Life is very simple, but it has been made complicated by human beings. There are no rules and regulations on how to lead a happy and contented life. They vary from person to person and differ from situation to situation. People believe marriages are made in heaven and realised on earth. Then why are there mismatches? Why are there quarrels between spouses? Why divorce? There are no straight answers to such questions. Some people have mental problems, some suffer from ailments, some are in depression. Why?
Because, at some time or other, we have flouted the rules of nature. This might partially answer - why we are not happy and why marriages are not perfect.
When two individuals, who either know or do not know each other are bound by the rituals of marriage, there are bound to exist differences of opinion. Nature has not made us all alike. Even the carbon copy of the “rainbow cat” cloned with the same DNA, is not exactly the same as the original.
So, one is living in a fool’s paradise - if one expects to find a perfectly hamonious spouse.
Divorces often take place for petty issues. For example:
1) Your spouse has the habit of not cleaning the hairbrush.
2) Your spouse throws dirty clothes allover the place, instead of putting them in the washing machine.
3) Your wife likes to spend time at kitty parties and attending club functions.
4) Your husband is in the habit of spending time gossiping and drinking - after office hours and then coming.
5) Your spouse forgets to inform you and is absent from predetermined functions.
6) Your spouse does not pay much attention to the children.
7) Your husband never volunteers to bathe, dress, and teach them.
Your spouse is more worried about his or her parents and siblings, than about the home.
9) Your husband thinks - it is your duty to look after the children, keep the home neat and tidy, provide sumptuous meals and be a good wife in bed.
10) On the other hand, you are a good mother, and a good daughter but not a good housewife.
11) You crib that your husband is a good father, a good son, a good brother, a good friend and a good social worker, but not a good husband.
Besides this, your spouse may have the habit of snoring, forgetting to flush the toilet, not remembering birthdays or marriage anniversaries etc. The list may go on. Anyway, these are petty issues, but they need to be dealt with. Otherwise, they will grow into mountains and be impossible to deal with.
If one keeps one’s cool, they will appear petty issues. There are easy ways to sort them out. For instance, if your wife has forgotten to clean the comb or a hair-brush, you clean it. It takes just 5 seconds and you can bring it to her notice, in a subtle way, by saying, “Darling, you are losing too much hair. Today, when I cleaned your hairbrush, I found so much.” She will get the point and be grateful to you for showing concern, at her losing hair.
LIFE IS A MIXED BAG
Similarly, to get your husband out of the habit of leaving dirty linen all over the place, wait for the time when he does not find his favourite shirt or tie, which is lying in a corner or under the bed. Search for it, find it and give it to him, then tell him to put dirty clothes in the washing machine - to avoid such situations in future.
One must understand that life is not a bed of roses - but neither is it full of thorns. It is a mixture of both and it depends upon the individual, whether he or she finds roses or thorns.
Leading a happy married life is an art. It is the art of compromising. If the man might have wanted a Lindsay Lohan or Angelina Jolie as his wife, the woman might have longed for a handsome, obedient and loyal husband. But, in real life, we don’t always get what we want. However, one can transform an ordinary girl or boy into one of his or her liking, through understanding.
First of all, when you accept a person as your life partner, start off by loving him or her. Love not only the person’s good qualities but also his or her shortcomings. Love means loving a person as a whole and not in parts. Praise the good qualities and bring to his or her notice the shortcomings in a subtle way. Everyone makes mistakes, so there is no point in losing one’s cool over a petty issue. Normally, we do not notice a plus point in our spouse, but we are in the habit of highlighting shortcomings.
Marilgu Ruman says, “People like other people, who make them feel good about themselves.” Never try to prove that you are more intelligent or smart than your spouse. If your spouse is lacking in anything, it is your duty to bring him or her up to your level. Love is not only to gain materially, it is also for giving love, affection and kindness.
When you are unhappy with your spouse, is divorce the answer? Should you divorce in the hope of getting a better partner? No! For all you know, your new partner may be worse than the previous one. Most of the time, people just trade one problem with another - like trading tooth trouble for knee trouble!
Your present spouse may snore, the next one may not snore but may keep you awake throughout the night, surfing the internet and then sleep the whole day. So, divorce is not the way to get a good life partner. One must introspect prior to blaming the partner, for a bumpy ride. If the following factors are taken care of, the question of divorce will not arise:
Many of us give priority to our work vis-a-vis our spouse and , children. Keeping the boss happy and getting promotions is not life. Life is much more than that.
