Note: I had been wanting to share some photographs from our wedding day 2 years ago, but for some reason never got around to it. So I have included them in this post 🙂 The photographs bring me back to such a wonderful day in my life, and I hope you enjoy them.
I have something to tell you. My marriage is blossoming.
It is so full of love. And joy.
It feels like a flower that is in bloom in the summer. The season is right. The atmosphere is right. The flower grows and blooms and it is beautiful. I don’t need to do anything, I only need to admire its grace.
But it wasn’t always like this. There were a lot of bumps in the beginning.
Everything good I have come to understand about relationships, has come from my husband.
And it took me a long time to learn.
And I have made a lot of mistakes.
And I have not been easy to love.
And I am still not all that easy to love. Maybe a little bit easier than I used to be (let’s give credit where it’s due, come on.)
You see, my husband and I are very different.
We have very different personalities.
Different interests and hobbies.
We also had an arranged marriage so we didn’t get much time to figure things out before we had already made this huge lifelong commitment to each other.
…Oh just another factor to add to the mix of complexities of living with and loving another human being.
We have only been married for just over 2 years, so our marriage is still very much in its infancy. But oh boy, it’s been a journey to get to where we are now. In the beginning of our marriage, our differences were truthfully quite jarring, and this was the cause of a lot of disharmony in our life together. I know that there were many moments when we both felt alone.
That’s not to say we didn’t share anything in common. We are both inclined to the spiritual side of life, and this has been truly a blessing for me. He cares about my spiritual growth just as much as I do. And that is no easy thing to come by. So, on days when I am falling behind on my sadhanas, or struggling to fit in my second meditation/kriya into my day, he always supports me in making it happen. He used to read my blog when we first got together, and now he doesn’t unless it has a lot of photos in it. Haha. I love to tease him about that. I know that my blog was and is a part of what he appreciated about me.
We also both like to create. He’s a painter and I am a writer. Even though he can paint majestically better than I write, I love that we both appreciate art and understand the creative process.
Some of our differences work well together. For example, he’s so socially slick and I’m so awkward and weird. He feels and I know. He’s a do-er and I’m a thinker. The man is so good at getting things done, it is scary. I need a little more time to process things and plan, plus I seriously dislike paperwork and life admin.
And also, I am a huge prankster and since my husband lives with me, unfortunately he has no choice but to be the sole recipient of all my pranks. He seems to like them and yet he never pranks me back (I welcome the challenge), but it seems to work well because I get to do something that I love and he well…tolerates it.
But, apart from a couple of exceptions, then our hobbies and interests are totally different. WE are so different.
And somehow that has transformed from being a problem to being something that enriches our relationship so much.
How that transformation happened is the topic of this blog post.
First, look within.
My husband and I are naturally introspective and reflective. But that being said, I sure took my own sweet time before I started getting real about my inner work so that I can be the most present and loving wife for him.
And I realized I couldn’t be a present and loving wife without first being a present and loving person.
Our own inner work always comes first. We always talked about it, but now I think we truly practice it, and that has made all the difference.
It means always, always, always, looking at ways to become a better, more joyful, more present, more kind, more open, more connected, more intense, more alive human being. I look into myself, and he looks into himself.
As long as we look into ourselves in someway every day, and keep taking steps forward, our relationship flourishes.
Because I have come to understand that love and happiness is not something I can try to squeeze out of my husband. I can try (and I did) but it always ends bitterly.
Love and happiness is something that is created within me, it is a state of my being, that I can share with anyone who is around me.
And since my husband is around me, he will benefit from my own happiness.
I realized that the most beautiful thing I can do for my husband, is become a more evolved human being.
In fact, that is the most beautiful thing I can do for anyone.
I also started taking an interest in his interests, even though they were not my own. I did this by focusing only how how happy he is when he engages with a particular thing that he likes. I started to enjoy seeing him happy so much that I did this more and more with different things he likes. Eventually, the entire experience became rewarding to me – both seeing him happy and knowing more about the activity/thing that brings him this happiness.
Now I know more about random things.
Sacred us time
This one took a whole lot of effort to get it husband approved, haha. But it was so worth it. (Pro tip: Don’t make quality time into an “official thing”, because husbands like mine tend to not like that , just create an atmosphere where it happens naturally. Learned the hard way.)
We have quality time together every day. Just 5-10 minutes is enough. Uninterrupted, device-free, 10 minutes of us-ness. Cuddles, kisses, giggles, sweet nothings. Those 10 minutes are so powerful that it overflows and leaks into all aspects of our day.
