Marriages are made in heaven, goes the saying.
Marriages need to be nurtured, is the reality.
Irrespective of whether it is arranged by your parents or chosen by you.
During the wedding, the bride and bridegroom are united in holy wedlock by putting beautiful flower garlands on each other, circumambulating around the holy fire and solemnly pledging to each other a life long of friendship, love, commitment, fidelity, and protection. The wedding should and does give joy at worldly level and goodness at spiritual level.
And what next? Does life continue as a bed of roses for the two individuals who wed each other?
Marriage is a relationship that grows day by day, entwining the couple, bring them closer, and eventually anchoring itself on the basic edifice of commitment. And one needs to nurture marriage into a beautiful, rich, intense and long lasting relationship by staking in a strong decision to stay committed.
And that is not easy. It comes with a lot of work, pain and sacrifice by both the husband and the wife. And needs some core aspects to be constantly worked on:
Love: Quite naturally, the first binding factor between two individuals who step in to the world of matrimony is love. But often love does not happen at first sight. Love is an expression of concern, trust, intimacy and care for the spouse. While showing love during the happy times comes relatively easy, the real test of the mettle is when the going is tough. Standing by, offering a hand, shouldering together during the difficult phases takes a significant amount of effort, but forms a bed rock of a happy marriage.
Equality: And eventually, the only talisman that can make a marriage work is the feeling of equality. Marriage needs two individuals at an equal footing bring in to the table their uniqueness while retaining their individual identities. A happy marriage has a strong sense of being equal, immense love, deep respect, utmost concern, unflinching trust and a intense understanding.
Respect: This is the core ingredient of a great marriage. And is applicable both ways. Respecting each other irrespective of their professional status, position, social standing, and focusing on only the heart of the spouse needs a great deal of maturity. More so, in our society which lays down so many dogmas and definitions of husband and wife and their expected duties. None of these matter, if the spouses are willing to respect each other. A recently released Bollywood movie – Thappad – touches upon this core issue. Will a man respect his wife only if she is a working professional?
Communication: The ability to share their views openly and without inhibition is what makes a marriage last. But alas, it takes a lot of time and effort from both the individuals to give the right amount of space, ear and non-judgmental reactions to ensure there is an open and uninhibited communication. It also keeps misconceptions, wrong interpretations and unnecessary conversations at bay. The Oscar nominated movie Marriage Story depicts this aspect in very many ways.
Forgiveness: Last, but not the least and definitely not compromising, is the ability to forgive. If you love someone truly, forgiveness comes easy. We have often seen a mother forgiving her child, or a grown up son forgiving his mother, but not their spouses. When love is deep, there is a clear urge towards understanding that heart and offering forgiveness. Yet, I must caution, this pillar is often misconstrued. Forgiveness is probably not in order for a repeatedly faltering spouse, or for an irresponsible parent impacting the lives of children. The extent of the mistake, the intent behind the act, and the degree of remorse is what should determine whether forgiveness is the right approach. Coming back to the movie Thappad, getting berated and physically abused in public forum does not deserve forgiveness. It requires a deep rethink into what is making the marriage run.
But, more importantly, spouses who are able to clear the clutter during the difficult phases and listen to their inner core and act by that voice, and not by those of the people around them, have strong marriages filled with love.