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10 + 5 ways to have a happy relationship and a healthy marriage

March 6, 2009

I am no expert, but yeah I have a happy married life and have had it for almost 25 years. I thought I would jot down some of the things which I feel are important for a couple to make a go of it. Most of these things should come instinctively and that is why I feel that if the first couple of years go well, it means the foundation is a good one. But if they don’t, well, all of us make mistakes and its never too late to say sorry.

Here are some things that I feel are intrinsic to the success of a marriage but these are my own personal observations. You are free to add any of your own.

1. Never think that you are too good for him or her, because it’s the beginning of a most dissatisfying relationship. To feel superior either because you are better looking or earning more money is self-defeating. So when it comes to your relationship with your partner, stop thinking of yourself in terms of your looks, your money, your talent or your intelligence. It you have to evaluate yourself, do it on the basis of how kind and understanding and sensitive you are in the relationship. But best not to feel a sense of superiority here either as often your other may have some other good qualities. For example he/she may be an unselfish person, a good natured happy person, or of a calm nature, more truthful and so on. All I am saying is, be grateful for each other.

2. Some people are always ready to say sorry (less ego) while some are always reluctant. Resentments can build up if one person in a relationship says sorry everytime and the other never does. One day this can destroy the very foundation of a relationship as without acknowledging the hurt, it cannot begin to heal. I think those who find it difficult to acknowledge  their mistakes need to improve in this department.

3. Always defend your partner in public, and this means even if it’s your own parents or other family members who are criticizing. You can always discuss anything you don’t like about your partner’s behavior in private.

4. Don’t ever stop your partner from doing things he/she loves.

5. Don’t ever forget that there is something called division of labour. It’s not how much one earns, but how much time is spent working which matters.

6. Even in an argument, be fair. Don’t hit below the belt. This is very important as sometimes hurtful words can simmer inside for a long time. At the same time, there is always something called forgiveness. If there is something that your partner has said to you or done to you that you find absolutely unbearable…it is possible to forgive.

7. Communicate. Whether it is a positive or a negative feeling. It is possible to tell your partner about negative traits without  putting him/her down or being mean. Also, one should not assume that one’s partner can read one’s feelings. So express yourself. For example if you feel sad, say so. Don’t imagine that he or she should be sensitive enough to read your mind. Very few people have that heightened sensitivity.

8. Never forget the reasons why you married him/her. Keep these reasons foremost in your mind. Differences will always exist but one has to concentrate on the good things.

9. Do not give societal and religious matters more importance than your partner.

10. Keep in constant touch and I mean that literally. Touching each other is very very important.

The following 5 things are less critical to a relationship but nonetheless, important.

1. If you love life, there is no reason why you can’t learn something new or do something you haven’t liked much, if your partner wants you to. This applies even more strongly to those activities for which a partner is required, like dancing for example. But it also applies to say walking, or maybe playing cards…something which you might not like to do. You may never learn to love it with a passion, but there is no harm in joining your partner in his favourite activity if he wants you to…and this also means that he/she will be able to talk about it to you.

2. Treating your partner’s friends/relatives like your own helps. But yes, it is a two-way process and never blame your partner if he/she withdraws from your relatives due to the cold treatment that he/she may have received.

3. A sense of humour can help a relationship tremendously and by this I mean the ability to laugh at your mistakes and move on.

4. Love yourself in the sense that keep yourself healthy and fit. These things may be about physical attractiveness but they do matter in a marriage. Also the self confidence that comes with a good body helps tremendously in a romantic relationship.

5. I liked this write-up in which they advise that one has to be nice to one’s partner! It says:

A long-lasting, happy marriage is about knowing your partner, being supportive, and being nice.

Another piece of advise by some happily married couples can be read here. As one of the couples says, one should enter a marriage thinking that divorce is not an option. Commitment is the key word.

Related Reading: Arranged marriage vis-à-vis a love marriage – which is better?
Do children affect the health of a marriage?
Why is the divorce rate increasing?
What kills a marriage quicker: A physical affair or an emotional one?
It is possible to arrange love
Checking out the other sex

Read all posts on Love

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114 Comments leave one →
  1. Milind Kher permalink
    March 6, 2009 3:10 pm

    A fundamental flaw in some marriages is that the partner gets taken for granted. Sometimes, one partner is inconsiderate.

    Communication breakdown and ascendancy of emotion over logic also creates problems.

    Marriage is a relationship that needs to be worked at like none other!

    • openlight permalink
      March 6, 2009 3:36 pm

      Marriage is an relation more private and long lasting than any other relation.

    • March 6, 2009 7:12 pm

      Milind, that’s not a flaw in marriage but in individuals!

  2. openlight permalink
    March 6, 2009 3:34 pm

    Good notes, I admire and appreciate you for such comprehensive coverage to keep the relationship.

    I will further add to it, that everything (advice,religion,etc.) boils down to just one point –

    “Treat others as you want yourself to be treated”

    But, if someone is of some peculiar nature, one can not change it and as per Buddhism / confucius, we can only work on ourselves, we can not remove all thorns in our way, it is advisable to wear an shoe than to pluck all thorns. Further, lifetime will pass away, its up to us how we mold our self and make the passage enjoyable.

    • March 6, 2009 7:50 pm

      openlight, I would say treat others the way they want to be treated. That is one step better! :) Nita

      • openlight permalink
        March 6, 2009 11:32 pm

        then what is pampering??
        Being aware of other is one thing and being dreamy and close to reality is other.

