‘It’s different now’ they said. ‘Being married is not the same as dating, just remember that.’ they reiterated. And I had no idea what my married friends were talking about, well, if I didn’t want to give into indulgent refinements after marriage, then why go lengths to stay together? I thought to myself and shrugged it off.
We’d hit the half yearly mark and I started telling myself, “He is doing this on purpose!”, “He doesn’t love me anymore!” because that’s how it felt. We’d wake up combat-ready, getting on each others’ nerves day after day, week after week, reaching that ‘You did it first’ ‘You said that first’ phase. When my favorite song was being aired, he was quick to change the radio station just to piss me off and I didn’t accompany him to the movies in retort. Some strikes small, some big and some below the belt which he will neither forget nor forgive me for. We generously used the word divorce only to regret a little later. After a few of days of this and that, we’d somewhat make up and forget about it. But then, the same subject of discussion would come up again during another argument and this effing insanity was multiplying like wildfire. Slamming doors, fuming out of the house at night, yelling and screaming our faces off at each other had started to wear me down. Him too. Its funny how quickly we went from being loving and caring to cussing and yelling. What were we doing wrong?
Sigh, I wish I could say that we came home one night, gazed at each other without blinking, smiled, forgot all about our arguments and went back to being a lively couple again, because we didn’t.
One of these days though, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy & preparing dinner at lightning speed. My husband came home from work, walked swiftly into the kitchen and wrapped me around in his arms for a few seconds and walked away without saying a word. I was a little surprised considering how it was so unlike him to do something like that especially after an agonizing fight, (he is the unforgiving type) but I held myself back from prodding (for once!). His gesture made me feel so loved that my instinctive reaction was to ask “Why won’t you hug me like this every d…….” but I stopped myself from finishing that thought out loud. I don’t know why I held back, but I’m glad I did. I got on with whatever it is that I was doing without saying a word, too. However, that comforting warmth, the scent of an odd sense of familiarity in his embrace sojourned in my heart all night long and I knew it was coming from a place deeper than what I was able to comprehend, a stirring reminder why yet another argument with him was well worth it, why he was worth all the effort.
Here’s the thing though. I know how foolishly sentimental this sounds. I’ve laughed at that same story before when a friend was attempting to verbalize why she loved this guy so much, why she’d suck the bad days up and enjoy the good ones. And I laughed at her too for I didn’t think it was possible for someone to feel loved after a series of bad fights. And no, I am not saying that a hug fixed all my problems, I’m not that foolish just yet, all I’m saying is that even during a dark, moonless night, an unexpected expression of love nudged me to see my tomorrows differently. That’s all.
People who’ve been married for a long time say that the sheer experience of day-to-day married life ushers one to deal with its tough, stony bits as well and only in the foreignness of that hug did their words of wisdom start to make sense to me. It didn’t take roses and diamonds for me to realize how loved I was, but to simply know that my husband came to me seeking comfort and care despite the regretful war of words that’d prevailed, despite being the very reason for his anger to begin with, was enough for me to quit veiling under the pigheadedness of egotism and grow up.
Now, how does one grow up? I knew I had to start somewhere, make amends before things spiraled out of control and it was going to. It already had to some extent. But what the heck was I supposed to do? For one, I wasn’t the kind to nod along just to please him without voicing how I felt, two, cooking wasn’t my forte of expertise, three, I gagged at the thought of calling my relationship ‘a compromise’ (bah, I hate that word!) and remain indifferent either. So, what was I supposed to ‘do’ without weirding myself (or him) out?
I mulled over for a bit and realized that my parents had actually prepared me for this very day a long time ago, possibly my very first lesson in life even. Nothing that one hasn’t heard before. A dignified apology for every mistake that I had made and expression of gratitude for his courteous gestures. I simply brought ‘Thank You’ and ‘Sorry’ back into my life. Easy enough right? Erm, not really. If you think you’ll need guts to say ‘I love you’, try apologizing to your spouse when you are at fault and you’ll know what I am talking about. Neither easy nor fun.
Well, I don’t think he really cares, hell, I don’t think that he has even noticed I come back and apologize when I say something stupid these days, but that’s okay. It has helped me see things for what they are instead of defending my stand just for the heck of it. And it’s not like we don’t argue anymore or some such weird thing. We still fight with great vigor, but I’ve learned to sit down and rationalize without demonizing him, moving on as quickly as possible. If two years of marriage has taught me anything, it is to not to judge the quality of my relationship based on how often we disagree with each other. I know it’s easier said than done, so I’ve stopped behaving like I’ve to ‘get’ somewhere in this relationship, smoothing out it’s jagged fits. I want to take it one day at a time, one change at a time, one travel at a time, one meal at a time, one laughter at a time. I have quit attempting to recreate yesterdays or fuss about taming tomorrows and learning to live in the moment. Now that I’m taking this principle too far in life, I’ve upped the economic consumption of chocolate cake by three times and call it ‘Living in the moment!’ :-D
I like our rhythm now. It’s abundant, spontaneous, daring and so full of surprises, it’s also the kind of relationship that bathes in bitter passion once in a while but breaks loose without condescension. For every lamp that lightens up a dark corner of my mind, however struck I may be by the swagger of strangeness in his words and imagination, I’m also equally touched by how I constantly catch my own image in those same words and imagination. Come to think of it, what is companionship really? There are millions of people across the planet seeking companionship at this very moment. Right? Among them, a sample of two, (my husband and I lets say) starting a life together obviously doesn’t make the system of marriage itself better or worse. It shouldn’t really. But the moment we wed two years ago, I made a commitment to care for everything about him, happy things, sad things, awful things, insignificant things, all of it, every single day, every single time. I promised to take notice of everything he feels for it shall not go unnoticed, bear witness to everything he does for it shall not go unwitnessed. In this lifetime, I promised to be his life’s spectator and him, mine.
Hopefully, in time for our third anniversary, I’ll have a more tangible revelation of love. Until then, I’m sinking in the profoundness of Thank Yous and Sorrys.
To humble beginnings.