Making merry from misery-The tale of a couple and how they turned their marriage around
A lot of people say Saira and Josh are very lucky to have found one another. Some popular theories for their happy marriage are astrology, chart matching, good karma, or plain, pure luck. But it wasn’t always this way,not even close. There was a point when they were sleeping with the enemy. They fought, they hated each other, struggled, got depressed, and lost hope. They thought maybe they were better off living with a penguin. Then things started to shift and this is how they did it:
( This blog has been written at their request after they completed therapy. Their hope is that more couples will be inspired to work on their marriages as opposed to calling it off prematurely and then regretting it later. As most of you know, names and identifying info has been changed. They have read and approved the blog. )
1) We decided to work on the marriage rather than letting it go
It is always an easy option to drop it and take off. But we decided we wanted to stay in it. We asked ourselves this simple question ” despite all of this negativity and anger, do I still love him?” the answer was a yes, and that meant FIX MODE.
2) Marriage is between the husband and wife
In Indian marriages we tend to involve everyone but our spouse. Generally it turns into a battle ground as opposed to negotiations. Avoid this. We stopped sharing issues with anyone. We sat in a public cafe and over countless cupcakes, sorted our marital woes. Public spaces act as a deterrent to screaming matches, and a positive environment can lift mood.
3) We made one another priority
In the context of Indian culture, a woman is often married to the family. It doesn’t work. However old the system might be, its a deeply flawed system which can cause alot of pain. Once the couple is married, they must strive to prioritise their partner. This does not mean we forget our families, but we recognise that we are now answerable to another human being too. We are no more single, living at home and mommys kids. I’m sorry guys, but your wife doesn’t need to give up her happiness, individuality or needs for your family to be a good wife. If your family doesn’t like your partner, stop expecting her/him to change for them.
4) Kindness, Empathy and the other good stuff
We forget that basic kindness, gentleness and empathy can take a marriage from superficial to deep and intense. If your husband feels torn between you and his mom, talk to him, let him know that you care and give him a judgement free space to talk. I know many of us operate from a place of fear, but choose to keep fears aside when talking. Most men or women shut down because their intimate sharing is met with judgement, anger or rejection. Remember, its hard for men to share. Encourage it, don’t alienate them. The same goes for husbands, give your wife the space to talk. Even if its about your mom.
We take LOTS of deep breaths. Pause. Breathe. Question. when the husband gets on my nerves( which he frequently does) I pause. Take a breathe. And ask myself ” is this worth losing it over? saying something sarcastic? is this a battle I really want to get in 10 minutes before bed? usually the answer is NO, and that moment passes like a gentle out breath.
7) We changed our tone of talking
My husband always complained he didn’t like my ‘tone’ of talking. That annoyed me to no extent. I mean, just because I said “do what you want to do”, doesn’t mean I’m angry or does it? Get into therapy and get all that stuff out. Look at it, feel it, own it. Yes I was angry.
I wanted him to hangout with me not with his beer buds at the bar. Now, I let him know: “Hey I know you need to go out but I would love to spend this evening with you,can we have your friends over?”.If he says no, I get mad( absolutely natural to feel angry, again, go to therapy and own it.) but instead of yelling at him or telling him he doesn’t love me, I empathize and ask him if we can do something tomorrow, just the two of us. ( I realized I cant have my own way each time.) Men, Please remember to create balance. Most of you forget you are married!
8) Romance Me
I’m the kind girl who loves roses, gourmet dinners, wine, love notes. My love language is affection and communication. I NEED to hear the “I love You’s”, get my occasional rose bunch and be treated to a fancy meal. I like men who open doors, say thank you, compliment you and take selfies with you. My husband strives to do just all off that. Maybe its not his ‘thing’ but hes never let me know. In return, I go shopping with him, and actually take interest in fashion. Yes, Its important to prioritize your partners likes , their needs, their way of feeling loved.
9) We mind our P’s and Q’s
As a hardcore convent educated chick, I love my P’s and Q’s. I thank my husband, I apologise if I feel I hurt him or did something. Gratitude is a constant practice. What i noticed is that slowly he too would do the same for me. Never rule out the Power of Polite.
10) Spend some time talking
Switch this off NOW! Go sit down with your spouse and talk. Uncensored for ten minutes. Then give them ten minutes to talk. Provide a non judgmental , respectful place. Please avoid eye rolling, lip twitching, sarky comments or staccato breaths! watch the magic.
11) Physical Touch
Nothing, I repeat nothing, beats a feeling of a kiss or warm big hug. Be affectionate, have lots of sex. Do not use sex as a weapon. Men, please understand that if you emotionally nurture your relationship, the woman will respond physically too. For women, emotional connections are important and when they feel respected, loved and validated, it increases their sex drive. Focus on emotionally connecting to your partner too.
12) stop assuming start acknowledging
Compliments! Stop and look at your spouse. Think about what you like about them, and let them know! Stop assuming that they know stuff just because you act from a place of love. According to me my husband is the handsomest man on this planet, and I let him know that. I stopped assuming he knows how I feel. I keep a gratitude journal for my relationship, where I write down what I am grateful for that day. After few months, I noticed all the small gestures he did and it warms my heart all through the winters.
Thats all from us, we just finished Ten Years of love, laughter and lots and lots of crazy hate filled fights. So don’t give up just yet, clear your heart of old bitter hurts, and see if you can create some good experiences.