My marriage story 

Getting married wasn’t my life goal, a dream or even a decision. The official marriage, in technical terms, wasn’t a “destination” – it was a “tool”.

I never wanted to walk my life path alone. I knew it would be way more enjoyable with a soul, who would share my passion for exploration, yet would help me to stay grounded, and would always be there for me.

So, when such soul walked into my life – or rather drove in in a tiny red car, which was so small, that his knees almost reached the ears during driving – everything happened by itself, following the natural flow of things. 

After 4 years of a long-distance relationship, the court marriage solved our Visa dramas and eased official inquiries. Our wedding turned into a celebration of family, love, and friendship and became one of the best parties of the decade.

Before we knew it, and without going into unnecessary overthinking and questioning, we became a family. Last year marked 5 years of our tiny social institution. 

Relationships: a choice or karma?

Our spouses are the only long-term relationships in life that we, supposedly, choose ourselves with the expectation that it will last forever. This expectation alone can add an extra layer of complexity.

If you think about any relationship in karmic terms, it comes to our life for a reason. In my personal life, it was not a sadhu in an orange robe who taught me the biggest lessons in life and became the true motivation for my biggest leaps in personal growth. My gurus mostly come in a non-obvious form: in the form of those, with whom I have the closest and deepest relationships.

My five lessons from five years of marriage are not the discoveries about “how to stay happily married forever”. They are the discoveries about myself – and that is, surely, my very first lesson:

  1. Your partner is your mirror

Nobody triggers us as much as the person who is closest to us. Normally, we think that we are irritated, because somebody (in this case, our spouse) is simply an irritating person. In reality, what pisses us off, is what we have inside ourselves.

When our (beloved) partners press that irritation “button” way too often, it’s the best indication that we should ask ourselves why, and look inwards. Mostly, something is not right in our own world. May be, we are deeply unsatisfied with something very particular in our life. Or, possibly, they remind us about that one habit that we struggle to change, and we hate ourselves for it. 

So, if we look beyond the trigger of our emotion, and beyond the emotion itself, we will see that our partners are giving us a powerful lesson, by reflecting what’s hiding deep inside us. 

2. It’s never your partner’s fault. It’s you, and I mean it.

Are you in a committed long-term relationship? Congratulations, you just scored a bingo – now you’ve got someone to blame in all your misfortunes!

You might smile when reading this, but even among the happiest of couples, a disappointing feeling of blame might scar an otherwise sunny day. 

When we share our life with someone, it’s natural and inevitable that our routines and priorities are impacted by the person who is close to us. What we don’t always like to accept, is that no one is responsible for our life choices, besides ourselves. 

(I’m not talking about unhealthy and abusive relationships  – they shouldn’t exist in the first place)

If we had a dream, a wish or a goal, and didn’t go towards it – it’s not because our partners didn’t support us enough, didn’t like to wake up at 6 am, didn’t enjoy meeting our friends or had no interest to hike in a jungle. It’s because we, ourselves, took a certain decision at some point (and possibly for a good reason!). 

It’s easy to push responsibility to your partner’s shoulders for things that are not going as you’d like it to. But in reality, this responsibility is only in our own hands.

3. Family is a team sport, not a tennis match 

We are all individuals, with our own dreams, goals and opinions. Getting married surely doesn’t change it, it does, however, create new goals as well, and the dynamics of reaching it.

There are, of course, common “projects”, like bringing up a child or building a house. But the ultimate goal, for all of us, is to be happy, and it is directly linked to the happiness of the people who are closest to us. 

In other words, always remember that your spouse wants you to be happy and feel good, and I’m pretty sure that you want the same for her/him. (Of course, once again, we are talking about healthy relationships here)

So, proving a point, convincing and winning over an argument might not get us far. Communicating our feelings, needs and expectations, being there for each other, trusting each other, supporting each other no matter what will help us achieve our goals, beyond what we thought was possible.

4. Master acceptance, and the miracles will happen

Acceptance is a tricky thing. Some people might struggle with seeing a difference between “accepting” and “keeping up with bullshit”. The difference is, however, very simple.

“Keeping up with bullshit” means being treated badly and considering it a norm. “Accepting” means letting the other person be as they are, without trying to change them, even if they behave, think or feel not as we expect them to. 

Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. Accepting someone else’s (harmless but irritating) habits, understanding that we might react differently to the same things in life, letting each other live through emotions even if we can’t share them  … all of this requires lots of patience and maturity. Some of us, in fact, will never master the art of healthy acceptance, but it’s worth a try.

5. Change is constant, your essence is permanent, stress is temporary. Life has different stages, each has priorities of its own, and that’s the beauty of it

When I met my husband, I was 22. Since that day I moved countries and cities, switched professions, started a business, failed, and started again, drastically changed my lifestyle, became a mother. Needless to say, my priorities and view of many things in life haven’t stayed the same throughout the years, and it will continue moving this way.

My husband has been going through a constant change himself. Some of the challenges are fully shared (like Parenthood), but some are battles of his own. It’s natural, that we don’t think and behave like 10 years ago, and the priorities keep shifting. But despite any new circumstances and at times extremely stressful periods of life, I know that the core of the person I fell in love with is still the same and will always be. The fundamental character that made me say “he is the best person I know”, the part that is always behind the outer layer of the personality,  is what never changes.

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I put these lessons on paper without an intention to teach or preach. Like all personal articles on this blog it’s a reminder to self and a curiosity, if this list will anyhow change in another 5 years from now. And who knows, may be this list will make someone smile instead of cringe the next time she sees socks in an inappropriate corner 😉