Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things I Wish I Knew Before Marriage

In my years as a match-maker of sorts I have come across many people who expect a lot from marriage and a pretty disappointed a few years down the line or even lesser. People who enter thinking of roses and chocolates are disillusioned when they find out that marriage is also about thorns and bitter pills.

Through my experience of getting and keeping two souls together I have learned a couple of things and would like to share them with you.

People change; People don’t change

This is conflicting, I know. But some of my friends feel that their spouse has suddenly changed after marriage and some mourn that even after years of marriage their spouse has not changed a bit! “Before we got married he used to be very sensitive. Now he doesn’t care!” complained Richa. Or my good friend Abhishek who hoped his wife’s excessive partying would eventually stop, and was disappointed that even after the baby arrived she continued her late night parties!

Well, it’s not fair on our part to expect someone to change according to what we think we would like him or her to be or rue the fact that a person has changed. It’s better to accept the change or the lack of it and more importantly communicate and see how you can work as a team.

When kids come, they change everything

You keep hearing this and like many things you don’t realize how true this statement is until you’ve actually experienced it for yourself. Especially now with nuclear families, juggling kids, maids, day-cares, chores and a job has put more stress on the relationship. “We didn’t even have time to talk to each other, because our toddler son would keep interrupting our conversation!”
I remember a friend saying. And this is after the more grueling phase of taking care of a newborn!

Neglecting your relationship at this time can boomerang later on. While the new mother needs her own space, the new dad has to cope with feelings of being left out. Either way, it’s important that you consciously make time for each other. Remember, once the child grows up and is off to carve his own future, you’re back to each other.

Sex vs. cuddling

It’s no secret that men want sex and women cherish cuddling and intimacy. Men need it physical and women need it in its entirety. “I remember he used to be quite sensitive to my moods in the beginning, later it was just about himself,” confesses Arti. “Why can’t she talk dirty?” Blurted a male friend of mine once.

The most important thing is to be open about it --- it’s your spouse after all, not a stranger --- and work towards what makes you both comfortable and happy. It’s not going to happen overnight or over the course of even several months, but most importantly keep your communication channels open.

Be open about finances

“I never really knew how much my husband had stashed in his account, until I accidentally saw his bank statement. And he used to keep telling me that there wasn’t enough money for this or for that,” said Jyoti, who I knew was a spendthrift, so I was secretly happy that Prakash her husband was secretive about the finances. But that apart, I think it’s important for the partners to maintain honesty and transparency in finances so you avoid snooping spouses or resentments and lies.

Marriage is hard work

You might have heard this often, but it won’t actually hit you until you face hurdles, which can come in many forms. And believe me, it is hard work. Sometimes it means swallowing your pride, sometimes accepting a fault, even when it is not yours, sometimes learning to change your outlook and sometimes adopting an entire set of new friends! Whatever it is, be prepared for some hard work, after all nothing in life comes easy, but remember that sweetest fruits are that of labor.