I also consider certain interactions between the two of us to be sacred and special, and I treat it as such. In the morning, rather than reaching for phones, we hug and kiss. It is a sacred time- waking up with the person you love. I don’t want to do it mindlessly. When he comes home from work, giving him a big hug and talking about our day, is something I look forward to and do consciously and approach with a sense of reverence. Even small acts like making him a cup of coffee, I do it with great love in my heart. Because I have come to understand that it is in these small, daily acts of service that great love can be grown between us.
If you treat your everyday mundane love as sacred, soon, it will become so.
We can suffer with each other
When choosing someone to spend your life with, I always thought about who would be a good partner to do all the fun things I wanted to do in my life.
But now I feel like it is far more important to choose someone who you can suffer with.
And I can suffer with this man.
We can honour each others sadness, our wounds, in the many ways it can show up in our life.
The day after I gave birth to our stillborn daughter Mia, our nurse sat with us, and she said something that I didn’t think of much at the time, but I feel it relates to this topic.
She said something like “You two are good for each other. And I know I will see you back here with your rainbow baby*. We see a lot of couples in similar situations here. And sometimes you can see that the devastation is just too great, and both parents grieve in totally different ways, and their sadness turns them away from each other. You can see that so clearly after such a tragic loss, and we just know that, this couple probably won’t be back here together after this is over. But with you two, we just know that you are one of the couples who will be back.”
*Rainbow baby = a baby born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.
We do grieve differently. We process sadness and pain differently. But we always allow each other the space and time to do it. We honour each others sadness and pain. And because of this, we can suffer together. We don’t have to turn away from each other to tend to our wounds privately.
Rather, it’s an instinctual ebbing and flowing. When a wave of sadness engulfs me, Gautham is there for me. What I need from him varies from wave to wave, whether I need him to hold me, or leave me, whether I need him to tell me that everything will be okay, or if I just need him to feel the sadness with me because those empty platitudes feel too obnoxious at the time. But one thing that is consistently there, is his presence.
He is there.
And when the darkness has found him, I will be there.
Granted that we have gone through a significant loss with the passing of our firstborn. But even for silly, everyday disappointments and heartaches, Gautham never dismisses my sadness. He always honours it, big or small.
And if we are discussing a heated topic, and if it makes me cry, he instantly wraps his arms around me. And it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, he is always sorry to make me cry.
It is his gentleness and strength that makes him a man that I can suffer with.
I’m his number 1 fan
If my husband had a fanclub then I would be the president of it. He’s the coolest guy.
I know him and I believe in him. I believe in him when he doesn’t believe in himself. It actually makes me feel sad if he says something degrading about himself, even as a joke. I almost take it personally.
Me: *pouting* Hey why did you say that mean thing before?
Husband: *Laughing* Why are you pouting? It wasn’t about you, it was about me!
Me: Yeah, but still. Please don’t think like that 😦
I believe in the grandest vision he has for his life. And if he stumbles, I’ll be the first one to say “It’s okay, come on, let’s try again.” and if he says “I need a break”, I’ll say “Okay, let’s take a break. And then let’s try again.”
I’m his number 1 fan.
And he’s mine.
The center of us is us
The center of us is not our personalities.
The core of our relationship is not about strengthening our personalities. If that was the case, our relationship would (and has been) so difficult and exhausting and causes nothing but clashing of our egos. We would just strengthen parts of ourself that has no real part in growing love between us.
The center of us not about strengthening our likes and dislikes.
I have come to understand that love involves dismantling our rigid likes and dislikes that trap us into certain ways of being. Love means going beyond what we like to do and what we don’t like to do, and instead doing what needs to be done with happiness. That is freedom. That is where our love bloomed.
The center of us is us. It is me and him.
In the end, the center of us is about taking care of each other. I take care of him without worrying about myself, because he takes care of me. And he takes care of me without worrying about himself, because I take care of him. It is a perfect exchange of energy and self, and something worth reminding ourselves about from time to time.
This was a post that made me really happy to write, because it gave me a chance to reflect on our relationship, which is so special to me. I hope you liked it too!
If you liked this post, and these photographs, then you may also enjoy these:
Valentines Day (2017)
What about you? What do you think has grown the love in your marriage?
Ps. Taken on Saturday. When we were kind of matching. Which I thought was adorable and he thought was weird.