By Hafsa Ahsan
When I wrote “The Perfect Recipe” (published in the January 2010 issue of “Hiba”), I realized belatedly that all of the successful ingredients of marriage were mentioned only by the wives. There was no discussion of any husbands or their perspectives. Consequently, I received an email saying: “Your article on married life provided many useful tips, which can easily be followed by wives to maintain bliss in their lives and in the lives of their spouses. However, I was wondering, if a survey could be done to find out what our male counterparts think could be the perfect ingredients of a blissful married life.”
This email spurred me to life, and I sent out the same questionnaire to discover what the husbands rate to be the most successful ingredients of a happy and successful marriage.
Arsalan Siddiqui, a training consultant, said: “Based on my own experience, I would say that the paramount issue (if the marriage is an arranged one) is trying to understand each other. But this can be tricky, as we are so used to being pampered by our respective families prior to our weddings. And when two people come together, they sometimes do not know how to behave and what to expect from each other. Individual space can be an issue, but that depends on your understanding of your partner. In-laws can be an issue, too. Also money matters play a crucial role in how partners enjoy their lives.”
An IT professional Adeel Masood named three ‘inabilities’ which, in his opinion, characterize the top three issues faced by couples after marriage: inability to cope with the fact that the other person also has his own weaknesses, inability to live within means and inability to respect the spouse’s relatives. His ingredients for a successful marriage were “trust, respect and love, with trust and respect being more important than love.”
“Things like likes and dislikes or getting adjusted with my commitment to work are main issues,” said Adnan Ali, an engineer. “Being a husband, I am on the stage where I have to listen to both parties (wife and mother). I try my best to be neutral and usually don’t act like a messenger between them. I have already clarified that both parties should try and deal with their issues themselves.”
So how does then conflict arise? And what is the best way of dealing with that conflict?
“I would say (the main source of conflict is) family politics, especially if you are not fully aware of the background of your spouse’s family,” said Arsalan Siddiqui. “But any conflict can be solved by giving space to each other and understanding the values and feelings of your spouse.”
“To deal with conflicts, first, you have to have the ability to deal with your anger for the time being, till your spouse has done his/her catharsis. Thereafter, talk out the issue rationally. If nothing works, send for the mediators,” said Adeel Masood.
“Being friends with your spouse usually is the best way out of everything,” said Adnan Ali. “But a husband has the additional responsibility of being neutral in every way. For those who are sandwiched between their wives and mothers, my advice is: let each party understand each other’s point of view, because a husband has already spent more time with his parents, but now spends more time with his wife; hence, he is sometimes the only one who understands what she or they actually mean about something.”
At the end of the day, it seems that husbands think more about practical issues, such as money management, when it comes to marriage. At the same time, they are also concerned about how to balance out their roles between their parents and their wives. That said, even they place emphasis on trust and respect, and in that aspect, their concerns match those of the ladies.