I remember this night, 4th February 2005 very vividly. I lay on my bed wondering how my life was about to change on 5th February 2005. Just before I went to bed Appa had warned me, “Today is the last day of your freedom. From tomorrow you will be with your husband and his family. You can’t do things as per your wish. And most important thing, nobody will wake you up, you’ve to wake up on your own.” He gifted me an alarm clock with the loudest sound. (I never used it though!)
I remember feeling like a criminal, sentenced life imprisonment.
Sleep was a distant friend that night. There were a thousand or at least a hundred voices in my head. My beautician’s words echoed, ‘Be sure to get a good night sleep or else your dark circles will be evident on the day of your wedding.’ The advice from my aunts took over this voice, ‘You should not speak loudly. Learn to speak softly. You should not look into the eyes of your husband and haan, don’t laugh loudly. Just smile and please don’t show all your teeth.’ Then it was my sister’s turn, ‘They are from a different caste. You’ll have to adjust a lot.’ Appa’s voice took over again, ‘No lazing around now, you have to be responsible as you’re the eldest daughter-in-law.’
Huh! My body was tired, but my mind was going on playing these voices in a loop. It was exhausting…as if I lost my voice amidst so many. I wondered if Swapnil was asleep. Back in those days there was no Whatsapp or Facebook and call rates were high too. There was no way I could connect to him at 1am, via landline phone.
I took a deep breath and prayed to Lord Krishna. I asked him to give me strength and somewhere from the deep corners of my heart I heard a feeble whisper, ‘You don’t need strength, because you already have it, but all you need is a bit of sleep, so sleep now.’ This voice was so comforting that within few seconds I fell asleep and woke up to my Appa yelling, “Look, today is her wedding and she is still sleeping.”
I remember waking up confused, but soon the reality dawned upon me. It was my last day in this house, my Appa’s house. I rushed to the bathroom and started crying. The thought of going forever to a new place and staying with a new set of people was quite overwhelming and tears refused to stop. As I got ready to leave for the wedding, I felt a strange emptiness in my stomach. Everyone around me was laughing, enjoying and excited, but I was lost. I felt like running away from all this chaos. There was just one thought revolving in my mind. Things would change, completely from today.
If someone had told me that 11 years later I’ll be penning a blogpost about my marriage at midnight, I would have laughed. But that’s how my marriage changed me in ways I never thought of.
Girls are taught to ‘adjust’ in the new family and situations, but after my marriage I realized that ‘adjust’ is an overrated word. Instead of adjust, both boys and girls need to be taught to ‘accept’ each other. When we learn to accept each other as a human being and respect our individuality, a marriage or any relationship becomes successful and fulfilling.
We all are perfectly imperfect people, we have our moments of ups and downs, moments when we love everything around and moments when we doubt, days when we are happy and days when we may feel nothing is going right. And it’s during those challenging moments, when we have lost the faith in ourselves, we need a companion who sees the brighter side of life and holds our hand to show us that there is hope. In those moments of breakdown, our soul looks out for words of solace, the warmth of a hug and a listening ear and as a partner this is what one needs to do. I learnt that when one is going through a rough phase, the other person has to stand strong.
Marriage is a unit, where there is nothing ‘yours’ or ‘mine’. It is a team and everything is ‘ours’. When we move ahead with this belief our interpretations shift. I remember telling my husband, “I can’t use your money to study.” to which he replied, “Then I can’t eat the food you cooked or maybe I should start paying you salary for all that you do.” It hurt me hard when he said that, but I understood his feelings behind those words. Being financially independent is good, however at the end of the day, as a couple we are interdependent.
You might have seen a thousand marriages break, yet if you search, you’ll find a hundred marriages successful. Instead of looking at the failed ones, why not look at the ones that are successful. And even those failed ones are lessons for couples. Marriage is like brewing a cup of coffee, both the partners should be ready to dissolve and become something totally different from what they were.
It needs time for a relationship to grow. It doesn’t matter if you dated for 10 years or 10 days, you’ve to spend a lifetime falling and growing in love with your spouse. The challenge most couples face is that they keep comparing their old self with the one that’s changed after marriage, but I find that comparison baseless. People change, circumstances change, our thoughts, beliefs and values change too….then why this comparison? What starts off as a romantic love with roses and chocolates grows into a more mature and sustaining love, with moments of silence and deep connect.
Today as I celebrate the 11th year of my companionship, all I can say is “You will never be the same person after marriage, but you’ll become a better version of you!”
What are your views on marriage? How has marriage changed you for the better? I would love to read your stories – share them via comments or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love and Gratitude,