(If both the partners have the foresight, a generous understanding, and healthy self-esteem to be a friend of our spouse’s dreams and aspirations, then we have the very best chance that the bliss in our marriage will become an immutable love affair.)
I sat back in a chair, stretched my legs, and placed them on the parapet of the balcony, looking into the foggy skyline and the tall constructions at various stages of completion. Taken in, I involuntarily uttered something but the murmur sliced out through my dim thoughts, ‘at this point of marriage, can I clear out my hassles with Gaurav.’
I couldn’t give up bothering, and I began to feel mean at the fitful behavior laid bare by him. Things have come to a pass I have ended up a restless rag feeling nervous at his mood swings, and the distance and silence ran the show in our home front.
I’m staying in my parents’ home for a month on a pretext of health issues. But beneath my choice of long absence from my husband Gaurav, I wanted to stay away from the strained environment that has dulled the relationship and snapped even the usual small talk – a bitter situation hanging in tension for over eighteen months.
Gaurav and I got married ten years ago; our qualifications were good enough to ensure a handsome salary. Two years later, my pregnancy with Abhiram saw that I stayed at home caring for him in his early years. I was fine enjoying the motherly bonding with Abhi, secretly enjoying the leisure and freedom from the corporate rat race.
It’s been a week I have landed at Bangalore, where my parents went to live after both of them retired from their Government service. I’m the only daughter for them. Since my arrival they are, as their elderly wisdom dictated, silently assessing the circumstance why I dashed, unannounced, to their home. A lot confused, I haven’t revealed the scene of a raging battle of misunderstandings, daily conflicts I’m going through at my home in Hyderabad.
I saw the depressing silence filling up my days from about six months ago. That irritated grimness showing on his unsmiling face, the telltale body language sending out a code, ‘this space is closed for you.’ I could see the first crack in the amazing relationship I have built over the years, Abhi as the central core of my love and Gaurav, the guardian angel of the family.
‘What happened,’ unable to suppress the confusion, nervously, I faced him, one day, at dinner time.
‘Nothing,’ he blared over me before he scurried into the bedroom, his queer eyes scanned me top to bottom, as if I’m an unholy curse.
Later the same night, I called one of his friends.
I was sick and outraged at what I had heard from his friend.
“Something is flustering him; I guess since you have decided and informed him you wanted to take up an advanced course and re-join the earlier position again” his friend’s detached tone irritated me a lot more than Gaurav’s uncommunicative manner.
What? The word got stuck in my throat.
I never knew he could be so selfish; I’m paled and baffled. I didn’t understand why he was reluctant to approve if I go out looking for a job again. I kept wondering why he is treating me like this. It’s unlikely I would bid to remain like this sulking in the screened and choking apartment, freaking that I couldn’t hoist my freedom and my choices. I felt I’ll get caught doing something awful.
This egoistical fussing is what I don’t approve of Gaurav, his moaning, and opposing whatever I speak about my love for independence, freedom to pursue my creative ambitions. I’m mighty proud of my potential – my promising source of happiness and fulfillment. It’s impossible not to get irritated at his selfish inability to speak a few pleasing words of support and bring on an appreciating smile on my face
I know he has been shedding loads of self-pride from the early days of marriage. But his ridiculous attitude, unfair scuffles he has been provoking for no good reason seem to strain my mental health, influencing the love for my child, my family, and my friends. I’m not able to engage myself in any enterprising activity; my moods seemed to touch its lowest ebb, going around with a clouded mind, and lately, I had become mean and touchy.
I ran over and over again the sequence of behavioral fluctuations I had seen in Gaurav, trying to interpret what might be troubling him when I discussed my intention to resume my career.
It has been ten years since we have come together. I think we have spent enough good time, I suspect, I see a need, an urgent logic to sit together, reflect on and take stock of changed realities: our evolving relationship, our quests to reach something higher, the savings, and the children’s future, personal aspirations.
