Of a wish list, marriage and happiness

Special to Times of Oman

They say marriages are made in heaven. But, the process of match-making is diverse, at times bizarre, with various considerations from astrology to property ownership, and tradition to freedom of choice. Is it important where and how marriages are made? The eternal debate about what is better — arranged or love — is it worth the time?

A successful marriage is the key. Is life more exciting, colorful, creative and fulfilling post marriage? 'Till death do us apart' is central to an event where two hearts merge in an event called marriage. Some succeed; some fail. Why some marriages work so well and some don't? Why many just drag on as a burden that can neither be dumped nor carried?

Relationship between spouses is the most challenging one for human beings. We start drawing dreamy pictures of our spouse right from the teenage years. A boy would grow up wishing for a girl with Katrina Kaif, Maria Sharapova, Indra Nooyi, J K Rowling and that lovely next door aunty who cooks so well, all rolled into one!

And for a young girl, nothing less than a romantic Shah Rukh Khan with the looks of Tom Cruise, personality of Roger Federer and all the sweet, caring touches of that brother-of-her-best-friend would do. Tough deal! These images get sharper as we get into our twenties. Scope for compromises fades; Dreams and some more dreams!

Some fall in love with 'ideal' matches, a conviction based mostly on passionately painted larger-than-life portraits. Some look for partners with a shopping list in hand, work on relations that come close and try to make the best of it. Post marriage, the reality strikes. The spouse could be the finest person ever met, but still way too short of that impossible profile cherished through the growing years.

Then, we have the arranged marriages, usually based on assessment of astrological chemistry between worn-out horoscopes championed by niche pundits. Spouses go into wedlock with a secret non-negotiable but untested wish list! They start exploring each other with the least expectation.

Oscillating between excitement when a wish comes through and utter disappointment when the opposite happens, the relationship grows with time. But the impractical wish list, unchecked, continues to disturb.

In later years, post some soul-searching and subject to social compulsions, events take different routes. These vary wildly, from finding true happiness through respect and tolerance to severe unhappiness hidden under a thick layer of societal niceties. This sure is no attempt to paint a terrifying image of a sacred and beautiful relationship. This is also not an attempt to suggest a panacea for marital challenges.

This is a humble effort to highlight the daunting challenge every married person naturally faces in fitting into an image the spouse has been nurturing since childhood. Impossibility of a perfect fit and that a perfect fit is vital to a perfect marriage necessarily creates a perfect setting for marital discord.
A realisation that either person has a list of unchecked wishes is a good point to start in. That leads to humility; humility leads to compromises, kind of triumphant compromises, not sacrificial. Such genuine compromises destroy unchecked wish list…and a reality driven perfect fit emerges, leading to lasting happiness!

The author is a freelance writer based in Muscat. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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