My favorite Guest Poster, my earlier manager, mentor and friend has put up his latest post “Surviving Matrimony” which he graciously agreed to allow me to post here.
The picture below is my only contribution to this post and the rest of it is published as is without any editing.
I will soon be completing 13 years of marriage. It’s time I share with you some of my learnings. Why a post on marriage in an office blog you may ask. In office, we are surrounded by twenty somethings who know not what they are getting into.
Before getting married
1. Arranged marriages are better. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. In an arranged marriage, there are many folks interested in keeping the marriage going. The support you have from the family is enormous.
2. In the case of love marriages, know the difference between infatuation, passion and love. The shelf-life of each of these is different.
3. In either case (love or arranged), don’t believe in stack-ranking attributes. My uncle retired from Indian Statistical Institute and wanted a perfect bride for his son. He put together a spread-sheet which listed attributes (Height, Weight, Colour, Income, Family Background etc) for each of the girls they evaluated and assigned scores (1 to 5) for each of these attributes. They would have seen more than a 100 girls. Subsequent to all of that, my cousin has gone through two divorces and is now on to his third wife. This marriage seems to be lasting a little longer.Touchwood! In her book – ‘Art of Choosing’, Sheena Iyengar says too much of choice is overwhelming. She is right.
4. Looks are fleeting. My college buddy and I exchanged notes on what our college-mates have turned into. Some of the folks whom we thought of as great lookers have after tweny years, been ravaged by age, ill-health, hair-loss and worries. Folks whom we thought of as run of the mill have turned out rather well in the looks department. Some of us blossom early. Some of us blossom late. Do remember, these days everyone photoshop’s their Display Pictures (DPs).
5. It is best if you and your would-be spouse have different hobbies and interests. The more dis-similar you both are, the better it is. This way, you will not keep running into each other. Looking for similar likes & dis-likes in a would-be spouse is a disaster in the making. (“Why are you again & again taking my Tintin comics? You are spoiling the covers!”)
6. Be wary about office romances. Flings in the office seem to add spice in an otherwise bland work-life. But, they rarely last. Relationships in the office have under-currents. People who want to call/meet you 3 times a day will abruptly change the moment you take up another role or job. College or School romances are more innocent and enduring.
6. Don’t make pre-mature announcements to the world in case you plan to get married. In the last 3 months, I have come across quite a few marriages that have been called off even after the formal engagement was done. Take your time before you decide and only then let everyone know! I am a great believer of ‘Drishti’ (loosely translated as the ‘evil-eye’).
7. How to know if you have found the right one for you? Here is a litmust test. If you are comfortable sharing your happiest moments and your saddest moments with your would-be, then you have found the right one for you. Go ahead and all the best!
After getting married
1. Joint families are better. This again sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. In a joint family, your spouse will have many other people to crib about. When you are nuclear, you are on your own. Everything will be your fault.
2. Don’t invite your friends home too often. Invariably, they will have poor manners and will irritate your spouse. Your friends are unlikely to impress your spouse and do be prepared for some harsh criticism about your circle of friends.
3. Don’t seem to be too interested in your spouse’s friends. You are expected to be courteous but a bit aloof. Know to strike the right balance if you want to avoid mishaps.
4. Have kids early in your married life. Kids make for many great shared memories and they make families complete and happy. My friend is 42 years and is expecting a baby in a couple of months. He worries if he will be in good health when his kid grows up. Some folks wrongly think having kids reduces the romance in a marriage. It only multiplies the fun.
5. Don’t buy anniversary gifts from Flipkart or Caratlane. You are expected to take the trouble of going to a shop and buy a gift. Also, these gifts are not supposed to be practical. (Mixie, toaster, TV etc are strict no-nos).
6. Don’t ‘friend’ your spouse in Facebook. sooner or later, you will post something that you regret. Have separate ‘social network’ lives.
7. Don’t go on frequent holiday trips. I mean it! Holidays can stress out your spouse. You will stop with making an online booking and then you will make your spouse pack all the bags and handle the logistics. The flight will get delayed, the hotel will be lousy and the kids will be irritable. It will be tiring and your spouse will long to get back home. Only travel agencies and tour operators talk about holidays where a couple can un-wind. It doesn’t happen in real life. If you want to give your spouse a holiday – send the kids to school, pack off your parents (and in-laws) to a pilgrimage, order food from Dominos and hand over the TV remote to your spouse.
8. Offer to watch your wedding video and photo album along with your spouse atleast once in 3 months. You are supposed to keep demonstrating that your wedding ceremony was the best part of your life.
9. Love is subtle. All through their married lives, I only remember my parents quarelling about everything. Four years ago, my mother passed away. My father misses her and every place, every thing brings out a reminiscence from him about my mother. In their own way, I think my parents were made for each other. Love is expressive and seems obvious only in tamil movies.
My younger one fancies Maddy (Actor Madhavan who sports a grin that for some reason seems to fascinate girls of all ages). My elder one assures me that she will not leave us after she marries and that she will ask the boy to move in with us. I guess my post-retirement fantasies have to wait till both my kids find someone suitable. 🙂