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Is “happily ever after” a concept of the past?

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Happy marriageListening to the news and reading articles in the papers I am sometimes tempted to think that the “happily ever after” concept about marriages is a thing of the past and the examples of such marriages that we see around are exemptions to the rules. But, my absolute faith that good things like happily ever marriages can be nothing but the rule led me to research the issue.

I was talking to Mr. Shayamsundar Das, who has been very happily married to his wife of 35 years. He just couldn’t stop talking about how people in “those days” got married with the idea that it is a relationship that they are forming for life. According to him, even with most marriages being love marriages (where the couple have spent quality time getting to know each other) people still leave the possibility of “things may not work out” open.

He feels it is this option that is the culprit. The couple is not willing to either adjust or compromise. They are just trying to match the picture that they had in mind when they got married to the picture that is slowly emerging. And if there is a mismatch then that is the first sign of the “things may not work out” syndrome.

His wife Muktakeshi says, another reason is probably that people (both men and women) do have the patience to allow the relationship time. I think that both are so stressed out by other things that don’t even directly concern their relationship.

When I was sharing this finding with a younger friend who has been married recently, this was her reaction. “I guess they are quite correct about the “option”. But, let me tell you there is no one in this big wide world who ties the knot and does not want the relationship to last.”

“I feel the reason why the number of unhappy marriages is on the rise is because both people party to the contract, have very high expectations from each other and, neither are willing to compromise.”

At this point her husband steps in. “I’m proud of you Anisha. At least you honestly said that both people have very high expectations from each other and, neither is willing to compromise. Otherwise it is always a demanding man. My wife expects me to open the car door for her, be her knight in a shining armour and escort her and then also make her a cup of tea if I happen to come home five minutes before she enters. Now, how fair is that? I ask”.

Avik and Asha have been married for seven years. Their marriage went through a very bad patch. Yet, now they are convinced that the worst is really over and that they are indeed headed to the “happily ever after” ending.

According to Asha, “our marriage has survived the test of time because we have done things together and in the course of our being together we have accepted that we are two different individuals and there is bound to be differences between us. Some of these differences can be resolved and others need to be worked around. This is a secret that will be revealed if we spend time with each other.”

Every couple has unique ways of staying connected with each other. Most people believe that being together and loving each other is all that’s needed to live happily ever after. But this belief alone may not lead you to the “happily ever after” conclusion. Life often throws up challenges that will question this belief. It is only by meeting these challenges together as a couple that will make the relationship stronger and more resilient.

However, it is easier said than done. One great way of ensuring that your marriage is headed towards the happily ever after ending is to forget the bad times, stop playing the blame game, don’t take your spouse for granted. Start appreciating the little gestures of generosity and love. Over and above respect each other’s individuality.

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