Saturday, July 20, 2013

Marriage 101: allowing yourself to be different than your spouse

(Sunday brunch: the same, but different)

When people get deep into their relationship (past the lustful stage) there is always a point that comes up about 'sameness" or being the same. This is both an Indian concept and a Western concept.

Believe it or not, this is a mistake that I have made in the past. My husband and I are naturally close, and we have so much in common, but I used to try to do everything the same as him - same food, same friends, same TV shows - this caused a lot of bickering between us.

Especially after kids, you have to respect that your spouse will have a different parenting style than you (bonding, discipline), and also take care of the child differently (feeding, diaper changes).

(A father will have his own parenting style, different than a mother)

In my opinion, forcing your spouse to be the same as you is all about one's own sense of control. And the presence of control is a big no-no in a relationship.

Everyone is a unique individual and people should appreciate their differences, rather than trying to be the same as your partner. True flexibility and true adaptability lies in accepting and appreciating the differences in your partner. This is especially true in intercultural relationships since you have completely different cultures and ways of doing things!

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For example: 

My husband loves to watch the Food Network. This totally drives me crazy. I cannot stand turning on the TV while I'm having my early morning chai, and seeing pork meatballs being made. And I'm sure he can't stand turning on the TV and seeing the Kardashians with Kris Jenner peeing in a bush outside their mansion (yes, that was on a recent episode)! 

Even after a very filling dinner, my husband CANNOT go to bed without eating 3 cups of rice with pickle. How Andhra of him! And I, on the other hand, cannot go to bed without having something sweet, like fruit, yogurt or ice cream.

My husband, who's from India, hates the heat. If it is even 15 degrees celsius, he will start sweating and his hair will curl. I, on the other hand, cannot stand the cold. We were totally born in the wrong countries! Sometimes in Winter, it will be so cold that I will have a heater on my side of the bed... and he will have the fan on the other side of the bed!

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These are the quirky little things about us, and our relationship that you just have to laugh about. You can't take it too seriously. We are different individuals, after all...

Praise your differences. The test of the true maturity of a relationship comes from loving each other despite your differences. Besides, if you wanted someone exactly like yourself, then you would have ended up marrying yourself...all alone at the altar!


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2 comments

  1. Loved this post! And So very true. He is from the country, I am from the City with island roots. and we couldn't be further from the same yet mesh perfectly. Though, We are still working out our "sameness" 2 years later...It's comforting to know we are not the only ones.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, that's a big deal in long-term relationships/marriages, and I think it's healthy to not do the same things all the time. It doesn't make you any less compatible, if anything I think it makes both individuals happier and more compatible!

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