  3. March 6, 2009 3:50 pm

    I liked your post. Live and let live but its hard sometimes to focus on everything and be that sensible. Everyone loses their temper and then it takes you back to your past traumas and all the frustrations come pouring out. Still no one said relationships are about fun. They are a serious business eh?

  4. Milind Kher permalink
    March 6, 2009 3:53 pm

    Even fun is a serious business :-). Ask anybody in the entertainment industry, and they will tell you how difficult it is to effectively entertain people.

    • March 7, 2009 1:04 pm

      @ Milind : I implied “fun” not as in comedy or humour but in the sense of “Enjoyment”. So in that sense what I implied was that a relationship is rather like a job. Often people say “Being a mom or a dad is a full time job.” So in that way being a husband or a wife is a full time job as well!

  5. March 6, 2009 3:58 pm

    Very thoughtful and practical points..

  6. March 6, 2009 4:09 pm

    Nita, great insights for a healthy marital relationship! Communication is a key ongoing function. Hectic professional lives can mean less time with each other @home. But as you have rightly mentioned keeping in touch is most important – especially about the important matters that affect the family, though not forgetting the smaller details can be delightful too! Adjusting to opposite likes and dislikes (compromising to the other partner’s choice) maybe important too – I am not too sure whether I read this in your list above though. Point No. 8 is important too. Now let me try to remember……..

    I guess you have just said it in different words, that’s all. – Nita.

  7. vasudev permalink
    March 6, 2009 4:45 pm

    nita…you said the first couple of years is important in a married life.

    very true!

    the first couple of years can be spoiled for the couple by the parents of both the spouses who may have a go at each other’s ego. this ego match by the parents could have some very permanently disabled players…the couples themselves!

    in a way i am very happy for today’s youngsters…that they aren’t bothered about bowing excessively to the parents. the youngsters of today have a will of their own and this can help them stay in a relationship longer, provided they learn to respect each other, have an independant but joint opinion and do not have too much of a parental inclination.

    but…if not one devil another might crop up. husbands are given to be jealous of wives who are more popular or successful than themselves. and i do not see how this age old ego problem has changed even now. it becomes more and more evident as the families grow in size and as the couples get into their late 30s.

    in a way of speaking the best relationship can be that of a bf-gf and not one of h-w. this way the romanticism would remain for the duration of the one or two yrs such relationships generally last before they get bored with each other and drift to find newer mates. but by this no one gets hurt permanently, the friendship or relationship circle grows consistently and all can grow old together more intimately thus obviating the need of an old age home.

    • March 6, 2009 8:00 pm

      Vasudev, Well, I think that one of the reasons why romanticism gets killed in a h-w relationship often due to the presence of others who keep interfering and leave the couple no privacy. That is one of the reasons in India. However I disagree about children. The romanticism is alive and well in our marriage and I have had two children who I brought up myself, without the help of nannies. It’s the attitude, which matters. Children will never try and kill the romanticism in their parents marriage. My kids for example grew up seeing their parents hug each other, hold hands etc. They think that is normal. They in fact think its very cute! My husband still brings me roses and did so when the kids were small. He sends cards and notes, too and well we talk on the phone at least twice a day even when we are both working! And believe me its not about financial matters or practical matters. We just want to hear each others voice! Sure, when the kids were small, it became difficult to find the time to go out together but it is possible to find romance just by looking into each others eyes. Surely you must have fallen in love sometime Vasudev?

      • vasudev permalink
        March 6, 2009 8:51 pm

        nita…:) yes…mine was a love marriage and we just finished our 20th anniversary quite successfully! ;)

        actually when you narrated your life i felt as if you were talking about mine…’cause, everything is ditto! (except for the roses, of course…instead i gat frequent dresses and other gifts for her as well as for my children.

        i am obsessed with this parent thing because we lost our budding romanticism (after marriage…before it was great!)…as i said, our romantic life was one hell of a fight between my ma-in-la and my ma…my son kinda thing. so we had to take sides and that created lots of difficulties in our later lives, although we do the hugging openly. children also accept that very happily.

        right from their small age i have taught my children one important lesson(drilled into them, rather)…that after marriage their spouse was primary, parents secondary. i have also taught them one more thing…that they should go and settle down in any part of the world without a concern for their parents (in my case i had this deep attachment for home). i hope they do remember my lessons! anyway, my daughter is doing her engineering and son, in 10th, is good at studies. plus i am fairly well placed myself. so i do not think we would be a burden on our children after i give-up working. once we are financially independant and the children are well off themselves they can have their lives and we can have ours…what do you say?

        • March 6, 2009 9:41 pm

          Vasudev, thanks for sharing that. I don’t know why but I felt very emotional reading your comment. That is exactly how I think too, I do not want my children to feel guilty if they fly off somewhere. They need to spread their wings and fly! And we too need our space don’t we! ;)

          • vasudev permalink
            March 6, 2009 10:02 pm

            well…we seem to have commonalities…are you a libra? :)…don’t answer that one nita. just asked for fun.

            yes…we need our space and they need theirs. so better we learn what the birds do.
            we are lucky we can talk like this, of becoming financially independant, after being born unto a world of advancements…our parents were unfortunate during their times…very unfortunate! yet…that is how God cast his dies! and yet, who knows? ;)

  8. March 6, 2009 5:03 pm

    hmmm…. :)

    • March 6, 2009 6:41 pm

      As a married lady only hmmm? :D

      Reema, I had a brief infatuation, before I was married :) It was not really love. It was short and sweet and very innocent. One thing I learnt from that was that never go by sweet flattering talk! I guess that short relationship made me better able to know when the real thing came along. – Nita.
      p.s. I replied to this comment from my dashboard and didn’t realise you were actually talking to Sakhi! I wonder what Sakhi has to say about it!

