The key to a successful marriage essentially lies in understanding sex-equations. Unless you are in a same-sex marriage it is imperative to understand that opposite genders react to situations differently. If we learn to understand and acknowledge the differences and respond accordingly, we can avoid a lot of heart-burn.
So what are the conflict zones and what are the red flags we must watch out for?
Sex: Whether it's daily, weekly or monthly, sex is an integral part of your married life. Marriage advice always stresses on how we should never take our fights to bed, sex should never be used to settles scores in a fight. That said, we must concede that when there are unresolved issues and nagging bubbles on our mind, activity between the sheets is the last thing you will feel inclined towards. So if you don't want sex to become a weapon, make sure you resolve fights/disagreements before you head to bed.
Time: It is important to spend quality time with each, especially these days when most couples work five or six days a week. Every weekend you can't be socializing with friends and relatives, you need to keep time aside for a special lunch or a late night movie together or to simply just watch television at home together.
Counterview: While it is important to spend time with each other, it is not always essential that you do everything together. Both of you need time out, so plan your boys/gals night out, catch up with a friend for lunch or dinner, party without your spouse. Do your own thing every once in while, you need to.
Share: Gone are the days when men and women played gender-specific roles in marriage, the husband was the sole bread-winner in the family and the housewife by definition took care of the home and children.
When both partners enjoy the benefits of a double-income household, the onus of domestic chores also lies on both of them. Whether it be cooking, doing dishes or helping change diapers make sure you share responsibilities and work together to stop stressing over to-do lists. It can be overwhelming for an individual and can later breed contempt when you are caught in the same routine without any help.
Decisions: Discuss, even if both of you don't completely agree, make sure there is some consensus on the many decisions you take every day. There is nothing as annoying as individualistic decision-making in a marriage. Whether it is the choice of a restaurant when you are dining out or the colour of your first car, make sure there is some sort of agreement with your partner. If you have a strong reason to refute, try to show them a valid reason for why you are differing rather than stubbornly sticking to your point.
Finance: It's all about money honey! Well, that might not be completely true but it's good to have clarity in money matters in a marriage. If you follow the "Your money is my money and my money is your money" rule in your marriage and if that works for you, awesome! However, there is a need to be particular about expenses, savings and clarity in planning your finances. The financial burden should never fall on just one person and no matter what the disparities in the respective incomes are, there is a need to budget expenditure and prepare for eventualities.
Disclaimer: I don't claim to be a relationship expert but we all learn our own lessons and a little fine tuning can go a long way in making your married life fun. Like I said it all begins with understanding that each of us as individuals react very differently to every situation depending on our unique personalities. The trick lies in not always trying to mould the other person to your needs but trying to work out the best possible situation.
Marriage doesn't come with a guarantee card; no matter how many right questions you ask and right things you do there is always a chance that something might go wrong. But if you work towards it, it might be that one thing in your life that is consistent and that keeps you going. I have been a part of two such celebrations and there is no greater feeling than standing with your partner celebrating 50 or 60 years of togetherness and wondering how you managed to hold on despite all the odds and challenges.
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