Once upon a time, this is how I recall, there used to be this kick ass-couple, well excuse my French, always on the go, fresh, lively, energetic, in-the-moment people who did whatever it took to make each other happy, the cheerful companions. Backpacking for a trip on an hour’s notice, watching movies, having friends come over every now and then, sleepovers and of course work but enjoying their youth and freedom was everything there life was all about.
Then Life moved on. They were blessed with a baby, their world filled with this new found love and joy. The euphoria of having a baby is so strong that it overshadows everything else in one’s life and the very person is put at the second best who made this baby possible in the first place, all the time and energies consumed by this little miraculous being. Bestowing with their intoxicating charm, babies also mean more work, more stress, less time and lesser energy. Then very gracefully the doting couple and their marriage are put on the back burner. They take their relationship for granted thinking it is strong enough to withstand any challenge, not knowing that this most important relationship can be the most fragile one where absence of proper attention can have devastating consequences.
They seemed to be doing a fairly decent job adapting to the lifestyle around the baby. The baby, now toddler started going to playschool and the trained adult minds got the better of them and they started brainstorming for the second child.
And it was only after the second they realized they had started drifting apart. They had been living like strangers for long under one roof with two adorable kids, the only thing common between them. Everything started and ended with kids in mind and just kids everywhere. She became the caregiver and He became the bread earner, doing everything possible they could to give them the best. Their sole purpose of Life. Our sole purpose of Life!
The little cracks when not tended to can turn into colossal chasms and that’s what happened with us. It took us a while to realize that our relationship with each other was as important, if not more, as with the kids. There was a void. Looking at each other, we smiled less, appreciated less. That companionship, that connection lost somewhere.
Then one day giving everything a thought, the intricacies of Life storming in my mind, I asked myself if this was the sole purpose of marriage. If it was, then I felt quite incapable of taking it to the very end. I felt incomplete and lonely in spite of having an adorable family. Something not on the right track, something which needed attention and I had no clue what.
And then just a general conversation with a very dear friend gave me a jolt making me realize what I had been missing. I had missed Living with the guy I got married to all these years in spite of being together under one roof. That was the day I made myself a promise. Not letting this relationship being overshadowed by anything else, worldly or otherwise!
Having had the diagnosis made, we both started working on its course of treatment and now here we stand, tall and proud, with all the vital stats within their normal limits and relationship immune for life!
Once babies happen, they become the center of our universe and raising them, no doubt, a tedious task, but what I later came to realize as a parent was that for them parents are their world. There is nothing better for them than the joy of having a set of happy parents. Keeping the very fact in mind and to revive our own bond as partners, we started nurturing our relationship with the same intensity as we did with our kids.
Ours is just a decade long relationship. I have seen couples splitting even after spending longer, as much as 20 years together. There must be something very deep, very infuriating and offensive that goes into making such hard and ruthless decisions. After all, putting a beloved family, nurtured painstakingly with love and care, at stake is not an easy affair. The rocky terrains can catch us unawares anytime, just right after the bend on the seemingly smooth path. It is that time when our faith and trust in each other is tested. And sometimes we consciously have to put efforts in making that connection right. In rough times, instead of fighting and blaming, hold on to each other more, forgive each other more. We are all humans and in difficult times may act or behave unexpectedly. No matter how serious the issue is, don’t give up easily. Putting your egos aside, talk, try finding a solution to the problem, to overcome it no matter how grave it is.
Be that little grass, firmly rooted, steady and unhurt even in the storms. But for that one needs to be rooted, rooted very strongly. So stock up on that trust and bond with your partner as much as you can and from the very beginning because that is one thing you will need in the face of whirlwinds.
A lot of soul searching and experiences, both positive and negative, have made me learn a few lessons of Life which I am sure would help me stay in my marriage happily united.
Communication has always paved the way to solve a lot of issues and often communication of love, joy, anger and doubt is not given its fair share once there are kids running around the house. The two of us made it a point to let each other know about even the little things happening in our lives even if we had to make a phone call and talk and this really worked in our case as somehow we were left with very little time for ourselves given the pressures of our lives.
Getting weighed down by the endless responsibilities that come with raising kids, we often reminisce the past when life was less complex. Comparing the freedom we used to have before we became parents led to nothing than mental strain. Accepting that life is not going to be the same again after children helped us in adapting and thus truly absorbing the happiness and magic that came in the form of children. And no wonder we all four have become the partners in crime, the youngest one being the deadliest!!
Not taking either the person or his contribution for granted and appreciating each other was another thing we adhered to. After all appreciation, little gestures of love and care, saying thank you never harmed anyone. Letting your partner know about your love reinforces that although things have changed between you two but only for the better. Reminding ourselves of the earlier days let it be through recreating an event, a surprise note or a late night-out did rekindle the sparks! The twinkle in his eye at my unexpected visit at his workplace and the same reflected in mine was all just so worth it!
One thing of note is to set your emotions free. I accepted my negative emotions with the same grace as I would a compliment. I started sharing my feelings of anger, loneliness, frustration and insecurity with my husband. This further helped build understanding between the two of us. Storing them inside never worked for us and always led to an explosion. “So say it, say it loud! Accept and let go!” is the mantra followed in our home now, whether it’s me, him or either of the monkeys!
Cleaning, groceries, laundry, repairs do wait a little longer now at our place, with the not-so-prim-and-proper house. We have started overlooking all the chaos as it is inevitable and do not strive to control it all the time which makes us more relaxed eventually. The walls in our house now boast of scribbles and doodles in every color possible. When these little creatures fly out the window to make their own lives, there won’t be anyone to mess everything around. So we are making a lot of memories to cherish with the two sugarplum candies we have as there will be forever to make that house look up-to-date. And yes, we do CREATE TIME for ourselves and have made spending some quality time with each other a HIGH PRIORITY!