Question: I am 31 years old, and my husband and I have been married for 1.5 years now. Even though we are happy on the face of it, there is a lot of dissent and unresolved issues between us, which keep cropping up every few weeks and that leads to a lot of long-drawn out fights spanning three to four days of not even talking to each other. We have brought up the topic of divorce in the middle of our fights almost every single time, even though none of us took it forward. We don’t have talks about our lives together – whether be it kids, or finances or ambitions. We hardly ever have sex. As individuals, we are successful in our respective lives. But together, we are just two people in the same house, with more bad days than good, and I hardly feel any connection to him. I know we still love each other, but I have no idea how to get past all these issues – are we just plain incompatible and (have) made a mistake in even getting married in the first place?
Dear Suparna, I will never be tired of repeating in my columns, that love is essential but not enough to sustain a relationship. It cannot be a license alone to stay in a relationship that you think is not meant for you. However, love does give motivation enough to try everything to the best of abilities and intentions, before we gracefully accept, “we are good people, just not good together.”
Communication becomes really difficult for a lot of people when there is constant conflict. Constant conflict is usually the product of poor communication, among other major things. It’s hard to break the vicious cycle all on our own. Most marriages will hit a rough patch; however, one needs to be able to identify a “patch” from a “path.” If a relationship seems to be heading down a path of conflict, disrespect and outright emotional abuse, then we need to consider and question the basics of it all. Make a list of the things that you struggle with, then honestly think about the way you have contributed to those conflicts. I repeat, be honest but also be just to yourself. Develop an alternative interpretation of the things that bother you and decide on an alternative response both in terms of words and actions when addressing them with your husband. Encourage him to do the same. I realise that this is phenomenally easier said than done. Hence I highly recommend couple therapy.