Friday, 6 December 2013

What Makes a Marriage Successful? - A guest post by Rekha Dhyani


You already know what I think of Rekha.

Rekha Nair Dhyani is not a fellow-blogger. Before anything, she is my friend who writes, and writes without any contradiction between her within and without. Her posts connect with me, as do the thoughts she carries inside. She blogs at Dew Drops - a space which explores relationships, love, parenting and memoirs. Her blog appeals to the woman in me – all roles - mother, wife and daughter, combined.  

I happily publish her guest post for my humble space here. Yet again, she has me nodding in full agreement with her. 

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My marriage is just over a decade old and I certainly do not have any right to preach about the success of a marriage. But I thought I should definitely share my thoughts on this. Right??? 

The success of any relation depends upon the amount of love, compassion, time and understanding that are put in by the couple sharing it. So does it mean that if we put in all of these ingredients, the final recipe will be as smooth as a fairy tale story? No. It’ll not be a plain smooth road, but a tipsy-turvy ride. There’ll definitely be ups and downs, agreements and disagreements, opinions and differences. The reasons: 

1. The two individuals involved are two different personalities. They have their individual likes and dislikes, mood swings, hobbies, etc., which are different from each other. Well, most of the time. 

2. The marital relationship is not just about the two of you, but it also involves an entire universe that has either conspired to conjoin you or have been trying to break you apart. This may or many not include your parents, and definitely include a battalion of relatives and self-proclaimed well-wishers. 

3. While you still manage to fight all of these, there are additional inhibitors who join in the war, courtesy your love (err I mean the physical part of it) for each other. Yeah, you got it right. These are your descendants. 

So for a good part of your life you’ll have to keep fighting against these antibodies and try to save your marriage. The personality differences do get accepted slowly but surely. The differences in interests/likes too will be handled efficiently by the two of you. An example to this effect, an anecdote from my life, I would love to share. 

One day (during the very first year of our marriage), on my way from office to home, I went veggie shopping. I thought to myself, poor guy has left his parents and is struggling to make a life with me; I must do something good for him. I had heard that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So I promised myself to make a different dish and make him happy. I bought capsicums and potatoes and made a really tasty dish (or so I would want to believe). At dinner time, we both served ourselves and started eating. In between I asked him how the food was. He replied that it was good. That day we took a little longer than usual to finish our food. After I cleared the table, cleaned up the kitchen, I came back with a bowl of ice-cream for the two of us. It was then that he said that he can’t stand capsicum at all. The best part was when I informed him that I too did not like capsicum at all. This happened in a love marriage. Of course, during courtship you don’t discuss capsicum and potatoes.

Then there’s the flock of ultra-sweet and caring well-wishers and relatives. This category can be easily handled if the communication channel between the two of you is not choked. Always keep your communication with your partner crisp and clear. Let the well-wishers know that just because you respect their age and the relation doesn’t mean that you’ve handed over the remote control of your life to them. Give them each a sweet smile and a wild grin at the same time such that it conveys that visiting hours are over. 

Finally, you are left with the product of your eternal love, your kids. And I tell you this category is the toughest to handle for a variety of reasons. First of all, no amount of reasoning works with them. However upset you are with them, you can’t tell them that visiting hours are over and then shut the door. They make you wonder if you guys were in love ever. After all, that love is definitely worth another try. All you can do with these little pyaar ke dushman is to have patience and wait for them to understand and give you some space and time. Till then, enjoy stealing the few lucky moments as and when you can catch them. 

On Rakhshabandhan this year, since there was some confusion with the muhurat of tying the rakhi, sis-in-law gave the Rakhis to me and asked me to make the girls tie it on hubby’s hand in the evening or on the next day. The girls did tie it but it was loosely tied. So I started tying the knot when the elder one jumps in and asks, “Are you both brother and sister?” To this my man replied, “If you guys are hell-bent we’ll definitely be living like brother and sister in a short while.” 

This in no way means that all marriages are a cake walk. There are good ones, bad ones and ugly ones and each has to be dealt with separately. But for the most part of it, I believe it is good and both the partners must try and help it work out. 

For the bad ones, try some fixing and repairing, but I believe patch works do not work for long. For the ugly ones, jump out with all might and swim across. There’s life beyond marriage and kids. There certainly is.

