Relationships are tough – they require work and time, only then you can achieve happiness. Marriage? It’s a lot tougher.
I met my now husband a couple of years ago at work. I won’t lie – the first few weeks, I hated him.
He seemed stuck up and arrogant. I did not want to talk to him or have anything to do with him. However, as fate would have it, he ended up working in the same team as me. In a crazy turn of events and my opinions, we became very close friends, that too very quickly. Our friendship came to the point that he decided to send his parents to my house to seek my hand for marriage and I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, he’s a keeper!”
Within 2 months, we got engaged and were set to be married in a couple of months following our engagement.
Like most people in love, we would talk all the time, text all the time and see each other every single day. We did have arguments here and there, but there was nothing that we couldn’t solve within a few minutes. Things were good and I saw myself as one lucky girl who found the perfect man.
We got married on a midsummer night. Even though the baraat was late and my make-up was a disaster, I didn’t let this ruin my happiness. I was getting married to the man of my dreams!
Everyone told me that you can’t judge a person until you live with them 24/7, and frankly, I thought that was all bullshit. However, regular, adult life hit me like a wrecking ball. He went to work; I stayed at home with the in-laws and helped around with house chores. The adjustment into a new home, with little financial independence and privacy issues, was tough. Moreover, I missed work and having a successful career.
I got impatient and bored very quickly, I wanted more from life but he wanted me to slow down for some time. This is when the clash of our personalities started.
One night, right after he had returned from office after a strenuous day at work, I demanded that I needed money for my expenses, to which my husband replied in quite an exasperated tone, “Aik to tumharay kharchay khatam nahi hotay!”. This coming from a man that I considered my best friend was too much to take, especially since he knew that I had always been financially independent and it was hard asking for money from my own mouth.
I was hurt, but I kept quiet.
Another time I requested my husband to take me out alone and he misunderstood my words and thought that I did not want to go with his family. I gave him an explanation but inside I was torn and shattered – this was not the man that I married.
Every time an argument happened, or something clashed between us, we both kept getting hurt but chose not to say anything.
I would just remain quiet – despite my husband asking me what the matter was. Soon enough, he stopped asking and I went on with my depressed self, thinking what a mess of a marriage I got myself into. Thoughts of how this was not something that I signed up for and how I did not love this version of my husband, flooded my brain every single day.
I became more and more miserable, which led me to lash out at him and just remain distant.
We became the couple who went from 100 to 0 in a matter of one and a half years. We would avoid going out with each other. We wouldn’t discuss our future, or even our present – scared that the other will start an argument. He didn’t feel like talking to me and I didn’t like spending time with him anymore either. Things were really bad and avoiding the situations was not helping. And I was completely shattered inside out.
One day when I was tired of pitying myself and hating him, I decided that I would try something new. Something that was out of my comfort zone.
I would break the silence and start communicating. This was the turning point in my relationship – communication with my spouse.
I read somewhere that the secret to a happy and satisfied marriage was to be able to exchange each other’s emotions, desires, beliefs, and aspirations. This does not mean that you start communicating or saying whatever comes to your mind – you have to take care of the context and the situation in order to communicate effectively.
I started communicating with my husband in five major ways which brought us back to our old, loving and fonder selves again. In a nutshell, they comprised of the following:
Communication in an argument
I made sure that if my husband was in a bad mood or in a mood to hurt my feelings, I would not respond with the same harsh words and bitchy comebacks. It was really really hard and I had days where I said bhar mai jai, iski aisi ki taisi…but other days I would bite my tongue and take it like a champ until he calmed down and said sorry for blowing things out of proportion.
A gentle pat on the hand, a warm smile in the face of harsh words – worked like a charm and accelerated the resolution part of the fight or argument.
Communicating at the right time
I stopped bringing up critical and clash worthy discussions right after my husband walked in the door from a crazy day at the office. Instead, I would let him talk or talk about something less stressful.
Whenever in doubt, I would repeat what my husband said to me in my own words and ask him if that is what he meant. That way, I was able to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and just move on.
Communicating with God
Things that I had no power to change used to stress me out previously. Increasing my faith in a higher entity, talking to God in the form of prayer and letting things go became a mantra that helped me calm my emotions and think positively.
So yes, the one thing that changed my relationship for the better with my husband was effective communication and I am a happier and a more peaceful person now. I can bet my life on the fact that my husband feels the same way.
What works for you in a relationship? Let us know in the comments below.
Cover image via The Vision Factory Films