When you spend 18 years of your life knowing someone as the closest person and especially when you pass 10 years of that 18 years in the communion of marriage with the same person, you do seem to acquire the wisdom to comprehend a few values in terms of binary i.e. 1 and 0. We’ve proudly flipped the page of the 10th year of our marriage today and we can certainly express these values in 1’s and 0’s now.
Commandment#1 of a Marriage: Shared interests
We could not share our lives if we did not have interests to share in the first place. Many fall in love first and then discover what is there to share with the person other than the bed but in our case we knew straight off the bat that it was the unequivocal wanderlust that would bind us together. Indeed, a journey made together is the best way to know a person beyond the first steps which are made to create an impression only. Looking back at our voyage vivacity, we are just shy of 2 countries to cross the 50 mark and we shall soon get that jewel in our crown soon.
Commandment#2 of Marriage : Friends and family
We remember what roles were played when we got married by our friends and families. While many of our family members distanced themselves or expressed to be rather lukewarm at the very idea of our unique inter-faith marriage, and while some still are – it was a handful of our friends who stood by us when we needed them the most. It is also true that since we decided to maintain a healthy distance from typical social connections and rituals, it allowed us more time to focus on each other and to pursue our shared interests with undivided attention.
Commandment#3 of Marriage : Me time
Worse is losing oneself in a marriage and the worst is claiming to sacrifice your own interests and individuality in a marriage. We realised that one does need to give a lot of concession and make a lot of adjustments in order to sustain a happy marriage, but we appreciated like never before the importance of self-esteem and self-respect. Unless an individual focuses on own physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being, wonder how the same person could attempt to be the source of the same feelings towards someone else? We could continue with our own passions amidst of our time spent together as a pair, while Shehzaad could continue with his pursuits for foreign languages, becoming a voice over artist, Tanusree excelled at her passion turned profession for fashion, food and travel blogging and it was the time they spent on their own which helped them to reflect on ways of personal improvement.
Commandment#4 of Marriage: Love and sex
From sunrise to sunset, even the strength of the sunshine varies. Agreed provided that you live in a sunny place in the first place. Similarly, peaks and troughs went through our lives as well when it comes to love and sex. At times both were present, sometimes one went missing and sometimes there were periods of abstinence from both. Clouds of emotions, work stress and sometimes plain boredom did obscure the sunny side. However, we firstly acknowledged the fact that this was happening and we worked on it to wait for the sunrise the next day. We realised that if we are in it for the long term, we have to have quality fuel in our love and sex to keep our engines running for a long time.
Commandment#5 of Marriage: Religion & faith
Did not divide us, but did bring us closer. Not because we had been both practicing pious individuals but because of the fact that we shared the view all along that religion would soon become an item to be seen at a museum or a zoo. Especially when we discovered during our marriage that how religious rules were set to define destinies, we decided to put religion in the back seat instead and took control of the steering wheel ourselves. We are still showing around to religion how a marriage is made on earth based on basic human values of love, respect and trust without need for any divine seal to make a marriage made in heaven.
Commandment#6 of Marriage: Children
We did not get married to have children, we did not want to have children just because we got married. There was and is still no compulsion that there is a correlation between a successful happy marriage and having children. We believed that we would have children only when both of us are continuing to feel the love, respect and trust towards each other in such a way that we can really proceed to share those emotions with another human life in between our own.
Commandment#7 of Marriage: Fights and friendship
Sometimes we had to fight to establish what we thought was right, even though the facts may have been different. However, we also learnt to accept that a marriage without any fight may be not right either. It was the intensity of the fights and to realise where to throw in the towel if necessary, that made sure that we live to fight another day but to be friends today.
Commandment#8 of Marriage: Money and savings
There is no denial of the fact that money doesn’t buy happiness but as they say, we would rather cry inside a Ferrari. It is true that a marriage as long as 10 years did have its moments of madness fuelled by the lack of adequate amount of money to accomplish certain goals. But given our shared passion for certain things in life such as travelling, we had to constantly make fine balance between priorities on where to spend the hard-earned money. We could continue with our marriage with beautiful memories from all our travels because we decided to spend our money not in having a bigger house and a bigger car, not in any fixed deposits or gold ornaments. Rather we held our hands and spent our moneys to buy experiences of our lifetimes believing that these would be the only things we would carry with us for the rest of our lives and these memories and experiences would be the only elements which would never depreciate in its value over time. So which is worth investing in? You decide.
Commandment#9 of Marriage: Household roles and responsibilities
We maintained that there should not be two chefs in the same kitchen. So we have our well defined job descriptions in terms of who cooks and who cleans. While this worked perfectly well in most of the situations, we did not forget that every employee deserves annual leaves once in a while. As a result, it helps if everyone requires atleast some basic skills of the other person to be able to cover for them when needed. After all, no skill ever gets wasted and can come handy. So we know very well, who does grocery, who puts the tea, who gets to shop our wardrobe and decide on home interiors and doing all this knowing that our backs are covered by the other person should there be any need.
Commandment#10 of Marriage: Shared values
The commandment#1 was about having shared interests, and the 10th and final commandment also has a theme of sharing and that is of values. Values ranging from human emotions, actions to politics, media and mundane trivialities – it helps if certain core value systems are similar. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to continue to share a life with someone if the values would have been completely contrary. One fine line to draw here was the wisdom to understand that a 100% match is not sought anyways, how boring and banal it would be if both the individuals in a marriage would agree on everything! So starting with sharing of interests and ending with sharing of values and everything in between is what got us going for the last 10 years.
There are specific terms of certain marriage milestones such as the 5th anniversary is called Wood, 10th is called Tin, 15th is Crystal, 20th is China, 25th is Silver, 30th is Pearl, 40th is Ruby, 50th is Gold, 60th is Diamond and the 70th is called Platinum anniversary. As we could see that we may be proud of what we have achieved together in the 10 years of our marriage, but the more coveted gems are still ahead of us to be had. It would be wonderful to wear the crowns as a king and queen of our lives, holding each other’s hands and our prized crowns would have the full range of precious stones shining proudly on our heads. Until then.
Photography: Margarita Karenko
Tanusree’s Hair: Dri Blow Bar/ Makeup: Tanusree0