Thursday, March 11, 2010

Does Marriage Destroy Friendship?

Are you confused too? Wondering whether I am referring to friendship between the couple or friends in general who disappear after you tie the knot. Most of my friends were when I asked them. They were bewildered. Of course, marriage ruins friendship between the couple, most of them insisted.

So what brought this introspection on? A stray statement in the newspaper “Our friendship is so strong even marriage could not destroy it” grabbed my attention. It upset me. I am mostly a happily married woman. My occasional “tragedy queen” phases are entirely my doing.

As a young girl, marriage scared me. I had grown up seeing bickering couples, bored couples, dutiful couples, couples who were doting parents. Happy couples were far and few in between. This relationship seemed like a malaise. Thankfully my sacred union did not scar me. We were good friends and still have managed to remain friends. It is our friendship that has sustained our marriage. Then why were most of my friends adamant insisting that friendship should not be confused with marriage and that they are separate entities? Isn’t friendship the most common form of love! A relationship that entails honesty, vulnerability, companionship and mutual respect!

We all dream of love, of our knight in shining armour, the fearless crusader, with a razor sharp wit and a deep baritone (that’s what I wanted). Perhaps a cross between Amitav Ghosh and Hugh Jackman with a little bit of Dave Barry thrown in? Then we fall in love and marry (not always in that order). The first few years are rosy, but an eye opener too. We discover our knight behaves like a helpless baby when sick. That life is not all about spending cosy evenings together. There are bills to be paid, chores to be taken care of and responsibilities to be shared. Living together forces us to be more realistic. The kids follow. Romance becomes the first casualty. So if someone came and told me “Marriage destroyed our romance” I will happily nod my head in agreement.

I still haven’t got my answer. Do couples after living together for long become two sides of the same coin that can’t face each other? Like a pal rightly said, as friends we do not tread on each other’s toes, are blissfully ignorant of each other’s idiosyncrasies. He burps after each meal. She talks incessantly on the phone. She suffers from Obsessive Cleanliness Disorder (er, that’s me). He just won’t let go of his moth ridden “Mad” magazine collection. As friends it doesn’t matter. The moment we start living together, these traits become an everyday reality capable of driving us up the wall. We nag, sulk, give the silent treatment to each other. Ah, the mind games we play. Every argument becomes a battle with a history of past follies thrown in (the woman with her unfailing memory usually wins hands down). Does it help? Why does sorry become the most difficult word to say? If you have a disagreement, resolve it with an eye to the future which you can change rather than a past that you cannot. Flinging accusations doesn’t change anything; it erodes the basic foundations of the relationship.

For marital friendship to be successful, friendship needs to go beyond the concept of conditional love. We need to be less judgemental, more tolerant of each other. Ok, doesn’t mean we turn blind, deaf and mute overnight. Giggle every time he burps or look dotingly every time she embarks on a talkathon. Any successful union is about respecting each other’s space and boundaries. One doesn’t have to like the same movies, books and know each other’s passwords! I just can’t relate to people who have the compulsive need to check each other’s mobiles for messages or snoop around their social networking sites. The biggest failing in a relationship is the inability to trust.

Trust, tolerance and acceptance is what nurtures friendship in a marriage. It is not a battle for supremacy. Marriage is a journey not a destination and the journey is always more pleasurable if your partner is a good companion.
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  1. very well said and I agree to it. I myself have married my best friend and I am glad I did that. The burps and the farts are a part of living together.

    Giving space and getting space is what makes a marriage happy.

  2. methinks the buzz word is acceptance, it kind of eases the pressure to be someone else,and therefore one gets comfortable.However there is a risk of being taken for granted.So some degree of assertiveness is welcome as well.

    So you see, the actual harmony comes from balance.How does one arrive at a perfect balance?
    I think the endeavor to find that balance is nothing but the journey of life.

  3. Practicality is a big deal in both friendship and marriage life. One needs to know the extent to which a person can accept the reality and knows how to live with it. If that sense is not in place, then there will be pain points all over and lot of compromise with that.

    Life is so simple, we the errs make it complicated all the time. All it takes is a bit of discussion and open thoughts without any strings! Nice topic... and you have a good blog too! Look forward to see you often here :)

  4. Nicely writen, and i specially liked the way you concluded it. The way I look at it, friendship is most important and all other things derive from it. However, I am yet to meet any girl who would giggle at my burp. ;)

  5. Thanks guys for your comments.

    And do keep reading my posts :))

  6. Lovely post.
    You are right - TRUST is the key factor in marriage or any relationship.
    By the way, sometimes marriage can start a friendship.

  7. Thank you Vikram.
    On marriage being a precursor to friendship, ofcourse it is possible, isn't friendship the most common form of love?

  8. Yes, I agree with you; trust is the most important matter in friendship in marriage.
    Work From Home India

  9. Reminds me of -

  10. Well,a different perspective.Well how many friends do get married is one point we have to think about as well.Well nice that some people are able to keep the friendship intact even after marriage.

  11. Thanks Preetha, Karan, Nithin for your comments.

    Nithin..You can be friends before marriage and and turn into foes.

    You can be strangers and end up becoming best friends for life.

    The possibilities are endless.

  12. Hi Purba,

    This is the first time I've visited your blog, and boy am I glad! After ages, it seems, I've come across a blog as absorbing as yours. They just don't make them like you any more. It makes me happy to know I'll have a great time every time I drop by.

    And since I'm against posting comments that have nothing to do with the post they were posted under, here's what I say about this one.

    To quote Marge Simpson: "Lisa, marriage is a beautiful thing; but it is also a constant battle for moral superiority."



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