  9. March 6, 2009 5:40 pm

    I loved this article, different from those you usually do. Great advice! :)

  10. March 6, 2009 5:45 pm

    Lovely Nita! Balanced and fair.

    I will come back if I feel I can add something, but I feel you have summed it up really well.

  11. March 6, 2009 5:50 pm

    @ ’4. Don’t ever stop your partner from doing things he/she loves.’

    I think this is very important. And I have never heard anyone mention this before. I have seen this kind of controlling can build terrible, life long resentment.

    • March 6, 2009 10:12 pm

      I think the controllers basically are incapable of a relationship, they get their pleasure out of the controlling and the ownership feeling over their partner. They miss out on a wonderful love and partnership, that between a man and a woman.

    • March 7, 2009 1:52 am

      What if my partner loves to snort coke (cocaine, not the drink)? ;)

      I guess love can grow in rehab too as long as you are together! :) – Nita.

  12. March 6, 2009 6:52 pm

    Thanks for the tips :D

  13. Vinod permalink
    March 6, 2009 7:22 pm

    Nita, spelling of marriage in the title – see that?

    Thanks Vinod, I made the change. – Nita.

  14. March 6, 2009 7:31 pm

    That was a very good post Nita. I think patience is also important to keep up a good relationship. People need to understand that they won’t benefit by cheating or taking undue advantage. In the long run it hits them back along with interest.

    Yes I think so too, what you sow you reap. At least in relationships. – Nita.

  15. March 6, 2009 8:02 pm

    I absolutely agree with you. After exactly 25 years of happy married life my experience is more or less the same. Communication, respecting each other’s likes and dislikes, loving yourself, never crossing the line during arguments are so important for a healthy relationship. Acknowledging your mistakes is another important point which people wanting a long and healthy relationship should remember. You haven’t mentioned children. They have an important role in Indian marriages at least.

    thanks Prerna. I am not sure what you mean by children. I mean both my husband and me love children, but I know that if for some reason we hadnt had any, we would have been equally happy together. Thats what I feel but then, as we both love kids I guess something would have been missing from our life. – Nita.

    • March 7, 2009 8:52 am

      You could have been happy without children agreed, but in times of adversity children give you a reason to be together.

      • March 7, 2009 10:27 am

        Prerna, I know one couple who used to quarrel only because of the children! They had widely different ideas on how to bring up the kids and as the kids grew into their teens, they stopped quarreling! :) But yes if the marriage gets into trouble, then the kids can help hold it together, if that is what you meant.

        • VeeKay permalink
          March 17, 2009 4:28 am

          If there is a quarrel between a couple and the difference is so big that it cannot be resolved, and if they settle to stick around for the sake of children.

          They are doing a great injustice to the kids by not giving a harmonious environment to grow in. The best would be for them to lead separate lives and mutually agreeing to who will have the custody of the kids

  16. March 6, 2009 8:43 pm

    beautiful post listing everything of importance… :)
    All of these are the traits of a good human being also :)

    thanks for the pointers :D

    Thanks Indyeah! – Nita

  17. wishtobeanon permalink
    March 6, 2009 8:47 pm

    Hi Nita, great article! I think point number 8 applies to love-marriages because in some arrianged marriages, everything happens so quickly that the partners do not have enough time to get to know each other before marrying.

    • March 7, 2009 10:37 am

      wishtobeanon, I feel that at some level, maybe subconscious level, we do choose even an arranged marriage partner. Generally there is some physical attraction and some chemistry. And the biodata is certainly seen. I will give you an example of a friend of mine. She wanted a very intelligent and well qualified husband and she didn’t care much about whether he came from a rich family or not. She also wanted someone good looking. Well, she got someone exactly like that and there were some adjustment problems as he came from a different background plus he was a little inept socially. But then she had got a brilliant guy who was exceptionally good looking as well! And he was not a bad person at all. She had told me during her engagement that he had a good heart. So even during the engagement she was sure she had got the “best” there was in the marraige market! :)

  18. March 6, 2009 9:16 pm

    Very useful tips Nita! I’ll get a printout ;)

  19. March 6, 2009 9:19 pm

    Great post Nita! My two cents follow I cannot not write on this topic! Wrote in a hurry, ignore typos/errors.

    I may be single, virgin, never been kissed and whatnot but marriage/love is a topic that excites me, entices me like no other.

    Needless to say I am dying to marry. I, Vikas, a Ph.D. student (JNU) is in unrequited love with someone since more than six years (the only reason I have not renewed my bid or popped up the question is that I never got a respectable job (curse the goddamn UPSC exam which has spoiled my life in more ways than one! It is a miracle she is still single just the same!). All this later; presently I will concentrate on my views on marriage/ideal marriage/love and the like.

    I have always wanted to write a book on love, unrequited love and marriage, babies, chastity, loyalty, virginity, in-laws, relationships, divorce, cheating – the whole nine yards. That will happen in future but thank you just the same for writing an exciting post and triggering my emotions.

