It shocked me; I can say no more than that as I listened to the conflicting woes that troubled the thirtyish-something young couples. The reasons seemed flimsy as I heard a young husband complain, ‘She served the coffee with the left hand!’ Cheerfulness is drying away in the family ties. No mutual trust. Hurting each other has become a tearing norm. Forgive-and-forget attitude never felt like a compromising mode for estranged mates.
I was looking at a sad unfolding story of unhappy marriages, joyless lives, and fractured relationships. Their misjudgements sneaking as guests into their bedrooms.
“What happened?” I asked her – to the well-educated, bubbly young woman – sitting before me – the daughter of my friend whom I have known for over forty years.
“I don’t know,” she answers, “I really don’t know what’s happening” “It’s simply not working. My husband is not anymore what he used to be when we were married.” The young one’s tone clearly hinted that there was nothing else to elaborate on in their six years of marriage. She has revealed enough to claim that her marriage isn’t on the right track. For me, as a sixty-year-old, her scenario sounded unbelievable. It’s often difficult to make sense of the sentiments of the ‘next gens’ preconceived opinions about marriage and relationships.
When I listen to their vague perspectives, I get the impression that they are low in tolerance levels and high on short-fuse temperaments from the moment they decide to join the dreamy race of romanticism, love, and marriage.
During the marriage apprenticeship, many young adults seem to live in a fantasy or myth. Their wild imaginations prompt these images: “If I fall deep into romance, it may allow me to meet my emotional needs; if I desire strongly enough, my future runs happily ever.” Both parties seem to entertain a foggy spell that happiness and caring in love and marriage are a guaranteed package. They set sail with popping excitement. That all the good things, all the early perks of promising romanticism, would ensure joyful marital experiences. And thus go an eager soul fantasizing, “I will live happily ever after.”
In the thick of initial romantic euphoria, in haste, many take to selective blindness. About the emotional rules and little reflexive acts that matter in loving relationships. I can’t help but wonder. How, in ignorance, they go about their routine lives, believing that happiness operates like an inbuilt fountain, ready to gush out as we please. We all know that reality never follows a predictable track. The truth throws up many odds issues, sometimes painful fallouts, the unexpected behavioural twists and turns. In such cases, I wonder, are these amateurs prepared to sit, think, and commit themselves to favourable mental adjustments?
A good relationship is a work in progress – it never stops.
Safety and satisfaction in a marriage are the wheels that help smooth running. We have to create time and space to take control of the routine activities and communication that makes room for intimacy between the both. For this communion to happen, a relationship needs to revitalize itself, engaging in stillness and leisure; we must work on mutual understanding and such caring routines have to become daily habits.
Success with the partners could only be possible because of sustained emotional efforts. It calls for rational abilities. To exhibit enthusiastic responses and the motivation to see the relationship grow afresh daily. To put it in a better perspective. Let’s consider how we find doctors, builders, lawyers, and chefs who commit themselves to improving their skills, staying ahead, and inviting acceptability, praise, and updating their knowledge. We appreciate their passion. We see them always translate all their abilities into practice to succeed. They treat their devotion as a struggle for survival.
Similarly, the efforts of adaptability for the partners in a relationship are no different. They must subscribe, invest, and explore – daily – moment to moment. The aim is to prioritize happiness, trust, welfare, and communication.
The capacity to love is not the same as the ability to love. And these features are not gifted to us at birth. To love and maintain a sustained companionship involves cordial hard work; it involves a helping of temper of passion to remain delightfully fresh as long as a relationship survives.
Listening to the distraught lady, I suspected, “How come these people are acting so selfish,” as a retired wise soul, I came to this conclusion:
At first, marriage or friendship begins as a joyous spring of imagination. A naïve longing seeped in fantasies, excitement, and an eager willingness to enter a relationship. But a few years later, a possibility could come up, the alliance might grow sour. Strife may set in to create all the convincing reasons and arguments to show how the union has slipped into disillusionment, anger, and conflict. At one point, one may confront a whimsical question, “Why did I choose to fall for this man/woman in the first place?”
I tried to reason with the young woman. She held to her opinions as stubbornly as her fierce features conveyed the careless resolve. And her eyes looked sideways, struggling to hide a dab of wetness. It had been over an hour and a half since the volley of arguments from her and a few of my platitudinous logic rallied. Before she was ready to leave, I tried to reason with these pointers.
Have you ever heard of a term called psychological and emotional visibility? I asked her.
“No, never heard of it,” she replied; the tone was intense. “I don’t change my decision, whatever your sweet-talking meant to be. “I imagined what she meant.
“She is a young girl, not so worldly smart. She might never has been through the rigors of life enough. Let me try to explain a few facts that might help her,” I told myself.
There is an intuitive flirtation that plays a deciding role in attaining a mutual harmony of one’s marriage tempo for a lifetime. That demands self-interest, a deeply felt awareness of wishing to celebrate a happy life with the spouse. It’s an invisible but sycophantic conscious need called psychological visibility – a core urgency of a successful marriage. It meant a sincere willingness to make the companion feel acceptable. A way of choosing to put in simple efforts to cause them to feel seen. Let’s call the task the ability to accept your partner, be truly happy, and understand and communicate your feelings. And this initiative of good vibing is a purposeful process without end. Because in marriage, the relationship matures and tires quickly, and therefore it asks for more. And it requires more involvement, motivation, and inspiration. And the truth is, couples are engaged in constantly temperamental events.
Psychological visibility is excitement, an attitude one must develop for a sustained passion for our loved ones. It’s an intense craving that exists within each of us. An emotional greed to see and to be seen, communicate in subtle, eloquent words, to appreciate and to be appreciated, to understand and to be understood. It’s like holding a psychological mirror to each other. We experience a reflexive rush of subconscious smartness for a deep attachment – how we remain sensitive to what we see in our partner. Making this a part of our daily life’s essence remains a source of safety and security. That generates a lively two side flow of messages, “I see you,” and I understand you.” This is the mechanics of how we have to nourish psychological visibility: a powerful marital assertion – the core and essence of a fortunate marriage or a passionate love affair.
And last: These are the reflections I shared with her.
Although these subtle bits of advice are easy to speak about, but putting them to use in your relationships is a tough call. Being in touch with your feelings and behaviour without ego and pride is what it takes. But frankly, all the proposed notes of niceties could be learned. You must warn your thoughts not to betray, and remember that a shared need of acceptance is a valuable ingredient that keeps marriage and love alive. Only your ego and vanity can spoil the show. Remove these negatives from your conscious maturity. A joyful life is yours. ‘We are not immortals.” So, enjoy what life can offer to both of you – forever.