Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

13
Jan

Baby Naming Conundrum

I’m going to be a first time mother soon, in approximately 7-8 days and we are faced with the first of the many problems – Naming of our child. How_to_baby_name_game_2

Ideally, choosing our own baby’s name should have been a fun, inspired endeavor, but we are facing the worst of the baby naming problems.

Too many suggestions:

Me and my husband had started off selecting names privately which we kind of finalized as well. But apparently, all other family members also were thinking on their own. My mother-in-law wanted to keep name of her choice, my father-in-law apparently went with what my MIL wanted, and everyone hated the names we had chosen.

Name discussion with family is definitely entertaining especially when you get to hear so many ideas, but it can get nasty when no one name can be decided mutually and it becomes an everyday discussion. I always feel that it is the right of the parents to take the final call, but sometimes family pressure makes you bow down to the strong rejections from everyone.

Don’t share with friends:

Not just the family, but many times even your friends can dampen your mood. You select the name, you are very excited and you share with you friend. Your friend without slight hesitation, trashes the name you loved the most, and you end up feeling terrible about the name. My advice, just don’t share name with friends, keep it till the naming ceremony. After all, it’s your child’s name and your friends have no right of opinion whatsoever.

Don’t go by names, go by feelings:

Name of your child is the first identity that the new-born gets. The way your child will be born, how it was conceived, the troubles you go through to give birth, no one else can experience those. Thus, instead of thinking about names, think about the reasons, think about your experiences. The name should symbolize your deep feelings about the entire 9 months and that thought process can actually give you a name which is symbol of your love with your partner and your own experiences with the pregnancy.

Don’t let every naming discussion, become a raging battle, explain the thought process you have in selecting the name and maybe then you would have better chances of buy-in from everyone.

Just go with what your heart says:

It is your baby after all, as a mother you have kept it in your womb for 9 months and as a father you have ensured that the mother and child are healthy and happy always. Thus, just close your eyes, think of the love you have with your partner and now will share with your child, and pick a name. A name which comes from your heart will be something you will always cherish forever. It will not be a name which someone picked from a movie, or a name of a famous celebrity, or a random name from your holy book, the name you select will be a name which will come out of love of two people towards each other.

You know it all, just be yourself!

And trust me, naming is not just one thing, you will end up getting lots of advices and opinions after the kid is born coz according to all elders in the family, you just know nothing about how to raise a baby. They just forget that they were also first time parents once and they should let you also experience the same. Just go with your gut feelings, only parents can know what is best for their child.

Family support is always good, but it shouldn’t make you feel that you are a bad parent. They also made mistakes with you, so you have full right to make yours. Learn to do parenting your way, your own experiences are something you will cherish forever.

Only the Mother and Father can know what is best for their own child, after all it is their child and no one else’s. I already told my Mom, it’s my child, not yours reborn after 30 years, so let me be the mother!!!! She understood and now she lets me do things my way…..and we no longer fight and argue over small things, surprisingly we now have a much happier attitude towards everything. I ask advice when I need and she gives, but now she never makes me feel that I’m a bad mother who doesn’t know anything.

Just nod and smile if you get lots of opinions, don’t hurt people by counter arguments, however, just do what you feel is best for your child.

20
Sep

What IF Marriage is Off the Plate?

“I’m in love with someone who is just perfect and I plan to live the rest of my life with him”, declared my friend Susan over a cup of coffee yesterday. She continued, “He is an amazing partner and a wonderful friend and really the one with whom I dream of having a family with”. My natural response was, “so when do we hear the wedding bells?” “When did I say I want to get married”, Susan said casually. 

I didn’t respond to her statement for a moment and started thinking, why would two people who are deeply in love and want to grow old together, not wanting to get tied with a wedding band.

Today’s generation are more and more inclined towards this theory of committing by heart and not by a piece of paper. Why get married if you are committing by heart and staying by each other’s side forever. After all marriage is just a ceremony wherein you throw a party and get some gifts. But in reality, introducing your better half as your boyfriend instead of husband is not going to change the intensity of love and care in any way, so why bother with all the ceremonies.

Marriage = More Commitment?

Contrary to this theory of what’s in a marriage, many people say that with marriage comes more commitment and more seriousness to the relation.  In society also marriage is considered as a sacrament, a sacred union defining the highest level of commitment between two people guided by vows taken in front of the Lord. Marriage is supposed to be so sacred that we all are taught to stay away from sex till we are bound by those vows one of which is to be true and committed to this one person forever. Not that all of us practice this theory, but it’s a generally accepted principle.

