It was one of those priceless moments of my life. Bharathi and I were sitting facing each other. The sun had set but there were still remnants of its presence in the form of fading natural light. I was on the rocking chair with a content smile on my face. It was 2001. Bharathi was feeding Mehek, the latest addition to our family, and the expression on her face conveyed bliss. We were stealing glances at each other. The silence was deep and profound. It was a perfect moment. Time seemed to have stilled and I wished that this stillness would continue for eternity.
Man proposes god disposes. In my case Bharathi disposed the moment with a thought, which could have come only from a heart full of love and gratitude. She said, “Naren, I have been so rough. How come you have been so patient?”
Spontaneously I replied, “Diamonds when originally found are always rough. Whoever wants it has to be patient.”
I sprang out of my chair and with exaggerated excitement, in a mood for fun and frolic, with delight in my eyes I exclaimed, “My God, Bharathi that was an amazing statement isn’t it?” ‘Diamonds when originally found are always rough’, come on say it; say that it is an amazing statement. I let out a victory cry. I was thrilled by the prospects of creating a deep indelible impression on her.
With an impish smile on her face and in a voice that was soft, alluring and at the same time teasing, she let out a sigh and said, “Good you realised that you have a diamond with you” and at this witty rejoinder she burst out laughing. At that moment, I remembered these words from a song:
“Every time I close my eyes I thank the Lord that I got You and you got me too. Every time I think of you, I brace myself for I can’t believe it that someone like you loves me too.”
Oh! How much we cherish each other! How much we value each other!! Yes, I know that this has been the key to our marriage. We value each other. We value each other’s individuality. No, we are not perfect. We have more than our share of shortcomings. There are enough faults in me, certainly more than I care to have. There are enough faults in Bharathi. We do make a lot of mistakes. Individually and also collectively!
Yes, we disagree on a lot of issues but we take care not to make the disagreement an issue. Yes, we have argued a lot of times but we take care not to become emotional about these arguments. Yes, we also behave irrationally at times and know that there are jagged edges in our personalities. In spite of all these we value each other and our marriage.
Yes, there have been those rare occasions when there was an emotional outburst, when both of us flared, tempers rose and fights happened. On all such occasions with a sense of urgency we begged, yes, we begged forgiveness from each other because we in our hearts knew that neither of us wanted a bad marriage. The matter always ended there, forgiven. No trading of charges later. The matter ended then and there and never to be brought up again. It was forgotten.
In spite of extreme provocations we take utmost care not to say things either about the past or the present, which could hurt each other. We take care not to fall to cheap levels, so as to be disrespectful to each other and our families. In spite of everything we keep this realisation alive that only patience will help us see and experience the diamond inside each other.
If I did not like what Bharathi said or did, I would not say, “You are a fool. You are good for nothing.” I would never say things like, “I made a mistake by marrying you.” These statements solve nothing. In fact they will destroy the esteem of the person involved, kindle their ego to be equally nasty and ultimately it is the health of the marriage that decimates.
All I would say is that, “I was hurt” or “I do not deserve such a treatment.” I would seek to clarify with questions like, “What made you so angry? Why did you lose your temper? What did I do that upset you?”
These questions would be to gain clarity and not to condemn. Yes, there have been times when I was wrong. I got them verified and rectified. Of course, there have been times when she was wrong. She got it verified and rectified. We listened and observed each other’s point carefully and that developed empathy in our marriage. We realised as adults that both of us wanted an out of the world marriage and then there is no point in behaving irrationally.
From experience and through reflections we realised, just before most fights we had stopped listening to what the other person was trying to say. We even stopped observing anything but that which we wanted to see. Verifying to ourselves that indeed we may have been wrong was far away from our mind when we are in the mood to fight. Since we missed the above three steps, empathizing was impossible. The end result was that we ended up having fights and quarrels.
We realised that to experience harmony in marriage, we have to practice LOVE in marriage.
LISTEN OBSERVE VERIFY (very important but mostly ignored) EMPATHISE
If we practice LOVE in marriage we shall experience love in marriage.
Remember a diamond always comes rough. It is never sparkling as we have seen it or known it to be. Someone who worked on it with great determination and patience made it like that. Think about it. Diamonds have so many edges. In fact it has no smooth curves at all. It is hard and tough. Yet someone saw the beauty in it and worked on it. The world today does not mind the cuts and the edges as long as it radiates and sparkles. Anyone can own it but only one person would have created it.
You may have a rough life partner. By practicing LOVE, I think you have it in you to create and unfold a sparkling diamond in your life partner.