RASHMI OBEROI | 20 JANUARY, 2019
So How Is Married Life?!
A fresh start and a second chance
I swore I would never remarry after my disastrous marriage to a misogynist and no less came to an end. Divorce can be so emotionally taxing, it's enough to make you want to swear off marriage for the rest of your life. But that was in 2001 and this is the start of 2019, and I’ve just completed two months in my second marriage – which by the way, just fell into place like that perfect missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
I met my wonderful partner more than seven years ago and our ‘seven-year-itch’ was converted into a wedding! A celebration that was organised by my parents and children… It was unlike all other weddings and stood apart from the word ‘Go’.
We were introduced through my best buddy over an online social networking service - Facebook (sometimes good things do exist there) as he felt we would get on like a house on fire… And boy did we! Our prolonged conversations flourished into a love affair that continues to deepen even after the nuptials.
These days, having your kids at your wedding is not unusual, but having their full support and unconditional love in the whole process is. This is that one day in your life when you want it to be as perfect as it can be. Making your children a large part of the ceremony is special and even more important when you are blending two families. People are getting married later than ever before, but waiting to settle down can still be nerve-wracking. For us – Being 49 and 51 respectively was just perfect!
I know, there is still a lot of stigma attached in this country about failed marriages…about remarrying…about divorces and about your personal actions and decisions that don’t contrive to society. Believe you me, we went through our share of being frowned upon and interference via the sceptics, the haters, the cynics, the troublemakers, the naysayers and well, the ubiquitous interfering relatives. But in truth, none of this matters, if you have the support of your parents, your children and your closest friends who are at times more than family.
And the remarriage, is not only a set of vows or about rituals or a traditional ceremony… It goes deeper than that. This time, it is all about understanding…feelings…emotions…faith…trust and that four-letter word ‘love’ that is often taken for granted or maybe even non-existent. You feel at peace and you know it is right. This time it is different – the sense of tranquillity and harmony comes effortlessly. All is calm and right!
It is all about rearranging your criteria of what you are looking for. Time is a great healer and if you are able to put your past behind you and move on…then you don’t ever need to look back. That is why it is called the past as it belongs there. Love blossoms hand in hand with mutual trust.
Going into a relationship again comes with a fair amount of fear – you do feel afraid, at times terrified, and even uncertain that you could make a mistake yet again and end up with the wrong person. You have to understand that you can't check off a bunch of boxes of what you want in a partner to guarantee lasting happiness. He is often not what you imagine. You have to take some chances if you want love in your life.
Come with no expectations and no romantic notions and you take away so much more than you bargained for. I ended up with someone who was engaging, smart, funny, and warm - the whole package. And it felt right - really right! He embraced me and, in time, my son and daughter - though not without some fear. It was way more than what he had signed up for at first. And it was that bravery, combined with how much he took responsibility for his own life that drew me so much closer to him.
Of course, it was daunting at first, but I decided I liked being with him so much that overcoming hurdles and all that was being thrown our way was worth it. The mantra is to take it all in your stride, one day at a time. It takes work, sacrifice, perseverance and a major sense of humour with a zing of friendship and love in equal proportions.
There is an important aspect that I realised this time: you have to be yourself while looking for love again. So many women change themselves into the woman they think a guy wants them to be. Be you and you'll find the right person. Everything is infinitely better because I am not looking to change my spouse (and there are no illusions that he could change me). It’s so refreshing to be in a relationship where I know who I am, he knows who he is, and we accept and love each other for who we are - faults and all. The icing on the cake was when there was no conformed pressure on the children or me to change our family names to his – for in his own words: “Your surname is your identity”. And if you see it in full perspective, he is absolutely right.
My advice to people who are in a situation like mine, is simply to be open. Don’t be scared of letting go or breaking free. You have one life – live it on your terms. Opening yourself up to dating, relationships, love and marriage again can be scary, but don’t let someone amazing pass you by out of fear.
When my first marriage became irreversibly damaged, it broke something inside of me. It inspired months, (years, really) of self-reflection and soul searching. It made me hold up a mirror to my actions and the way I process and react to situations. It made me better.
If I hadn't had the disastrous first marriage, there's no way I'd be as patient, sympathetic, motivated or as level-headed as I am now in my second marriage. It's my most deep and honest relationship. That transparency has encouraged trustworthiness.
If you're hesitant to remarry, I get it. You feel foolish and embarrassed because you already took a huge leap of faith and it fell through. It takes a lot of time to recuperate and heal. In all this, children of all ages are vulnerable, albeit in different ways.
This vulnerability can be manifested in a child viewing the potential newcomer to the family matrix as an intruder, threatening to take away the time and affection of the parent upon whom the child most relies. The remarrying parent needs to make a genuine effort to understand and address the child’s concerns.
This is best achieved by listening carefully, acknowledging that the child’s worries are not crazy, wild ruminations, and reassurance. It helped a lot in my case as he went out of his way to befriend the children first. And while many may snicker at my advice but in all sincerity, it is very important to get to know your partner…spend quality time and maybe even live together and go through a few ups and downs to reach that zenith.
We are constantly being asked: “So how is married life?” and our answers are the same. There is no change for our bonds were forged a long time back. So… Don’t give up on love… In fact, take that leap of faith!