I am aware of two marriages of close friends in downward spirals and heading towards a point of no return. It pains to know that both marriages have similarities and differences and yet they are both in the same state. One was arranged the other was a love marriage but the primary difference did not matter much. I would like to share some takeaways from these weddings and what could have been better.
1. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for not meeting expectations: Marriages go off the rails when the expectations are unmet. Usually the men go into the marriage with expectations that may be let’s say unreasonable and when these expectations are not met the cracks appear. While expectations may not be wrong in itself, they come with the challenge of being a two way street. Pause for a moment to acknowledge that the other partner also comes with his / her set of expectations and it is his / her right to feel short changed when the expectations are unfulfilled. Very often it is a one way street and discontent leads to the partner(s) straying. What is fair to one need not be fair to the other and when people say win-win there is a lot of merit in it.
2. The foundation of a marriage is undoubtedly love but it has to be built up on respect: In the search for love of the purest form people tend to forget that respect goes with love. Mutual respect is crucial as without respect there cannot be love. Marriage is complementary and is never a union of equal halves it is more of the joining of two irregularly broken pieces that will be unequal, big here, small there. So is the marriage and if the partners are hiding behind the fallacy of the weaker / stronger partner it is good to pause and appreciate that it never was and never will be equal halves. There are things the woman is better at, concede it and move on. Lack of respect for self and for each other is therefore crucial for the marriage.
3. Keep the kids out of it: when the partners bicker in front of the kids then they are scarring kids for life. Respect for women is often missing in our country because the kids do not see respect for their mothers at home. How will that kid expect any better later on? A submissive girl or a bullying boy (cliche) would have probably learnt it first at home.
Marriage is all about glorious uncertainties and is a voyage of discovery. There is a lifetime to learn something new about each other despite a lifetime behind if the partners will make time for it. It is a two way street that may require more giving than receiving at times but if it is founded on love and respect will it really matter? Love and be loved, ultimately to make a marriage work only the two partners can despite the many around them. And yes if they are spiritual some divine help may just come in handy.