Friday, July 17, 2015

Love & Lovers! Should There Be Rules To Relationships?


Matchy-match, rules and regulations, discipline- these were things for the older brigade. Growing up I never felt that one should adhere to any regimen or rules. 

Infact I nearly bucked at the thought of such shackles in my life. And yet when I grew up into life’s challenges I realized how valuable it is to work by some basic principles like setting out some guidelines when entering a relationship.

Lovers tiffs, husband- wife spats, mother-daughter quarrels father-son battles or sibling ferocity! Some of the most love-laden relationships as these are, we all know. But we also know that these are also dotted with the most painful and hurtful moments, albeit often very transient. When they happen, good sense seems to have completely fled out of the window. 

The environs are struck as if by thunder and lightning.  Attacks, allegations, bruising words, ego clashes and even temporarily the desire to demolish the other, reign rampant, leaving in their wake tears bruised psyches and wounded souls.  Sometimes the outcome may be enduring or even permanently disruptive. After the winds have blown their course, anger does dissolve and the ego does float back to its accustomed seat. Incredible as it might have seemed, love, hopefully, once more prevails


The detached observer wonders at the immense dissipation of energy involved. If love there is, why does its path have to be unreasonably tortured? And if, since we're human, grievances and tempers may often spike, is there a system or code that might be laid down in a saner aftermath that might lessen or shorten unhappy situations?

Indeed there is. If the mind firmly accepts and writes in stone (so to say) that love is the raison-d'etre of the relationship then a workable code is very possible. I realized through life, that the smartest way in relationships is to work things out at the outset of a relationship. Especially marriage. Before going into platitudes, the very first LAW in capitals, especially for a couple, is not to entertain even the merest idea of a divorce or a break-up. The mind then works in the direst circumstances towards healing and forgiving outcomes.

A wonderful couple I know look as if they are on a perpetual honeymoon. They have a pact. Never carry over any tiff or disagreement to the next morning. By design or chance, this is a sure formula for happiness. In a matter of love, focussing on the positives and letting go of the unpleasant is indeed desirable. Clinging to resentments and grievances, picking faults or sweating over small stuff is not worthwhile. Remember there was much that you liked, that brought you two together and there's a life ahead together.

Sometimes egos bring about unhappy situations- "let him/her stew. I'll show him/her their place. Let him/her come whining back!" And such. But isn't the world outside full of manipulative power games. Where love is the operative consideration these thoughts are unworthy.   Both might remember that the hurt and pain is on both sides- perhaps displayed in different ways. If one tried to make amends, it’s a happy step to be welcomed. With no weighing scales or scores to tick off.

These days EQ pundits propound that in a disagreement, it is more constructive to address the issue than condemn or degrade a person.  Instead of saying “you are lying” it’s better if one says "these are not the facts" or "such is not the case"; or instead of "you are always aggressive!" it is more constructive to suggest the desirable. "Let’s avoid negativity and aggression, shall we?” "You are always so full of yourself" -is better said "putting aside our personal views, the practical aspects are-----" or “let's look at it objectively, no you or me!"

"You Are Always such and such" style of personal and alleging statements only bring about negative, even 'mulish' outcomes and are more about venting one's own spleen than getting desired action harmoniously and often unfair thereby defeating the very purpose with the ensuing, and highly avoidable arguments that go totally off-track. Or worse, that lead to further animosity. "Don't scream and shout!" can veer away by the inclusive "let US talk this calmly." The threatened Control of "Don' talk to me like this---!" should be resisted with the alternative-"We will not speak like this" - less about the other wanting to fight off the threat of control or negative retaliation. EQ can win the day!  

Egos are not bruised and the resentment quotient is far less. The idea is not to hit out, attack or denigrate the person, and make it a fight, but to make way for sorting out thorny issues. Personal statements amount to putting down the other person and instead of solving issues bring about resentful clashes and indeed a sullen impasse on both sides.

So indeed, a pact or informal code might work very well towards equanimity.  A code where one party empathetically curbs reactions or retaliation if he or she senses the partner has had a rough day is a rule I follow. And how very much a person would appreciate such a partner?  Reminds me of a comic strip in a paper where the winsome wife asks her husband just returned from office, at the door- "Dear did you have a tiring day at the office?" and when he says no, she endearingly folds  into his arms and says ----" l did Dear, a very tiring day!" Of course the next sequence has them at dinner at their favourite restaurant, holding hands

 One who flees the battle and runs away, lives to fight another day?" When tempers are overwrought, its best that one party avoids a skirmish, runs out of the field and keeps the peace. Better to bring it up in cooler climes than ‘sort out’ the issue there and then.  

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Nisha JamVwal is a writer, designer & luxury consultant

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