The matter need not have led to the deep seated pain in their marriage it turned out to be. This couple, whom I will call the Daniels, had gone for a wedding ceremony and the master of ceremony at the wedding reception had made all the married couples do some stimulating exercise that reminded them of the early days of their married lives.
In the car going back home, the mood was pensive. Both wife and husband thought about how far apart they had become in their marriage. They were practically co-habiting, if the truth must be told. The fact that they went to the wedding ceremony together was a miracle in itself as it was because they had to present a united face for family’s sake.
Heaving a sigh, Mr. Daniels broke the silence, “you know the worst thing you have ever done to me was compare me to your colleague in the office back then. You made me feel unfit. I know, I never did to you what he did for his wife, I might never be able to do it but I should not be made to feel inferior to him.”
Stunned, Madam said, “What are you talking about? Who did I compare you to? I don’t understand what you are talking about.”
“You see, you did not have to come right out and say it.” Mr. Daniels said, “Every day, until I stopped listening to you, I heard how your colleague was the one who bathed his kids before coming to work. How, he even used to buy take-away packs of food home, so his wife did not have to cook dinner every day of the week. Not to mention the exotic summer trips he showered her with. If those were not hints that you wanted same, knowing full well, that I couldn’t afford such, I don’t know what it was” Mr. Daniel replied.
It was a subdued Mrs. Daniel that answered when he finished his narrative, “but I did not tell you all of these things because I wanted them, I was just telling you for information sake.”
For years, Mrs. Daniel had noticed that her husband had been withdrawing from her gradually but she kept putting off the day she would have the discussion with him until they had become merely housemates, who had sex once in a blue moon. Going back to having that discussion had become a dreaded chore, so she lived with the status quo. What a miserable choice that was.
What the wedding’s MC made them do was look into each other’s eyes and repeat the vows of the new couple to their spouses. At first, they were really reluctant to comply with the request, it was a case of “these comedians have come again” but they did and somehow the vows they mouthed, while barely looking at each other touched their hearts and by the end of it, their eyes met and they held each other gaze as they said…till death do us part.
That night when they got home, the man explained how her unknowingly comparing him to her “wonderful” colleague in the office had rubbed salt in his already open wound; his business was experiencing a down time and he had difficulty keeping his family in the fashion they had been used to and all of a sudden, his wife was talking about the ‘superman’ in her office. That was emasculating for him and he withdrew from her. That was the ultimate betrayal from her in his mind.
If only she had known, she would have shut her mouth. It was not as if she was getting anything from the man, just that she was surprised that a man could do those things, including domestic chores and not feel less a man. It would have killed her man and she actually admitted to herself that she did mention it, because she wanted her husband to do such, even though, she knew that was a remote possibility.
Regardless of admitting the truth to herself, it would have done her plenty of good, if she had learned early on never to talk about another relationship in her marriage. It did not matter, if it was a past relationship, a colleague’s as it was this case, that of a sibling or any one for that matter, in a way that connotes comparison.
When you compare, you suffocate your relationship and when you do that over time, you end up killing your relationship.
Another thing that Mrs. Daniels should have recognized was that no two couples are the same. They have different ways of handling issues and problems. If you are feeling unsure about your relationship, address the issue with your spouse but not with the approach of how other couples deal with similar issue. And more importantly, you should never compare your spouse with another man in the heat of an argument.
Even when you feel that there is a need to have some serious changes in your relationship, don’t use another relationship as the reference point for the needed change in your own. Just do it in your own way.
Keep at the back of your mind that your relationship is special, your partner is special and doing his best in your relationship.
Let’s keep the fire of love alive!