“Almost all married people fight, although many are ashamed to admit it. Actually a marriage in which no quarreling at all takes place may well be one that is dead or dying from emotional undernourishment. If you care, you probably fight” said noted American author Flora Davis.
Captain Deepak Malik (name changed), a young officer, newlywed, once sought my interview as he had some pressing private issues. I ordered him to meet me next morning at 11 AM. All the while I tried to fathom as to what could be the problem he might be facing. Is it that his young wife has not been able to adjust to the Indian Army’s way of life? Is it that she is scared of me as the Commanding Officer? Is it that she felt that some officers or soldiers misbehaved with her? My mind went into an overdrive, searching for all possible problems a young couple could face. Surely, I was preparing myself as to how to deal with it.
Next morning at 11 AM, Captain Malik showed up at my office. I asked him “What is the pressing issue?“. Taking a long deep breath, he answered “Sir, everyday there is a fight between my wife and me. It is becoming too much for me to handle.”
“How many times do you fight?” I questioned. “Once a day” was his prompt reply.
“Oh! that is not an issue at all. When we got married, we fought twice on a working day and four times on a holiday. Young man, you are doing pretty well. Remember, your wife is an individual, she comes from a different family and background. It is natural to have differences of opinion and at this age and it got to end up in a fight. If you do not fight, then there is a problem – either of you are faking it. Now get off from my office and attend to your work” I said to him, feeling relieved.
After a month, I met the couple at the Officers’ Mess function and I enquired about their well being. Captain Malik said “I asked for the Commanding Officer’s interview thinking that after hearing my sob story, he might excuse me the morning Physical Training, instead he gave me kick and threw me out. Now I realise what married life is all about.”
Marriage is all about communication – honest, frank, open, accepting and respecting. It must be full of love for each other. It should neither be sarcastic nor hurtful.
It is an art as to how newlyweds deal with arguments, big and small. They end up causing heartburn and a lot of tension in marriage. Both partners need to find a communication style that works for both and respect the boundaries mutually set.
It is mostly small and pretty issues which end up in arguments, at times running out of hand. It could be about the ‘mess’ in the bedroom, clutter in the washroom, what to watch on TV, what to eat for dinner, which movie to go, visiting family members, how often you spend time with each other’s friends – the list is endless, even though very small.
Life of a newlywed is challenging – it is all about adjustments and at times compromises – many were least expecting these. Reality dawns on the couple when they live together, away from their parents. It is all the more challenging for an Army wife who hails from a non-Military background. It is going to be a roller coaster ride for the bride and she is bound to be scared at each step. The husband got to explain everything in detail to her and provide more than needed support for her to adjust to the military environs.
Taking a holiday and travelling to a place of interest to both will do a lot good. Sometimes this may also lead to a fight, but the thrill of the first holiday together will much outweigh the fight. This time can be utilised to review your progress together and also plan for future.
‘His money – Her money – Our money‘ – especially when both spouses are earning – is another point for a fight. Now you got to row the boat together, hence the need for proper budgeting after mutual discussions.
When you marry someone, you marry into a family. Learning how to live with each other’s family needs ‘diplomatic’ skills many a time. Always keep the interest of your spouse ahead of everyone else.
Each of you are individuals and hence need ‘my time’. Allow your spouse this benefit too- to pursue hobbies or interests or even lazing around doing nothing. You both will have many interests common and many divergent. You got to accommodate each other.
Sex is an important part of married life. Both got to be expressive and enjoy the pleasure. It is not all about the ‘physical sex’ on which you spend no more than five minutes. It is all about foreplay, caressing, speaking those lovely lines and so on. Go as far as your imagination can take you, but be equally careful not to make it a nightmare for your partner. When one partner feels there isn’t enough sex, it will cause issues. Both need to be open and respectful about how you are feeling and your needs.
Everyone has different plans in life. The husband may want a child whereas the wife may not. It could be the in-laws who are more in a hurry to see a grandchild. Either way, having children is a huge decision and can cause tensions if both are not on the same page.
I’ve learned that just because two people argue,
it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue,
it doesn’t mean they do. Omer Washington