    1. Methinks marriage is a wonderful institution. Nope, correction… It is the greatest institution.

    2. I have never been with a woman but I know I will make the world’s greatest husband and lover and father (and son-in-law subject to conditions). If males here are not impressed, their wives or girlfriends need to be congratulated.

    3. “Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.”

    4. Love your partner for what she is and not what she has (looks, property, status, stature, rich parents and the like). This however may not be initially applicable. For example, I fell in love at first sight ( I was enamoured of her ‘nose’) but later her breathtaking beauty has been of no significance for me. I may have been attracted to her beauty but later it was neither here nor there. I love her irrespective of her looks and even if she loses here beauty or her hour glass figure.

    5. Respect your man/woman. Some wise person said, “There are only two kinds of perfect people on earth- the dead and the unborn!” I second this thought and any sane person should. Look for perfection and you are chasing a mirage. Embrace the person for what they are and not what they could have been. Nobody is tailor-made for you.

    6. Change yourself as and when possible, as and when desirable, as and when applicable. Man, she is your woman! It should be your pleasure to change yourself for her. In my letters (monologues) to ‘S’ I have always emphasized the point that I am dying to change for her (and that I am change-resistant and only she can change me). We are almost polar opposites (me Taurus vs S Scorpio) but if I am with her someday I will metamorphose myself for her ( I secretly follow her on the internet to discover her likes/dislikes/disposition and have constantly groomed myself for her). I got a home made six-pack body, quit cigarette (even tea, coffee, soft drinks, Bhature, Puri, Jalebi, Nail chewing, Kurkure, butter) to make myself more amenable (and more handsome of course) for her! I have made a list of her likes/dislikes/books/passions and sooner or later I will embrace all of them. I think men who can’t change for their woman are truly unfortunate. I want to change for ‘S’ with a capital C.

    7. Do not give undue importance to many popular quotes and jokes on marriage. I think somewhere they leave some subconscious impression on the human mind and adolescents, teens or adults are mostly unfavourably impressed by it. Consider the following for example:

    Before marriage, a man yearns for a woman. After marriage, the y is silent!

    Love is a temporary insanity curable by marriage!

    Love is blind but marriage restores its sight!

    Patni shuru me hoti hai Chandramukhi, phir Suryamukhi, phir Jwalamukhi!

    Shadi ka ladoo jo khaye vo bhi pachhtaye, jo na khaye vo bhi pachhtaye!

    8. Males should learn cooking. This is so important. Presently, I cook with a microwave only but I know I will make a great cook when ‘S’ is around! Remember Omkara ( “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!). For me it is ‘the way to a woman’s heart is, inter alia, through her stomach!

    9. Males should seriously think of becoming domestic husbands. I have told S that I will quit my job and love to mop the floor, do the dishes, cook and whatnot if it clashes with her career. I am dying to be a domestic husband. If you love your woman, this should be joy and not a sacrifice.

    10. Love her parents, love your in laws (despite their flaws, if any). Love her, love her dog. But a woman should also be careful in not asking it overtly (Love me love my dog); it is for the male to get the drift.

    11. Sex! Enjoy the bed sheet tussle of course. There are myriads of ways to do it. (the dimwit may wait for my guidebook which will be published after I have enough experience)!

    12. Give your wife a sweet name! Twist her name in some way creatively and often use it (subject to her consent of course). For example, Nita could be Nittu, Shefaly could be Shifu and the like! You may even use the freely availble anagram builders.

    13. PDA (Public Display of Affection). You are missing so much in life if you not holding her hands in public or are not hugging her in public (as far as possible that is). Also simulate your wedding night at least once a year! ;)

    14. Do not hesitate to fight for her as and when possible. Do chase any roadside Romeo who whistles at her. Even if you are unsuccessful she will be impressed. Remember, “success is not in the trophy won but also in the race run!” Exercise regulary and be fit for any eventuality.

    15. Try to synchronize the two lives as far as possible. If she sleeps early you may also consider sleeping early; ditto with her favourite films, stars, books, music, exercise schedule and the like. Also, eat healthy food only and be in shape.

    16. Life will be very boring if all is smooth in a relationship. If misfortunes are not occuring to you naturally, do fake some misfortunes to energize your relations. For example, some fine day you come back from home and tell her that you lost 5000 Rupees (or a suitable amount depending on your status) on the way home! Let her lose her temper for a moment and enjoy the show; then give her the surprise. Chances are she will give you the best kiss/hug of your life! You may also say that you are not getting the salary for a month or that you are being fired from job! You’ll cherish those moments all your life.

    17. Be honest with your woman. Don’t think of cheating on her; if you don’t find satisfaction with your woman chances are you’ll forever be chasing a mirage.

    18. Surprise is important in life. Do surprise her as and when possible but do not go overboard.

    19. Utensils when put together clatter and that is only natural. Do not hate your woman because she has been disagreeing with you on most counts of late or that she is no more your ideal woman. Remember we only fight with those we love; we don’t go to strangers and pick up a fight! Rejoice being resisted by your woman; at least I will.

    20. Spend time together with your kids. They are another glue between you. Remember, “child is the only hope that God is not yet disappointed with man (and woman).” If possible, consider living in a joint family.

    21. Communicate, as Nita says. You cannot not speak in a relationship. Also, Confess, weep, cry, blubber at least once in a blue moon. Don’t be a macho; you will miss so much in life!You can also write her postcards, inland letters and surprise her; email or SMS is so commonplace)!

