(In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happily Ever After.”)
When I was young and in love with my husband (then boyfriend), my father asked me “What is it that you like about him?” and I had a list of items to tell him. Then he asked me “What is it that you don’t like about him?” and I said “He is perfect”. The reality is that I actually could not think of anything negative quality in him. The world was bliss then, I believed that my life just like a fairy tale would end to be “happily ever after”. I believed that there was nothing that I did not know about him and that we would have no issues living together after marriage. I longed to live with him, to be 24/7 with him. What happened is that reality hit me in my face just after we decided to get married. I realized that there was a lot of work needed in my relationship with him.
This is a natural process. When we are in love, everything about the person seems perfect and when bold decisions are taken believing that the person and the relationship is perfect – bad consequences need to be dealt with. Have you heard of teenagers eloping and getting married when they are just out of teens? Most of them end up in divorces or separation. This happens not because there is anything wrong with the concept of love marriage – it happens because we fail to recognize that even love marriages need to be arranged.
In my opinion, there are some basic thoughts about different areas of life that need to be discussed even in love marriages – because you love the person doesn’t mean that the person has the same thoughts and values about different aspects of life.
1. Talk about ambitions in life – how do both of see yourself 10 or 15 years of life together? Settled abroad, doing a business, parents of x number of kids, working in MNCs or NGOs etc. This is important that you both understand each other’s ambitions as individuals but still make plans around it to have common goals as well.
2. Talk about money – How do you value money? Are you or your partner possessive about money? Are you or your partner a spendthrift or a miser?
3. Talk about family values – How important is your family for you or your partner? Do you wish to have your parents stay with you in the long run? Or do both of you picture yourself as part of a nuclear family? What about kids?
4. Talk about hobbies – Do you approve of each other’s hobbies and agree to make adjustments to accommodate each other’s interest? What sort of adjustments need to be made?
5. Talk about social life – How many and what kind of friends each of you have? How do each of you like to socialize?
6. Talk about any factors that you can never compromise on – What is it you or your partner is not ready to compromise on at any cost. For example – when I and my husband spoke about this, he was very clear that he will never compromise on his brothers and they will continue to be his priority. When I was asked the same question, I said that I would never compromise on my career. It was clear to us since beginning that what is it that is so important for each of us individually.
I think these are few important areas that need t be discussed. Of course, you can know your partner better without broaching the topics directly simply by just spending time with him/her, but it is always better to have a clear discussion and have complete clarity on such things. It is alright to have difference of opinions, important question is – do you love the person enough to make adjustments all your life to accommodate that difference?
So, if you are in love – just pause from saying lovey-dovey things to each other and have such talks that will make your life easier in future and will help you work on your marriage.