How to survive the first year of marriage
Some days are as bouncy as a Bruno Mars track and some days feel like, well, Monday.
“Bechare ka divorce hone wala hai,” my mother said out loud, clucking sympathetically. This distant cousin’s six-month marriage, which was solemnised with a Pinterest-worthy beach wedding (that probably caused the breaking of many FDs), was now responsible for the collective heartbreak of a 12-member joint family.
Having spent the last 16 months in ‘conjugal bliss’, I can assure you that whoever says the first year of marriage is a cakewalk deserves to have their Netflix membership taken away for life. Author Marla Taviano describes in From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife, “Getting married is like moving to a foreign country. You will experience some culture shock. You and your husband won’t always speak the same language.” Sounds about right.
Brace yourself for the persistent question (“how is married life?”) from friends, family, kirana guy, parlour didi, and former colleagues from 8 years ago. The truth is, once the ceremonies are done and the ‘candid’ wedding videos have gone viral, the non-Instagrammable reality dawns on you. Some days are as bouncy as a Bruno Mars track and some days feel like, well, Monday.
I wonder why no one acknowledges that a new home, a new social network and a new phase can occasionally feel like a tooth extraction without anaesthesia. The coming together of individuals from different families, opinions, conditioning, rules and personal habits can involve an overwhelming number of decisions together (life, home, finance, future children). And yet, surviving the first year of marriage doesn’t need to be a badly strategised Battle of Winterfell. It’s about respecting each other’s values. Wet towels must go from the bed. Books don’t always have to be arranged alphabetically. You and your spouse can take a break from your ‘rules’.
Scrolling through Instagram feeds of mushy tributes to the spouse (‘I’m glad I married my best friend’), one-month anniversaries, and Man Crush Mondays (surprise, surprise: it’s the husband), you may think you’re the only one who sucks at this marriage thing. You wonder how other couples manage to make napping together look like a Cartier-Bresson print on social media, but no one really exposes the not-so-Instagrammable truth, do they?
Recently, a friend at work (who has known her now-husband for a decade) confessed that her three-month marriage has had its highs and lows. “Dating someone, even for years, is still completely different from being married to them,” she admitted.
The good news is that it gets better. After our first year of marriage, my husband and I have finally learnt it’s really about changing for the better (who needs Vipassana when you can give him the silent treatment for three days). It’s a diplomatic exchange of respect, where Communication, Patience and Acceptance are the key nations shaking hands. And even though we’ve seen some rough days, I know that my husband is better for me than anyone else would’ve ever been.
As we work together like torpid tectonic plates, we find our rhythm with a relieving sense of peace. It’s a kind of understanding that doesn’t need to translate into words or Instagram declarations. It’s learning that the secret to a perfect marriage is that it simply doesn’t exist. And that’s perfectly okay.
Stylist: Divya Gursahani; Hair: Krisann Figueiredo; Makeup: Riddhima Sharma; models: Gayatri Hariharan/Inega, Kishan Kafaltiya /Inega.
On Gayatri: Top, Bodements. Pants, Notebook. On Kishan: Shirt, Abraham & Thakore. Pants, Nicobar.