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Love, care, respect: the bottom line of a marriage


It’s a tribute to human ingenuity that the institution lasts

A renowned and venerated anchor of a hugely popular reality show has been providing unsolicited advice on how to make your marriage work. His first principle is to let the wife do all the talking. Cultivating the art of listening is one of the golden rules of excellence in management too.

His second rule is that at all times the husband should let it be publicly known that at home, it is the wife who rules the roost.

His final “sanevice” is that the husband has to accept gladly that he is destined to lose all marital arguments and should, therefore, be prepared to apologise all the time.

If one willingly reconciles himself to this new normal, his matrimonial engagement is bound to succeed.

Common space

From a geometric point of view, a marriage is almost like a venn diagram. It is difficult to pinpoint or define the common space or shaded area. To begin with, it could be common interests, but as time passes, it could be two chairs put next to each other.

Initially, it works out very well, husband and wife assisting and encouraging each other in their common profession and hobby, but then attitudes begin to harden like arteries. Gradually, it becomes harder to see eye to eye with each other.

A time may come when they decide to part ways, particularly if they are into politics. The shaded area could be shades of grey too. Faint in colour initially, but growing stronger as time passes, like old wine. It is the shaded area that has to be cultivated and nurtured to build a success story.

The two sides of the coin cannot face each other, but they can always decide to look the other way, maybe with a wink or two.

Marriage is somewhat like a lake. It is placid most of the time, but is susceptible to turbulence, mostly from “outside factors”.

With the progress of civilisation, the externalities have multiplied manifold. It is indeed a tribute to human ingenuity that the institution still survives.

Some time ago, a marriage in Saudi Arabia broke up because the husband used to press the toothpaste tube in the middle, instead of perhaps pushing the paste up from the bottom.

A marriage is somewhat like a game of chess. You have to make your moves after careful consideration. You cannot take anything for granted. You have to be ready to sacrifice a lesser relationship in order to preserve the cardinal one.

A marriage is also a balance sheet. The couple have to work assiduously to improve the triple bottom line of love, care and respect, in order for the relationship to prosper.

Golden rules

To sum up, the five golden rules of marriage are: do not take things for granted; when asked for your advice, make an intelligent guess of what is expected to be your reply; do not use inducements as palliatives, they do not work after seven years; do not attempt to mould your spouse to become your clone; and finally, value and respect the relationship.

(The writer is a former

Secretary-General of

the Rajya Sabha)

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 10:03:55 PM |

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