I was recently watching ‘Koffee with Karan’ show featuring Kajol and Ajay Devgn. Yes, I watch stuff like this sometimes. The episode was pretty enjoyable to watch especially due to how candid Ajay was about his wife, relationships in general and his career. I remember him from a long time ago when I was in college. He was filming for a movie in our college. He looked a bit arrogant and standoffish as he stood smoking in one corner. None of the students plucked the nerve to ask him for an autograph. Over the years though, I have enjoyed his movies. His intense performances have helped him overcome the barrier of ‘unconventional’ looks.
Now 20 years later, it is refreshing to see them poke fun at each other, relate each other’s quirky habits and be comfortable in each other’s flaws while being committed to their marriage.
What Ajay said about marriage struck me as being very relevant. He said that in a long-term relationship, rush of romantic love gets replaced with caring and companionship. I never expected Bollywood types to be so spot on. 🙂 Think about it, all of us who are in long-term marriages will vouch for this fact. I celebrate my 18th wedding Anniversary tomorrow. I can’t help but think of how much I have changed as a person over the years from that young girl.
The same works for the spouse. The thing that strikes me the most is how well we know each other now. We know exactly the buttons to push to make each other mad or ecstatic. We have a common goal in raising kids, in worrying about their future together, in caring for our parents and worrying about their old age and health, in holding each other when we face loss, in not understanding yet being supportive of each other and in driving each other nuts sometimes doing things that make no sense to the other. Over the years, each of us has evolved, and I see it as an achievement to be together, to love each other as the paradigms of love change form and to raise good kids. Marriage requires a lot of work, especially patience, understanding and a lot of give and take. Each marriage is different and so is each couple. And I guess we each needs to figure out what works best for us. All those #couplegoals that you feel someone else is giving you are rubbish. Figure out your own dreams and your own path.
Some of us, especially women, have gone from being dutiful, obedient wives (not me!) to independent individuals who are placing ourselves first now. Some of my women friends have gone back to working full time after stopping work due to kids. Some others have discovered passions like writing, volunteering or gardening. I discovered an altogether new career about a decade back. I continue to learn constantly, and I am much more tuned into what I need. Some of my friends have discovered girlfriends, partying with an abandon and being unapologetic about their drinking. In conservative circles, it used to be a big deal for women to drink and smoke.
Yet, it is also important that our individual passions are complemented by together activities. The husband and I enjoy working out together, cooking together, even doing mundane stuff like grocery shopping together. Since the kids are older now, we can catch a movie or a meal just the two of us or walk Coco.
Just because we’ve become more focused on the ‘I’, it does not mean that the ‘Us’ should be lost.
Some husbands are confused with this newfound and demonstrated change in their wives (especially those who were pampered way too much). I know of wives who stay up till late to heat their husbands’ dinner or those who will feed them in bed and not even ask them to put their plate in the sink. Some stop their husbands from chipping in at home. Then some women as soon as they become middle aged suddenly discover Insta or FB. Getting dolled up and clicking pics all the time is a pet peeve of many spouses. It is interesting how couples and their habits evolve over the years.
Speaking about ourselves, we are now comfortable with each other’s silences and have made peace (almost!) with our weird habits. Many times we sit side by side on the bed, watching separate programs on our laptops or reading. It’s perfectly fine now to pursue our own hobbies and do our own thing. In the initial days of marriage, it was all about doing everything together. Now we each can give the other space to do what we like. I personally feel a lot less guilt now, caring nothing about what people in general think about me or my life choices yet putting my relationships on priority. That part has not changed and never will.
So yes, just like my old comfortable pair of jeans that are precious to me, a close relationship signifies comfort and companionship. A couple of years ago, I gave away a pair of my favourite jeans. It was more-than-a-decade-old pair of Lee’s, and I remember buying it when I was back in shape after my second son was born. I had worn it constantly over the decade or so and gave it away when the cloth got torn in a couple of places. I truly felt sad because an old pair of jeans is comforting, almost like family. Despite it getting frayed in places, it feels soft and welcoming when you slip into it. On some level, it gives you a confidence boost as you can still fit into the trusted friend.
I would like to hear your take on long-term relationships? What do you think makes people stay happy together?
Pics courtesy: Stock Photos from Monkey Business Images and Michaeljung/Shutterstock