Somehow, the earlier generation got it right. The husband was the provider and the woman the nurturer. They had their roles defined, almost written in stone. There were no complications, no angry bouts over not understanding each other and definitely lesser divorces. Our generation is just lost in the field of relationships and when we think we know everything, we decide to settle down and get married and make the other person as confused as us. With the rate of divorce in 2010 as high as one in four couples in India, people are grappling to figure out what to do to have a healthy marriage. Here are a few tips.
1. Communicate Positively– Don’t just talk to each other about what you did in the day, your bosses’ angst, the traffic problems, your children’s school issues and the deadlines you need to finish this weekend. It’s all boring! Share what excited you about your day. Convey how you accomplished your dream today or how you overcame a difficulty in office. Share some gossip about friends you overheard. Explain a new problem you might need your partner’s help with. Speak about how your partner made you proud that day. Express effusively. Be generous in your compliments. Your partner wants to make you proud. Do not overdo so he/ she will not care after a while. Some days while your partner is in office or out of town, correspond through messages or emails a fantasy you have about him, click a photo of yourself and send it to him saying you are missing your better half right there and even say a simple “I love you.” Hearing those words and feeling that you are wanted in your partner’s life helps you stay connected. Indulge in a little sex talk. Be naughty and wild. Routine communication can come once a week when you are both lounging at home.
2. Book a Hotel – So you and your partner are working like crazy. You are juggling your career and managing children. It is tough and you need a break just to unwind and reconnect with your partner. If every weekend results in sitting in front of the television, having dinner with friends or playing with the children, you need to take a vacation. Not a big vacation of a few weeks that you have planned in summer, but a mini vacation for a night. You need to leave the kids with responsible adults/ family members who can look after them and check yourself in to a hotel. Go on Sat morning and check out on Sunday. Just a day’s break from the minutiae of daily domesticity and work deadlines can rejuvenate you. Do not put on the TV in the hotel room but use the facilities of a pool to lounge together or swim together and spend time walking around the premises. Connect with your partner physically and mentally. Get a couple’s spa. Do this on a regular basis where sometimes he makes a booking and sometimes you pay for it. Both of you will come back refreshed.
3. Participate – You like capoeira, he likes reading. You like partying every evening, he likes having single malt with his friends. You like cleaning, he is a slob. You have different tastes, different backgrounds, and different groups of friends. How do you combine to have a healthy couple life? The thing is you can’t most of the times. You have to let each other be to enjoy what they like doing most. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you can’t share in their activities. For every three times you or he does something, the other person has to be with you on that activity once. So if you’ve gone partying with your friends three times, the fourth time he needs to go with you. Then you must not include other people and just spend an evening with him alone. If he has gone golfing three times, you must go with him the fourth time. Even if you sit and cheer him on from the stands. We need to participate in each other’s lives. We cannot live in a bubble content with who we are. We married so that the other person completed us in some way and we need to make an effort to grow and learn from each other. The only way we can do this is by trying to be happy with the other’s hobbies and learning a bit more about it.
4. Work, Space & Internet – Most of us are in a rat race of some kind. We want to work hard, earn well, and retire early. Therefore, we work like maniacs. We often forget that the people who we are working for need more time and attention from us than the things that we buy them. Finding the balance seems to be extremely difficult. Moreover, what most of us want at the end of a day is space and on the weekends some peace. We live in a world where we connect with people every day but find it difficult to connect with our spouse. So we can use the web to connect with them. Have a steamy twitter relationship, send some encouraging words on his Facebook dp, Whatsapp him about stuff you did. We have to start supporting our spouses in their dreams, the lives they want for us, their hopes and only then will they support us back. Marriage is teamwork. You give and you will get back. Just don’t expect it. It will happen when you least anticipate it.
5. Commitment - Many of us get married because our parents want us to. Some get married because they think it’s the “correct time” and a few to procreate. Marriage is an extremely strong bond that two individuals choose for themselves. It’s a commitment for life to look after that person because now they are your family. Many of us give up easily. We feel we’ve done enough. The spouse doesn’t “get” us anymore. The love, understanding, consideration is gone. We even find someone who we have a spark with! All marriages are the same. At some time, the passion will die. At some point neither of you will understand each other nor love each other. And you will want to move on. This is the time when you need to hold on even more. Your boat of marriage is going through a rocky patch of tumultuous waters and you both need to hold on to the boat, if not each other to get past it. This could take a few months, even a few years. But when you do come out, you will be stronger and wiser. Many people will find that spark with you. You are a scintillating person. Show it off to your spouse and fall in love with each other all over again.