hear your entire script or presentation. Then I realized that interrupting is not being rude, it’s part of the process. You can’t wait for three hours of narration, the point has to be made then, shared then and you move on.

She loves movie stars. My idea of stars are the people who come on Shark Tank. She watches English, French, Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi cinema. I watch American TV on Netflix. She loves music. I am tone deaf. She loves reading. I am a lapsed reader.

happy indian couple

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And slowly we started spending the evening doing our own thing. Until we realized that it needn’t be that way.

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Now I watch one movie a week with her.

We pick an American TV show we both like and watch it together most days of the week. She’s now a fan of certain genres of American TV too.

She introduced me to Sufi music and I am hooked.

I took her help in some ads, discussed marketing strategy on a portal her friend is starting and other such things – now she’s enjoying discussing advertising or at least doesn’t hate it.

The 5000 books she has lying around have made me a reader again.

The list goes on…

She has a gang of eight friends and they party together. I am more of a one-to-one over a drink guy. Now I look forward to the parties and she looks forward to the ‘meeting a single friend for a long evening’ thing.

I get up at 4 am to work and now she’s up early too.

She exercises and I plan to…ok…that’s wishful thinking.

All is well in paradise…and the proof of that is that despite all this, we are very much the same people before we got married. We have just picked up each other’s better habits.

It’s made us realize that the trick to a happy, joyful marriage is celebrating the things we love about each other and fixing the small things.

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Big differences are not fixable. Couples who have huge problems either end up divorced or live loveless lives.

Small differences are, and should be fixed. It’s stupid not to. Because then there’s a danger of drifting apart or no longer having your spouse as your best friend.

And if your spouse is not your best friend then what’s the point.

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