Our wedding was majorly two things. Magical and fleeting. I was so busy going from one ritual to the next that before I knew it, I was unwrapping gifts! I felt different alright but I was yet to grasp the true meaning of the 3-day long ceremony.
While unboxing one of those gifts I realized that a wedding is both, an end and a beginning. The end of a nerve-racking ceremony and the beginning of my marriage.
When you are taking your 7 vows at the wedding altar, it is impossible to fully understand their gravity in the truest sense. You just sit side by side in front of the wedding fire, all sweaty and you make those promises because they feel right. It isn’t until you’re well within your marriage do the real opportunities to live your vows arise. When the rubber meets the road, are our beliefs of love and marriage demonstrated?
Through this year, I’ve made some little discoveries and chanced upon a world of realizations that I wanted to let you in on. I’ve learnt most of my lessons on marriage the easy way because Tathagata is a patient and kind husband.
Today, I’ve decided to share these lessons with you. This is that part of the marriage that nobody prepares you for. You’d be surprised at how extraordinary marriage can be.
1. Marriage is a really good self portrait. After our wedding, I suddenly became aware of how my choices and actions can affect Tathagata. He has been patient through the time I’ve failed to realize the consequences of my choices and has walked the extra mile to cover up for them. He has taught me how meeting mid-way works and I still try to consciously work towards it.
2. Little things creep up on you once you are married. Like our differences. You can never truly understand your compatibility with your partner until you start living with him. It isn’t until then that you discover his tiny traits – like how his nose crinkles up when he is combing his hair or how he likes his coffee or how emotional he gets when Arsene Wenger makes his final appearance as a manager at Huddersfield.
Another thing is to travel together. We’ve been lucky enough to catch some mesmerizing sunsets in 3 different countries together. Travel really opens up our minds and personalities and lays them down like an open book in front of each other. You get to see the true character of a person when you travel with them.
On each one of our escapades, I have found myself rediscovering why I fell in love with Tathagata. He is deeply caring, he is extremely friendly and he never gives up. He is kind and he is well aware of his strengths and weakness and isn’t afraid to accept them. He has taught me to treat people the way I want to be treated. He is a man of honour and upholds his integrity and his values with all his might. He would use the shirt off his back to help a friend.
3. It’s often the case when the way you choose to show love is different than the way you receive it. This realization came as an unexpected gust of wind in my way. It’s confusing initially. You might even misunderstand it for something else. But then it dawned on me, everyone is different. Hence everyone has a different way of showing love. Personality differences in a household is fascinating. It teaches you resilience, patience and opens your eyes to the many special moments that make a marriage work. It has taught me to be attentive to differences and expand my personality to embrace them.
4. To be honest, no marriage is without its trials. While differences are good, they may sometimes cause friction and disappointments. So, if Tathagata disappoints me for some reason, I have found myself resorting to one action: giving him the cold shoulder. I’ve done it quite a few times and this angers him the most. But slowly, I’ve come to realize that there is another, far better choice. It’s looking at my actions first.
Am I demonstrating the kind of action that I’m expecting of him? Am I even trying to understand his perspective by putting myself in his shoes for a second before making a judgement? Most of the time, this works as a wake-up call to see that what I expect in Tathagata’s action is not being demonstrated in mine.
5. Often times, it so happens that we do not see eye to eye. Sometimes, it’s a significant issue, sometimes it’s a build up of small things. But when the going gets tough, do we really show up like we promised in our vows? That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? What seems to be the easiest option in those circumstances is to wait. Who would make the first move at reconciliation?
Situations like these are God’s little tests. Tests of the strength of our relationship. If you stop for a moment and think, you would realize that this waiting game is nothing short of an act of pride. It takes more love and strength to lay down our pride than to hold onto it. Imagine how amazing it would be if we race to be the first one to make amends in such a situation instead of being the last? Despite knowing this, it’s always hard to take the first step. I know how difficult it is. I’m still working on this part.
6. It is extremely easy for negativity to seep into a marriage. Because it thrives on our weaknesses and our inability to accept them. Words are the easiest form that negativity takes in an argument. Words, once spoken, cannot be taken back. Few things cut deeper than reactionary words. Anger can make you say worse things than you can imagine. So, I’ve been trying this little exercise often to put a lid on my anger: WAIT. When I’m angry, I wait to cool down before forming words. It needs a lot more practice than I thought but I have instantly seen the results each time I’ve been successful (no matter how few). It gives my thoughts a chance to sort out. Tathagata has taught me that the habit of discussion is worthier than accusation and has been helping me with this since Day 1.
7. It’s important to be silly together. It’s only when I could be so without hesitation did I realize that we’ve got sunny days ahead. If you can keep those stupid jokes, impromptu plans and a little bit of dancing going, you’ll know that you will be just fine no matter how much or little work your marriage requires. We’ve thrown in a bunch of honest compliments and a whole lot of humour to the lot and it sure helps take the load off.
Tathagata loves me heroically and selflessly through battlefields of mood swings, outbursts and even flu season. I can feel his love through his small actions day in and day out – like switching sides while crossing the road, changing the bed sheets when I’m busy, saving silly videos to watch with me later, noticing the nuances about me, putting the phone down to talk to me – the list goes on.
After a year, these little things start to hold more weight than when it began. In between the first time he told me how he felt about me and our first wedding anniversary, there have been many moments that only we shared together. There have been consistency, loyalty, trust and an endless love in these moments.
I know Tathagata would, without a shadow of doubt, walk the wire for me. And I will follow him anywhere.