Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Just married

Just married and I'm back in London with some very fond memories of our Bangladesh wedding. I had not been to Bangladesh before. So, naturally, I had some reservations before I landed at Chittagong airport. But, the unparalleled hospitality and overwhelming love demonstrated by my wife's family there quickly broke down all apprehensions, and within a matter of hours, it was as though we had all known each other for years. Thinking back, I look back upon our short stay in Bangladesh with fond memories, and look forward to visiting again soon.
 
You see, there is a difference between the words "wedding" and "marriage". The former is a star-studded event that lasts for a couple of days, the latter is a long lifelong journey that comes with the sweet pain of true love.
Back in London, friends and family keep asking "How is married life treating you?". It's a question I struggle to answer. What is one expected to say to such a question? It's not like your life becomes star-studded over night. It's not like your life becomes radically different to what it was before. Yes, my wife and I now live together, and that is a big change, but a welcome one. Yet, I wouldn't say it's radically different. It would have been had our marriage been an arranged one. The simple fact is that I am thrilled to have my wife living with me and just generally sharing life together. But that doesn't quite answer the question, does it?
 
And then I read an article this morning by Seth Adam Smith entitled "True love should be painful" (http://sethadamsmith.com/2014/01/20/true-love-is-painful/). I would recommend it to anyone newly married and you should read this post in the context of that article. It's a perfect tutorial for anyone setting out in life with someone on the path of marriage. What this article reminds us of is the reality of married life, far from the star-studded wedding festivities, far from the romanticised ideology of a magical wedding that we all too often confuse to be a characteristic of marriage. You see, there is a difference between the words "wedding" and "marriage". The former lasts for a couple of days, the latter is lifelong.
 
Seth's article reminds us that "if you’re doing it right, love, marriage, and family will be the most painful things you’ll ever experience. Not because they’re bad things, but because to love at all means to open yourselves up to vulnerability and pain. And to love someone completely—as you do in marriage—is to put your whole heart on the line."
 
My parents recently celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary. On the whole, they've had a solid and strong marriage. But like any relationship, it's not perfect. They have had their ups and downs and I cannot imagine that their journey together has not been painful. Seth says "Love will always be quite painful. Instead, worry about how you will react to the pain."  I think that's what my parents have done. What inspires me is the way in which they have dealt with their troubles together. That is the standard I aspire to achieve.
 
I know that Mehwaesh and I value our relationship tremendously. Being an inter-cultural relationship, it has not been without its idiosyncractic pains. But, we fought hard to get to where we are today. And we're proud of what we have achieved so far. We realise that marriage is not a walk in the park, not rosy and is certainly not the star-studded experience that was our wedding. Accepting and acknowledging that, is, I think, the first step to realising that "love will always be quite painful." The key is understanding that, as Seth says in his article, "instead of a pain that breaks us down, it can be a pain that builds us up."

I love my wife. I love being married to her and I am tremendously grateful for her presence in my life. She enriches everything I do and is my most honest critic. I love that she loves my parents as much as I love her's. We have a lot to go through in the future, some joyful, some painful. I welcome that pain in my life, because "true love should be painful". Thank you, Seth Adam Smith, for teaching me that.

1 comment:

  1. Paras, very well written. You are so right that everyone should understand the difference between a wedding and a marriage. Many times during our 31 years of marriage, Ajay and I have had our fair share of arguments. When he didn't understand me, or was my best critic I thought he didn't care or love me. After reading the article, I understand that the one who hurts you the most by telling you the truth is the one who loves you the most. We all want to protect the one we love, make them better and hate anyone who hurts them.
    Coming to the Mombasa 31 years to settle in with a new family and husband I barely knew(arranged marriage) was very tough for me,but though I hardly knew Ajay then, he was the only one I felt I could turn to as he was my husband. Now he is my companion, friend and main critic.
    After a while love is not something you need to work on too much, because that comes naturally, but I find trust and tolerance makes a relationship last forever. Remember those two things every time you have your differences and solutions will come by easily.

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