Good Morning Dear Readers,
If you recall yesterday’s short story that I had published here on TPC, it was about a Husband and Wife arguing over who would change a dirty diaper.
If you notice the tone of the story, it is humorous, yes, but maybe you will also identify with the arguing couple – how they disregard each other’s happiness or comfort, how they quibble about trivialities, how they shirk responsibility. In short, a few years of togetherness/marriage ensures that the couple becomes less sensitive to the needs of his/her partner. At least this is what I felt after publishing the story.
If I am to give you examples from my own married life, I’d say the story reflects my married life almost completely, where I and my husband could argue over a small thing like a poopy diaper (we have done that in reality, though not this vigorously). What I have noted in my marriage and even in other marriages/live-in relationships is that somewhere down the line, we forgo the decencies, courtesies and good manners that we may have previously observed carefully during the courtship period. We start taking our other halves for granted. Sorries and thank yous become rarities and most of the time we just think for ourselves or think – he/she will get it, I don’t have to say it every time.
I’m not talking about the bigger sacrifices in life, like making work decisions, but smaller things like who will switch off the lights before coming to bed, or who will get the groceries from the market, or who will take the dog out for a walk, or who will tackle that pesky neighbour. These little, everyday responsibilities that we may have assumed on ourselves once upon a time when our romance was still in its youth, but now, after the blush of love has faded, these responsibilities become a matter of everyday arguments. Ok, maybe arguments is too strong a word. Make that everyday grumpiness.
Some may say that these everyday arguments in a couple are loving banter, and that’s true in my marriage too, but there could be instances when these everyday arguments escalate to something more serious, or may become the basis for a separation or divorce in the end. There have been friends who I have witnessed breaking up because one side was not able to digest the banter of the other side, or because they were always quibbling about something or the other. I feel that as time passes, instead of being nicer and more tolerant to each other, we become more dismissive and harsh towards our other halves.
This aloofness and unmindfulness to the happiness of our closest relationships is not only prevalent in married people or live-in couples, but even between relationships like Parents-Children, between In-Laws, the closest of friends. It seems like the closer we get, the more for granted we take that relationship, and the phrase ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ begins to make sense. But why? Aren’t we supposed to value these relationships over every other relationship? To me, it seems that we are kinder and more accommodating to strangers than we are to those living in our own homes. In India, we have a phrase for this very thing – ghar ki murgi daal barabar – which literally translates to – the chicken at home is only as good as gruel, meaning thereby that the one at home is never given much importance.
Wouldn’t it be better if we returned to those times when we would ask them, ‘Are you okay? Can I help in any way‘ or that ‘I’m there for you‘ as often as we used to in the beginning of the relationship, even if it sounds too formal? Because these are the people who we love and want to spend our best and worst times with. Then why be mean to, or mean-minded with them?
When I try searching for an answer to these questions I can only find two possibilities –
Ego & Tiredness
Our egos prohibit us from bending over backwards too much for any one person. And when we see the other side being unresponsive/unmindful to us, we get tired of trying to make up with them and just let the relationship go south.
I could be wrong about this, but this is my observation when ever I have noted relationships going sour.
So today I pose a question to all of you –
Why do we take our closest relationships for granted?
Why do we cease saying ‘Thank you’ or ‘Sorry’ to those who we intend to stay with until the end?
I hope you will be proactive in discussing this because I’m sure every one of you must face this in some form or the other, and wish that things could be nicer. Let’s read the responses of others and understand what we can do to make things better with those who matter the most to us.
Have a great day!