So, what do you think is the secret behind a happy marriage?






44 comments:

  1. Wisdom of a decade speaking Rekha.. Good one..And there is no recipe on what makes it work, but some things are a strict NO NO.. Trust, Shared interests and values, Communication, and some "US time" + "ME time" are critical. You're capsicum story was cute.. and such things happen. In fact sometimes you learn things about each other after years!!!!! Want to know my view on what makes a marriage work? Click over to http://nipmu.blogspot.in/2013/05/33-essentials-to-make-marraige-work-in.html

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    1. Thank you so much Nischala! Yes, I missed the US time and ME time. The capsicum story is something we still laugh at. :-) Went through your list of 33...err 34 essentials to make marriage work. Well summed up! :-) There's another important ingredient that should be thrown out of the door...EGO! Isn't it?

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  2. love this article.. and the capsicum anecdote is so true. Even if it is a love story, there are so many minor aspects that we are blissfully unaware of until they are right upon us.

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    1. There's something I noticed when I was about 10-12 years of age. My grandma who was unable to walk straight and had a severe hunchback would not allow anyone else to pour hot water for my grandpa to take bath. With the hunch back, she used to do it till she was completely bed-ridden. And my grandpa used to go and buy her medicines (the thailams and kashayams) by himself because he didn't want anyone else to do it till he died. Theirs was an arranged marriage and their bonding at 76 and 68 was worth treasuring.

      A few steps by me and a few steps by him...that's what is marriage all about. Isn't it? :-)

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  3. Rekha - Lovely post, and like you say, relationships work when we choose to make it work. And of course the secret behind a happy and successful manager is good communication. There will be plenty of deterrents that try to throw a spanner in the works, both voluntarily and involuntarily, and I don't think there is anything in a relationship that cannot be sorted out with good communication. Of course, the two parties involved in it, will need to want to work at it too. As for your husband's comment of "soon we will be living like brother and sister" - Amen to that. Every family has that....:) Let's leave it at that. Great post, and the reason that your posts resonate so much with all of us, is purely because of the way you write - Simple and direct dil-se :)

    Sakshi - Another worthy addition to your exquisite blog :)

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    1. Thanks Sid for the wonderful words. Every relationship requires a lot of work from both the parties involved. Marriage is one which requires much more than just working towards keeping the relationship. I'm sure we all agree that is one that is worth all the efforts if the two of you complement each other in more than one ways. Love along with respect and space for each other does ensure harmony in the relationship.

      And hey, I wouldn't qualify myself as a writer. I just share my thoughts and a few incidents here and there that are either funny or are memorable. But direct dil se they are. :-)

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  4. Lovely post Rekha and your cute story had me nodding in agreement! Ours was a courtship of 7 years and been married now for 2 yrs and there are still things about him that surprise and/or shock me! I'm still in the very early stages of married life but I can only say that relationships have to be worked on...at times its' really hard work :D apart from love and understanding, communication is the key if both are really difft personalities like in my case.

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    1. "relationships have to be worked on...at times its' really hard work :D "

      Thank you Aditi! You have said it. Short and crisp but that's the essence. Any relationship that's going strong is because of a lot of effort and a few compromises by both the parties. Communication tops the list, of course after love and respect.

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  5. Yet again two of my favorite bloggers collaborate to come up with a lovely post. Rekha, awesome post. In my opinion, along with Sid's point about communication, I would also go with 'space'. Like you mention early in your post, both parties to the couple bring along with them a baggage of likes, dislikes, stuff they are good at, stuff they suck at, dreams, ambitions, and a lot of other things. As long as both the parties clearly understand this and give each others space to do their own thing there shouldn't be an issue in the marriage.

    BTW, loved the part where your hubby answered with //If you guys are hell-bent we’ll definitely be living like brother and sister in a short while//, like Sid said, every family has that :)

    Sakshi, lovely addition to your already awesome blog :)

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    1. Aww Jairam! You are never short of words...are you? :-) Thank you so much! Space for each other is definitely a vital point. And I'm glad we are not alone in that brother-sister thingy. Good to know there are other couples who are sailing in the same boat. :-D

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  6. Ten years of marriage is surely a big feat. The secret to any marriage is to never sleep over a fight. Talk things out and figure out the solution. And on a lighter note its a must to keep the passion alive. To fall in love over and over again with the same person is a sure addition.

