Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018 | Last Update : 12:42 AM IST

Keep the spark alive

THE ASIAN AGE. | NISHA JAMVWAL
Published : Jun 20, 2018, 12:43 am IST
Updated : Jun 20, 2018, 12:43 am IST

It’s a choice you make. It’s not everyone’s story certainly, but we can all take a bit of learning from it.

A still from Forever My Girl
 A still from Forever My Girl

It’s easy to focus on the unhappy aspects of a relationship, but what it needs to keep the romance alive is accepting your partner as he/she is.

“We met when we were in our twenties, and fell so intensely in love that to us our love seemed more wondrous than any love story!” Tales of romance are always fascinating, so I let Rimi speak on.

“Even a work-travel separation was unbearable, and seemed like he was going away for years and not just three-four days. How desperately we yearned to be travelling together. I’d pick him up from the airport, flushed with the prettiness of love and salon-washed hair!” She continues, and I listen without interrupting. “He is at his best gallantry — his chauffeur-driven luxury car takes us to a lavish hotel, and we get heady over wine and lunch.”

I am listening, and wondering — is the story going to be too good to be true? “Yes, what they say is indeed true, marriage is the death knell of romance. Exactly when it crept in I don’t know, but the nitty-gritties of domesticity and its up-keep sent the fairy-tale illusions flying out of the window,” said Rimi and added, “I would grit my teeth at his wet towel flung over my carved rose-wood dresser chair. And he would throw an expensive bra out of the window if it was inconveniently drying ‘in his face’.

“We both have pressures of building careers. And now, we both were contemplating divorce.” I wonder what’s next, because they’re still married. “I travelled with him on his work, but now it was to get out of the domestic setting I was tethered in — a  chance to put on mascara and a pretty dress. But the electric excitement to be together was not the same.”

They continued to exist in a marriage of more moments of suppressed angst and fewer joys, for eight long years and a baby daughter, till one day tehy landed at a psychiatric counsellor’s office.

Let me put it in a nutshell for my readers. The counsellor helped them see that in their priorities of job and responsibility of a child and running a house, their easy vent to the collected irritability was the partner. Little foibles and differences fossilised into intolerant reactions. When one is frustrated, the immature response is directing the irritability at one’s partner. Irrationally one may lash out about minor matters, almost building up a hate-bank that relegates the lover of earlier times into a bundle of faults that allegedly constitutes her/him into a dark and ugly presence!

One thing at a time, the counsellor helped them prioritise and organise and put things in proportion.

The crux to me is, she realised what we all know — love needs nurture to flower and bloom, or it may wither into indifference. But, more importantly, in the same way, hate also magnifies and grows if you nurture it with blame, fault-finding, resentment and irrational bursts of vented anger. Constant focus on the foibles and mistakes strengthen hate.

Taking your partner for granted is a mistake. It is always wise to value and emphasise the good qualities. Goodwill and gratitude brings bounty into life and makes it beautiful again. Short breaks and some space also enhance the love and desire for each other’s company.  

It’s a choice you make. It’s not everyone’s story certainly, but we can all take a bit of learning from it.

The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal@gmail.com

Tags: relationship, counsellor, psychiatric