“Relationship stress”- 16 December 2018.

Manjula could never get used to her husband’s loud snoring at night! She would often lose sleep and lie awake tossing about restlessly. She could do with a different bed as well as a room she thought and complained! Of course divorce was never an option but stress was routine. How the hell should she get used to a daily loud snoring machine beside her!

Jayshree was stressed with her husband’s bad habit of dirtying the bathroom after using it and throwing the towel and his clothes on the floor. In spite of thousands of complaints and requests he would not comply. For him it was just his habit and for her it was a source of stress in the relationship for she believed that he did not respect her.

Sarju was annoyed at his wife most times due to her lack of order in housekeeping. She agreed that she was not perfect and did not mind a house in slight disorder and believed that her husband was ‘finicky and fussy’ about cleanliness and order. She was fed up of his grumblings and so was he of her refusal to change her habit. Besides dissimilar habits of spouses which could be anything and everything there are many other sources of stress in a relationship.

Arjun would often nag his wife about her body weight and style of dressing. He obviously wanted his wife to be more conscious about her body image, looks and dress style. She was more conservative in her dressing and he preferred a modern look which was not very comfortable to her and her temperament. She often cried about her husband’s disapproval and this created a rift in their marriage. She felt she was not ‘up to the mark’ of her husband’s expectations and this effectively dropped her confidence a lot.

Karan and his wife clashed over the goals of education of their darling daughter. While the father wanted her to learn traditional and cultural aspects over anything, his wife had an ambition of educating her in an international school with a flavour for personality grooming with a possibility for college education abroad. She wanted her daughter to learn skills like horse-riding, sports and games and have a smart personality with an international exposure. Ultimately Karan gave in to his wife for his own peace of mind as the daughter was more inclined towards what the mother said!

Couples may clash over many other differing goals in a marriage such as whether to have children or not, how many children to have, to follow religious rituals and traditions, how much ambition to pursue in a career, long term dreams of life style and aims for retirement and such issues. There could be a number of areas to conflict and disagree on which becomes a major stressor inside the relationship. One person has to submit and agree whole heartedly understanding the repercussions of the decision. Both spouses need to submit on different issues for resolution.

Stress in relationships is perhaps something which occupies a lot of time and effort in the life of people but not much has been written and researched. It is sometimes taken as granted and considered a matter of skill of managing it and handling it with ease. ‘Take it easy’ is a commonplace advice doled out by simple people but may not be so simple at most times. Couples that discuss differences and make adjustments to it are happy and satisfied with their relationships. Most couples say they ‘do not have the time’ to do so and keep it hanging for the grumbling spouse to handle it the way they want to. It remains unresolved so to say and begins to show up in different ways on the mind and body of the affected couple and also tells on the relationship that gets strained, at times beyond repair.

Repressed anger and hostilities are common between couples and this keeps peeping out in public for any observant eye! Couples jibe and poke each other in public and we know that humour and jokes on marriage and spouses is the favourite pastime in social parties and outings! It may seem a good healthy way for venting anger out but may not be helpful in resolving the problem in their personal lives.

Couples who adjust to the needs of each other keep happy and healthy. The discussions may be time consuming but a necessary requisite for happy co-existence. The adjustments have to be mutual and cannot be one sided. Rahul became a vegetarian after his marriage for he loved and respected his wife who explained her discomfit at having non-vegetarian food at home. Singh relocated his job to another city to be close to his in-laws to physically and morally support them for they had no son. Ajay gave up his job to join hands with his wife’s business to grow it to greater heights. Mamta gave up her job when her mother-in-law fell ill and needed her the most. Sheila learnt to cook non-vegetarian food to please her husband and his family for they cherished it! She continued being a vegetarian herself but became a hot favourite with her cuisine in the family and friends. She endeared herself to her family! Anuradha, coming from a semi-rural background groomed herself to match up to the industrial culture of her husband’s job and status and won hearts.

Whether we call them adjustments or sacrifices in major or minor ways, it makes for a happy healthy relationship and provides a good home for the children and the parents. A satisfying relationship is a boon in one’s life and there can be no better provider of happiness than this. All other material comforts and riches pale in front of this bliss.

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