Do you remember the day you said ‘I do’? When you couldn’t take your eyes off each other and couldn’t stop whispering sweet nothings to one another… When the stars shone a little brighter, and you thought you have finally got your ‘happily ever after’!
Is that how you feel right now? Or is there an undercurrent of disharmony in your marriage? Do you find yourself amidst frequent arguments or disagreements with your better half? Are you wondering if maybe, you have fallen out of love with your partner?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, read on to identify if any of the four common reasons mentioned below are causing trouble in your marital paradise. After all, if you don’t know the problem, how will you ever go about fixing it?
Not expressing enough love
Words! Words! Words!
I’m so sick of words!
…Don’t talk of stars
If you’re in love,
-My Fair Lady, Alan and Frederick
Doesn’t this poem sum it all? Being humans, we crave for an influx of positive feelings. For most couples, especially women, not expressing love and appreciation in day-to-day life can be a significant reason for marital discord. Appreciation isn’t just an act of praising that person for whatever he/she is doing; it’s also an act of gratitude.
– Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash
Just imagine: your partner gets up early every day, fixes breakfast and coffee, keeps the office clothes ready for you- but maybe you’ve never taken time to acknowledge this daily habit. What happens when the partner doesn’t do it for a day? That’s when you feel the pinch!
If you feel that they are supposed to do these chores anyway and hence don’t need to be appreciated for it- try doing it one day all by yourself. You may get some perspective on the support and convenience you enjoy because of them doing these daily chores.
Words of appreciation cost absolutely nothing but could be the most valuable gift you offer to your partner. They show that you notice them and are mindful of the efforts and sacrifices they are willing to make for the relationship. So don’t be stingy here! Let the encouraging words flow authentically, generously, and frequently.
My in-laws lived through 25 years of marital discord. And the primary reason was the extended family they had from both sides. Too many marriages to attend, too many societal events, too many expectations from each other- All of which took a toll on their relationship.
In India, there’s a famous quote- When you get married, you aren’t just married to the spouse, you get married to the whole family!
In-laws, spouse’s siblings, friends- after marriage, you have double the people in your life. With so many people, comes so many different tastes, behaviors, preferences, and dynamics. Sometimes the social obligations may seem too much, especially if you don’t particularly gel with the package that comes along with the spouse.
If that’s the case, for the sake of your own sanity, have the uncomfortable conversation, and set some serious boundaries that you both can agree with! Also remember, when you tell your partner that his/her parents or siblings aren’t exactly your favorite people, be ready to hear some unpleasant things about your folks too! Honest communication is a two-way street, and it’s only fair; it should be that way.
You like army discipline. While she is a lover of ‘having my own space.’ You love pulling all-nighters and watching movies while he dozes off at 10 PM- just when the fun starts for you. You like to spend like there’s nobody’s watching while she counts every penny!
You may end up wondering how you never noticed any of these traits before! Because of that funny thing called love that makes us blind and oblivious to the practical questions we should be asking!
If you find that it’s the differences in habits and personalities that have become a bone of contention, here’s what you could try. Identify patterns that you are willing to be flexible about and those that you simply cannot give up. Commitment to marriage will demand some adjustments from you, and only you can define the boundaries of those adjustments in a way that makes you feel like a newer version of you, but still YOU!
Adjusting to a point where you stop relating to yourself is a big no and can only lead to resentment. So tread that rope very carefully!
How frequently must one have sex to stay happy and satisfied in a marriage? Can you go wild, or do you follow a familiar routine with your partner? How do you address the fantasies you may be harboring? All these impact the intimacy in a marriage.
And when there isn’t enough of this, it can lead to severe disturbances and distance in a marriage. Sexual incompatibility could result in partners resorting to infidelity and cheating to satisfy their carnal desires. According to this article and report by The Insider, extramarital affairs and adultery are the top two reasons for marital discord and, consequently- divorce.
Like most things, issues with sexual intimacy can be addressed with verbal intimacy. Become aware of your needs and communicate them openly and clearly to your partner. Want sex three times a week or want to add some spice to the sex? Share it with your partner, not your shrink!
There are differences in every relationship. A parent-child relationship is not always smooth. Remember the teenage years when you wondered if your uncool parents were really your parents? The dynamic between friends or siblings is not always smooth or flawless. There are differences, and more often than not, we address those issues.
Marriage is no different. The only disadvantage is that marriage as an institution comes with tremendous baggage. And thanks to the Yash Chopras and Karan Johars of the world, our idea of ‘happily ever after’ is so skewed that it has no resemblance to reality.
Every marriage goes through phases. If a couple tells you they are in love every day, either they are newly married, or they probably live on different continents, so there are fewer opportunities to drive each other up the wall. Having differences is common, but working through those differences with mutual trust and respect is the recipe for creating a marriage that is epic, legendary, and, more importantly, a super happy one!
So as long as there is willingness, there is hope. And that, on most days, is enough to make the world go round!