Updated: Jul 13, 2020
For all the couples, newly wedded or the ones who have the wedding on their mind; with a heavy heart, I hereby break the news that happily ever after is a ‘myth’.
A myth that was told to us by our parents through fairytales and happy ending bedtime stories. A myth, we have believed in and passed on to our children from centuries to centuries.
We grew up believing in a charming prince who crosses rivers and oceans to find his beautiful princess. Who fights the devil and saves the princess, then takes her to his kingdom. Both eventually fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after.
Wake up people, the dream is over!
Life, my dear, is a journey of facts and frictions; and no one told us what happened ever after! The reality is that people mess up. Sometimes, they mess up big time. So what do we do then, break up, separate, or divorce?
There is an ancient recipe also, somewhat alien to our instant solution-seeking generation; save your marriage, sail together, and survive.
Siblings fight. Friends fight. Neighbors fight. We all fight. Sometimes there are reasons and yet at other times unnecessarily. So why do we put the burden of being a perfectionist on one relationship, our spouse?
Successful marriages are not the ones with a smooth journey. Couples who know how to ride the bumps on the way, who hang in there and work through the complexities of their relationship in everyday life are the ones who stick together. When responsibilities stare in the face, couples tend to forget their marriage vow, to stand beside each other in times high or low. What they do instead is play blame games and start living in a world of assumptions, leading them to believe that both are two teams standing opposite to the other.
People mess up and so do we at times. Important is to realize that we can still make things work with a few simple changes in our perception. If staying with each other seems worth the effort you wish to put into saving your relationship, then here are a few words of wisdom to kick start afresh.
Don’t stop growing. Embrace the change in yourself and your partner. No one ever remains the same. If you are not the same person you were when you got married, how can you expect your partner to be the same as they were back then! Change is inevitable. So rather than riding against the waves, it is advisable to accept the change and help each other grow strong emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually.
Your happiness is your responsibility. We are all individuals and complete in ourselves. As couples, we may complement each other but the burden of ‘you complete me’ seems too much to handle for the other.
Remember, you were happy when you were single because you were the source of your happiness. So what suddenly changed when you got married? Why did you shift the source of your happiness from yourself to someone else? Isn’t that unfair! It feels good when your partner makes you feel special, surprise you, or do things that make you happy. They do it out of love for you. It would be wrong to become dependent on them to fulfill your need for staying happy.
Once we realize this, we will expect less and live more in the present. Remember, things cannot buy you happiness; it can only be felt from within. So work on yourself to find what makes you happy. It will go a long way in strengthening your relationship with your better half.
Don’t ever stop doing the little things you do for each other. Love can be shown in many forms, like, doing activities that your partner enjoys or cooking them their favorite food or a surprise date, maybe a vacation, reminding them to take their medicines on time. There could be n number of ways you can express your love to your partner. The point is to never stop doing the little things you do for each other. Love is not just in saying ‘I love you’. Love can be shown through small gestures you do for each other in everyday life.
Leave the past behind. There will be days when the sea would be rough. You will have arguments, disagreements, and fights. At times you will even regret the words that jump out of your mouth when you are angry. Believe me, I have been through it a lot many times in my ten years of marriage, but one thing that I learned over time is that it is good to leave an argument or fight on the day it happened. There is no use carrying the unnecessary baggage of guilt and resentment. Try and make up for each other before the day ends. Every day is a new day and, remember, life comes with an expiry date, so enjoy till you are alive!
Leave doors open for healthy communication. As I mentioned before, people mess up sometimes. The loss may be irreparable, but just think before you make any hasty decision, is this person replaceable? For most of us, the answer would be ‘No’. Then why do not we leave a door open to let our partners in with the trust that we will listen? Listen to understand. Listen to support. Listen to help them get back in time where they left. Communication is not always about telling the other how you feel but it is also about knowing how your partner feels. It can only be healthy if you are non judgemental and make a conscious effort to uplift each other rather than dragging down.
Give a little space to each other. Enjoying an activity together is a good idea. Yet, at times, we all crave for the ‘me’ time. You should talk to your partner and let them know what you want. There are couples who do not give enough space to each other. In such relationships, one becomes controlling and demanding and the other becomes submissive. Such couples fail to lay a strong foundation of their marital alliance, needless to say about the sad scenario of such a marriage.
Take small vacations alone, go shopping or movies with your friends rather than your spouse. Take that walk alone down the road, go for the hiking trip you had been planning for weeks, enjoy the long drive listening to your favorite music on a rainy day. Last but not the least, stop feeling guilty for that ‘me’ time you crave sometimes.
Master the art of forgiving. Forgiving someone for their mistakes does not mean we comply with what they have done. It simply means that for us our relationship is worth saving. It simply means that our inner peace is more important than the storm outside. Forgiving your partner means giving them another chance, another opportunity to help you rebuild the trust you lost in them. No relationship is perfect. So why expect marriage to be an epitome of perfection. After all, a perfect marriage is two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.
The question that most of you must have on your mind by now is, how to forgive someone when it is difficult to forget what one has done to you? I never said it was easy but it is worth it if that person is the one you want to spend your whole life with. The first step to forgiveness is acceptance. To err is human. Accept that the person you love is also a human. Accept the mistake(s) made by them. Once it sinks into you deeply, let the pain hurt you till it stops bothering you any further. Now begins the magic! The act of forgiveness starts to descend.
Couples who have managed to pull it together till eternity are not the ones with a smooth love life. A fairytale love life is a fable. They are the ones with a broken heart, thousand scars, and the willingness to hold on to each other.
The reality is people mess up. Don’t let one mistake ruin a beautiful relationship.
If this article proves helpful to anyone of you, please feel free to share your life experiences, how your belief in each other saved your marriage, how you held on to each other when the times were tough. Your stories may act as a source of inspiration for many couples out there.