I’m neither against marriage nor in favor of marriage. For me love is the key which can hold any relation whatsoever. But what really stimulated me to write this article was this recent trend which compelled me to think on what was really going on. Some people say it’s just a piece of paper, but my point is that if it is just a piece of paper then why are you afraid of it?

If a couple comes to me and says we love so much that we don’t need a ceremony or a paper to prove it, I wouldn’t buy it, if you love so much that you are willing to go leaps and beyond to do anything for the sake of love, then why not a marriage. Those who did marry, at least had enough courage to put their love on paper and to commit for a lifetime to love, honor, and cherish unlike those whose say, no promises here, let’s just see how it all goes!

I personally feel that not marrying means, “I love you a lot but not enough to vow my love before God, friends and family”.

I’m not being an advocate of marriage, after all it is a decision two people take mutually and if they are happy without marriage then so be it. Happily ever after doesn’t have to always include “I do.” The median age of marriage has increased to almost 30+ now and I wouldn’t be surprised if 5 years down the line, probability of a 40-year old single being killed by a terrorist attack is more than to marry.

If not for everyone, this certainly is a bad news for divorce lawyers, the more people put off the idea of getting married, lesser would be the number of divorces J.

To marry or not to marry is not for me to say, but I would surely say one thing, if you are sure that you are in love and the other person loves you the same, then don’t put off the idea of marriage, the picture of both of you holding hands and taking vows in front of the all-mighty is what makes the icing of this lovely relation to be cherished and honored forever.

30
Mar

No Talking? Start Kissing!

No, this article is not about using your lips to kiss when they are unable to come up with words. It is a warning sign for couples who have forgotten to talk and are just filling the void by using lips to kiss.

We all know the drill. You meet someone, you fall in love and you have so much to talk about that people around you get fed up. And you start thinking that sharing lives together forever will give you more to talk about. But you are wrong. When it comes to conversation, after few days of courtship, couples tend to drift apart in terms of talking to each other. Despite the fact that unlike old times now we can stay connected 24/7, we still spend less time chatting.

That makes me question why? Personally I feel that lack of communication is a common issue for people in their 20’s and 30’s who are busy in their stressful work lives and find it difficult to cope up with work and home. When you come home tired from work, the last thing you want to do is talk. In today’s world lives are so busy that couples tend to forget to catch up with each other. You stop wishing “good morning”, you stop asking “how was your day?” or “how is your health?” Daily conversations take on a road of need based dialogues, you talk when you have some work. Worst is if you are in a long distance relationship, you don’t even know what to talk. You call, talk about the day and then follows a long uncomfortable pause where either of you doesn’t speak anything until eventually one person hangs the phone. Communication is a key that unlocks the gates of a successful long terms relationship and when the conversation stops, you tend to lose the emotional connection.

I started wondering what is it that changes between two people who cannot seem to get enough time to finish their talks suddenly get into a stage where there is nothing left to talk. I recently met a couple who was experiencing the phase of silent treatment in their marriage. They met when they were working together. They used to spend endless hours talking about their projects, ambitions and career dreams. Once they got married and the girl relocated, she had to leave her job. The guy got a promotion and started working more and more. After two years of marriage, she realized that it was work that had bonded them in the first place. Once the work was not a topic to be discussed, they had a huge gap and nothing else to talk about.

You might be living together under the same roof, watching TV with your spouse but in reality the bonding seems to be slipping away. Moreover, even when you are at home together, you prefer to surf the Internet alone or do house chores or talk to your friends instead of talking to each other. Dinner times are worst where the only sound that is heard of is the clatter of spoons against plates.

Eventually the situation becomes like an impasse where you keep wondering that how come we have nothing to talk about now. I can still talk with my friends and bond with them then why not with my spouse. When you meet someone and have so much to talk about that time is never enough, you can never believe that silent treatment phase can come.

So we can conclude that it is good to talk but can it be possible that you have already talked too much that nothing is left now? No, you can never have talked enough already, there is always something to talk about. It’s just that we get so busy in our own lives and become so stressed that the smallest things that we were comfortable sharing before feel like ordinary and we avoid saying. Slowly everything becomes ordinary and we end up talking about nothing.

I started thinking and realized that when two people have separate jobs, separate friends, there is very little that they do together. If you think about it, you spend more time with your colleagues at work than your spouse at home. I don’t say that everyone should start working together, but at least they should start doing the other things together. Go shopping together, have lunch together, go to movies, or just make a routine of having morning coffee together. The main point is to be together and just let the conversation flow no matter how unimportant it feels to you.

