Marriages are not made in heaven | Sunday Observer

Marriages are not made in heaven

3 January, 2021

I have seen various types of married couples. Some of them want to exhibit their love for each other in public. This is very much common in the western culture. For them, kissing in public places is nothing new. However, in eastern countries, such as India and Sri Lanka kissing in public is not culturally permitted. It is common to see couples holding hands and walking along the road.

There are, however, super-close couples. Their secret does not lie in scintillating conversation or fantastic sex though they may have them in equal measure. They will not tell you their little secret: They know how to be kind to each other at all times. Kindness includes tenderness, thoughtfulness and niceness. They are great qualities fairly underrated by society. Laurie Moore, the author of Creative Intimacy said, “It is the little moments of reaching out to each other that keep couples in lover over time.”

You might say you are very kind to your partner, but you may not be showing it. Super-close couples show their kindness to each other effortlessly and frequently. It does not mean that they are more selfless than the rest of us. These couples know that any kind gesture would inspire reciprocal acts of goodwill. Psychologists have given us a simple formula which can show how kindness will work for you in life.

Vivid memory

I have a vivid memory of my private wedding ceremony attended only by close relatives and friends. There were no photo-shoots or video recording of the event. My wife stood next to me trembling with nervousness. Then I reached over, took her hand, squeezed it and she squeezed back. We repeated the words of the marriage registrar and vibrated together.

You can show your kindness in many ways. A kind word or a simple touch is enough to convey your feelings. Our partners, children and friends love to be touched. A hug is another way to display your kindness. We often hug our friends on happy or sad occasions. When you hug a person, there is a kind of skin-to-skin sensation passing through our bodies. Sandra Anne Taylor, the author of Secrets of Attraction: The Universal Laws of Love, Sex and Romance said, “When you touch, your bodies produce oxytocin, which creates a feeling of serenity. Physically and chemically, it bonds you and makes you feel closer.”

Thoughtful husbands always try to help their wives when they cook. Cooking, cleaning the house, or washing clothes should not be confined to one partner. When you share the responsibilities, there is joy in life. At some homes, the husband takes over the task of cooking on certain days and allows his wife to relax. Sometimes you can see a wife washing her husband’s car or polishing his shoes. These are wonderful ways to show your kindness to your partner.

Good manners

When you live with your partner for a long time, your good manners may go out the window. This can happen to anyone who is not mindful of what is happening. You do not have to say “thank you” every time she gives you a cup of tea. Similarly, you do not have to apologise every time you make a small mistake. It is true that we learn those manners in the kindergarten, but adults can adopt other ways to supplement “thank you” or “I’m sorry” with kind gestures.

Super-couples do not criticise their spouses behind their backs. Even if you are hurt by a remark made by your partner, stay calm for some time. When there is hostility towards each other, you will not enjoy your married life.

Never keep your nice thoughts about your partner to yourself. If you need to pay a compliment, do it then and there. Sometimes you will see her beautiful face after a bath. Do not hesitate to say, “You look wonderful.” When your husband is wearing a new shirt, you can genuinely say, “Nice shirt.” He will be delighted to hear such words. Who else will pay such compliments?

Janice A. Burns in her book A True Story of Love and Courage said, “The trait I admired most growing up was my mother’s unwavering loyalty to my father. To the world, they presented a consolidated whole: respectful of each other, always each other’s first priority. As a child I wanted to be the centre of my parents’ universe. But my parents were, and are, each other’s universe and we children remain merely sources of light that shine upon their special world. Only as an adult can I appreciate the fact that, although loved, we were not chosen in the way my parents chose each other.”

Meeting of minds

However much you love your spouse, marriage is not a meeting of minds. None of us can truly understand how our spouse views the world because we are genetically and historically different. While it is good to try to see things through each other’s eyes, men and women are differently wired. When once you get married, you will realise that being in love is not like falling in love; such intense feelings cannot last. However, your relationship is not lacklustre simply because the initial spark is missing. In marriage, partners have to move into the next stage of love, which is an abiding commitment where you will discover a deeper and richer experience.

Conflicts are inevitable in any marriage. Healthy understanding couples simply agree to disagree. Arguments should not end up in fisticuffs. Arguing can help a relationship to release tension. The Golden Rule to remember is that before you say something nasty or disastrous, give yourself breathing space. Most conflicts can be resolved through the exchange of your ideas in a friendly way.

All the conflicts in a marriage are not related to sex. In fact, sex comprises only about 10 percent of what is important in a relationship. However, there exists a sexual bond, a chemistry that makes the partners recognise that they are more than friends. They are mates.

Perfect marriages

There are no perfect marriages in this world. You will never find a man and a woman who will match perfectly. This is because even in a successful marriage, partners will have to live with a certain amount of loneliness. Your partner will never understand certain aspects of your life. A wife will never understand her husband’s mania for cricket. There is nothing I can do to make my wife love the books I read or the stories I write. Albert Einstein’s wife did not know what the Theory of Relativity is. However, there are moments – important moments – in marriage when one spouse may turn to the other in desperate search of a reassuring “I know what you mean” and draw a look of comprehension. People only partly connect even in marriage.

As marriages are not made in heaven, let me quote Jane Wells’ formula for a happy marriage in four points so that you can remember them easily:

• Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger.

• Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.

• Believe the best rather than the worst. People have a way of living up – or down – to your opinion of them.

• Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship. The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and kindnesses you bestow on your friends.

[email protected]