Slightly satisfied or more?

Today morning as I went in to get myself a cup of milo at the office pantry, I was asked by a couple of colleagues of mine to take a survey from the day’s newspaper. It was to measure how satisfied a person was with his life. There were just 5 questions, to be answered in terms of 7 choices, each of which had points associated with them. The total of all the points you scored would determine how satisfied you were with your life. It was just like the scores of surveys which appear everyday in TOI.

As I looked at the questions and gave my answers I found that I fell into the group of people who were ‘slightly satisfied’ with lives. The survey said that these were the people who’d want more from life than what they currently have and work towards achieving that little extra which would give them satisfaction. Amongst the two colleagues, one was in the same bracket while the other was in the ‘very satisfied’ range.
As an explanation I ventured to say that the difference was because the third person was yet to get married and the real trials would begin after marriage. I did not mean it as a derogatory comment on marriage, like how the guys generally joke about marriage being like the alarm clock that wakes you out of the deep peaceful sleep of bachelor-hood. I don’t know if my colleagues got the point I was trying to make, but it definitely set me thinking.

I believe marriage is like the beginning of a journey where you know the path is long and winding, strewn with several thorns and hurdles, but it is also the way where small surprises like a beautiful view beyond a bend or a pretty flower by the road-side, lights one up with heartfelt happiness. But what makes the journey exciting is the partner who helps you tackle the obstacles and is by your side to share the joys and sorrows.

As I get on with life now and think back to the days of my girlhood, I feel I can realize the difference between the two. The trials and difficulties and dilemmas were there, then too, but in comparison they feel much less of a dilemma and more of a natural decision that I had to take, which would largely affect my life in whatever way. And there were one’s parents always to fall back upon. The pleasures and the responsibility-free world that one lived in more-than-made-up for the few tough times one had.

Now one is more on one’s own and though the spouse is there at all times, there are always certain decisions and dilemmas that need to be handled alone. And while the fun times are still around, the load of the responsibilities increases manifold, which needs one to be far more accountable. As one enters into matrimony and in the process includes scores of new people into one’s life’s folds, the duties and rights – said and unsaid, automatically take a leap. You realize that a simple decision of yours could affect more lives than what you’d expect or anticipate; which is what probably makes the process – of finding the right way and taking the right turn in your quest for the journey’s end, interesting and important.

Post marriage, I’d say, is also the time when one plans more carefully, with more than an eye on the future. Though one could claim otherwise, the pre-wedding planning would be more complacent, with the feeling being that one could always plan when one got ‘settled’ and the present time was to enjoy, while the care-free days still lasted. Probably this could be a generalization and not true always, but I’d still feel that the seriousness and the time that goes into planning post marriage needs to be of a higher level than before.

Probably it all gets driven by the fact that it is no longer just one life that you gotta think about. It is also because you know you have someone whose pains and pleasures matter to you more than yours, and you’d go to any lengths to make that person’s life a little more comfortable. And that is may be why you don’t mind being less satisfied with what you have, and want to work harder to bring that little extra into your lives, which you know would make the moments sweeter and the journey a lot more gratifying 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Slightly satisfied or more?

  1. You know what, marriage is not that bad after all. I mean, yes, responsibilities and duties do increase, but it’s not as bad as you show it to be.

    “And there were one’s parents always to fall back upon.”
    Why aren’t they with you now? Yes, you are staying away from them, but that doesn’t mean that they are not there for you. You can always go back to them and tell them what your problems are. Being experienced, they will guide you better, isn’t it?

    “You realize that a simple decision of yours could affect more lives than what you’d expect or anticipate;”

    Really? Does it really affect people? Think about it, it will affect you for sure, it might affect your spouse, but who else comes under this purview? A decision taken in your life doesn’t really have all that importance, you know. No matter what choice you make in a critical situation, people hardly notice. Life goes by.

    All these thoughts arise because you keep worrying about what people are thinking about you. You knew your parents wouldn’t judge you no matter what you did. That’s why you didn’t think before saying anything or doing anything. Post marriage, once you start living with your in-laws, you know their eyes are on you. They are judging you constantly and you take your every step with utmost care. This is so stressful on you that you think your duties and responsibilities have increased. If you live life by your own terms and not worry about what people will think about you, then you will see that your life is the same, after all.

    Think about it, Anuradha, how much has your life changed? You are living with somebody else now, but apart from that there is very little that has changed.

    I am not trying to prove you wrong. I was at your stage at one point of time and believe me, it was taxing. But once I reached the root, life is much better now. Yes, duties have increased, but I am just as satisfied with my life now as I was before marriage.

  2. Firstly, let me set right your misconception – I never did say anything about marriage being ‘bad’.

    Parents are always there, but running to them with every problem of yours does not make any sense, your problems now are your own . There are some behavioural patterns which come naturally with marriage – that is what I said about unsaid rules, handling one’s problems on one’s own are one of these unsaid rules.

    You think your decision affects only your spouse? Then you are taking a very constricted view of your family. It definitely depends on how much you care for your family beyond your spouse and how much they wish to participate in your decisions and its repercussions. Atleast in my case, my decisions definitely affect people other than my spouse. And here I am not claiming that my decisions are important, they might be the slightest in nature, but they definitely matter in the scheme of things.

    Yes you are right when you say your parents don’t judge you no matter you did, but your family post marriage does, atleast during the initial years. And it does matter you know, you simply cannot live your life on your own terms. Those initial years are the ones when the bonds are built on which will grow your relationship with these people. If you want this relationship to be similar to the rapport you share with your parents, then you gotta work on it. But if you choose to be not bothered whatever way it turns out, then yes, you can live for your own good.

