Meeting at your favourite coffee shop is not the same as living under one roof.
“If the couple is not ready for real life and continues to dwell on reel life, fights begin,” says psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. In most cases, couples who’ve been dating with an intention to get married tend to forget the heavy rock of responsibility and reality that’s soon to hit their lives.
“Dating is the plain sailing phase compared to marriage,” says clinical psychologist Dr Seema Hingorrany. “This does not mean that marriage is not rewarding as an institution, but couples enraptured by the aura of dating may resent the alterations that marriage brings forth, eventuating in turbulence and bitterness in their bond,” she adds. Hanging on and learning the art of negotiation will help you weather the stormy period.
Here are a few signs that your relationship is under stress:
- Most of the arguments turn into ugly fights.
- Communication is missing.
- Sex life is deteriorating.
- You hardly spend quality time with each other.
- You both spend more time on the internet and phone or with friends.
- You constantly regret your marriage.
HANDLE WITH CARE
- Talk through situations rather than bottling up or accusing each other. While doing this, avoid getting defensive. Don’t let the bitterness spoil your communication. Address the issue calmly and resolve your arguments with logic and reason.
- We are all unique and wired differently; naturally, we all have flaws.Wisdom is accepting these flaws and appreciating the positive qualities your spouse has.
- Empathy is important in marriage. Empathy isn’t the same as sympathy. It means being able to put yourself in another’s position, to feel what they feel and see what they see. And it means you do all that even though you may disagree with a partner’s perception, opinions or feelings. Take a few minutes a day, to empathise with the stresses and strains you are experiencing in other areas of your life.
- Respect your spouse. Make sure you don’t take each other for granted.
- Keep in touch with close friends and relatives — your emotional buffers.
DEFINING ROLES: When you decide to tie the knot, you might assume your partner to take up certain roles (i.e. breadwinner, bill payer, house cleaner, etc) and when he/she fails to live up to your expectations, the blame game starts.
Your way out: Instead of being idealistic, review and negotiate domestic roles. Discuss your expectations and focus on how you can help.
MONEY MATTERS: Varying salaries, spending habits and attitudes makes money one of the top reasons couples argue. Often, one person is a saver and the other is a free spender. This can lead to a great deal of stress when you’re already fairly tight on finances.
Your way out: Define your values. What do you both prefer to spend money on the most (vacations, entertainment, spirituality, etc)? Once you lay that out on the table, you can figure out how to budget your money.
IN-LAWS: Parents often have a difficult time when they are marrying off their son or daughter, and sometimes try to stay connected in ways that can disrupt the marriage.
Your way out: Decide among yourselves how much parental input you want. Respect each other’s priorities and set boundaries with your parents.
RECREATION TIME: While dating, it was okay to watch football or cricket all day and shopping seemed to be a great way to spend the day together. But after you are joined in wedlock, the way you two spend time together can be a source of conflict.
Your way out: Focus on appreciating the things that your spouse loves. Even if you’re stuck doing a ‘not-that-fun’ activity, focus on spending time together, not on the activity itself.