    22. Write her love poems even if you are bad with the language. It is not the languge but the love that matters and love has no specific langugae. She deseves your poems.

    23. Touch her non-sexually as often as possible. I feel when I am into a relationship I will want to be touched/hugged as often as possible. I will be glad if she runs her hand in my hair, or tweaks my ear once in a while or throws a bowl of water on me just to tease me!

    24. Value your woman. She is the world’s most special person for you. Do all you can to love her. Don’t hold back, give it all. We have only one life (in all probability).

    25. Beware of media! We often find exagerrated represenations and stories of couples in the media which could have untoward influence on marriage. Just because Kareina has an hour-glass figure does not mean you suggest your woman to get one or drool when you see one. Your woman is beautiful in her own way. Realize it you unfortunate one!

    25. Last but not the least, to use the popular Indian phrase, this list plus (Nita’s ways) is only indicative and not exhaustive. Every relationship is a goldmine which we must explore.

    26. Here are excerpts from a poem I wrote for a friend’s husband (the friend, a JNU student, was visiting her husband in vacations):

    Love her most, she is your wife
    She also loves you, you are her life.

    As you move together hold her hand
    And you will feel heaven while walking on sand!

    When she is coming back please do not weep
    For tears cut the heart, oh! Very very deep!

    And if Sheetal cries, hold her tear
    In your palm and say, “I love you dear”.

    That drop of tear you sprinkle on a hill
    And there will grow a valley of daffodil.

    And in that valley morning or evening
    When you will go you will hear her sing.

    And people will know valley of such flower
    Could only be result of love’s eternal power!

    Yes Mr. John, the secret of a beautiful life
    Is the undying love between man and wife! :D

    P.S.: I could respond to comments on my comments (if any) only after tomorrow afternoon. See you guys later.

    Wow, that was a long comment and a side of you I didn’t know. But what I think is that you should propose to her immediately, get engaged or something. You can fix a date for marriage after you get a job. But honestly dude, I am quite stunned to read about your love for her. Its scary in a way! – Nita.

    • Vivek S. Khadpekar permalink
      March 7, 2009 6:23 am

      Vikas:

      //12. Give your wife a sweet name … You may even use the freely availble anagram builders [italicised emphasis mine].

      I’d go a bit easy with the anagram builders! I’m not sure a SEETA would like to be called a TEASE, or a MADHU an UDHAM. :-)

      • March 7, 2009 1:19 pm

        Valid point Vivek ji. And very apt use of the smiley!

      • March 8, 2009 11:24 pm

        LOL! I doubt my husband will do that to me – it translates to “i rag u” ;)

        g

    • March 7, 2009 10:28 am

      Honestly Vikas, I agree with Nita. I find this kind of love scary! I think anything in excess is dangerous and the same holds true for even love!

      I appreciate your sentiments and on the onset, I am sure any woman/man who has read Mills n Boons kind of romance would be besotted by it… It aches my heart to say this… but these things look good only on paper… I would advise you not to get blown away by it… Reality is scaringly different, my friend!

      God Bless!

      • March 7, 2009 1:27 pm

        Nova,

        Thanks so much for those kind words. I kinda agree with you. I often go overboard while writing. I am pretty normal.

        Last time I went in an emotional rhapsody on Poonam’s blog about a month ago! I’ve a red face on now, believe me , and I wish I could delete my comments here. I am normal, just the same.

        Nita, thanks for the suggestions. I think I am writing her a letter sooner than later (she is soon leaving for the US for higher studies).

        Gosh! I want to curl up and die for writing this!

        • Vinod permalink
          March 7, 2009 2:09 pm

          LoL

        • March 7, 2009 4:54 pm

          Vikas, don’t worry I didn’t think you were abnormal. Just a novice in the ways of love! :) And words when written down always seem to seem stronger than they are. I think I would like to know how you change after you marry! :) That too would be quite normal! :)

    • March 8, 2009 11:39 am

      :) I find your comment a normal man’s expectations,but yet,at some point,it goes overboard. Take things lightly,and don’t expect too much out of life..Make good and find happiness in what comes your way,for you will then have the consistensy all your life.Be a man and let her be a women-its as simple as that.

      I liked most of the tiny tiny bits you mentioned,but never have expecations of reciprocation,because then you are going to break you own heart..Yeah,i am pretty pessimistic,lol,but thatz just me…

      • March 8, 2009 11:40 pm

        Thank you Nita and Nimmy! I am planning to write a book on marriage, sex and virginity before I do it all.

      • vasudev permalink
        March 12, 2009 8:25 am

        quite practical…

        since there wasn’t any internet those days and no precious free blog advices either i had all my oments of shock and disappointment ’cause like vikas here i too was pretty much living in a theoretical world of niceties as i would like them to be.

        today it all comes back to me like the joke of the medical viva where a professor asked a lady student:

        ‘which is that human organ which expands to ‘x’ times its size when excited?’

        the young lady doctor (would be) stood-up, blushed and replied stutteringly: ‘the p****’

        the old doctor sighed, looked at her for a long moment and told her:
        ‘child…you are wrong! neither did you study your lessons properly nor were you able to understand fully what a man is! so if you go into marriage with such high expectations believe me…you are in for a major disappointment’…:)

        so…let us be practical and not expect much out of life!

