A good marriage is like a delicacy. The recipe should be complete, all the ingredients must be in right proportions, the cooking should be done on the fire over the stipulated time and served neatly and sumptuously when hungry. A marriage can last for ever, just like the lingering taste of a well prepared delicacy, provided all the aspects and ingredients of marriage are perfect.
When something slightly goes amiss in cooking, an expert chef knows how to adjust and manipulate contents to ensure that the end product is ensured to be of acceptable quality. In a similar way, partners in marriage should also know the knack of adjusting for the sake of ensuring long lasting relationship in marriage.
What are the successful ingredients of a marriage that can last for ever?
In India, the reverence to the institution of marriage and family bondage are very strong. When a woman marries, she literally marries a family.
Trust in the sanctity of the institution of marriage
Marriage is just not for ensuring an outlet for the natural sexual urges for human body alone; it is a socially acceptable and time-tested practice followed across all human societies for the canalization of sexual energy in a respectable way to ensure continuation of progeny. In this process, the trust and commitment of the couple to each other is basic. The aim of marriage is a life-long togetherness for mutual care, support and for bringing up children as worthy citizens of the future.
For these to be ensured, a basic, almost “religious” trust in the institution of marriage is of paramount importance. Any marriage proposal based on fleeting attraction of the opposite sexes, mostly glorified as love for the sake of legitimacy, without a sense of commitment for long term relationship can never ensure longevity of marriage.
Of course, things can go awry in a marital relationship. Failures of marriage may be seen as the only practical reality of life all around. But that should not be a cause for entering into marital relationship without the basic trust in the sanctity of marriage. You cannot make prayers without faith in God.
Mutual respect and affection
Love is a word, which is too emotional, many times very artificially interpreted, frequently confused with love-making and many times having too short a life a span in marriage. For a marriage to last for ever, the transient love should mature in to mutual affection with an element of respect for each other. The respect need not be interpreted like the type of respect children of previous generations were expected to hold on their parents.
It is respect combined with intimacy; giving credit to the other person what is rightfully due; giving the independent breathing space; showing respect the other’s relatives and friends; giving respect to the other’s principles, values and beliefs; having trust in each other.
Need for a good foundation
Love and love-making enliven the marriage in early stages and undoubtedly they are essential ingredients in the formative stages of marriage. However, in a long lasting marriage, what is basic staple food in the beginning turns to a “side dish” over time! This should be natural. Satiating hunger of the flesh should not be the long lasting role of love and sex in marriage.
Being self-centered: Maybe Yes. Being selfish: No
There is a thick veil of difference between being self-centered and being selfish. Many people do not grasp the difference between the two.
Every individual has physical, emotional and intellectual needs – income/ financial freedom, creature comforts, love, care, respect, social status etc. If people go behind acquiring these needs with least concern about the trouble and discomfort caused to others in the process, they are selfish. On the other hand, as long as one goes in pursuit of acquiring these needs without intentionally and arrogantly causing trouble and inconvenience to the spouse in a marital relationship, they are self-centered needs.
When the spouse is willing to adjust, accommodate and even sacrifice to some extent to the self-centered needs of the partner, the marriage can last for ever but certainly not under selfish machinations of one over the other partner.
Absence of egotism
Strange though it may be, it is not uncommon to see people, who are basically far less egoistic with friends and relatives, behaving egoistically with their spouses! Some women will talk freely many personal matters with friends, cut jokes, allow others close to them to make fun of them but they will not be found be so free and jovial with their husbands. Some husbands too behave in a similar way. Some husbands will not tolerate their wives cutting jokes about their idiosyncrasies in public.
Some wives will flare up if their husband cracks any jokes about their culinary skills amidst his relatives. Some will not tolerate even slight criticism about their looks or habits by their spouses. The husband and wife may have been living together for several years but you won’t find the casualness of a good friendship between them.
Lack of egotism in the relationship between husband and wife is of prime importance in ensuring a lasting relationship with a bond that will be visible to others. With such a quality built in the psyche, forgiving and forgetting comes naturally. A bitter fight of today can be laughed off across the dining table the very next day, without leaving a taste of bitterness behind.
Accept the difference between a man and woman
Another wrong concept that breaks the basics of marriage is the idea of equality between man and woman in marriage. Man and woman are not equal. They join in relationship to complement each other – not to become equal to each other. A woman’s power lies in her capacity to love, give, share and care. A man’s power lies in being the bread winner, the protector and the leader. Man dominates by physical means and a woman balances and tames him by her emotional strength.
Where this basic difference is clearly understood, the marriage can last for ever.