When I got married more than 12 years ago, marriage was a fancy notion. Being married meant romance, love, adventure, and countless fond memories that would last a lifetime. While the memories did last, the marriage did not. As time passed, and the unthinkable happened, I found myself doing what everyone who parts ways from their partners does—analysing why a marriage that should have worked for many reasons, didn’t work for just a handful of reasons, murky at best.
The analysis of the ‘why’ did take place over countless cups of coffee, all-nighters, and video calls with worried friends. Whether a clear answer to the big ‘why’ surfaced or not, the myriad analyses gave rise to a more pertinent question: what does make a marriage work? Eventually, I realised such answers take time to come. Sometimes, they don’t, which is when you must accept the question marks. For the time being, at least.
But the mind, it is a sneaky little wanderer. Now and then, it goes back to the questions that linger, and to the historical debris, in the hope to sew together a possible explanation of perhaps the most significant event of your life.
Fortunately, for me, the answers came in bits and pieces, through conversations and observations—sometimes friends, at times, even strangers—couples who have been together almost their entire lives, those who have spent the better part of their lives with each other, or some who’ve spent the more significant years together; couples who are together because they’ve managed to overcome their differences and couples who are together despite their differences. What left me overwhelmed was the spirit with which people celebrate their relationships and their partners along with the differences they cannot ignore.
So, what is this big, bold secret behind relationships that last?
Given that millions of people are asking this question, this enduring quest no more remained personal. It became only imperative to take it to the next level, put some thoughts out there, perhaps as something to chew on for those treading this wavelength, wondering why, and why not.
After a little digging, what I found were not mere confessions of those who have managed to master ‘marriage’ but also insights, lessons, and solutions to the most complex of all human relationships.