        • vasudev permalink
          March 12, 2009 8:27 am

          oh sorry. for all those who might still be under some misconceptions, the answer is…the pupil of the eye!

  20. March 6, 2009 9:44 pm

    Nita, You have covered almost everything. Made a good read and also very important.

    The basic rule is like in any relationship, don’t take your partner for granted.

    I also LOVE your 3rd point. Many couples fail there. They take their parents’ or siblings’ side and it affects the spouse. Once you show your immediate family that you respect and love your spouse, others will get the point.

    Will be back to read all the comments.

  21. Milind Kher permalink
    March 6, 2009 10:20 pm

    Every person has to know that in the case of a conflict between their spouse and anothter person of the family, they should safeguard the interest of the spouse.

    This is all the more so if the spouse happens to be the wife. She can feel tremendously isolated and helpless if that does not happen. There are a lot of sensitivities that have to be recognized, but the spouse has the highest priority.

  22. Dev permalink
    March 6, 2009 11:45 pm

    Oh, that was something! Iam pretty certain that if couples follow these rules, most marriages will be successfull. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  23. Seeker permalink
    March 6, 2009 11:49 pm

    All the points you have mentioned are extremely valid and important in leading to a happy married life.

    On another note, I wish I could say I have seen couples in my family whose marriages exemplify all the things you have mentioned. I am in my twenties and I am not married myself. But from what I have seen of Indian marriages in my parents’ generation and even in the present generation sometimes, they have a completely different mindset. They marry not for themselves, but to be dutiful sons or daughters to their parents. Even after marrying, their families are of far more importance than their own relationships. There’s this bizzare idea that to focus on your own life and spouse and marriage is SELFISH. Rather than nurturing their marriage, they spend their married lives fulfilling their parents’ wishes, being dutiful sons and dutiful daughters-in-law. They lavish all the love that they don’t feel for their spouses on their children. As a result, when the children grow up and go away, they leave a void that cannot be filled by the spouse. The parents’ try to cling to their children, the children feel constrained and resentful. And however doting they may be as parents, the children are affected when their parents don’t have a happy, healthy marriage. I say the happiest children are produced by loving, happily married couples.

    • March 7, 2009 7:47 am

      Thank you seeker for your wisdom! You articulated something that I feel too. It is a vicious circle isn’t it. These children grow up without having seen their parents happy and together and tend to repeat it in their lives. As you said the parents who cling on to their kids are generally compensating for the lack in their relationship with their spouses.

    • Vinod permalink
      March 7, 2009 9:00 am

      Seeker

      Very well said. You echo-ed my thoughts and corroborated it through your observations.

      I’ll just add one more qualification to what many here have said – when there is a conflict between your spouse and your parents/siblings, it is important to first be objective about it and see who is in the right on the issue. Once that is identified and if it is the parents in the wrong, then take the side of the spouse in a manner that does minimal damage to the heart of the parents. The same rule goes vice versa. There will no doubt be damage done, but wisdom will ensure that it is minimized. I think it is more important to be on the right side than on anyone’s side. That way, in due course of time, you win the respect of all parties.

    • March 7, 2009 4:54 pm

      My thoughts exactly!! Most of the couples I have seen are of this type (including many in my family), they seem to be living their life for others (esp. their parents). I’d also add many Indian parents are extremely controlling and selfish, sometimes I wonder if they even want their children to be happy! Indians have all the wrong reasons to marry. I’m actually scared of marraige for this very reason.

      • vasudev permalink
        March 7, 2009 8:13 pm

        rags…

        if you do not have any selfishness you can get over the situation and lead a happy life. most of us who think our parents control our lives, are selfish. i realised that much later (but by then my romantic life was over!).

        most of us do things to please our parents because…we are selfish! we want to see them happy because WE WANT TO BE HAPPY OURSELVES! therefore we do things out of a sense of duty so that we can have a good sleep and not dream worrisome dreams.

        do you get my drift? if you don’t, just think a while…

        • March 7, 2009 8:52 pm

          Everyone wants to be happy vasudev! I don’t think there are many who want to lead a tortured existence. Yeah I agree, children want to please their parents so that they wouldn’t feel guilty about it later, but what kind of parents would want to use this just so that they can have an iron grip over their children? Many Indian parents apparently…. Don’t you think that’s cruel?

          • vasudev permalink
            March 7, 2009 9:23 pm

            cruel?…do it! do that which, 20 years ago, i did not dare! break out of the bond! say: i want my freedom. i have my brains. i have my life. do not allow your parents to reside inside your head. then and then only can you be brainwashed to do as they want. can you do it?

            yet this is exactly another of my lesson to my children: you are the owners of your brains and do not let your parents control the way you think.

            rags…hmmm! try it and you would suceed. let me tell you…later, when you had your fun and established the deed with your spouse, you can go back to your parents and seek their pardon. the simple and easy way to get your things done. most parents accept their children despite their uncharacteristic behaviour. but then…do you think you can do it? or do you think you wanna do it?

            if you cannot, do not think that women’s revolution revolves around ‘pink chaddis’.

            • March 7, 2009 10:41 pm

              He He. Thanks for the advice and all… But my parents are quite liberal so I really don’t have a problem, I was thinking about many of my cousins who were quite unfortunate in this matter.

  24. March 7, 2009 12:50 am

    @Nita:

    9. Do not give societal and religious matters more importance than your partner.

    I laughed out when I read this! I don’t know if you intended for it to be taken the way I did, or not, but this sounds like the “fable” about the “Monkey’s Justice for two cats”.

