The Tricky Part About Marriage
Month 1: I attend a marriage of a close friend in the midst of Corona pandemic. It was super fun because it gave us a nice break from the novel monotony of spending almost all of our time indoors. And all of the attendees managed to be safe from Corona despite multiple avenues of exposure to it. In short, a memorable marriage to be remembered for a long long time.
Month 8: Marriage trouble reaches its peak for the recently wed couple.
Marriage trouble in the first 6–8 months of marriage of this couple got me thinking about what makes most of us stick together for years, even lifetime, in a marriage. Married life begins with its own new experiences, responsibilities, compromises, and ton of surprises! So I am sure it wouldn’t be too harsh to call the beginning of this new phase of life bumpy, encompassing a few hiccups here and there.
Two questions come to (my) mind after reading this: 1. Why is the beginning bumpy? 2. Why is “just” the beginning bump?
Well lets talk about what we think about marriage, before we get married.
Before we get married: Marriage is a new, beautiful phase of life which you share with a “life”partner, someone you get to share your the rest of your life with. In short, a family member you get to choose, finally. So what could possibly go wrong with your choice? (I am assuming you has a choice here).
This is the widely accepted way of living and growing families generation after generation.
What we don’t know at that point in life is what it takes to make it so?
After we get married: Sooner or later, we realize that marriage is just a synonym for compromises, not just an antonym for loneliness. One time you get your way, another time you don’t. This goes on in an endless loop until death does you apart, not necessarily in that order.
In short marriage is tough! Bet no one told you that before. Or you probably, and conveniently, ignored the few people who did. There there, we are all guilty of selective listening at times.
So when do we realize this?
When shit happens in our own married life or in the lives of our close ones. If the speed of the loop mentioned above is slow and steady, we too learn and grow with it. But, sometimes it happens so fast or in an extremely skewed manner, something you never expected. And at that point giving up seems like the easier answer. And that is the tricky part about marriage! Things can take a turn for the better or for the worse so easily, especially in the beginning.
What triggers this shit?
Once you start living with someone 24/7, it draws upon you that deciding whether to marry this person or not from afar was the easy part. It is now that you need to take the big decisions of your life with this person, that will lay the foundation of your marriage impacting the both of you for the rest of your lives.
What are you ready to give up for marriage/each other?
What are the non-negotiables for you both?
What are your “common belief systems”, the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of this world around us?
Finding answers to important questions like these which affect the daily lives of every couple living together can take years, even lifetime. That’s why we see couples of all ages fighting with each other more often than we would like.
So when does the good part about marriage come about? Well, as soon as you learn to unlearn what everyone wanted you to believe about marriage before you actually got married and when you learn the tricks of overcoming the tricky parts about marriage, married life does get simpler, better, happier!
What are those tricks? That’s what you and your partner need to figure out, together, starting the very first day of your marriage!