My sister and I met my old college friend after almost 2 decades for lunch.
It was like the good old days. He looked just the same and we also looked the same to him; at least that is what he said and we believed him.
Food discussed and ordered, we got into how each of us spent our 22 years after college. My friend told us about his life…his marriage…his daughter…his career in the services and so on. Next was my turn.
I had spoken for about 3-4 minutes when I realised I was talking about my husband. My friend did not interrupt and gave me a patient hearing but it suddenly struck me that we were sharing what we did in the last 22 years and not what our spouse did. I was shaken before I gathered myself and mumbled something about my life and changed the subject.
Indeed it was a refreshing lunch. But as I reached home I thought about the day and wondered where my identity got lost and who was responsible.
Certainly not my husband…he never asked me to stop doing things I liked…but he continued doing things he liked, and how, when and why I started following him…I have no idea.
It was not that I didn’t work all these 22 years…I had a full time job with decent salary. Maybe I didn’t give myself the respect I deserved. Since childhood I always had this desire to earn my own bread. But I often had breaks in jobs sometimes due to family issues and sometimes because I had to move cities with my husband.
But I never did anything with resentment. I’m not sure whether what I did was right or wrong but it kept me moving.
If I mumbled over which sauce should go in my sub the other day when the guy asked me, ”Ma’am what sauces to add?” I have nobody to blame except ME; nobody ever stopped me making my own choice and ordering my own sub with my preference of sauces.
It wasn’t just a sub; if it was pizza I would easily go with the toppings my spouse ordered…
Between couples it is sometimes comfortable to share food preference or other choices…but don’t make it a rule. Don’t mix love with eating the food your spouse eats or watching the show your spouse likes… share things your spouse likes but don’t forget what you like.
Related reading: Seven things that keep a relationship going
Giving importance to your own choice and taste is equally important. I love garlic flavoured food and my hubby can’t stand the smell of garlic. No, he never stopped me from eating garlic but I stopped it myself. I must have done this out of convenience and to avoid the effort of cooking two different kinds of meals, but I stopped eating my favourite meal. This is not just about giving up your favourite flavour of food; it is about your attitude towards your own self.
Socialise in your spouse’s circle but don’t forget your own friends…it is a good idea to enjoy what your spouse enjoys but don’t forget what you enjoy doing…
And believe me, most of the time if you are not doing what you like doing, nobody is to be blamed except YOU. So stop the blame game and take control.
I would never agree to any outing with my friends if my husband was at home, which would often offend them. My husband never stopped me, but I made this rule and again with no resentment. Balancing all relations and living your each role honestly needs to be learnt.
Related reading: How our differences make our marriage a success
You can’t be a great mom, great wife, great daughter, great employee, unless you are a great YOU. I realised that I was just drifting through life. Drifting in life may sound comfortable to many like it did to me. It is important not to lose focus. If we lose focus and start drifting, with time our identity gets lost in all the titles of a wife, daughter-in-law, mother, employee, boss and so on. The focus on keeping yourself happy first needs recommitment. If you falter on this you will keep faltering in all your other commitments.
It makes sense to find out which sauce you would like in your sub…or what toppings will go in your pizza. It’s not about food…it’s about keeping your choices alive.