    I hope people reading the comment notice the analogy before jumping at my neck.

    @Milind: Are you trying to say women are weak?

  25. March 7, 2009 1:43 am

    We sometimes take people for granted and that is when the problem starts. It happens in all the relationships.
    I liked your post. It shows how well balanced your mind is.

  26. Ravi permalink
    March 7, 2009 4:49 am

    Nita

    Is marriage really important in one’s life considering the current situation of budget crunch, recession, terrorism, unemployment? My parents are really forcing me to get married but I m not yet ready and i m 26. Lately i even started arguing with them :( which I hate but our conversation always ending with them asking me when I will come to India and get married :(
    PS: I have a gf here in US :)) really don’t feel the need to get married any sooner :) please advice.

    • March 7, 2009 7:51 am

      Ravi, if you are not ready for marriage, then do wait! Specially if there is uncertainity in your career. After all you are not saying that you never want to get married and you can tell your parents that. I think your parents feel that the older you get, the chances of getting a good match reduce. But this does not hold true anymore…and then you always have your gf who you can propose to! :)

  27. March 7, 2009 5:22 am

    Nita:

    Interesting post indeed.

    Of course, you know I like to cite Nash’s pithy poetry, so here goes:

    To keep your marriage brimming,
    With love in the loving cup,
    Whenever you are wrong, admit it,
    Whenever you are right, shut up. :-)

    • March 7, 2009 7:52 am

      Shefaly, on a lighter note, does anyone call you Shifu? If you don’t get the reference see Vikas’ comment! :D

      • Vinod permalink
        March 7, 2009 9:02 am

        Doesn’t shifu mean ‘master’ or ‘teacher’ in Mandarin?

      • Nimmy permalink
        March 8, 2009 11:42 am

        :) Yeah,Shifu is cool ;-)

        • March 8, 2009 12:16 pm

          Hey Nimmy! Yours is cooler: ‘Nimmy’!

          P.S.: Shifu is the name of the adorable master in the animation film ‘Kung fu Panda’. I love animation movies.

  28. Milind Kher permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:55 am

    Depressed doormat,

    I am not saying that women are weak. They can stand up to men and more than hold their own. But, when the tormentor is another woman?

  29. March 7, 2009 10:29 am

    Hey Nita,

    Loveddddddddddd this article of yours. Having got recently married, I found this article very promising and reassuring… And I am going to bookmark this! When facing bouts of doubts, I am going to come back here! :)

    Made my husband read this too :)

    Thanks Nova. :) – Nita

    • vasudev permalink
      March 7, 2009 8:15 pm

      Nova?
      …recently married?
      Ahem!
      just forget my post at your place. ;)

  30. Milind Kher permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:54 am

    Wow Nita!!

    This post has really got a rave response. Just goes to show that ultimately, of all things in life, RELATIONSHIPS are the most important.

    And what relationship could be more sacred than that of man and wife. May all those who have written in have a happy relationship with their significant other :-)

  31. March 7, 2009 12:59 pm

    My wife and I make it a point to talk and settle down and accept our differences everytime we have a difference in opinion.
    We have vowed that we wouldnt sleep without settling things out. And it works.
    I guess if we sleep on a problem, its not going to get resolved anymore.
    Its all about accepting that your partner is an individual like yourself. Give them space, treat them like an individual and then a part of yourself.

  32. March 7, 2009 1:13 pm

    very helpful post for us starters..

    one more thing i’d like to add.. in any disagreement don’t bring in the details or hurts of the past arguments.

  33. March 7, 2009 1:59 pm

    Nita, it’s very helpful to starers like me too :)
    after reading this i have decided to write a post about my beautiful experiences after marriage which is just 3 months old….on my blog which is almost dead since then :)

    Newly married huh. I was wondering why you aren’t writing on your blog! – Nita.

  34. Milind Kher permalink
    March 7, 2009 5:04 pm

    Nita,

    It is obvious. He is experiencing great things which he would miss out on if he spent the same time writing his blog :-)

    Time is finite, and therefore a constraint. In that case, you have to prioritize :-)

  35. March 7, 2009 8:53 pm

    Fantastic Nita ! Truly summed it up ! I loved reading this, for a change even my wife read the whole thing and that is a compliment !!

    relevant !! very relevant and very fair !!

    soooper post !

  36. Rashid Faridi permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:13 pm

    After reading it briefly my wife said “read it carefully,this is for you”.

    • Vinod permalink
      March 9, 2009 2:10 pm

      Nita, sounds like your post was a counselling session for so many couples. Kudos to you.

  37. March 7, 2009 10:17 pm

    Wow Nita….

    A great post.

    We have just completed twenty years of marriage and it has been a fascinating journey.

    Much has been said and discussed but home is where your heart is and heaven is right here with us.

  38. Nimmy permalink
    March 8, 2009 11:48 am

    Nice post Nita…

  39. March 8, 2009 5:54 pm

    NIT,..Very well written.25 yrs, I am senior to you and also agree with all the points raised by you.
    Eventually,it is mutual trust between husban and wife.

  40. March 8, 2009 11:21 pm

    (My third attempt to reply. Hope this one gets through).

    Excellent post, and very comprehensive. Something each of us should constantly and consciously bear in mind. Pretty much the same principles that we follow, and it’s been working for us so far *touch wood*.

