2018 / 10 July

Seven Secrets of Happy Married Life – Secret 2

Share this:

When in doubt, keep shut or ask questions

 

In my last post, I shared with you the first secret of Happy Married Life (HML). We talked about how to learn to listen and not wait for your turn to talk. Actually, communication is such an important foundation of married life that it forms the base of the second secret as well.

 

The happiness or unhappiness in any couple’s married life is determined by the harmony in their communication. The next step in being a better communicator is to learn when to keep quiet or when to ask questions.

 

As we saw in the last post, there is a strong temptation to start speaking what you wish to speak. This turns off the other partner. But what turns them even more is unsolicited point of view or a wild reaction based on half baked information or superficial judgment.

 

When we speak to each other, we reach judgment too quickly and then react wildly.

 

Take the case of Ajay and Rekha. Ajay was feeling a bit annoyed with his mother in law. She was visiting them for couple of weeks. In fact, it was Amit who had requested her to come and stay with them as Rekha was feeling a bit depressed.

 

Rekha was on birth control pills for four years after their marriage. She had stopped taking the pills six months back and they were trying to conceive. But they were not successful so far. Rekha was very close to her mother and Amit thought that if she spends some time with her, it will do some good to her.

 

But as soon as Rekha’s mother arrived, she started giving lot of unsolicited advice to them. Her first outburst was,’ I always knew that this would happen. You guys delayed it for so long. No one listens to the elders these days. Once the girl crosses the age of 30, the biological clock starts going in reverse direction making pregnancy difficult.’

They brushed it aside as an expression of parental love.

 

Next day, she cornered Amit,’ Beta, Rekha told me that you asked her to take pills for birth control. The responsibility of contraception falls on both the partners. You also could have used a temporary method rather than forcing her to take these chemical things.’

 

‘But mummy ji….’

 

She cut him off,’ See, these chemicals alter the hormones in the female body, making it difficult to conceive. You need to be really careful going forward.’

 

After that she used to make sporadic comments on how the boys these days are irresponsible and endanger their wife’s health.

 

Amit had no recourse but to feel irritated. He tried to take it as much as possible but then things were taking a turn for the worse. His tolerance was being tested to its limit. He decided to bring this up with Rekha.

 

Just before hitting the bed that night, he held Rekha’s hand and kissed it,’ I love you.’

 

‘I love you too.’

 

‘Rekha, mummy ji has been making some unwarranted comments on me from the time she has arrived.’

 

‘Oh, don’t take it otherwise. It’s just her protective nature.’

 

‘But she has been singling me out for irresponsible behavior and causing a delay in your pregnancy. I am getting irritated with her presence.’

 

‘What is this Amit? You only invited her to come here. Now you want he to go back!,’ Rekha was semi-shouting now.

 

‘No, its not like that, I don’t want her to go back. Listen to me.’

 

‘There is nothing to listen here. You are like a typical son-in-law. You can’t tolerate my mother for a few days.’

 

Amit was also losing it,’ How do I explain to you that it’s not like that? Why don’t you listen to me fully?’

 

By now, Rekha was super-emotional. She had made up this full scene in her head where Amit was shouting at her mother and asking her to return to her place immediately. She started crying bitterly and refused to talk to him.

 

Amit knew that the communication had broken off and decided to give it some time for things to cool down. He would try to explain it again to Rekha but some other day. He knew that next few days would be heavy and he would have to make efforts to patch up with Rekha, even though it was not entirely his fault.

 

What went wrong here? A husband tried to share his genuine feelings with his wife but the discussion fell apart resulting in a lot of heart-burn for both of them.

 

Now, go through the same conversation again and notice the difference:

 

Just before hitting the bed that night, he held Rekha’s hand and kissed it,’ I love you.’

 

‘I love you too.’

 

‘Rekha, mummy ji has been making some unwarranted comments on me from the time she has arrived.’

 

‘Oh, don’t take it otherwise. It’s her protective nature.’

 

‘But she has been singling me out for irresponsible behavior and causing a delay in your pregnancy. I am getting irritated with her presence.’

 

‘What is this Amit? You only invited her to come here. Now you want he to go back!,’ Rekha was semi-shouting now.

 

‘No, its not like that, I don’t want her to go back. Listen to me.’

 

‘Ok, tell me, what do have in mind?’

 

Amit tried to explain,’ Look Rekha, I fully understand her parental concern about us. But she is holding me singly responsible for what is happening.’

 

‘How can you say that?’

 

‘Because she told me that the responsibility of birth-control belongs to both of us. But I forced you to take pills and I did not take the necessary precaution myself.’

 

‘ok, go on.’

 

‘She also said that your pregnancy is getting delayed because of the side effect of the birth control pills. If I had used a condom rather then you consuming the pills, we would not be facing this problem.’

 

‘Maybe she has a point. Why are you getting irritated at this?’

 

‘Any person can feel irritated if blamed squarely. You know that both of us decided this method of birth control together. I was open to using condoms but based on the advice from our doctor, we chose the pills.’

 

‘I know that Amit and that’s why I don’t blame you for this. What do you want me to do? Shall I ask my mother to return immediately,’ Rekha was mildly irritated now.

 

‘No, I respect your mother and don’t want her to go back. It would help if you could explain our birth-control choice to her so that she doesn’t blame me alone.’

 

‘You know Amit, it’s tough to put my point across to her, but I will try.’

 

‘Thanks for this. And let’s focus on how to handle the problem at hand. We are anyway meeting your gynaecologist tomorrow.’

 

‘Yes, my love,’ Rekha said and they got down to the business of getting pregnant rather than fighting for next few days.

 

The key difference in the second conversation is that Rekha kept on asking questions to clarify the full situation rather than blowing off immediately.

 

Reaching a judgement quickly doesn’t help any situation, be it a student-teacher situation or a couple situation.

 

Hence, learn to keep asking questions or to keep quiet till your partner has fully spoken. Maybe they will reach the right conclusion by speaking their mind fully. And may not need your help at all.

 

Offering any help or reacting strongly without understanding the whole situation is sure to backfire and result in lot of unpleasantness.

So remember – When in doubt, keep shut or ask questions! This is the 2nd secret to happy married life.

 

My book – Happiness is All We Want! is now available on Amazon.in and Amazon.com

 

Ashutosh Mishra - YouthCoach & Author

A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.

Share this:

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Recent Blog