When we are not married, the whole idea about marriage is to find someone to love, care for and be taken care of. Once we do find that someone, it is all about getting married. Frustrated and desperate we sigh and moan and long to be together with the loved one. We are disillusioned into believing that once we are married, living with our loved one, sharing a house, a roof, a room, somehow everything will be fine. We believe it will be like the fairy tales of living happily ever after.
Without sounding too sexist, I must admit that it is women who generally hold such beliefs. I hope it is not the popular mass media & movies from India that emphasize so much on the pre-marriage aspect of life. But it is true that Indians and Pakistanis trick their youth in believing that somehow the wedding day is the pinnacle of happy life and life after that is all rosy and smooth. It could be said the same thing about Western Culture
As a matter of fact, married life is about adjusting to live with another individual and at times with another family. It is about learning to sleep while the other snores, to realize that blue is not everyone’s favorite color and that curtains are a good investment. It is about figuring out who will make the bed in the morning, walk the dog or do the laundry or vacuum the floor and how often & at what time. It is about mood swings, remembering the little things about the other, fights over remote, cleaning the bathrooms and about where to go and when. It is about grocery shopping, budget, paying the bills and being expected to act all mature, responsible and diplomatic.
And then … your first child is born.
In most interpersonal relationships, there is always plenty of blame to go around. In some cases, one party is more so to blame than the other and in extreme cases one party is absolutely responsible and the other is the victim. Here I am not talking about marriage issues because they have another complex side to them. That is, you have to go to bed with the person you are fighting with or at least stay under the same roof I am talking about issues among friends, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers etc.
Yesterday I spent close to two hours on the phone trying to solve one similar situation. It’s like a third one in two months. The worst thing about them is the literal headache that follows from being on the phone for too long. Just like before, the people involved showed very little maturity. They went on from an uncivilized outburst, to finding friends of similar grievance, to explaining the whole world why they were done wrong, to total denial. I call it the usual fight cycle. What really disappointed me was when people involve their family. So far I haven’t heard from their wives but if the two don’t get a grip I am sure I will. I have however, heard from the brother of one and in a previous instance from the son of another.
Now, why would they call me? I tried to figure this out too but in the end I wasn’t quiet sure other than the fact they needed someone to blow steam at. Had they been mature adults, they would have called each other, rather than me and in a civilized manner talked about how they have been offended, or what someone two or six months ago said or treated the other. But that will be asking too much.
Funny thing is, when they told me that they will write this and that or I will tell about this all, I said sure – You are an adult and you make your own decisions, I can’t really stop you or advise you any better because in fact you are my elder. A comment I thought might jolt their aged brain, actually back fired and they got mad at me. F!