    Also, it’s important to give each other some space to do their own thing/unwind. Doing everything together all the time could be quite stifling.

    And another thing I’ve noticed with some couples is when there’s an old friend of the opposite sex, the spouse can tend to be possessive. That could be a deterrent to the relation. If you share the same interests & mindset as your spouse & their friend, go ahead join in and you’d make a great group – if not, just trust your spouse and stay out of it. Of course, if it’s that bad that you must give one up for the other the coice is obvious, but it shouldn’t come to that.

    In Marathi there’s a saying “KaLtay paN vaLat nahi.” The points you bring up are small things, but so important – they’re not that difficult to practice. People will know it, yet somewhere I won’t be surprised if they expect their better half to start practicing these “first” ;)

    Excellent read – I forwarded it to quite a few of my friends :)

    g

  41. Milind Kher permalink
    March 9, 2009 9:36 am

    In the early days of the relationship, doing everything together all the time is fun, and makes for great bonding too.

    As time passes, it becomes increasingly important to provide space to the partner. However, that too should not go till the level of indifference.

    And remember, relationships need to be worked at constantly.

  42. Chirag Chamoli permalink
    March 9, 2009 2:01 pm

    Thanks Nita, this is a print out :) . My mom pop also completed their 25 years lat year :D. Great Post!!!

  43. March 9, 2009 3:53 pm

    Hi Nita! You have been awarded..Please visit this link to pick your award :)

    http://sayhai2poorna.blogspot.com/2009/03/blog-awards.html

  44. March 9, 2009 5:49 pm

    “I am no expert, but yeah I have a happy married life and have had it for almost 25 years. ”

    YOU ARE DEFINITLY AN EXPERT, dear Nita!! I wonder how many people can tell about 25 years experience of a HAPPY marriage?!? Not that many, alas…

    My marriage experience is not that long, only 4 years but I agree with all your points, you really hit the nail!

    I love this quote on marriage which is so funny and good:
    “My wife Mary and I have been married for forty-seven years and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce, never.
    – Jack Benny “

  45. March 9, 2009 6:02 pm

    will remember :)

  46. March 10, 2009 5:32 am

    Nita, your post is beyond awesome! No surprise that you have had a fantastic marriage. Wish you many more years of happiness.
    Your post is a collection of nuggets of marital harmony advice that have come my way over the years. I cannot agree more. It’s a perfect list!
    My only addition to your first — and very important– point: Inferiority can be just as bad as superiority. Both are relationship killers but I have to agree that superiority is the worse. It’s true that no relationship is worth it if it lacks mutual respect.

  47. Nimmy permalink
    March 10, 2009 1:51 pm

    Where are youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu????? :)

  48. Padmini permalink
    March 12, 2009 7:48 am

    Nita, welcome back (belated, of course). Hope that things are good in your new place. Looks like you’re back in top form after the break. Good topic and great responses. It seems like you have not changed at all from college days. You are still the same Nita – hopelessly romantic:) And while I am the same, I don’t like flowers as a gift but prefer something more practical. My husband is always at a loss when shopping for me, so over the years, I have taken the romance out of the gift buying from his side and tell him exactly what I want:) Of course, it doesn’t apply the other way because he usually likes what I buy!

    • vasudev permalink
      March 12, 2009 8:15 am

      hmmm! not changing is a luxury only a few have (i too fall into your category :))!

    • Nimmy permalink
      March 12, 2009 12:01 pm

      Thatz sweet :)

  49. March 12, 2009 5:49 pm

    Padmini, yeah I am the same ole Nita! And as for me, I do not quite like the “practical” gifts as much as things like flowers, cards etc! The “practical” gifts ofcourse are also welcome! :)

  50. iyervall permalink
    March 13, 2009 11:16 pm

    dai iyervaal.. nama japam panna solluda… ella problems in marriage will go way.. live a life of content and GOD centered chumma BPO ponkale ellaki vidathe…

  51. March 14, 2009 12:25 am

    This is a very nice article. Loved it! :)

  52. March 16, 2009 8:56 am

    Too Good…
    Nice to know someone talks in depth about the “no ego” type of behavior in this materialistic world..

    The key to hapiness is in “love” and being “modest” with their partner..

  53. R.Sajan permalink
    March 23, 2009 3:51 pm

    Marriage is submission, sooner or later. The institution is destined to die a natural death.

  54. najween permalink
    November 27, 2009 1:42 am

    Hi Nita…
    This is a very lovely artical.I really loved and enjoyed it a lot.
    Please keep on writting….

  55. December 22, 2009 3:12 pm

    Hi Neeta, this is a great post. “Respect” – is the key word for any successful marriage.

  56. James Fabemi permalink
    April 15, 2010 7:08 pm

    Very well written. And so true. I wish I could send it to my ex wife.

  57. August 25, 2011 3:46 pm

    While dealing with the relationship follow your heart not your brain.

  58. November 23, 2011 3:26 pm

    be sweet with him/her and alway have time with each other…..

  59. November 23, 2011 3:28 pm

    upset or frustrated don’t judge him/her for what he/she wants to blame to you

  60. November 23, 2011 3:31 pm

    hi
    love is not a simple idea of a relationship but it is the most important thing that happened to you………………………………………………………………………….

  61. kaur permalink
    April 23, 2013 11:16 pm

    i m suffring with a problem with my husband just because of my mother in law.
    I m feeling that i m not in love with my husband now…..

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