If you aren’t learning anything new, you are probably dead (or close to it). Every new experience or change in circumstance should teach you something. Something that will better your life, help you grow, help you become the best you can be!
There hasn’t been as significant a change in my life since I got married. Frankly, before then I was pretty much cruising along the same well-trodden path utterly secure in my bubble. Life took a 180-degree turn for me after I signed my marital contract and boy what a journey has it been!
I have learned a lot in the last four years; being able to cook and clean somewhere on the list. But amongst these essential life skills, I have learned how to sustain a life-long relationship; one that is ever changing.
1. Respect works both ways.
In a stereotypical Pakistani marriage, the husband commands all the respect. Don’t shout at your spouse, don’t argue back, done look at him with anger, refer to him with respect and never disagree.
Well, guess what, the same rules apply to women too. Don’t shout at your wife, don’t look at her with anger, always refer to her with respect. You can disagree with her but only within the confines of civility. Because you married a person, you did not inherit a slave.
If you think you deserve respect just because you wear the pants then think again. To make a marriage work, respect is the ultimate bottom line. Because if you can’t respect a person, there is no point in spending the rest of your life with them.
2. Your problems are like your dirty laundry: not for the world to see.
This is a continuation of the above. Respect yourselves enough to keep your problems to yourselves. If I tell my mother about a fight with my husband, she will listen and advise me to be better. But the matter won’t close there. While I may move on and forgive my husband (which I inevitably will), my mother will always remember what happened and may form an opinion of him that I would not want her to have.
Secondly, other people, no matter how close they may be to you, may treat your issues like gossip. You may be angry at your spouse for not buying you an expensive pair of shoes, but you won’t be mad forever. And you will not like it when your friends start referring to him as a cheapskate.
The point is, there should be no room for a third person in your marriage, especially not as a confidante because that will only harbor resentment in the long run.
3. Life is not a corporation, it’s a partnership.
One person cannot make all the decisions. Especially not when the outcome of the said decision effects the two of you. This is not a corporation where the board hires a CEO to direct its employees. This is life, and real life requires a strong partnership because life sucks at times. You both need to be in it together.
It’s not fair that one person gets to call all the shots. Its definitely not fair if the other has to deal with the burden of a bad or ill thought out decision. Maybe your spouse has an insight you didn’t consider before; maybe they may have an alternate solution. You should respect them enough to consider their input or at least their stake in the dilemma.
4. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong: Your spouse needs to know you have their back.
Life sucks. It isn’t easy nor is it supposed to be. You will come across situations that will force you out of your comfort zones. Things will get hard, maybe even unbearable, but what helps you get through is knowing that you are not alone in this. Imagine being targeted by the whole world and not one person is in your corner. Imagine the one person who you have dedicated spending your life with turns their back on you.
You need to know that, no matter what, your spouse has your back. You may be right, you may be wrong, but you need that security. And vice versa. Your spouse needs to be confident in the fact that you will be there for him no matter what. Because life can get long and hard, and what is the point of being married if you are not there for each other?