Gracefully Phasing Out Bachelorhood
Passing through various stages of life do we actually come to know that we are mentally, physically and emotionally fit to bid goodbye to bachelorhood? If it was so, much heart ache would have been avoided. The very thought of bidding good bye to bachelorhood is fascinating; it is a matter of fantasy to bachelors. Young lads feel elated at the very thought of it. But when they actually bid farewell to their days of so called freedom, in certain cases it leaves a rather bitter taste in the mouth.
Reality is different from imagination; it is rare that things come into play as we envisage them to happen.
The different phases of life bring about a series of changes in our life pattern, needs, and habits. Many things happen that we are hardly prepared for. These changes unfold a new world to venture into, offer immense scope for us to explore new arenas of thought process and activity. Every passing day has something new to change within us to make us grow and develop. Not only do we grow physically, there is also a holistic growth affecting various aspects of our personality. Life is a dynamic process, which each one of us has to go through; it is ever changing, never stationary. Our life grows through these phases and our life style changes with our age and the different roles we play in our lifetime.
As life unfolds, we find ourselves playing many roles at a time, for life is relationships, we are supposed to be enjoying. So the knowledge and understanding of our role helps us, as we are expected to do justice to the roles we play, thereby creating happiness and satisfaction in our relationships. But practically the situation is different as we end up making a mess of it. It is of immense importance to understand the purpose of any relationship that we enter into. If we have clarity about why we enter into a particular relationship, we will be able to understand and analyze our role in fulfilling that purpose, and prepare ourselves to work positively towards it.
Leading a happy, comfortable, purposeful and a completely fulfilling life is the aim of any relationship. Marital bliss is every young person’s dream, but are they able to realize their cherished dream? Well, the ever increasing cases of domestic violence and divorce cases going on in the courts of law, tell another tale. Marriage is one of the most important relationships, since all of us, with only a few exceptions are desperate to enter into it, while some have already been married and played havoc with it. Marriage is a social sanction for two individuals to get together for attaining satisfaction of their physical needs, finding mental compatibility, emotional support and financial well-being. Marriage is a wonderful change that takes place in our life, which brings love, togetherness, a sense of belonging, a bond of love, and a family to call your own. Nature pairs the two beautifully for physical and mental compatibility. Man and woman are created to fulfil each other’s physical, mental and emotional needs. The priest in the Church declares the two to be man and woman, it is a union of body, mind and soul. They are supposed to complement one another, support and satisfy each other, when they commit themselves to this social sanction called “Marriage”..
Though, law permits only adults above the age of 21 (in case of men) to enter into a marital arrangement, there are places and people in India who rush into wedlock earlier than attaining the stipulated age, rendering marriage null and void legally. Why? Because at least by the time a boy is twenty one years of age, he is expected to be physically and mentally prepared for marriage. This obviously implies that marriage needs some amount of maturity. A man has to be mentally, emotionally and financially prepared for marriage. Just physically coming of age is not enough. It is a great responsibility that we undertake to perform.
That is why there is no age limit that bars men from entering into a sexual relationship, but there is an age limit for entering into marriage. Thus one must think and analyze well, before one enters into this contract. The benefits of marriage come with attached responsibility, commitment and the need for positive contributions. This relationship needs genuine, positive, productive efforts from both the participating individuals. Self- analysis, whether you have grown emotionally to handle the changes this phase of life bring, is a must. But, however hard one may try to assess one’s competence to wed, there are chances of erring. Mostly it is experience that makes a person wise.
Marital compatibility and understanding each other’s feelings is to be strived for, but actually it does not happen, our ego comes into play, the differences in thinking and values become paramount and the very essence of love is lost in a marriage. You sensitive enough to understand your wife’s feelings, mature enough to deal with situations that arise between the two families, and financially prepared to raise a family? Ask yourself whether you are ready to fulfil the role of a ‘Husband’. You are not ‘born’ a husband, but you become one the instant you tie the knot. Now your wife looks up to you for love, care, support, sensitivity, guidance, help, comfort and a friendship for life. Are you sensitive enough to understand all these aspects of marriage? Getting prepared in advance, by analyzing the following aspects of marriage, may prove the effort worthy of its purpose. A little more understanding, introspection and analysis will help you welcome your life partner, your love, your friend, your companion and your soul mate with greater confidence, and set the wheels of your marital vehicle rolling at an ecstatic pace.
