Ours is not a typical love story – girl meets guy, guy woos girl, guy proposes, girl accepts, parents accept or not accept and they agree to the marriage. My husband and I came to know each other through mutual relations. We began talking on the phone (he was in Mumbai and me in Ahmedabad) for hours together, agreed to meet after a month and then finally said yes. So, you see, we actually knew a lot about each other before we agreed to get married. Knowing each other well, I believe is a great reason for building a strong and healthy marriage foundation.
However, let me tell you this – my husband and I are not overly romantic nor do we don’t indulge in PDA and we recently celebrated 12 years of marriage. 10 years together, that says a lot about our marriage and I am proud to say that our decade old marriage is still fresh, alive, hot and growing. So how to build a strong marriage relationship? Let me tell you 7 unromantic ways to keep marriage strong and healthy:
Hold hands: I saw this lovely photo of a man and woman holding hands, what struck me the most was that they were not hugging or kissing, but holding hands – a sign of a strong and healthy relationship.
Holding hands, sounds like something from 50s and 60s right? When we can hug, kiss and fondle, how holding hands is going to strengthen the relationship? But let me tell you holding hands has an old-world charm to it. There is nothing sexual and a relationship doesn’t always have to be about sex, it’s also about companionship and holding hands tell you that you care and you love no matter what.
There are times in the night or just before we wake up, my husband seeks my hands and holds them, telling me and reassuring me that we are in it together. And let me tell you it is one of the biggest signs of a strong marriage and conveys more than a kiss or sexual act does.
Fight: Did you read right? Did I say fight? Yes, I said you must fight for a strong and healthy marriage.
My husband and I fight a lot, we both have loud voices and when we fight the pitch goes even higher than normal. And these fights can be for silly things like him booking movie tickets without asking me or me making aloo ki subzi in a different way than he likes.
We fight even when our parents are around. My mother after staying with us for a few days upon going back to Ahmedabad told my father, “When they fight, my heart sinks and my blood pressure dives.”
The first time when my mother in law saw us fighting, she got so upset that she thought we were going to end up in a divorce. But then she was amazed that we were back to talking normally in a matter of minutes.
Fighting is normal. It is true that in every relationship, there is expectations but what is truer is that many of these expectations would not be met, much as you or your spouse tries. So you end up with angst and fighting helps in venting it out. And once it’s all done, you can get back to your life and relationship.
Engage in playful banter: Humour and playful banter are characteristics of a strong marriage. My husband has a great sense of humour and this is one of the biggest reasons of our strong marriage. He jokes and he banters and I laugh. He teases me often, but I never get upset.
I also recommend watching silly comedy movies or shows together. It will help to keep your marriage fresh and alive.
Work together: In the house I cook and look after many aspects of housekeeping, but there are many chores that he looks after too. We have divided our responsibilities and that helps. Also, there are times when we both are not up to fulfilling ours in which case the other one assumes them without a grumble. We are partners in love, fight and housework.
Don’t sulk: We are humans and are bound to commit mistakes. However, what helps is talking about them and owning them up. You make a mistake, apologise and move on. What is the most irritating is the sulking part! I have seen couples sulking and not talking for days. That really corrodes any relationship.
Both my husband and I don’t sulk. If we have fought, we move on rather than sulking. We stay in a nuclear family, if we start sulking and stop talking, the house will feel like a silent zone.
After fighting, we don’t hide ourselves in another room, but always sleep on the same bed. Also, our one relationship mantra is Don't ever go to bed angry if you want a strong marriage. Click To Tweet
It helps. It says more than any words can that – fights happen, but our marriage is more important.
Give space: Remember Sex and the City 2 where Big asked Carrie he needed space. Carrie was heartbroken and thought her marriage had ended. Well, one thing we need to understand that a man as much a social animal likes sometime alone too. And yes, we need some space, even in our marriage. No one likes their spouse to be breathing down their necks all the time asking where they are going or with whom they would be. It’s really irritating and no wonder people breathe a sigh of relief whenever their spouse goes out of town for a few days.
We give each other a lot of space. But husband never asks me who I am talking to and lets me take my own decisions. The same goes with me – I don’t ask him all the time where he is going or insist upon tagging along with him. He has time out with his friends while he doesn’t mind when I have our girls’ night out (though he does offer to come and pick me up if it’s getting late). We are concerned for each other, but don’t stay super glued all the time.
Surprise each other: Doing the same things day in and day out makes the relationship stale. Don’t let that happen. Just scratch your head a little and come up with things that surprise your other half and keeps the excitement in your marriage. It can be as small as baking a cake when your partner is not expecting or ordering a book or that pair of headphones, he or she wants not only says you think about them but also says you care.
It’s needless to say romantic or unromantic, marriage requires a lot of effort. However, if you want a strong and healthy marriage, these pointers will surely help you.