Do bear in mind that conversing with your spouse won’t be as easy as conversing with your friends. But you definitely should work towards making your spouse your friend. If you feel there is lack of communication from either end, open up, point it out and let the other person know. Every day is not same and one day’s silence does not mean silence forever.

20
Dec

Can You Change a Man?

One word and the entire article can be summarized, NO. You simply cannot change a man and this is not only me talking, you have probably heard from almost everyone, even your grandma, “don’t try to change a man, if you want to be happy then just let him be”. Still we all try to make futile efforts of changing our man. Even I have tried many times with a very little success rate. I wanted my man to be more social, less flirtatious, more understanding with my emotions, less jealous of other guys, more responsible and what not. I kept telling him that I want him to change, but like banging your head against the wall, he didn’t budge even an inch. It created a certain level of distance between us. He got back at me and made himself more distant from me. End result, all we were left was with a vast gap of in-differences and frustrations.

Many women find themselves in similar situations; they love their men a lot but cannot stand certain things about him. They don’t want to leave him but also don’t want to be with him unless he changes. So they keep trying to force their men to change and when they are unsuccessful, she feels lost and lonely and tries to look for another comfort zone where she is heard.

Women by nature are picky. They are picky for their shoes, clothes, makeup, hairstyle, food, perfume, jewellery and what not. We can’t help it, this is probably somewhere in our jeans to be so critical and picky for each and everything. Thus, I suppose men cannot fathom what a woman is and often make statements that “they can never understand us”.

I started to think, is it really true that men cannot change or that we are just not making the right attempt?

I was once talking to a girlfriend of mine who recently got divorced. After battling with months of unhappiness and arguments over trying to change her husband, she eventually left him. “Everything I used to say never reached his ears. He did nothing for me”, she said. She concluded that he didn’t love her anymore and thus, was not making any attempt to please her.

Is changing one’s habits and identities, a mark of one’s love and affection for the other? We as women are programmed to be so meticulous that we start to feel that our man should do what we ask him to do and if he doesn’t we prefer to leave him and find someone else who would. Basically, what we want are trained animals who would come wagging their tails whenever we whistle.

Men are a different species from women. They are strong headed and like to live in their own space. When you tell them that they are wrong or that they should change, they will not like it. Believe me when I say this coz I have had many arguments on this.

I once had a friend who had trouble with his man. He used to keep looking at other girls whenever they used to go anywhere. She felt so embarrassed but didn’t know what else to do. She tried talking to him, fighting with him and even threatening to leave. But she couldn’t change him to stop looking at other girls. So I thought I should ask guys, “What is it that men can’t stop looking at other girls”?

The unanimous answer was, “We’re animals, we just can’t help but look. We want to have sex with every girl we see in short skirt, but that doesn’t mean we want to have sex in reality. It just means that our brain somewhere is unconsciously ripping that girl’s clothes.”

So can men every change?

Probably no, but I do believe that if approached in a right way, things can be made better. If your man is eyeing another girl, there is no harm, is it? He still loves you but no harm in letting him get an occasional eye tonic. Don’t come on too strong on your man with a big list of do’s and don’ts.

In my opinion, men are in fact more understanding than women. Don’t tell them they are wrong, you do not want to hurt their ego. But if you explain certain things in a proper way, I’m sure they will change. Instead of putting him down by pointing his bad habits, try to boost him. Don’t try to change everything about them, if they were so bad you wouldn’t be dating them, right? Walk half way yourself and change your thinking to accept some of their shortcomings.

If you see a lot of issues, then walk out before anything gets serious. But if you have vowed for a lifetime of commitment, then stick to it and change the way you think about your man. Trust him when he says he loves you and I’m sure strong love will take you a long way of mutual understanding and mutual change. Don’t be his mother by trying to tell him every time what to do and what not to do. No man wants to date his mother.

To change your man, learn to change yourself!

31
Oct

Do Marriages Make People Happier?

I’m still single and thus the thought always keeps coming to my mind, would I be happier if I were married? Everyone keeps talking about three main things in life, finding a good partner and marrying, having a high paid job and kids. Does that mean people who are not married are lacking something critical?

If I evaluate my life I would say that I’m a happy person. I do have my share of ups and downs but I’m pretty much happy and satisfied with my life. I have a successful career, loving family, good house and dear friends to make me laugh…overall a happy life. So what is it that I’m missing that can make me happier if I was married?

Research on the Internet and you would see loads of articles and papers that conclude – married couples are happier, satisfied and healthier than singles or divorced people.