What goes into making a happy and successful marriage is the bond of love, trust, understanding, friendliness and forgiveness. Look at the husband-wife relationship from a completely new perspective, keeping in view the changes our society has undergone. The norms followed traditionally have changed from generation to generation and are outdated and obsolete. Today’s girls are educated, with an exposure to the outside world, with a broader perspective of life, many are qualified professionals, with an identity of their own. They cannot be intimidated into submission, as probably girls of your father’s generation did.
Do not follow or imitate your father or forefather, as a role model. Do not have the same expectations from your wife when you become a husband, as they did. Otherwise only disillusionment will be your destiny, for the simple reason, the times have changed, the social scenario is different, and the mindset has altered.
It is a 50-50 partnership
If a marriage has to work in this day and time, it needs equality between the partners, sharing and caring, give and take, an attitude of forgive and forget. It is a 50-50 partnership. The male egotism, dominance and abuse are no longer tolerated. The egoists remain losers in life, they lose love, lose wife, lose relatives and friends and live a lonely life. Today, no one is prepared to continue in an unhappy relationship. Try and analyze to what extent is the unhappiness created by me? Could I have solved this? What positive changes could I have initiated? Your attitude will define your forthcoming life.
Analyzing the role of a husband
1. You are responsible for making your marriage work.
As marriage is a wilfully entered contract between two grown up adults, the partners are fully responsible to make it work. You have to fulfil the role of a husband. Only to be with you, the girl has chosen to leave her parents, her siblings, and her house. Now she, her happiness is your responsibility. She is married to you, not to your house, not to your family and not to your work. Realize that it is you that matters the most to her. She has entered a new world, trusting you and you ought to respect that. As a husband you have to play your role physically, mentally, emotionally and financially, to make her feel secure in the new environment. Any kind of betrayal in any of the above aspects will throw your marriage on the rocks.
2. A modern day educated girl
Never lose track of the fact, that you are getting married to a modern day educated girl, brought up in today’s techno-savvy culture, with exposure to lots of western influence, and therefore in no way can she be a replica of your ‘mom’, who belongs to a generation bygone!! Usually a ‘mom’ is the ideal woman for a son. In comparison the wife always suffers; she can neither look, cook nor take care of your house like your mother. She need not be, as she is a different individual. Respect her individuality and there realize that there is a time gap that leads to differences in all aspects of their personalities. Therefore, do not indulge in qualitative comparison, as they belong to two generations apart. In any case comparisons are always unpleasant.
3. Do not be a critique.
Do not harp too much criticizing small imperfections. With the latest technology, modern gadgets for cooking and preserving, your affectionate and understanding outlook, your wife might be able to handle things better and be able to get accustomed to her new role in a new environment.
4. Friendship is the basis of this relationship.
Just to be friends, will be great. An affectionate and friendly attitude creates a light, tension free atmosphere between the two and helps both to open up, to share and express their feelings. It’s a companionship, where no one is superior, no one is inferior, no one is the boss and no one is always right. Live like friends, with openness, honesty, helpfulness, support and forgiveness. Good friends also have healthy arguments and discussions. The beauty of friendship is that it has an ‘erase’ button. True friends erase the bitterness and are back together again, very soon. Don’t tag yourself as ‘I am husband’ ‘my respect, ego, her duty.’ Let the relationship be light and healthy. Love blossoms in friendship.
