Reflections on a 7-year Marriage

Our marriage turned seven over the weekend. I have to admit - it hasn't turned out as I expected. Over the years, as you grow up, through the books you read, the movies and the marriages that you observe around you, you come up with a picture of what you think marriage is all about. Well, life has a way of surprising you.

When A and I finally got married - after years of waiting around for a variety of reasons - our friends heaved a sigh of relief. At long last and all that. Someday I'm going to put our wedding invitation card up here - if I can find it, our camera can work and we can upload the picture ( don't hold your breath). I'm sure, somewhere in that statement lies a comment about our marriage and the way it works, but I can't find it.

I also can't find a lot of other things - bills, credit card statements, insurance papers...In fact, one of the things that I was sure would cause some major meltdown moments in our marriage was my ability to effortlessly lose any important piece of paper within seconds of it reaching me, including our marriage certificate. That I haven't lost it yet is because I have never been permitted to so much as hold it in my hands ( same as our kids' birth certificates). A and I are very different in the area of organisation and tidiness. I believe less is more and he is firmly on the more is more side. In myriad ways, we are like chalk and cheese.

I expected a lot of little things to matter or come in the way more. Things like which side of the bed, who gets to read the paper first, the amount of milk or sugar in the tea. All the tiny little minutiae of life which one would never expect to so much as register and yet, when you look at failed relationships around you, seem to loom like mountains. I expected us to turn into mom and pop - people who would ask each other searching questions about whether the other had had his lunch and the state of each other's digestions and other health matters. I thought we'd spend a lot more time asking the other to put on - or take off - sweaters or jackets because it was too cold/ too hot. I thought after some years together, we'd get bored and need time apart - girls nights out or boys nights out or whatever. I thought we'd change and we'd change each other and was all set to resist the process, because after years of trying on a too-tight or too-loose skin, I'd finally got it to fit me.

Much to my surprise, 7 years down the line, I'm still much the same. I still have a loud voice and a loud laugh. I'm still messy and disorganized and he's still pained by it. In fact, at our place we have set aside the room with the most closets to contain the disorder, and named it the 'Messing Room'. And it is one, too, no honorific titles here. I'm still vegetarian, much to the confoundment of A's family doctor who persists in asking me this question every year. I'm still quick to fly off the handle.

A is still non-veg. He's still Muslim, I'm still Hindu. He's still ultra-organized and hates it if he can't find something he needs. He can still tick me off by getting up in the middle of a conversation to return the teacups to the kitchen. He still handles my tempests by staying calm and cool. He hasn't learnt any kannada and I haven't learnt any urdu. We don't ask each other whether the other had lunch or tea - we assume the other is old enough to know to come in out of the rain. We don't spend too long quizzing each other about our healths or minor illnesses, apart from A's periodically goading me to visit the dentist which I have been successfully putting off for 8 years.

We still think whatever time we get to spend together is too little. He still makes me laugh like no one can. We don't care which side of the bed who sleeps on, and like the same amount of milk ( 1 tbsp) and sugar ( 1 tsp) in our tea. Tea is the preferred panacea for both of us, not coffee and not one of the many wines and liqueurs we have collected over the years. We both love to travel and have our holidays for the next several years pre-blocked for destinations. We love reading and continue to read and to buy books with a passion that will soon see our home stocked with more books than a public library. We find the same things funny.

The big changes that have happened are more to do with larger circumstances - the birth of our children and therefore our realisation of our own mortality. My learning to be a mother ( he was already a father waiting to come into being). The ageing of both sets of parents. The need to save and invest and plan for the future. The natural process of ageing and maturing and coming to realise that you'd rather spend a quiet evening in the company of close friends than a noisy evening with a bunch of strangers in a pub.

Otherwise, we have changed very little in the past 7 years. We have remained, he and I, two very good friends who, over the course of a conversation, thought what a good idea it would be if they continued the dialogue forever and began walking down a path hand in hand. We know neither one of us is perfect. But the good thing is, we don't need each other to be. The way we are - slightly kinked, somewhat flawed, a bit quite perfect.

Touch Wood!


Mala said…
Lovely post. Happy anniversary to you and A !

the mad momma said…
You live in Delhi? why have I not met you?!
bird's eye view said…
madmomma - we should meet! i really enjoy your writing!
S said…
lovely post.. made me all senti-senti :)

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