Nirali lives in opposite the Parimal gardens. It was the rainy season and she spied some young couples enjoying a bhutta on the road. There was a lot of laughing and chirping, giggling and shyness in them and life seemed without a care. Suddenly she became quite nostalgic about her life before her marriage to Saumil. They had been married for over 2 years now. It was a whirlwind romance for them after Saumil proposed and she accepted. There were parties and movies, outings and picnics, flowers and cards. Saumil would get a gift for her every week. He made sure that there was at least one surprise planned for her every Sunday. He made her feel extremely special. Those 8 months of courtship was the best time of her life. She did not remember having one bad day in her life in that period. Saumil was never found to be lacking in attention and was always by her side even before she needed him. However, things started to change after the honeymoon. Saumil started to be increasingly busy in his work and had little time for her. While the outings are a rarity, the gifts, cards and flowers have vanished. The final straw came when he even forgot their anniversary. She is reduced to eating meals alone, waiting for him to come home, dressing up for parties which they can never attend as he is either late or too tired and a very dry, mechanical sex life which is more out of his physical needs rather than love. The hustle and bustle of their courtship has been replaced by an unerring calm. At the same time, it is not that he does not love her any more or that there is a romantic liaison elsewhere, Saumil simply does not have her on his priority list any more. He also voices his inability to give her time as his business needs have increased. His need to be with Nirali has been replaced by his need to be with his business colleagues. Nirali feels lost and confused about what to do about her sagging married life.
Right now Saumil appears to have problems in the transition phase from romantic courtship to a settled married life. While it is extremely important to establish a work identity in young adulthood, the subordination of the pleasures of emotional attachments to the demands of a career may become a source of frustration in the spouse. Work can become a central activity and a source of self-esteem that can lead to a gradual shift in identity from child to adult. The time sense is also changing- in the past there was a realization that the future is long enough to postpone some decisions, undo mistakes in career and start again if necessary and this allowed him to be carefree. Now there is a search for adult structure and new definitions of career, friends, spouse and children – to replace the family of his origin. There is an awareness of personal time limitation. Saumil may have misinterpreted this as he has created an imbalance in his life. His work has become a source of emotional gratification, resulting in a relative failure to engage in marital relationship and has led him to neglect his wife.
What should Saumil and Nirali do?
First, you need to review the commitment to the relationship. The major dichotomy is between intimacy and stagnation. Saumil has to start experiencing Nirali’s needs and concerns as being as important as his own. There has to be a transition from youthful experimentation to the desire for intimacy and this phase is one of loneliness as the absence of committed love similar to that experienced in childhood is absent. Brief displays of love no longer significantly boost self-esteem. Having mastered the mechanics of capable sexual performance, mere repetition no longer provides emotional satisfaction and the desire is for emotional involvement. One of the methods to use is to form couple friendships. This reflects the newly committed status but is more difficult to form and maintain because four individuals must be compatible and not just two. Seek for an opportunity to make friends with others who are at the same point of life and receptive to the formation of relationships that help explain, and cushion, the pressures of young-adult life. Over time, a long-lasting mature love relationship becomes as significant an organizer of time sense. You have to find a special goodness-of-it between your individual needs, wishes and expectations. Regard this fit as unique and probably irreplaceable. The exaggerated importance of only one of you has to be discarded. In reality, both of you are important to yourself and to the spouse also. The other technique is to start taking vacations that can recreate the lost magic of your courtship period. There has to be an absolute devotion to Nirali in this time and compensate for the lack of time during the daily grind. On the other hand, Nirali, you might need to find some work, which you can identify yourself with. It is time to consign this epoch of your life to the past and redefine the new goals that eventually will result in the creation of new structures that promote stability and creativity. The establishment of an identity for yourself will foster the building up of your self-esteem and take the focus away from dependence on Saumil for any activity. You must start being expressive and assertive, increase your confidence and enhance your decision making process for yourself. You must get out of the rut that you have let yourself be in. Bring back those memories in your mind before your courtship when you had a life of your own and what your dreams and fantasies were. Extrapolate them to your present life, modify them according to your present status and start living life again taking your marriage as a support rather than a burden.