5. Have a healthy communication with clarity.
To relate with someone it is essential to communicate. Non communication or scanty communication leads to misgivings. Always have a healthy communication on all issues related to your lives. Non communication creates gaps, leads to assumptions and presumptions, and unrealistic expectations, disappointments and hurt. Maintain clarity from day one, be clear about who you are, what you are, your financial status and expectations, and also your commitments. Explain to your partner your ideas about leading your life (now our life), your concept of a wife, your likes and dislikes, and what you are comfortable with. Educate her about your family relations, your family’s values, and their expectations. Define clearly what would be acceptable and what would not be, as far as your family is concerned. Your mental clarity from day one will help your wife adjust accordingly. Do not project false images, nor give any false promises. Be clear with your ideas. If you do not communicate well, then she would work on assumptions, presumptions and her own pre-conceived notions, which may not be conducive to setting up your home. You have to help her make your home, which she also would eventually call her home.
6. Do not expect perfection.
No human being is perfect, so expecting perfection is like chasing a mirage. Such an expectation is doomed to disappointment. Neither was she a wife, nor were you a husband prior to your marriage. It is the first time for both of you, to play the role of a husband and wife, in life. An entirely novel experience in a relationship, a process of learning, understanding, adjusting, caring and sharing and getting used to each other. The new changes are mostly first time experiences. Consequently, we are bound to go wrong sometimes, to miss out something or lack somewhere. But that is ‘perfectly all right’, because we are learning, aren’t we? While learning lessons we do err at times, so learn to overlook the errors easily. Why expect perfection? Why sulk? Why complain? The teething problems will gradually fade away. Efficiency and understanding will definitely develop with time. Give some time and space to each other and help the relationship grow. It is said Rome was not built in a day. Take shortcomings lightly, following the dictum of forgive and forget, as a matter of policy. Simplify your life together, by being an easygoing person.
7. Respect her as an individual.
Right to human dignity is the most fundamental right a human being enjoys. Do not play with it. Mutual love and respect nurtures this relationship, helps it grow and yields sweet fruits to cherish. Your wife may be an educated, modern day girl with her own mindset, her own likes and dislikes and her own choices. You have to respect her individuality and give her the freedom to live her choices, pursue her dreams, enjoy her hobbies and have her say in her personal matters. After all we are two individuals, brought up in two different homes, coming from different backgrounds. Contradicting, criticizing, condemning, changing, forcing, ordering and letting her down on her choices and personality is all going to severely and irreparably damage your otherwise healthy and good relationship. Respect, love, acceptance, communication, friendship, a policy of live and let live, strengthen a marriage. Everyone nurtures some self-respect, and you have to respect that if you want a happy married life. A happy wife makes a wonderful life. Any kind of abuse, physical, mental, emotional or sexual, will ruin the relationship.
8. The words we choose will decide the future of our relationship.
The words, the tone, tune and timing, make love or war for us. Using abusive language, a harsh tone, shouting or ordering will only add knots on the thread of love and they become so complicated at times, that salvaging the thread becomes a difficult task. It is very important to learn how to talk, what to say and when. Wife is not the means to vent your anger or your frustrations on, to bear your temper and tantrums. Never break your wife’s heart with your harsh words. You lower your own stature in her eyes by doing so and secondly give her a chance to put forth her viewpoint, too. You might get the same words thrown back at you. Be very selective and careful with your words. All my words, thoughts, actions should be to increase the love, improve the understanding and ease each other’s lives, not vice versa.
9. Importance of extended family.
As you love, care, miss and respect your family members, the same way your wife too loves her family and cares for them. You have an extended family of in-laws, as she has one now. You expect love and respect for your family from her, but the same respectful attitude should be for her family as well. Would you accept anybody condemning, criticizing or disrespecting your parents? She too would not like her parents to be disrespected, ill-treated or hurt by any means. You have to respect your in-laws for whatever they are, and treat them cordially. When you hurt them directly or indirectly, your relationship with your wife, will get hurt for life. She might not retaliate immediately, but will nurse a grudge against you and your family and take revenge when the time and turn comes. Be sensitive and handle your in-laws very diplomatically, maintaining respect, maintaining your honour and keeping a distance. Let her meet them, do not stop her from meeting, talking or being in touch with them. Understand that she is connected to her roots and cannot cut her roots off. Give her freedom to maintain the love between both the families.
