What makes marriages a sublime and romantic experience?

Having said that it is also true and undeniable that once the couple weather the challenges and pitfalls life throws up, and firm up their relationship, they are pretty much sitting  on a good thing. It is then that the couple start to enjoy all the advantages the institution of marriage provides - the sense of permanency, companionship and togetherness, and of being enclosed in the warm cocoon of a family. For a family will never let you stand alone to fight your battles.

"Marriage is an individual construction for companionship," reasons Chennai-based Saras Bhaskar, counselling psychologist and therapist on why marriage can be a sublime experience. Society may need the institution of marriage to develop the unit of the family. But, for an individual, marriage is the need for a close and trustworthy companion to travel along life's rocky journey. 

Marriage often turns into a bitter disappointment for many when people yearn for the "right and perfect" person to tie the marital knot. If you come to terms with realising that your soulmate is one who is closest to what you want then living in a marriage becomes a lot easier, says Saras Bhaskar. Further, if it is built on Saras Bhaskar's two vital ingredients of a successful marriage, love and trust, which grows with time, then people are really onto a good thing.

With time, friends move away, parents and grandparents get old and die and extended familial relationships start to falter. The relationship with the spouse and children is then what keeps you rooted and provides you with a sense of purpose, love and togetherness.

It takes a lot of hard work and time to arrive at this stage, however. Nothing gained without pain. But, to reach this goal, there are some pointers to avoid adding stress and strain in your marriage.

According to Saras Bhaskar one of the major causes of stress is when spouses fail to realise marriage is not ownership. "Once there is a sense of control, revenge also comes into play. It becomes like this: You insulted me in front of my parents I will also hurt you in the same way. But, couples don't realise the long-term consequences of this revenge game. The bitterness between them starts to build up and becomes more acute with time and the distance between them widens," she explains.

Often, marriages break up largely because couples continue to harp on what is going wrong in their marriage rather than what's right in it, Saras Bhaskar points out, listing another reason for rifts in marriages. "Couples who come to me cannot stop focussing on the negative aspects of their union. The negativity can corrupt the mind and the heart and make them act in the wrong way," she adds.

Thirdly, couples often caught up in the revenge and battle mode, forget to forgive. "One has to develop the feeling of forgiveness, and realise that you have to be tolerant of other people's imperfections. You know by now that nobody is perfect. The imperfections may involve really small things like forgetting to turn of the geyser or placing the ladle in the water bowl in the sink, or having caught a spouse sending lewd messages to someone in the office," she points out.

Another major stress trigger in marriages is when spouses let down the other in front of others. That is like a red flag for men and turns into this sore issue that continues to rankle. This 'putting down' each other in public to score a point can foster more mistrust and resentment which can further erode a marriage that might have otherwise worked.

Some of the time-tested solutions to avoid stress in a marriage have often been enumerated but they work. Don’t react or fight back when someone is really angry, making time to exercise together, having fun and laughing more, planning meals together, arranging a date night to spend time alone together, to create a good sleeping environment to get enough sleep and to be there for each other in times of trouble. Try them on the road to a sublime marriage. Remember, you have to work hard to enjoy a good marriage.


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