B2: Recipe of a happy married life- my two years’ experience
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility”. – Unknown
Last week, my husband and I celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary. TWO YEARS, I know, I can barely believe it myself. When we first married, I thought we would spend our year two on a luxurious island vacation, stretched out on the beach of a high-end resort. In reality, we spent the whole day at home, cooking various dishes together, and all thanks to the coronavirus.
The way we chose to celebrate our anniversary (or we were forced to 🤪) isn’t the only thing that turned out differently that I had expected, my husband and I are, inarguably, both very different people than we were on our wedding day. Our social views, career paths, even our general life plans are all shifted in these 2 years- but we are still together, still in love and we are still happy.
You know, the minute I find out that someone has been married for 20, 30 or 40 years or just for any longer than myself (which is almost basically everyone😜)first instant question is “so, what is the formula of staying happily married?” and I get many incredible answers. From hilarious to serious, everyone has a different secret to their successfully happy married life.
Our (mine and Akshay’s) partnership is unglamorous (unlike how some people perceive it from my social media posts). We regularly get caught up in the day-to-day, don’t always kiss hello or goodbye, fight very often on stupidest of things, and instead of spending Friday nights as date nights we are found laying on bed, streaming Netflix on our laptop and eating junk food. If you believe in the traditional way of how true love is defined, you might think that we let our passion die and we are well on our path to marital turmoil. I might have thought that too.
Two years later, I know better. I think.
And so, here are a few lessons I have learnt in my two years of marriage:
1. If you hear any married couple saying they have not considered divorce- they are lying:
Disclaimer: Marriage is hard. Very hard. I believe a lot of couples hear that age-old phrase and interpret it to a mean “marriage is hard- for other people.” However, I promise- you are in for a rude awakening now. Your downs are always going to seem longer than your ups, even if they are not. At some point, we all feel that our marriage is like an anchor tying us down to keep us away from our full potential, even if when it not the case (it is absolutely normal to feel that way). And when that starts to happen, a little voice in the back of your mind will start chanting- Divorce! Divorce! Divorce!
Haha, don’t worry- these voices will go away! But if they don’t- open communication with your partner is the ONLY thing that is going to fix it.
I know that there is a societal shame in admitting that it happens (and all you married couples out there are giggling right now), which then prevents couples from openly talking about it. Keeping quiet about marital problems is a recipe for disaster, trust me, your silence will harden into bitterness.
Chances are, if you clearly communicate to your partner that their behavior hurts you and makes you want to leave, they will surely want to do whatever then can to fix what is broken. It is when one of you stops trying that you might have something to worry about.
So, communicate- talk, no matter how hard it may seem. It will resolve everything. Well yes, everything.
2. Appreciate every stage of your married life:
The honeymoon stage. The settling-in-new-house stage. The house-to-home stage. The in-laws-to-parents stage. The homeowner stage. The sharing-the-finances stage. The marriage will exist in a series of stages, some twistingly long and some terribly short. No no, you are not required to follow any particular timeline, but be present enough to love where you are at in each stage, regardless of your plans. Sometimes your plans may be different from how the actual situation is, but still be happy because you are together. Don’t compare because each stage has its own charm.
Believe me- if you cannot take time to be happy together in small things, you probably won’t find happiness in the greatest of achievements.
Time will fly by, one month, 6 months, year, 5 years, decade to your wedding. So, worry a little less about your next big step and make sure you find a reason each day to love your partner, no matter how small your way is, love being married and love being alive.
3. Take time out of each other:
Marriage is not about losing yourself while being with your partner. It is so easy to let yourself only exist as a couple, to disappear inside the romance until you are unable to see yourself outside of the context of your marriage. But it is dangerous- for you, for your spouse as well as for your relationship. Hence, maintaining your sense of self is key to any successful relationship. Have a hobby which does not involve your spouse, have friends, so that you do not completely rely on your spouse for every emotion of your life. You both are not two halves that complete each other, but two wholes making the decision to pilot your world together.
4. But of course- share some hobbies as well:
After spending years of marriage (I have realised it in only two years), it is easy to fall and get trapped into a routine where all you talk about with your husband is logistics- the bills, the household chores, whose turn is to do what and so on. This happened to me and Akshay recently. I got really frustrated and didn’t know what to do about it. I somehow felt like we have lost the charm of our marriage. Everyday routine became so boring. Honestly, it felt a little awkward to sit down and address this problem, but on talking about it, we did realize that the problem is genuine, and something must be done about it. We figured out that we need to find common activities which we like doing together to have some quality time (and it obviously does not include watching Netflix and eating junk food😝). We are still in the process of finding those common hobbies and I am sure we once we figure that out, it will make us feel a little extra special in our regular not-so-special day to day life. The brainstorming is on these days 😛
5. Give more than you take:
Being married is not a massive tally game. You will never come out even. And if that’s how you are approaching marriage, you will never be happy. You need to spend time and energy in making your partner happy- may be a little more than what you do for yourself. It may not happen on everyday basis but should happen on regular basis. I absolutely love surprising Akshay or making him happy with stupid things- short silly hand notes in his closets, sending a surprise desert in his lunch (obviously all before this coronavirus happened to the world), planning a surprise movie with him on a Wednesday night. All this keeps us alive and let us enjoy each other’s love and company. When you both are trying to make each other happy more than making yourself happy, that’s what makes life really great.
6. Your number one priority should be support for each other:
My husband is the most supportive person of my life. Whenever I feel I am facing some insurmountable task, whether that’s regarding workload in my job, or going through an emotional turmoil, he always listens to me, never questions my abilities or makes me feel incapable. No matter how outrageous my goal, his first reactions is always “OK, let us do it. Now let’s think- how do we get there?”. In this matter- I am always in awe of him. And I too try and ensure to support him in everything he is enthusiastic about. And in my opinion, this is how the balance is made. We may not like everything about each other but finding small likings in each other’s interests is what keeps us going.
As I mentioned above, you all are going to have ups and downs. There will be times when everything clicks, and times when you feel like you are living with a stranger. Times when the sex is oh-my-god-everything-you-have-ever-wanted good, and times when it’s just OK or it does not happen because you know what- you are both tired and you have to go for work in the morning or maybe you had a big day earlier. When things begin to seem less-than perfect, that feeling to support can super cede trivial feelings, feelings of doubt. Of course, romance and passion are nice to have, but to me, true love is feeling safe and at peace, and wanted and understood- and absolutely making sure that your partner feels the same.
Hey guys, I am not an expert. Not a marriage expert for sure. I am not a relationship therapist. I am just a girl who is sharing her experience from two years of her marriage. These two years have taught me countless lessons about being a partner, a lover and more importantly to even just be a good human being. I am not perfect, but I am also not done learning.
To many many years of love and togetherness to us and all the couples out there!
Do you feel the same in your n number of years of your married life? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.