I read something on the internet today. It quoted Will Smith, “Her happiness is not my responsibility. She should be happy and I should be happy individually. Then we come together and share our happiness. Giving someone the responsibility to make you happy when you can’t do it for yourself is selfish”. Now, I am not certain if it was actually Will Smith to say this but the quote left me wondering about the utter truth it spoke.
Among the thousand lessons that marriage has taught me, one prime realisation was that we grew up watching way too much Bollywood! At least, I have. I have also grown up in a rather conservative household like many other Bangladeshi ones where marriage was always overemphasised than it should have been. Not to mention, “Eishob biye’r por husband ke niye koiro” was the response to many appeals for approvals. Thus, my family, movies, society and of course, my naivety has lead marriage to be more of a fantasy for me rather than a part of my life.
What is marriage? Google quotes the following –
Only if this was it! Well, to some, marriage is the beginning of a new life. To some, it is a mere addition to all that there already is. After 16 months of marriage, my definition of it has deduced to this – sharing lives. If anything marriage is, it is sharing the rest of your life with your other half. It is being present during the good, the bad and the ugly. The moment you say ‘I do’, or in this case, ‘Kabool’, is the moment you accept the partnership of your spouse and let me remind you, this partnership comes with its own set of pros and cons.
I will not go ahead and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of being married as it varies from person to person and couple to couple. However, what is in dire need is to shed some light on how crucial it is to prepare oneself mentally and emotionally before stepping into this new phase of life. Marriage requires a gargantuan amount of compromise. In order to survive the marriage, one needs to learn to let go and not hold grudges. Being understanding and putting oneself in their spouse’s shoes is absolutely mandatory. Sacrifices are a must. It demands excessive lengths of adjustment. All this with as minimal expectations from the other side as possible.
Nevertheless, I am not one to preach the idea of ‘putting your spouse’s needs before your own’. I firmly believe that it is completely impossible to love someone else without loving yourself first and loving yourself to the fullest might not always be as easy as it sounds. There is a fine line between self-love and being selfish. As important as it is to balance between loving thyself and being self-centred, it is equally vital to balance between how much compromise is healthy in a marriage and how much is overdoing it. It is never wise to take too much on your plate as it may give birth to bizarre expectations in your other half or the in-laws. Eventually, when you fail to live up to those expectations, it takes a toll on your mental stability.
We unintentionally tend to put a massive amount of pressure on a newly formed relationship of husband and wife to make it a prime source of our happiness. Read that again. We are all guilty of that.
Now, as daunting an experience as I may make marriage sound like, it does not necessarily have to be this complicated. Some people decode the puzzle of marriage in no time and some struggle for years but gearing up for the journey is definitely a prerequisite. Preparing for the rest of your life is more important than the week-long wedding festivities. The moment the alliance is fixed, we leap to planning for the big day rather than taking a moment to realise how things are never going to be the same again. The decor, food and fun will all be history and what will stay is the partnership of a lifetime. It needs more care than you know. As a generation, we are becoming more ignorant of what is central to our lives and focusing on momentary pleasure. We boast of how we do not care about what other people think but most of the times, that is all we really care about.
Your marriage can be the most beautiful and pleasant phase of your life if YOU want it to be. It CAN be like the movies we grew up watching but it requires your direction. More often than not, couples are found to be fighting over petty issues regarding wedding arrangements, right before their wedding, when they are supposed to be cherishing the last days of their single lives and preparing for the togetherness ahead. I remember the numerous quarrels H and I had during our wedding preps. They were mostly about me complaining about how he was not too involved in organising the events, how he was not there when I needed him the most. He would get mad about me forcing him into all the arrangements despite him not having any interest in any of it. What I failed to understand that he was handling whatever little responsibility he had all alone on behalf of his family. Instead of appreciating the good, I only focused on the negative. He, on the other hand, failed to be considerate towards me for taking the burden of the entire affair all on my shoulders and did not realise that it wasn’t me but my frustration acting up.
Working on these problems have a more fruitful after-math and gives a satisfaction that is undoubtedly more than that of when you see your perfectly choreographed holud performance!