“Self-Expressive” Marriages are Better!

Do you remember 2017’s a little less “hit” Hindi-film, “Chef”? We saw Padmapriya Jankiraman as  Radha  and Saif Ali Khan as  Roshan Kalra as divorced couples. But they do not want to stay separately. They rather want to come together only for their only son, Armaan (Svar Kamble).

Radha, in a scene in this movie is shown telling her ex-husband Roshan: “Divorce sirf mera tumhara hua hai. Armaan ko apne aap se door mat jaane dena”.

And how ‘bout 2018 release Veere Di Wedding? Do you remember that? The story of this film revolves around the four best friends- Kareena Kapoor Khan as  Kalindi, Sonam Kapoor as  Avni, Swara Bhaskar as  Sakshi and Shikha Talsania as  Meera.  Kalindi amongst them was a unique personality. Coming from a broken family, she is aversive towards marriages, in spite of staying in a live-in relationship with her fiancée Rishabh (Sumeet Vyas) for two years.  But agrees to go for it, to make Rishabh happy. However, the already disturbed and aversive Kalindi, feels infuriated when she hears Rishabh commenting on her for not having a proper family, during the on-going engagement party and immediately decides to leave.

Here lies the problem. Some want to get divorced because of adjustment issues. Some don’t want to join the most traditional institution of life… That’s how difficult modern marriages have become. No more does the historical course of marriage, from an institution that supported the survival needs of food, clothing and safety to one founded on love and intimacy match with the third wave of marriage which revolves around “self-expression”. Even your ancestors are confused. As their generation believed that “I” was the biggest villain in marriage, which today is increasing the rate of divorce.

“Self-Expressive” Marriage!

Surprised? Don’t be! Cause may be, if you are reading this piece of writing, you will understand we’re talking about you and your life partner.

Professor of psychology Eli Finkel, who has thoroughly researched on this topic has explored this topic in his book The All or Nothing Marriage.  His research suggests that modern day marriages are very strongly related to how happy you are overall than in the previous decades. And modern couples happy married life is all about individual growth and happiness. Both want to be successful in their individual pursuit of excellence, and this eagerness for personal growth makes them decide to come together as life-partners.

But, as they say… everything comes with its positive and negative. And there is slight difference to what “I” means in modern day marriages. Individuality is not an antithesis to matrimonial unity anymore. It is rather the reverse. And according to Finkel, such marriages help accomplish spouses’ individual goals with the help of their partners.

Finkel also observes that, the expectation of your spouses’ may be increasing, but you find very little time either to spend with him or her or may be his or hers other social connections.

Therefore, if you really want to be happy in your self-expressive marriage, Finkel offers 3 strategies that can deal with all kinds of marital crisis in modern life and make your marriage flourish like never before!  

Try Love-hacking

Seems your relationship needs a booster? Unfortunately, you don’t have much time to devote?

Don’t worry “love-hacking”may be the way to go!

Love hacking, similar to other forms of hacking that may not completely fix your problems, just simple practices can change the way you think about your partner and are a helpful patch to tide you over into the future.

Some of them are like :

  • The practice of saying “Thank you” could increase your commitment to the relationship.
  • Offering a gentle physical touch while may be watching a video so that, your partner feels more secure.
  • Responding actively and positively to your partner’s good news.
  • When may be something is  going wrong, make your first thought a generous one, so that he or she gets a benefit of doubt.

Spend More Time

Lovehacks are a bang to your romantic buck, but they aren’t a long-term solution. Ultimately, you’ll have to address the basics of a happy relationship. So Finkel explains.

  • Communication: According to Finkel’s research, talking and revealing more about yourself and your partner are both connected to larger happiness in the “self-expressive” married life. Modern couples are even invited to watch and discuss relationship movies every week for a month. And over the next three years, this can reduce the divorce rate.
  • Responsiveness: This is quality that includes understanding your partners in every possible ways… caring about their needs and desires and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Research suggests that being responsive to your partner is an incredible gift, which helpsl your partner feel happier, more relaxed and more connected. It also builds trusts in a relationship over time.

Lower your expectations

More expectation means more pressure.

How do you lower the bar?

One option is to pursue your own hobbies and focus on your personal growth and knowledge, or even to live apart. 

A second option, which would sound better, that is to meet another person to help meet your needs, as you cannot ask everything of one person.

In fact, Finkel’s on-going research suggests that partners with broader social networks are happier and less likely to break up and, lowering your expectations in a marriage helps in coping up during difficult times for instance the birth of baby, a stressful season at work, family illness, etc

Your partner may not have to be your hiking buddy, your career coach and your sounding board for workplace gossip, along with being a loving parent and an amorous lover. But examining your goals, from work to fitness, leisure to activism, and figuring out whether some of them can be supported by other people, when in an “self-expressive” marriage, has changed the way modern marital status.

It in fact, it is a refreshing recognition to what makes a good marriage.   

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