Well if you think about it, marriage does tend to bring with itself some perks – long-term commitment, love, gratitude, security and material rewards. Despite the potential payoff, people all over the world are these days putting off marriage for later years of their life. Life expectancy has increased and thus, men and woman want to experience more of their single life before exchanging vows. If you look around, you will find more singles thanks to the rising number of divorce rates.

I personally feel that over the years the reason for marriage has changed. Marriage is now more of a social choice than a necessity. Watch few episodes of “Sex and the City” and you will see that Western countries still prefer live-ins rather than marriage. We are wired to mate in one way or the other so why marry. Advocates of marriage do tend to believe that discovering a soul mate brings joy and makes life worth living. Even the studies show that married people tend to earn more money and live longer apparently due to better health as researchers say that married people are less prone to depression, smoke and drink less and stay healthier.

But still, I wonder can we bet of marriage to bring us our lost happiness? Odds of a successful marriage and finding the perfect partner are similar to the probability of a coin flip – almost 40% of marriages end up in divorce. Still in some countries, marriage is considered to bring more happiness than career or even money.

When the Honeymoon Ends

As soon as you get married, the honeymoon period begins. You find yourself on cloud 9 filled with happiness. After a while, gradually the happiness level starts declining and reduces to what it was in the premarital state. Think about it in this way, people who have relatively low income, for them money can buy happiness for some time. Longer they get used to having money around, the more it loses the charm.

It does not mean that married people are not happy. It merely emphasizes the point that married people are more inclined towards happiness.

What are your expectations?

When we marry, we tend to set expectations for eternal marital bliss. How much relationship skill and marriage expectation you bring on table plays an important role in determining happiness. If you have very high expectation for happiness but do not have the relationship skills to maintain it then you might end up with frustrations and probably a divorce.

As we probably know by now from all the surveys and researches that wedding is the harbinger of a happy future, but happily ever after requires more than just “I do”.  Marriage will not bring some magic in your life and create happiness all over, it requires persistent efforts and changes.

So, why get married in the first place?

Well, only you can be the better judge of that. Whether to marry or not is a personal choice, but one indispensible requirement is that be prepared to work for it. Marriage is a beautiful institution in itself, it is blessed and sacred but it’s not for the weak. Marriage is a full time job requiring a lot of spiritual, mental and emotional strength. When you say that you will stand by your partner in “better or worse”, imagine what worse could possible look like and ask yourself whether you would be able to survive those conditions. If you cannot then don’t marry, you are better off living a single life. But if you have the courage to live committed to one person until that person leave the earth, then you definitely should marry.

There is nothing better than dedicating your life to someone other than yourself, which is the single essential mantra for a successful marriage. You have to have a heart of a priest to do this, be selfless in your love and deeds. Think, can you still sever him dinner even when he has pissed you off completely? Can you do grocery for her even when she has shouted and humiliated you? Can you still stand in front of your god and pray for each other after a serious fight? These are the things happily married people do. You just don’t back out of marriage because you are not having the right feeling. In a world where we are so selfish, it is really hard to do all this, but if you can be selfless in loving your partner, then he/she is truly your soul mate. Strong marriages need strong determination, so before you say “I do”, ask yourself, “Are you strong enough”?

27
Aug

Happy Endings – Are they a Myth or Reality?

I’m sure there is no one who doesn’t want a “Happy Ending” for his/her relation. And why shouldn’t we? Between the legitimate longings of our hearts, and the way the Disney Empire has fed our romantic fantasies for fairy tales, we all are captivated by storybook romance and believe in “happily ever after”.

But lately, the divorce and breakup rates are so high that “happily ever after” seems like a mirage. Why is it so hard to maintain the hopes and dreams that surround a relationship with all its promises of love and fidelity, sacrifice and service?

According to me, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the relations start with unrealistic expectations and misconceptions about how the relation should be. Some common ones that even you might have experienced are:

  • Both partners expect exactly the same things from the relation
  • Things can only get better from good when you have found the love of your life
  • Everything bad is just temporary and will disappear eventually
  • Your partner will make you feel complete

If we liberate ourselves from these myths, we can actually settle into the reality of our relationship and enjoy all the joys and sorrows, passion and pain.

Myth: Now that we are one, our expectations should also be same.

Most of the relationship problems are due to harmful expectations and beliefs that come in front of the face of the reality.

The biggest hindrance in a successful relationship is expecting exactly the same things from a relationship. We two people are in love, it is natural to assume that the other person has the same values and expectations as we have. But no two people are same, every individual has its own culture and beliefs. Still, we all make this mistake of expecting that our lives will continue the same way even after committing in a relation.