If you neglect your spouse and children to such an extent that you do not remember their birthdays etc, then you do not exist for them. They learn to live without you. So, when you need them after retirement, they will distance themselves from you, think of you as an unwanted member of the family, and wish you could keep working.
So, with whom are you going to celebrate your happiness? Happiness is multiplied by sharing. If there is no one to share it with, you will become depressed. So try to balance work with family life.
One must have an eye for the needs of one’s spouse. Married life, is not a one-way traffic. The marriage cart not only needs two wheels, it needs synchronised movement too. Frank Pittman says, “There is no way to win against your spouse, you both win or both lose.” Men and women have different needs. As per L. Abrahamian, for men sexual fulfilment, recreational companionship, admiration and domestic support, top the list. Those for women are affection, conversation, honesty, openness, financial support, and family commitment.
Most men think that women will be happy by merely getting good clothes, ornaments and a lot of money, but as per their priority, money comes last but one. Men talk the entire day in office, but when they come home, they become mute spectators. For women, conversation is the second highest priority.
Do not imagine that your spouse will be ideal. Any fool can love a beautiful/handsome spouse, who is perfect but one who loves, in spite of a lot of short comings, makes life more meaningful and happy. Most of us search for a dark spot in a white sheet, instead of looking at the entire white sheet itself. So do not keep searching for short-comings, as all of us have them in plenty. Look for virtues, which will make you as well as your spouse - happy and life wonderful. Do not keep on fighting over petty issues. A successful marriage is not one in which there are no fights, but one, in which fights are turned into opportunities for greater honesty and understanding.
Too much of togetherness breeds contempt. So one must look for opportunities to create space. It is advisable for the husband and wife to stay away from each other, for a month or two in a year. Once the spouse is away, the value of that person, will dawn on the other. This may be the reason why 90 per cent couples in the armed forces remain happy and contented, as, forced separation take place. Earlier, in the joint family system, separation was ensured, because the wife would go to her parents for festivals and ceremonies. So it felt as if each reunion was a second honeymoon.
Men take care of their health by playing outdoor games and going to the gym, but they fail to ensure good health for their spouses. By resorting to simple exercises, one can keep away diseases like BP, diabetes, arthritis, asthma and even Parkinson’s disease. It does not need a very great effort, to take your spouse for a walk. It will also strengthen the bond between you. Exercise also helps maintain one’s vitality level, so that sexual needs are also looked after. Though love is not sex alone, sex is one of the important ingredient of a happy married life.
For maintaining one’s health, one can practise yoga. The latest findings are that, if couples are sexually active, their health is generally good. There is sex therapy to treat depression, weak heart muscles, low backache, etc. So, by routine exercise, one can kill two birds with one stone - ensure good health and enjoy sex also.
Marriage thrives on love, compassion and consideration. The biggest culprit in destroying amicable, friendly relations is the ego. Everyone thinks that what ever he or she is doing is right and that others are wrong. Whenever your spouse is in a foul mood and utters unacceptable words, you should not resort to the same. The golden rule is to have patience. Even your spouse will realise his/her mistake, and love cannot thrive under domination either.
When the late Meena Kumari was asked what love was, she said, “You bow down a bit, I bow down a bit.” Once anger takes over, you lose your reason. No decision taken at that moment, can be right. So just try to tide over it and then everything will fall into place. Ensure that your ego does not destroy your relationship - as no home is big enough for two egos. You can always give away a thing, which you have in abundance. If you have anger or jealousy in abudance, you can easily give it to others. If you are unhappy, you can give sorrow to others.
If you can give happiness to others, it means that you are a happy person. So why not make yourself a happy person, by giving happiness to others? Robert Flack, in Better than Gold, has said, “Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime - should rank among the fine arts.”
If one thinks more of the partner and less of oneself, 50% of marital problems will be solved automatically. Sacrificing makes one’s life meaningful and makes it easier, when the final call comes.
A selfish attitude makes life more complicated and unhappy. So, as you grow up, learn to sacrifice. Natural happiness comes when something flows out from the body, whether it is urine, sperm, milk, love, affection or kindness. Shiv Khera has written in his bestseller, You can Win, “Whether it is thought, action or behaviour, sooner or later - they return with great accuracy.” Therefore, to lead a happy married life, one should not even think of divorce. Such thoughts will push you into depression. If children are involved, then we are making their lives miserable - for no fault of theirs.
So learn to compromise. Adjust and do not find fault. Keep praising the good qualities in your spouse and enjoy happy married life.