Marriage is a Trade-off
But a beautiful one at that!
I got married at the age of 42.
Marriage at that age meant that for most of my life everything had become largely about me.
It still is, but with one small (or big) iteration… This time it’s about me plus my husband.
And that, in fact, is the most beautiful trade-off in a marriage — to give up the ‘I’ to make it a ‘we’!
Marriage includes another.
But, isn’t most of life about including another? If it wasn’t, life would get lonely and limited.
There’s an African proverb — ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!’
From my two months of being married, if there’s one point that has got clearly highlighted, it is that — Marriage is teamwork, a joint effort.
One where you understand each other’s strengths, play them up, or figure out the weaknesses, and see how you can work around them.
Marriage is also about listening to the other clearly and with your heart… Not with the view to combat the other, or to find fault, but to simply understand where the other is coming from.
Each person has their own set of life experiences, and, perhaps, even baggage to deal with.
Most of it is not necessarily “baggage” in the negative sense — it’s just what makes up the other person, a large part of who they are or were… Both of which you have to simply accept and take in your stride.
My husband has a habit of collecting things from many many years ago. Some of which are of no use to him now… But, because there’s so much junk to sort out, he doesn’t know where to start!
As a couple, we’ve decided to get our hands dirty together.
Every week, we take a few hours out to go through all the stuff and clear out what we don’t need. Either it’s given away and finds its rightful owner, or it’s put up on a website for sale.
I, in particular, don’t much enjoy doing household chores like making the bed or doing laundry… I think my husband sensed this right at the start, and automatically we’ve been alternating the tasks, so that no one person is doing too much of anything.
The household chores get divided, as do other bigger responsibilities like keeping accounts, planning holidays, gifting, socialising etc.
Together, as a collective, we decide what we want to do and what we don’t. And, we’re in sync most of the time… Till some of the times, when he has to agree to my reasoning or I have to reluctantly agree to his :)
By and large, the ‘we’ has definitely been a happier place than the ‘I’.
We’ve developed an easy rhythm that works for us — enough space to work and do our own thing, as well as time to come together and plan what needs to be done or enjoy our joint activities.
What helps most as a couple is to make small and big milestones a celebration.
To applaud yourself as a couple no matter how far you’ve come.
Today, my husband and I, clink our glasses to completing two months of togetherness — not a big feat for those who’ve finished years, and even perhaps half a century of marriage — but an important one for us.
Any and every occasion can become a reason for celebration.
As a couple, when you consciously work on the celebrations and highs, the lows will seldom trouble you… They’ll just be moments that you know will soon turn around.
As I was single for the better part of my life, I couldn’t envision marriage and how I would adapt to it... But, I must say, the transition has definitely been smoother than expected.
I’m often asked how I made so many changes “at this age in my life.” It was because I believed in the power of ‘we’, and, perhaps, because the ‘I’ was no longer enough.
Because, to see new horizons or to “go far”, the only way is to “go together” — to make the trade-off…a beautiful one at that!
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