Someone wisely said, “Expectations are the mother of resentments”. When your partner doesn’t live up to your expectations, we feel frustrated and irritated. Sometimes we don’t even realize why we’re upset, but something keeps bothering us at the back of our mind. In the process without even realizing we push our partner away.

Most of the expectations are unspoken and we assume them by default. Thus, it is very important to talk about these expectations openly and clearly. The more couples discuss their expectations, the more likely it is that they create a common vision of their relationship that both agree upon.

Myth: Wow, I have found my love, now everything will just get better and better.

Meeting the love of your life, puts a blindfold on your eyes and makes you believe that love will last forever. We drift deeper and deeper into the whimsical world of fake hopes that everything good will just keep getting better and better. Reality – “everything does not get better”. I’m not saying that there are no better outcomes, but some things do get better and some things get worst. A relationship has its share of gains and losses both.

We all have heard of the story of Cinderella where a poor, tortured stepchild is magically turned into a princess and rescued by her prince Charming for a “happily ever after” ending. When we read the story, we also long for a Prince Charming or a beautiful princess to make us happy and wipe away all our tears.

But the reality is opposite of the Cinderella story. We look for our Eden where everything bad will go away and only happiness will pertain. There are no magical glass slippers in reality and the sooner we realize, the better it is for a healthy relation.

Ups and downs, happiness and sorrows are all part of any relationship. The question is whether your relation is like the capital letter A wherein both partners lean so much on each other that if one moves, the whole structure falls apart or it is like letter H wherein both the partners stand alone, or it is like the letter M, wherein they stand on their own but still choose to stay connected.

“Happily ever after” maybe for the fairy tales, but it does not mean that no marriage or relation can be happy and fulfilling. If you stay in the real world, have reasonable expectations, understand each other, and realize that there would be shortcomings, you would take your relationship to mountains of eternity. Just remember, always walk on the roads of truth and reality and not on the pavement of fantasy and illusion.

23
Jul

Is Your Spouse Your Lover or Friend?

One of the predominant rules of dating is that if you are tired of the other person, you cannot simply call and dump. It would be too cruel. So people have tried to make workarounds so as to make the entire episode feel less painful. The cliché “let’s be friends” lines, “I really like you but as a friend”, “I’m crazy for you, but I don’t think I’m suitable for you, so let’s be friends”, always works like a charm. But let’s be realistic now, two people who have been lovers just cannot be friends. You can either be lovers or friends but you just cannot mix the two recipes. Yet, when it comes to marriages, an entirely different rule applies. In a marriage, everyone wants their spouse to be their best friend.

So what is it that makes you crave for a friendship in a marriage but not while dating?

If you evaluate all the marriages, broadly you can classify them under two categories. One the one hand are couples who have complete trust on each other. They share each and everything with each other, even their friend circle is common. You can say that they are simply inseparable. Their relationship is driven predominantly by communication and not sex. So what do they lack? On the outside one might say nothing, but inside the bedroom the story is entirely different. Their desires lack passion. They can connect very nicely with words but when it comes to undressing in the bedroom, either a book comes out or television is switched on. The lovemaking is calm and not wild like fire.

Then you have couples who are great in bed but lack the intimacy of thoughts. Their lovemaking is passionate, fierce but their communication is filled with fights and arguments. Moreover, when they need to talk to someone, they would prefer their outside friends especially ones who are not common. They usually make up for all the argument with passionate sex. There is nothing wrong with such a relation, but then is there a relation in the first place? Eventually when the sex drive dries out, what would be the fate of such a marriage?

When I think about both the scenarios, either of the marriage does not have the success formula to last long. You cannot have sex all the time, and you cannot just keep talking all the time. Any marriage needs to have the right potion of both aspects for the magic spell that can make them live happily ever after. Any successful marriage therefore must have both the ingredients of passion and intimacy. I suppose the key is to connect with your partner emotionally during sex. The honeymoon period does not last long and thus, a marriage needs two people who can talk and exchange thoughts and not just use the mouth for a great kiss. The right companion should be someone who can not only take you to the highest levels of excitement but can also grow you emotionally and intellectually. He/she should not be someone with whom you can not only rush to the bedroom but someone with whom you can build a home.

I guess even God planned a way to make humans develop a relation with both intimacy and sex, I suppose that’s why women have their menses so that during those 5 days the two people can connect emotionally and not sexually.

So, how is your relation, are you friends with your spouses or lovers?