Marriage is a noble institution. It brings two individuals to share the joy and sorrows of life together. In the ancient tradition, our parents looked at boys or girls for their kids and arranged the marriage. There was a lot of investment in horoscopes and astrologers to make matches between families.
In today’s era, most of the youngsters choose their own partners either in college or later in their work life. They spend enough time to know one another and then decide to tie the knot. Religion, caste, creed etc. which were the main criteria for marriages in the bygone era has given way today to mutual interests by the younger generation. It is compatibility, which is the sole criterion for the decision.
I sometimes have wondered as to why some marriages work and others don’t. This question in my mind has shattered all hypotheses for successful marriages which experts have enunciated. I have seen successful marriages amongst arranged ones as well as love marriages. I have witnessed people from the same state, religion, caste and creed not getting along and on the other hand people as diverse as Kashmir and Kanyakumari have evolved as great partners in life.
If if look back at my marriage, which is 32 years young this year, I can possibly summarise some of my learnings of how to make a marriage work :
1. Adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses : If we can build on each other’s strengths rather than weaknesses, it helps.
2. Support your partner in a crisis : All of us go through our crests and troughs in a relationship. The true test of partnership in life is not tested when everything is hunky dory. It is when you are going through a low phase of life. Your partner can be a good listener, a silent supporter and a person who can help you bounce back.
3. Gratitude : I realise that many a time we forget all the good things God has bestowed on us when we go through a tough period. We curse the Almighty for giving us all the sorrow. It is not easy to reflect on this especially when you are at the receiving end. It is at this stage one of the partners can help the other to be grateful for all that they have in life .
4. Resolving Conflicts: When we go through conflicts in life, many a time we find a escape route. Running away from a problem does not solve it. Our true test of character is when we face issues head on and are willing to give-in and create win win solutions.
5. Forgiveness & Ego : Most of the time I have noticed that our ego plays spoilsport. Each of us wants the other to take the lead and we are not willing to forgive, forget and move on. We tend to blame each other rather than enable the other. It is our ability to forgive, which raises our stature and bonds our relationship.
I met my partner in college and we decided to marry each other. Our families were not readily supportive of our idea. But it is our resolve, trust in each other and honesty, which helped us convince our families. Since then, we have also seen a lot of ups and downs. It has been the support of each other, which has made our partnership work. We have had great times together, we have fought with each other and even not talked to each other for days but never given up. One of us took the lead to give in and listen to the other. This has been the foundation of our partnership.
If I may summarise, I would say it is unconditional love, trust and our ability to be there for one another, which makes partnerships work. We need each other’s support, when we face a crisis rather than good times only. I am sure each of us can find a way if we are willing to work together always.
S Ramesh Shankar