It was the thing that everybody had and I believed it would make me happy and so I jumped. No, it was more thought-through than that. But I had no experience, so it was sort of a blind move. It’s been five years since the dhol, gaenda phool, daal makhni and that expensive lehenga. Here are some notable highlights.
- It’s hard work. Between intense work travel, day jobs, health issues, disagreements, etc, it is very easy for things to slip. Maintaining the ‘connection’ needs a proper time investment.
- I claim he’s impatient, he claims I’m impatient, in reality
only he isboth of us are impatient. The silver lining is that the things that rile us up don’t overlap (for the most part).
- I come from a family that lets everyone be and never meddles, at the risk of glaring communication gaps. His family over-communicates. He worked incredibly hard to get me to talk, particularly when I am upset. I still find it annoying that I have to inform him every time I safely park the car and get on with my day. My revenge: I also update him about my bowel movements every day.
- We get hurt when people don’t reciprocate our gestures or to our text messages. We cannot understand those who are so busy or rude that it always takes them a week to respond to a message. That makes us respect each other more.
- With him I have swung between not desiring any material assets and aspiring to own a big house with a back garden. When you spend so much time with a like-minded person, I’ve found it can get difficult to keep personal beliefs distinct from shared interests.
- I’ve enjoyed maintaining our individual identities in this marriage. I kept my maiden name (except on Facebook). We RSVP to parties with “C and I will be there”, not “we will be there” even though friends use “Gandhis” as the shorthand to refer to us. It’s okay to hang out with the other person’s friends without them. It took us a long time to get comfortable with having entirely dissimilar tastes in films, music, travel, books, and methods of partying or relaxation. He likes to go out for a walk when he wants to clear his mind. I don’t. And after a couple of years of disappointment and argument, we now just let the other one do their thing or plan travel itineraries that work for both or find other people to go and watch a film that interests only one of us. It sounds sensible but took time getting here.
- Sometimes silence works better than quarrels. Not the sulky silence. The one that allows the other person to realise that theirs isn’t the only right perspective. You just have to graciously give space to allow that to happen.
- He’s tunnel-visioned. I’m easily distracted. He does one thing at a time. I think five scenarios at a time. He completes tasks as soon as they emerge. I take my time. He’s private. I have a public blog. We’re a total pain in each other’s necks. I find it hilarious that it took him a leadership training at work to realise things can get done in ways other than his. I am grateful nonetheless.
- He buys me diamonds. I buy him batman trinkets. He taught me how to make poha. I introduced him to the universe of daal that is wider than masoor.
- He trained me to say, ‘thank you’. It’s a very complex one. My unabashed, bratty existence prior to meeting him didn’t account for thank yous, particularly for a member of my family who may pass me a glass of water. It STILL feels silly as I write it here. But I think me coming around to doing this has played a calming effect on our relationship. Of course, we live in London. We say thank you every five minutes. Apparently, I don’t say ‘please’ often enough. I refuse to even when he points it out. Maybe that’ll be resolved by the 10-year mark. Maybe not.