Editorial: “All I ask my husband is to spend time with me in the evening, ask me how my day was, fight with me even.”

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine left her husband and walked out of the house. She went back to parents’ place where her parents were visibly shocked but didn’t say anything to  her till she was ready to talk about it. Ten days later, she told her parents that she couldn’t live with a man who felt no love for her. He provided her with everything but wasn’t the least bit interested in her. All that mattered to him was his job, his friends and his books. He did his duties admirably and fulfilled all commitments with utmost patience and diligence, but he showed no interest in my friend.

Being a single parent who receives zero financial support from her husband, it was hard for me to not tell her that sometimes there are more important things than a show of love, which was my first reaction to her. Then I put myself in her place and thought about how she spends alll day keeping house, taking care of her kids and doing the things that most homemakers do. “All I ask is he spend time with me in the evening, ask me how my day was, fight with me even.” My  heart broke hearing this admission from her. Relationships are hard, I told her. On the one side is the age-old, hard-wired desire to procreate and on the other is the relatively newfound language and vocabulary we have now to dissect our feelings. The constant fight is between doing what’s good for us and compromising for the sake of the family.

This friend of mine said after 11 years of marriage, she had had enough compromising. She had had her kids, she had been an ideal wife and she had done everything to be the best partner to her husband, but enough was enough. She’d rather live alone for the rest of her life, than live without being loved or appreciated. The only thing I keep wanting to tell her is love is many things to many people: to some it’s your children’s fees being paid on time and a roof over your head, to some it’s a compliment every evening, to many others it is facing the challenges life throws at us together. And this is my point: marriage is a commitment that you need to review and renew every couple of years. I learnt this from my friends, Freddy and Neesha, who live in Chennai. They have been through tough times. Tough in every way — money wise, child wise, relationship wise and I’ve watched them fight each other and fight the world together to get where are today. This Valentine’s Day is their 17th wedding anniversary and I will wish them because they are my template for success in a marriage. I remember their fifth wedding anniversary where they had invited a few of us. They had a re-taking of their wedding vows, same vows but with different gravity and seriousness. They promised more, they promised deeper, and they promised better. And here they are 17 years later, married to each other.

As someone twice divorced, I don’t believe that people should get married. But I believe in commitment, I believe if you’ve vowed to love someone, you need to give it your best to keep that commitment of love, trust and togetherness. It doesn’t matter if you are married or not; there’s no greater marriage than the promise of love, the promise of looking after each other, looking out for each other. But first, define what love means to you. This Valentine’s Day, find out the meaning of love, and renew your promises to each other. Feel the weight of the words, of your actions and your intentions. From someone who is often lonely, I have to tell you, having a partner that loves you and who you love is a blessing you shouldn’t forget. And if you’re a little lost and don’t remember your vows or what you expected from yourself and your partner when you get married, let this guide you on what parts of your life you need to correct in order to have a successful relationship.

But before I get sentimental, let me give you a round-up of what we did this week. If you had forgotten (wink wink) that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, then let’s remind you with this piece on how to spice up your bedroom even after many years of marriage. And if you need a little help in seducing the other half of your equation, why not get some help? Nothing like a tube of red lipstick to scream you’re ready for some action — six lipstick shades that look ridiculously good on Indian skins. Moving a little away from the bedroom, here’s a little rant that you’ll totally identify with and why you just might decide to keep things cool in the bedroom after all! And finally, if you’re planning to send your not-so-little brat off to boarding school, here are the best ones for girls.

Till next week.

Sandhya

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