    This in no way means that all marriages are a cake walk. There are good ones, bad ones and ugly ones and each has to be dealt with separately. But for the most part of it, I believe it is good and both the partners must try and help it work out.

    For the bad ones, try some fixing and repairing, but I believe patch works do not work for long. For the ugly ones, jump out with all might and swim across. There’s life beyond marriage and kids. There certainly is.......loved these lines and am sharing them on facebook.

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    1. "The secret to any marriage is to never sleep over a fight." That is so true. That's what I meant with communication being an essential part of the relationship. It is necessary to avoid misunderstanding, maintain a bonding and so on. There's nothing in this world that can't be solved through communication. communication is the key to a good relationship. Thanks for reading and sharing! :-)

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  7. Nice take on marriage, Rekha! Well the topic is such that realms can be written on it. And yet no one can say for sure what works. Two people who can live together happily for so many years on end is a miracle any which way that you look at it :). Yes, communication,mutual love, respect and treating each other with dignity is important. Sense of humor is also important to handle the sticky times. And about children, let me not even begin :). Enjoyed the post. Thank you for hosting Rekha!

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    1. *reams* Please forgive the typos.

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    2. Yes, marriage is a topic on which you can have volumes written and yet it'll never be complete. :-) I wonder when I see people who have completed 40-50 years together and many a times, I have asked them how they have managed to be together for so many years. Honestly, some of them have adjusted and compromised too much. But I feel in those ones there might not be any respect for each other. Or may be it's superficial in nature. Or may be I'm completely wrong. Whatever it is marriage and the two people being together for so long is truly a miracle. Thanks for taking time to read and comment, Rachna. :-)

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  8. It is awful when the 'visitors' wont go even when you've told them that visiting hours are over. The havoc played on such marriages is painful.

    Good work Rekha! Thank you for this Sakshi...

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    1. I understand. Such situations do exist and they are really painful. Many a marriages break because of such 'visitors' only. Thank you so much for reading, Dagny!

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  9. Lovely post! And I see experience doing the talk!

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    1. Thank you Shaivi! It's just the first milestone that we have crossed. There are many more hurdles to be crossed to call it a successful marriage. So far so good. :-)

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  10. Marriage is definitely life changing. The added ingredients of relatives and so called well wishers make it tougher. If one crosses the initial stages then the latter stage may not be that difficult. The most important factor for a happy marriage is love of course. In case it's an arranged marriage then one can create it. Hard work is required to keep it together. Beautiful post :)

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    1. So true Diana! If you manage the initial stages together, then the visitors and well-wishers aren't difficult to manage at all. Love, of course! And the madness attached to it is what keeps the flame burning. Thank you so much Diana! :-)

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  11. Two basic secret for the hubbies. He should never try to find any logic for any of the statement made by the wifey. Hubby should remain silent when wifey's voice becomes little louder.

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    1. Jahid, I would say it stands true the other way round too. VICE VERSA. :-)

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  12. Filled with wisdom. Marriage is give and take and weathering the storms and joys together. ♥

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    1. Like all other relationships, 'Give and Take' it is. But with a little more dedication and passion. Thank you for reading Kathy! :-)

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  13. Fabulous post Rekha!
    you are so right with all your points.
    For me, respect and space also contribute to a happy and successful marriage.
    What's the point in loving your partner if you don't respect the person?

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    1. Without mutual respect, love cannot survive. Right Pixie? :-)

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  14. “If you guys are hell-bent we’ll definitely be living like brother and sister in a short while.” loved your hubby's retort.
    The two people in a marriage are separate entities who have different tastes ideas etc but both of them keeping evolving and changing. nice post where you have a good attempt to analyse the reasons.

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    1. Thanks Kalpana ji! I believe it is like another course that you've enrolled into. The more you work, the better the results are. Only point, here there's a lot of teamwork involved. :-)

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  15. You have me nodding my head in agreement too Rekha! Wonderful post! And that capsicum incident was hilarious :)

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    1. Thank you, Di! That incident is one that we remember whenever we see capsicum. :-D

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  16. beautiful and wise words, Rekha.
    Wishing you another decade of love, and togetherness, my friend!

