Marriage Starts With, “I Do” Not The Relationship!

Sanya woke up in the morning with heaviness in her heart and a sullen sadness hung over her like she wasn’t done with her yesterday yet. Even though it’s been years since her separation she still carries the sourness of her marital failure.

I met her over coffee on Zoom, that’s the current make-do hangout these days. Her pensive mood was making her look a decade older and I could notice the stark difference in her otherwise charming demeanor. Her wrinkles were prominent and her eyes looked sunken. Before I could greet her my mind went all over the place…what was wrong with her? and oh boy! My brain loves to find the missing pieces. It is restless in such situations.

Sanya is a wise woman and never lets her emotions overpower her judgment at any point in time. When I asked her what triggered her into this glum. She said she came across a post on Instagram of her ex-husband and his wife celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary.

She was not really jealous but each time when she looked at his wife’s contented smile in the filtered and perfectly romantic photographs she felt her failure strongly. She shared a few of them with me and while I watched she kept contemplating what was amiss in her marriage. Hadn’t they promised a forever and ever too?

I let her vent out. I knew she was releasing the hidden pain which is necessary to resurrect from the vulnerabilities. 

My inner voice, that of the coach, spoke in a tone louder than it usually does and it said, “About time woman, let it all go!” However, I muted the inner chatter. I did not want to sensitize the whole conversation when she was trying to put her pain into words. I casually asked her, “What do you think went wrong in your relationship?”

She coined it in just one word, which is the essence of all the suffering in relationships. She looked into my eyes and struggled to voice out the word, “expectations!” It seemed as if she was admitting something internally to herself.

She continued, “You know, in marriages the spoiler is to piggyback on the other and expect him/her to carry your weight around for a lifetime.” The classic romance in the novels is good to read but life is different. The hero in a marriage is neither the bride nor the groom but the dignity with which they accept each other’s choices. True love is unconditional but not trust and respect. It needs to be cultivated.”

I asked her, “And now how do you think you can make peace with this realization?” She said, “I am releasing the pain and letting him go, my inner voice was happy and relieved and it said, “there you go!” Oblivious to the internal jabber, she continued, “I am embracing the lesson he came to give me, my expectations had blinded me to see the good in our marriage… Marriage starts with a promise – ‘I do’ but the relationship starts with gratitude. Complaints can ruin what you have. Let your spouse have a different map of the world, it’s okay if he wants to spend his time watching the IPL when you want to go for an elaborate candlelight dinner… being happy is a bigger bet, isn’t it?” I nodded. I silently absorbed her wise words, finally, my inner musings quietened.

She beamed at me and suddenly seemed at ease, “Thanks Shree (smiles) I am glad to have a friend like you, thanks for listening and letting the sublime insight come forth on its own, I could use your arms around me today.” I spread my hands, winking awkwardly at the camera (this tech thing still doesn’t go well with huggers like me) and we gave each other a virtual hug.

Marriage is not a communion of two halves but of two complete personalities who entwine to make a beautiful and wholesome life and family. Having said that, you also complement the other and support until he/she develops the competence that is needed to get by, but you don’t make them lean on you and neither do you control the air they breathe. You simply flow together in the same direction as the river. With this beautiful understanding, I went on with my day.

Categories Gratitude, Life, Love, MarriageTags , , ,

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