Looking at an invitation card to a function celebrating the 50th Marriage Anniversary of a couple, a question came across my mind. What could be the secret of such a long relationship when in any other relationship, there are a lot more marital arguments over a wink rather than a mink!!
Two different people, with a different set of opinions living under the same roof daily for 50 years together is nothing short of an achievement. There are bound to be differences in day to day life. These differences are not anything major, just small things that make a big difference over a period of time. Just like wine, the older the relationship, the more mature it gets.
Meena reciprocates this small but thoughtful gesture from Mohan in the form of a hot and tasty lunch delivered to Mohan’s office well before his lunch time that Mohan relishes.
Though Meena is not an expert chef by any standards, she makes it a point to cook his favourite dishes by learning new recipes.
Evenings are spent at the dinner table, discussing the day’s events rather than the idiot box, no matter how late it is in the evening.
After dinner time is spent in each other’s arms walking on the garden lawn or on the sofa alternately viewing each other’s favourite shows on the idiot box.
The day ends with a good night kiss and an affectionate hug from each partner, no matter even if they have had an argument. The couple is admired as an ideal couple at parties & get togethers.
Weekends are at home with both of them waking up late, helping each other with the household chores, enjoying a hot shower or massage together, watching each other’s favourite movies, followed by a occasional lunch or a romantic candle light dinner outside.
Long weekends are spent at their favourite weekend resort, planned well in advance to avoid disappointment after considering Mohan’s busy work schedule.
Rohan and Reena have been married for quite some time now. They are on their way to separation because of their habits and attitudes.
The day begins with arguments over the wet toilet seat, and a wet bathroom floor. Rohan hates wet bathroom floors when he wakes up.
Having got into an argument early in the morning, Meena is pissed off and prepares breakfast with a grumpy attitude and Rohan leaves for work with a sullen face. The attitude reflects at lunch time, as Rohan’s tiffin is the last to arrive while others have finished their lunch.
After a stressed out day at work, a cold, stale dinner lying on the table greets Rohan because Reena is too lazy to even get up from the sofa to warm up the food.
It is well past bedtime and Rohan heads to the hall with his pillow between his ears as he has had a hard day at work and wants a good night’s sleep. The loud volume of the idiot box is too disturbing.
The first and last thought that crosses Rohan’s mind every night is “Why does she have to be so inconsiderate in our relationship? Am I not important for her?”
Rohan spends his weekends at the club with his drinking friends, and Reena at kitty parties with her friends. They are hardly seen at home together during weekends.
Long weekends are a curse for the couple which end up in arguments or sulking faces even if they are able to make a trip together.
There is no such thing as a small thing that is unimportant to be left out. Every single issue can have a positive and a negative impact, every single gesture carries some weight.
The marital world provides a constant stream of “small stuff that makes a big difference”, and this small stuff accumulate into larger problems over time.
A supply of positive small stuff helps a couple feel loved and builds an attitude of caring and intimacy over a long period of time.
With the changing social demographics and social values, most of the couples view their relationship with a “grand gesture” approach.
What’s The Big Secret Then About A Happy Relationship?
After marriage life starts with exotic honeymoons, expensive gifts, lavish dinners, surprise parties and the like. What is missing is the filler of the small stuff in in-between time which is not considered important at all.
In reality, most of the working relationship is taking place in small, minute doses of the small stuff once the honeymoon period is over and the couples settle down in their daily grind.
Classic examples of small stuff that makes a big difference includes helping the other make the bed, putting wet towels in the bucket instead of the bed, keeping the bathroom dry, pulling up the toilet seat and drying it after use and the like.
These small but inconsequential gestures have a disproportionately large effect on the day to day experience of love and intimacy in regard to marriage.
Every one of these small positive gestures tells your partner, “I Love You And Care For You”, every day rather than the expensive dinners, gifts or vacations that are occasional in nature.
Become an “expert” at managing the small stuff in your relationships and you wouldn’t have to worry about your happiness at all. Small stuff problems require small solutions that don’t cost at all, yet the returns are tremendous.
A kind gesture, a hug, a smile, a brief conversation, a simple compromise, an apology, a loving touch don’t cost anything except time and commitment.
As long as these small things haven’t been accumulating, small stuff shouldn’t be hard to manage.
A relationship is like a two way street and takes effort from both the people. In a situation where one partner puts in all the work and the other takes it for granted does not work for long.
Statistics of divorced couples show that most of the divorces happen because of constant dissatisfaction between the partners over small minute things daily rather than the bigger things in life. This dissatisfaction in the long term takes the form of extra marital affairs and the like which leads to a loss of trust.
Maintaining a relationship over a period of time is like maintaining a garden where it requires nurturing in the form of soil, water, sunlight and most important of all weeding.
Weeds in a relationship is the small stuff, which if left unattended destroys the relationship. Small gestures like a occasional surprise gift or hugs and kisses are the nutrients and sex is what bears the fruits in the form of children and strengthens the roots of the relationship and supports the relationship as it turns older.
All these things are necessary for a strong relationship starting with the small stuff in life. However inconsequential it may seem, it has the strength to shake the foundations of the strongest of relationships.