I’m a human being quite well-off in employable qualification; I’m not expected to remain permanently unchanged rest of my life. He can’t dream of days when I’m a young, loving wife, to be there caring for him. He shouldn’t imagine I should remain so forever. If he entertains an opinion that I shouldn’t look for any excitement, groom myself for any challenges, never think about the best days of achievement, I guess there goes a sure possibility of the security and stability of the family may get chocked. In such a case, I very well believe the joy of living together; the harmony of a loving relationship may take a bad drubbing.
Why doesn’t a reasonable sense to get into him, giving him a mind to respect my needs, allowing for my terms of passion? I expect he never shows his controlling version that might likely create thin lines of partiality and a hurtful punch to my psyche?
Why doesn’t the age and maturity help him appreciate being flexible, generous to look through his spouse opinions? It would be easy if he allows an obliging space for both of us. I wait day after day wishing why he can’t accept my eagerness to reach higher goals, wanting to create a new optimistic character. I keep dreaming he flows along with me and open his eyes long enough to see the great possibilities of happiness and achievement for both of us.
His sudden rudeness, selective silence when I approached even in routine situations, I knew he is indirectly hinting he doesn’t want me to make any independent decisions of going out for a career option. Though I tried to explain my feelings, he seemed in no mood to listen. I guess he is tip-toeing in the house as if I have suddenly turned into an enemy irritable enough to strip all his composure, and safety he believes he has assembled at home.
Every day I barely felt comfortable in my home, his presence causing needless irritation, and I find nothing to look forward pleasantly anymore.
I pull together the anxieties which were playing hard on my nerves, and I’m unsure if I ever could reclaim my tougher self any sooner. And I’m embarrassingly aware that both my parents were watching the restless me through the frame of their doubts and suspicions.
I finally broke down one day, pouring out the mold decaying for many months that has darkened my mind and punctured whatever good faith I had in myself.
‘Let your mommy, and I speak to Gaurav once,’ the genteel tone of my father was reassuring.
A week later, my father had a two-hour huddle with my husband.
I was apprehensive of the outcome, well aware of my husband’s quirky conduct.
After a marathon dialogue session, I’m hugely relieved to see a gentle shrug of my father, a smile on my mother and light in the eyes of Gaurav. It was a climactic moment where I savored and breathed a sense of relief.
I found my husband’s gaze softened, had an easy posture, and threw at me a snug ‘everything will be fine’ look.
Gaurav left to Hyderabad, and I stayed back for two more days to get rid of the weight of six months of the traumatic hangover.
One night relishing the light-hearted moments, I asked my father, ‘how did you do it’?
The simple philosophy of a good relationship between married couples is what he artfully reasoned with my husband; I’ll edit it in a few points.
A married relationship is like a balance scale; it’s a system at harmony most of the time. If one scale changes, the other must also change – or we lose the equilibrium.
If a partner wants to grow and the other partner resists, the growth it invites imbalance, and that leads to a crisis. It’s the beginning of a slow process of decay of trust, abusing of mutual respect, anguish and hatred and the slow death of love and affection. It means inviting tragedy into our lives.
Marriage is always in continuous motion. There is a change component embedded in it. Not to move forward is to move backward. The partners live happily so long as the movement is forward and progressive and advancing in a happy oneness. Coming to a standstill means it’s bad; it corrodes the wheels of the relationship. If my partner and I are not moving forward, we are withering together.
In marriage, the greatest chance of happiness, togetherness lies in the ability of the partners to handle change. Love and peace have the greatest chance of survival when we realize not to fight the flow of change but learn to join it, enjoy it. We should never make ourselves the enemy of each other’s growth. If we do not accept this precept; it’s but a short step away from discord and disruptiveness.
It demands from both the partners a huge supply of self-confidence, a sense of security, mutual trust that gives the courage not to resist change, not to fight growth, not to resist the forward motion of advancement. If this insight we could bring in into daily lives, it’s an oath of faith that strengthens our commitment to our family.
If both the partners have the foresight, a generous understanding, and healthy self-esteem to be a friend of our spouse’s dreams and aspirations, then we have the very best chance that the bliss in our marriage will become an immutable love affair.