Now that I have been married for nearly 3.9 years, I think I am in the war veteran category. With the wisdom gathered over the past years, I felt like jotting down basic tips for a “long lasting marriage” or if you want a more honest phrase, tips for “staying calm in a continuously maddening situation”. Yes, you can accompany them with your regular meditation and deep breathing exercises for better result.
The pearls of wisdom are listed chronologically according to importance. We are serious about implementing them in our house to bring additional (haha) harmony.
Tip 1 - Separate TV (A MUST)
I have reached a conclusion that you can NEVER survive a marriage for long with only one TV in the house. It seems that the stronger partner in a marriage is not decided by who amongst both of you is more emotionally balanced, polite, responsible, affectionate, has a better looking salary slip blah blah. The clear winner amongst a couple is always decided on who can grab the MIGHTY remote first. It is similar to owning Tipu Sultan’s sword or the Armour of Achilles, once you have it, you realize your power. The ‘power’ to freak out and disturb your co member’s mental peace for an entire evening, by simply turning on your favourite channel and refusing to switch channels even during those godforsaken commercial breaks.
I cannot explain in words the snide, killer looks that is directed at me while I watch re run of old episodes of “Sex and City” or the movie “The Mirror” (Zafar Panahi incidentally is one of my favourite filmmaker) or programmes like “Jhalak Dikhla Ja”. THE HUSBAND thinks I watch too many ‘art films” (his lingo, not mine) for my own good; he also is of the opinion that ‘Sex and the City” is made by and for mad women and that reality shows especially dance shows are there to induce trauma. Rude comments if you ask me!
He is of the notion that TV was invented for the sole purpose of airing cricket. You know that strange game which a bunch of guys keep playing the entire year round? Test matches/ T20/ Champions League – yaar kitna kheloge? Go home, take rest. And give others a rest too. But no, either they play a match or some stiff shirt sits in a studio and analyses earlier matches while few other stiff shirts keep nodding. While 98% time is reserved for the revered and respected “Cricket”, rest 2% goes watching news those that THE HUSBAND thinks is life altering. He actually diligently sat through the entire parliament proceeding regarding the Jan Lokpal Bill.
The “who should watch what and when” fight has reached epic proportions in our home; we have decided that non violent measures such as buying another TV is of prime importance. And it needs to be done ASAP before serious bodily injuries are inflicted.
PS: The fight for TV also includes the best viewing seat in the living room! But am not getting into that because we will very soon have separate TV setsJ
Tip 2 - Separate Bathrooms (DAMN IMPORTANT):
I don’t dig Katherine Zeta Jones. No one except Meryl Streep is worth dying for in my humble opinion, but well I do appreciate Ms. Zones for letting the cat out of the bag. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that having separate bathrooms is a vital ingredient for a successful marriage.
There are too many soul churning questions that plague me each day on this issue. Why can’t the toilet seat ever be down? Why is it only my job to clean the bathrooms used by both of us? Must it look like a 5 year old has splashed water all over every time THE HUSBAND takes a bath? Why can’t the brush be used to sweep away excess water that gets spilled while taking a bath? Whose responsibility is it to clean the perpetually overflowing ashtray in the bathroom? FYI- I have given up smoking ages back, so now you know who is responsible for those cig butts.
Also, I am not fond of questions like, “What do you do with all these bottles in a bathroom?” It is like asking why is the earth round in shape.
Seriously speaking, do men believe that washing hair involves just one shampoo?
Have they never heard of mixing shampoos? What about the scalp cleanser that needs adding for extra shine? And what about the various conditioners that is utterly important when you have coloured/ tinted hair? Look, am trying to think of ways to minimize the bath salts and after bath lotions. One does not like the same fragrance everyday…and you seriously cannot do with just one face wash. Here I refuse to budge. Face masks needs altering and well THE HUSBAND should try being a little more considerate about the efforts I undertake to look presentable. And if you don’t try out new products how will you know which suits your skin best? Agreed that well, err maybe my having two different toothpaste – one for morning, one for the night is a little over the top.
But anyways it is NOT a crime and hence I will not be bogged down. Separate bathroom is indeed a tempting idea. I have even thought of cutesy nameplates on respective bathrooms ;)
Tip 3 – Separate Bedrooms (NEEDS CONSIDERATION)
Yes, albeit with connecting doors. I remember reading certain romantic Victorian era novels during my green days, where the Mater and Mistress of the house would have separate bedrooms with connecting doors which I do think is a sensible idea. For me it gives me the option to read till 3 in the night (there are books which fall in unputdownable category) and have chocolates on bed while reading without “ah, uff, when will you turn of the lamp, how can you eat chocolates on bed” etc kind of disturbing noise in the backgorund. THE HUSBAND gets the option to smoke umpteen cigarettes uninterrupted with the ashtray lying tilted at a dangerous angle on the bed (can you imagine?) and listen to his all time favourite Top Gun / Lethal weapon OST like a lullaby. Or watch some movie clip with has some cool air chase scenes. Yes, apparently car and aircraft chase sequence helps induce better sleep. … so much for soothing music etc; but then each to their own. I agree that cuddling your spouse to sleep does have its merit but then so is doing what you like to do to unwind before you fall asleep on certain days.
The skeptics may wonder why stay together at all? Let us not get melodramatic. Are you not sharing the portico, garden, living room, kitchen, terrace, balcony, bills, pets, children, parents, vacation and sundry other responsibilities? That is a hell lot of things to share and nurture together. At times, yes even within a short span of 24 hours, one may look for some “me” time. And if giving each other a little space, lessens ridiculous arguments am all for it. Marriage is not about becoming real life examples of “Fevikol aisa jod lagaye’ to prove togetherness, it is about practicing the theory of “Live and let live” and be happy being together!