    ‘how much has your life changed? You are living with somebody else now, but apart from that there is very little that has changed’
    You think that is not change enough? That somebody else is a part of your life now, a person who does not know you from before, unlike your parents. How do you expect the rapport to be built up overnight?

    All through my write up I never said marriage was taxing or stressful. I only tried to bring out the differences between the reasons which give satisfaction pre and post marriage; how in one case we are more easily satisfied while in the other we work harder to bring satisfaction, which I said is a happy solution we choose. At the end of it all, lemme just say, I love being married, having that special person for whom I can care and who cares for me; and working for that extra-bit from life, for us, definitely gives me a high.

    So,dear Sainyuja, thanks for the advice, but may be it would have made more sense to me if I thought marriage was bad, which I don’t. Anyway if you wish to say anything more on this, please feel free to mail me at anuradha.cp@gmail.com

  3. “Firstly, let me set right your misconception – I never did say anything about marriage being ‘bad’.”

    I didn’t say that you term marriage as something bad. Your post does have a negative tinge to it and that’s what I was pointing at. I am sorry if my comment gave you this picture.

    “You think your decision affects only your spouse? Then you are taking a very constricted view of your family. It definitely depends on how much you care for your family beyond your spouse and how much they wish to participate in your decisions and its repercussions. Atleast in my case, my decisions definitely affect people other than my spouse. And here I am not claiming that my decisions are important, they might be the slightest in nature, but they definitely matter in the scheme of things.”

    I respect your opinion. For my curiosity, can you give me an example where it would really affect? I am not talking about small everyday decisions like ‘If you refuse to go for a movie then the whole family has to spend the evening at home’. I mean genuine decisions. You will be surprised to know that each of us think that we touch many people’s lives, but in truth we hardly touch our own spouse’s. We are just a speck of dust in this behemoth universe, but we often fail to see this fact. Anyway, if you think your decisions do affect many people, then I would say you are fortunate or unfortunate as the case may be. Hope you have the strength to make the right decision so that you change people’s lives for the better.

    “Yes you are right when you say your parents don’t judge you no matter you did, but your family post marriage does, atleast during the initial years. And it does matter you know, you simply cannot live your life on your own terms. Those initial years are the ones when the bonds are built on which will grow your relationship with these people. If you want this relationship to be similar to the rapport you share with your parents, then you gotta work on it. But if you choose to be not bothered whatever way it turns out, then yes, you can live for your own good.”

    This is where our thoughts differ. I know what I am doing is right. I don’t have to think before doing it. If I am so sure that I am right, then the other person has to accept me as I am. Why should I weigh my steps because somebody is constantly judging me? Judge me all you can, I live on my own terms. I might come out as a very blunt person, but my spouse and my in-laws have accepted me this way.

    Initially, during courtship days or newly-married days, every girl tries to portray herself as this perfect wife or perfect daughter-in-law and tries to please her new family. Nothing wrong here, quite a good intention. But in this excitement, she forgets that she is trying too hard to be someone that she isn’t. Don’t try to be a super-woman. It will work against you. You will raise your in-laws expectations and once you get stressed out by playing the super-woman’s part, you won’t be able to meet those expectations. Don’t go out of your way to please someone. Be it your parents or your husband or your in-laws. This is what I meant by saying ‘live on your own terms’.

    ‘how much has your life changed? You are living with somebody else now, but apart from that there is very little that has changed’
    “You think that is not change enough? That somebody else is a part of your life now, a person who does not know you from before, unlike your parents. How do you expect the rapport to be built up overnight?”

    I agree that rapport doesn’t build up overnight, though I wouldn’t use the word rapport. I would rather say ‘understanding’. You can’t do anything to build rapport. It just happens with time. Again to quench my thirst, what are you doing presently that helps build a rapport with your husband?

    Tell me something, do you work to build a rapport with your friends or colleagues? You continue to live the way you always did and friendship blooms, colleagues come to you. People who think on similar lines flock together. You can’t change because you want somebody’s friendship. The same way, you can’t do something out of the way to build rapport with your spouse. Would you change your attitude if you were to live in a hostel? Would you change your way of living just because you want to build a rapport with your room-mate? Why is spouse any different?

    “So,dear Sainyuja, thanks for the advice, but may be it would have made more sense to me if I thought marriage was bad, which I don’t. Anyway if you wish to say anything more on this, please feel free to mail me at anuradha.cp@gmail.com

    As I said before, there are both positive and negative vibes in your post. I was not trying to make a point that marriage is great. I was just showing a different angle of the same object. Looks like the point was not taken.

    Look. I don’t know you personally. I happened to bump into your blog one day and have been a passive reader all the while. After reading your posts and your thoughts, I gathered you were the kind of a person who would take things in the right stride. I think you weren’t ready for my comments, you took it too personally. Looks like I have touched the wrong nerve. You probably think that I was trying to prove you wrong by my comments. That was not my point. I have seen quite a few newly married couples around me and I see the same thoughts among them. I don’t like intervening in their personal lives. Internet is the place where I voice my opinion. That’s the reason I blurted out all this. Hurting you or proving you wrong was not my intention. Just take any comment with a pinch of salt, don’t take it personally. It will do you good.

    Thanks for sharing your email id, but I would rather use the blog as a platform to voice my opinion.

  4. Ok, point taken.
    I don’t know if my post seems to have a negative tinge to it, I wrote it in a practical frame of mind.
    Anyway, I guess both of us are right in our own ways; our perspectives differ, probably because of the different circumstances that we’re placed in.
    So lets each rest this case and be friends. What say? 🙂

  5. I think the comments turned out to be longer than the posts. I forgot what I wanted to comment about after reading the comments 😀

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