What happens when a curly haired, eccentric psychic, wandering writer from New York dates a simple, realistic software engineer from Washington, D.C?
Do you really want to know?
In five letters?
I was so in love with Teddy before marriage and I never suspected that anything would change after marriage! He was my knight in shining armor, my prince charming. The one I’d been waiting for. The one on which romantic stories are written.
I remember our first real fight. Barely fifteen days after coming back from our honeymoon. I wanted to do up our home with the prettiest of rugs and ancient chandeliers and he couldn’t believe I had just spent what I had. “How could you be so irresponsible?” he asked, seething in anger. Teary eyed, I watched him.
From what’s-for-dinner, how-to-make-the bed, how-long-should-be-my-work-hours or my inability to keep things the way he wanted it, everything became a bone of contention. We didn’t know what to do with each other, let alone understand what to do with our demanding family members and the conflicts that seemed to arise out of thin air.
From being happily in love I think we began to grey. Something within us just stopped living. We lost objectivity and just went deeper into the cloud of despair and hopelessness. Our love became conditional and it is then when I realized what really true love is made up of. I kind of stepped out of my bubble and faced myself in the mirror. I found myself complaining, cribbing, blaming, always pointing my finger onto someone or something but me.
I remember one of those days mailing Bob in a state of frenzy just saying that I had it and could see no future together. His long mail to me, contained three nuggets of wisdom.
- The likeness brings us together but in time, we start seeing the differences. This is the natural course that every relationship takes. The entire game of love is to learn to enjoy the differences and build the foundation of the relationship on acceptance. Somehow these words offered me tremendous hope. It made me realize that one, I was not alone and every relationship went through a similar trajectory and two, that indeed instead of the strengths that got us together both of us were focused upon the differences between us and trying to change the other constantly.
- Understand before expecting to be understood. Fairly simple and one would assume we are all living it, right? I was astounded to realize that this little shift could bring so much of a difference. We both were screaming all the time, “You don’t understand me!” When what was needed was for one to pause, step back and say, “Wait, first let me try and understand your perspective.” Sometimes I did this, other times Teddy and the result was instead of conversations being painful a flow started coming in. The judgements started to drop.
- Emotions management. I will refrain from action when my emotions are high. Marriage is one of those relationships where you experience the best and the worst of a person. The mistake we were making was that when our emotions were brewing, we were trying to get through to each other or reacting based on those emotions which only deepened the chasm. Once we both understood this treasure, one of us started naturally leaving the room when the other was emotional and only getting back when the tidal wave had settled.
Marriage, like any other relationship is a journey. I don’t know if there is a perfect state to reach but I can certainly say that to a large extent the bliss of love has been restored. He is my cornerstone, I am his whimsical butterfly and together we are slowly and steadily achieving the dreams we set out to and nurturing the garden we created with our togetherness.
Love is not just the goosebumps and romantic evenings. Love comes in your life to transform you and rob you of the ego. It bears sweet fruits but before that you have to work towards breaking your shell and letting go of your small-self. Now I understand why the term “falling in love” is so prevalent.