The definition of marriage is legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship.
I had never thought that I will ever look up the meaning of Marriage in a dictionary. But yes, I have for the reason that, that is how I have opened every post of my series ‘Decoding Midlife’.
For me, marriage is more than just a recognized union of two people. I met my husband when I was 18 years of age. It was kind of love at first sight for me. Though I never revealed it to him and waited until our friendship stood the test of time. As we started spending more time with each other our friendship manifested into love and after dating for 5 years we married.
We took time to understand each other even after being in love. I remember spending entire nights speaking to him over the phone and sharing every bit of my life with him as friends. Yet after being in a serious relationship our expectations from each other increased. There were quite a few unpleasant fights and disagreements.
When we are at the beginning of a relationship we overlook the faults but after a few years, our expectations from the relationship tends to change. It is the same with marriages. In the initial years we tend to ignore the habits we don’t like in our partners but with the passing time, we become intolerant about the same.
Most couples are into almost 15 years of married life as they reach midlife. With time, we take our marriage for granted. That’s the first mistake. We need to nurture our relationship, be grateful and appreciative of our marriage. We need to accept that every relationship will have its share of problems but it’s not necessary that there aren’t any solutions.
Midlife is a transitional phase and the most important one. We need to keep our relationship passionate and alive during this time. We have to be willing to accept the shift in our expectations while maintaining mutual respect.
Most of the people in their forties are at the peak of their careers. Naturally, priorities change. Work takes precedence, not over family but definitely on the time that one can spend with family. There are work commitments and responsibilities which need to be addressed. And most certainly should be too.
I am not a working woman. I am a stay at home mom. My primary responsibility is that of a caregiver whereas my husband is the sole breadwinner for the family.
He trusted me with my choice to be a stay at home mom. I am well educated, I could have worked full time and that would have given him lot of financial support too. Yet he supported me in my choice. Today if his work demands more of his time, I need to alter my expectations. It’s a highly competitive world. We have to fight for our place. We talk about work-life balance but it is not that easy to exercise it. My husband leaves for office at 8:00 in the morning only to be back at 11:00 p.m. It is certainly tough for us as partners, for the family, but I know it’s because of his hard work that we live a comfortable life.
Most importantly, I get the opportunity to pursue my passion of writing and live my dreams. When I get that support, I need to provide him with the same. Am I not an extremely understanding partner! No, I am not a saint. I complain a lot about the lack of time he spends with us. But I have come to realise that negativity breeds negativity. Rather than bothering about not spending a quantity of time together, I will need to focus on making the limited time that we have together wonderful.
Having read so much about midlife and the changes that I will go through mentally and physically, I was a bit concerned about my married life as I enter my 40’s. I didn’t want my marriage to lose the emotional closeness that we have with each other. There will be multiple occasions during my menopause when I will be upset and distressed. I would want that my partner would respond every time I needed his assurance when I am disturbed.
But then I remembered, that we are friends first. And what friends do the best- Be a good one. I guess being a best friend to your spouse is the basis for a good marriage. Our friendship will make our marriage even more beautiful and our midlife the best phase of our married life too.
“Experts on romance say for a happy marriage there has to be more than a passionate love. For a lasting union, they insist, there must be a genuine liking for each other. Which in my book, is a good definition for friendship”.