When you love someone dearly, you will do things for them that you usually would not do. You care about things that do not affect you personally, but affect your partner. If he cares about recycling and the environment, you immediately start caring too, not necessarily because the environment is anything you give a toss about but because it makes him upset if the hole in the ozone layer gets bigger.

I am not saying that one is to lose oneself. But everything that surrounds a person, and those are many, many things, becomes your priority when you are in a loving relationship.

It is no wonder that many relationships fail. Most of us find it hard to deal with our own stuff, just imagine having to deal with someone else’s. It is not just about likes and dislikes but cholesterol,diabetes, family dynamics, aging parents, careers and conflicting schedules. And it never gets any easier. As time goes by, there are cats and dogs and newborns who cry all night who before you know it become teenagers who stay out all night and periodically tell you how much they hate you and then eat the dinner that you have mindfully prepared while telling you its shit and they would rather have a take-away.

No, it does not get any easier. At least, that is mypremonition.

BUT

As you grow older, you learn how to deal. And these things stop being a bother, but another part of life. It is a little like pumpkin soup. Buying the pumpkin is the easy part. But peeling, opening it and gutting it is the hard part. And you can’t even begin without doing the preliminary part. You can’t reap the sweet reward without going throughthe hard stuff. Literally. And even then, if you are not careful you can still make a cock-up of everything.

My fourth anniversary is coming up. That is four yearswithout killing each other. Not bad. Not that we have never been on the brink. I distinctly remember once hissing “I sincerely hate you” at him before leaving him to go to work, with as much venom to make a python jealous. After 10 minutes I immediately felt sorry and called him up to grovel. Definitely not one of my finest moments. Thank God he knows how to take me witha pinch of salt when he needs to.

I have finally realised what marriage is all about. Its aboutdoing your own thing, together. And loving one another for it. It takes somework. Remember, nothing is really worth having if it comes easy. And if you can’tdo that with the partner you have, run a mile.

And one day I am sure I will be sitting in my living room,watching the cat climb the curtains, the kids pulling each other’s hair and fighting and my husband contributing to the ruckus. And throughout all the confusion, I will be happy. And swollen with pride.

Like a rather pale pumpkin.

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