10. Initial time after marriage is critical.
Understand the emotional turmoil going on in your wife’s life initially after marriage, for she is being displaced and uprooted from her home, to be implanted in yours. She would naturally be (a) missing her family (b) finding a totally new environment to adjust to and adapt herself to new changes (c) feeling stressed due to the need to make adjustment and undertake new responsibilities (d) unsure about the correctness of the decision of marriage.
On top of it, if the husband turns out to be egoist, abusive and insensitive. The newlywed wife feels lost in a strange land. Egoist means I am right, your say matters most to you. Girls are conditioned to be aware of the fact that they will have to leave their parent’s home for going to the in- laws. But when the actual moment comes, they get completely shaken, feel insecure and uncertain about their future. If the husband exhibits certain amount of understanding at this critical juncture, he would be laying a strong foundation for a stable long lasting relationship. Those who err now, spend their lives making amends for the rest of their lives. Therefore, understand the emotional turmoil your wife is going through. Extra love, care and support is needed in the initial days after marriage. Accept the fact that she is uprooted from her base and replanted in your life. Only your love, understanding and sensitivity will make her bloom. Be a true friend, pamper her and shower lots of love in the initial days and months of marriage. Gradually the pain of losing her family is reduced, the insecurity gone and your love towards her will help her adjust to the new surroundings.
11. Manage your time, money and relationships.
For developing a healthy relationship, you need to communicate well, and for that you need time. After marriage you must manage your time in such a way, so as to be able to spare sufficient time for this new relationship. Try to spend lots of quality time with your wife, be physically present when she needs your help. Manage your material resources efficiently, so that you take care of the needs of your family’s present and future. Together attend to all the other relationships you share as an individual till now. Togetherness strengthens the union in marriage. Enjoy your personal space, give time to your hobbies or stress busters, living a balanced life and be also there to support your wife physically if and wherever possible. Marriage is all about sharing the load. You can be helpful to her; after all it is ‘our house’ and we work towards it together. Standing by each other in times of peril, is what you are together for. Be an emotional support, become her strength. As a husband your wife needs your physical, mental, emotional and financial support. She will look up to you and no one else.
12. Saying bye bye to bachelorhood,
is a big decision in life for it means you are prepared to say ‘bye bye’ to the carefree, careless bachelor attitude too. Flippant attitude at times causes irreparable damages to the relationship. Enter into this special bond only if you have grown up to be a ‘man’, to perform a husband’s role. Otherwise, it is wise not to fool around with so many lives. Many husbands complain that they have lost their freedom, carefree attitude, their cool bachelor days, no tension, and no answers to be given at home, so it is obvious that they entered their marriage in haste. Wait until you grow up mentally and emotionally, before you get married. Do not be in a hurry to enter into matrimony. Be prepared to give up the old irresponsible, care free attitude, for gaining matrimonial bliss and contentment. For instance, you may have to give up late night parties with friends, to be beside your wife, early at night. After marriage you cannot afford to leave your wife waiting at home, for frivolous reasons.
Marriage needs maturity, understanding and commitment. For a stable and long lasting relationship this has to be kept in mind. It is a support in both good and bad times, togetherness in riches and poverty, care in sickness and health, friendship in fights and joys, grounding in fame and blame and comfort in happiness and despair. Life is a series of ups and downs, and marriage is a healthy support system created by society. Now, it is up to us whether we create happiness or discord. We tend to create unhappiness in this beautiful husband-wife relationship due to our ignorance, ego and vices. Love begets understanding. Grow up to be ‘The Husband’ that your wife must have dreamt of, try to be the ‘Prince Charming’ to your Lady Love’ and fill her life with the bliss of romance. Do not play with her emotions, dreams or self-respect, creating irreparable breeches between the two of you. Grow up to live a fulfilling life with family by your side till the last breath. Grow up to enjoy married life. After all marriage is sharing together whatever comes your way during the course of life.