    Sakshi, great to host another brilliant writer!

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  17. The things we do for love, huh? My thing was eating the fish in the fish curry my husband lovingly prepared. Until one day, he realized that I kept playing with the fish and washing it down with water! ;)
    I'm certain it's difficult to make time for yourselves as a couple especially when the children are young - I guess you have to get creative about this.
    Lots of wisdom here, Rekha and shared in a such a delightful way.
    Waving out to Sakshi!

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    1. Oh yes! Anything for love and romance. :-)
      My goodness! I am wondering about your husband's expression when he finally realized. :-D It took me 7-8 months to start eating chicken. Now he has converted me into a pure non-vegetarian. ;-)
      Oh the creativity part with kids, we are maturing at it slowly but definitely. ;-)
      Thank you so much, Corinne! :-)

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  18. Aha! Capsicum-Aloo... Love makes us do such things!! :D
    Enjoyed reading the words of wisdom from a rich experience!! :)

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    1. Oh yes, Shilpa! Love ke liya saala kuch bhi karega. :-D
      Thank you so much and I'm glad that you liked it. :-)

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  19. its really funny when people say,HOW TO MAKE A MARRIAGE SUCCESSFUL?it sounds like a business venture and management guidelines by some renowned b-school professor.working out a relationship sounds very artificial like botox treatment which you have to keep taking whenever required to look good.

    marriage or any relationship is based on magnitude of one's good qualities or character.marriage is just another relationship like you have brother ,sister,mom and dad.affection is constant thing for a good human.it won't be constant if you are a baddie.since people keep saying that none is perfect to defend their opportunistic perceptions,people work out on relationships.
    its very simple for any relationship to be a fairy tale,one should have absolute transparency in life and should have nothing to hide about past or our views.we hardly find transparency in people behavior,so its difficult to maintain healthy and happy relationships.if a person doesn't maintain transparency,then he/she is called person with less character/substance.

    any relationship is based on one’s character.if a person is really good,he/she will have same commitment and magnitude of affection in all circumstances.

    i have 2 ex-girlfriends and they din’t last more than 3 months coz they don’t have same magnitude of emotions on 1st day and 90th day.its very simple to judge one’s character coz good people remain same in all weathers.when it comes to me,am the same 2yr old kid,i din’t change over years.

    so in the end ,its really easy to judge one’s character based on whether person is into half-hearted emotions and superficial relationships.

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    1. My dear Rohan, it's great to know that you are the same 2 year old and didn't change over the years. But for me I have evolved a lot over the years. That's why I understood that a relationship needs to be worked upon. I hope you'll agree that there's definitely a difference between those who have been there and those who are yet to be there. Hope you have a wonderful life ahead and a stable relationship sooner to understand what I meant. Till then, to each his/her own. :-)

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    2. i don't find difference between people who are married and people who are with girlfriend without marriage.its all about one's behavior aka commitment.one can live happily forever without marriage if they are really true.marriage is just a custom to make people lives secure coz people don't have absolute belief in each other.

      lets explain the concept of marriage.marriage is a medieval custom to keep society in order and stable.in ancient india ,opposite genders din't had scope to socialise so to keep future generations intact and to flourish they introduced a custom called marriage.marriage happens between two strangers and the marriage is a commitment to be responsible for the rest of life.so they intoduced rituals ,astrology,all stuff around marriage to create stable society.in modern world ,opposite genders have many occasions from schooling to public places to gather,meet and understand.why do we need a medieval custom called marriage which was meant for strangers to keep together. its very funny when people opt for marriage in modern world.

      i do know that people are not flawless or completely ideal to follow above theory,so people opt for marriage.

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  20. Lovely post rekha. I miss our US time too. 12 years of marriage...and life is Turning into a routine. Especially after kids...its one thing after another. But I guess the success lies in finding time when there is none :) little moments, a compliment, a message. I see families bond over social networks when they live in the same house :o how times have changed. Agree to all your points. Enjoyed reading.

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    1. Thank you so much, Preeti! It is indeed necessary to find time when there is none. As you said, the little moments are the ones that count a lot. Thanks for reading. :-)

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