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  • Writer's pictureSouvik Ghosh

Happily Married - An Oxymoron Or Truth?

It’s been exactly 636 Days or 15,264 Hours or 915,840 Minutes or 54,950,400 Seconds from the time my life completely changed. Yes, I’m talking about my marriage, I got married on 2nd December 2018 to my lovely partner. Although our courtship lasted for almost a year, nothing could prepare us both for how our lives would change post the actual event.

For the first few months of our married life, it was literally a roller-coaster of a ride with my health issues, constant travel, job change, so on and so forth. But things started to calm down gradually. But whenever we thought, ok, now things are stable, life would throw a Curve-ball at us (for people not familiar with Baseball terminology, consider it something similar to a Bumrah Yorker) and again the ride would start with full swing. But, over time we have come to understand and accept it, that this is what marriage and married life is all about. When one storm is about to subside, the other has already started brewing.

So many of you might be thinking why am I, all of a sudden talking about married life? Actually, for the past few days, I’ve been in a reflective mood, and I was thinking about things which have had a considerable impact on my life both in a positive and negative way, and getting married is certainly one of the items, which tops the list. This write-up is not only a very personal one, but also one which can serve as a guide for both married and un-married folks on how marriage can transform their lives both in a positive or negative way, and thus is not a decision to be taken lightly.

So, without further ado, let's talk about how marriage can transform your life! Firstly, I will be jotting down the most positive aspects of marriage from my own personal experiences and then talk about some of the not-so-positive ones, and finally will try to end with some of my reflections on a still short but eventful married life.

Let’s talk about the positive aspects as per my humble understanding in this short time period of being married.

1. MARRIAGE SAVES YOUR LIFE. When I was going through a severe health crisis just after getting married and had to go through a serious surgery, having my partner close to me definitely helped in my recovery. Although you can say that your family will always be there, but after a certain age there are things which only your partner can understand, and this helps a lot when it comes to a health crisis.

2. YOU DON’T GO BONKERS. Marriage is good for your mental health. Married men and women are less depressed, less anxious, and less psychologically distressed than single, divorced, or widowed population, I am not saying that global research has proven. I can personally vouch for this, as my partner has been a bouncing board for all my negative emotions, thought processes and self-doubt and has helped in a considerable lessening of the burden.

3. YOU BECOME FINANCIALLY MORE RESPONSIBLE. This is definitely, one of the most important but less talked about positive impact of being married. From personal experience, I can say, you definitely start saving more, discretionary spends go down and whatever large expenditure you are planning to make, it only happens after thoughtful deliberations with your partner. And if both the partners are earning, this saving results in greater compounding, ensuring financial stability for the long term

4. YOU'LL HAVE BETTER SEX, MORE OFTEN. Despite the lurid Sex in the City marketing tactics that promises singles erotic joys untold, research has shown, both husbands and wives are more likely to report that they have an extremely satisfying sex life than the singles. For one thing, married people are more likely to have a sex life. Single men are 20 times more likely, and single women ten times more likely, not to have had sex even once in the past year than the married. (Almost a quarter of single guys and 30 per cent of single women lead sexless lives.) Married people are also the most likely to report a highly satisfying sex life. I have to humbly agree.

5. IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY. For most people, the joys of the single life and of divorce are overrated. Overall, 40 per cent of married people, compared with about a quarter of singles or living-in partners, say they are "very happy" with life in general. Married people are also only about half as likely as singles or living partners to say they are unhappy with their lives. This is more a resultant effect of having a healthier, balanced and financially stable life.

Now, as promised let me go through some of the not-so-positive aspects of having your life transformed through marriage.

1. LACK OF COMMUNICATION, RESULTING IN STRESS. Not talking through your issues with your partner can cause everything from headaches and muscle tension to anxiety and depression. So, if you have not got an understanding partner or if you’re not one, this could play havoc with your life. So always have a clear line of communication open with your partner and always choose carefully. Thankfully, touch-wood, I don’t have any personal experience on this, but I have certainly seen people from close proximity going through this.

2. FREQUENT FIGHTING LEADING TO SEVERE HEALTH ISSUES. An occasional tiff is one thing, but big blowouts every day can increase your risk of heart problems. Those who reported high levels of marital stress were nearly three times as likely to suffer a heart attack or require a bypass. Another downside to constant bickering? You're more likely to develop high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol (a.k.a. metabolic syndrome), which can boost your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

3. FORGETTING TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Putting your partner's needs before your own — we've all been there. But research has shown that taking time out for something as simple as an occasional massage can dramatically reduce stress and anxiety. Study participants also became less hostile, which decreases the chances of a heart attack. So, it’s always good to take some time-out and indulge in something of your own.

4. SLEEP DEPRIVATION. Whether it's snoring or hogging the covers, it's a big deal if your partner's keeping you from having a good night's rest. According to research, continued lack of sleep "will have health implications down the line," like depression, anxiety, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and even higher mortality rates. So, it's better to always have a clear understanding with your partner regarding your sleeping habits.

Now to conclude, I would humbly like to say that the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to being married. How can a piece of paper work such miracles? For surprisingly, the piece of paper, and not just the personal relationship, matters a great deal. Something about marriage as a social institution—a shared aspiration and a public, legal vow—gives wedlock the power to change individuals' lives.

By increasing confidence that this partnership will last, marriage allows men and women to specialize—to take on those parts of life's tasks, from developing an interesting social life to getting money out of insurance companies, that one person does better or enjoys more than the other. Though this specialization is often along traditional gender lines, it doesn't have to be. Even childless married couples benefit from splitting up the work. Married households have twice the talent, twice the time, and twice the labour pool of singles. Over time, as spouses specialize, each actually produces more in both market and non-market goods than singles who have to shoulder all of life's tasks on their own.

But because marriage is a partnership in the whole of life, backed up by the family, community, and religious values, marriages can give a greater sense of meaning and purpose to life (a reason to exercise or cut back on booze, work harder, and to keep plugging even in the middle of those times when the marriage may not feel gratifying at all). Married people are both responsible for and responsible to another human being, and both halves of that dynamic lead the married to live more responsible, fruitful, and satisfying lives.

Marriage is a transformative act, changing the way two people look at each other, at the future, and at their roles in society. And it changes the way significant others—from family to society to insurance companies and the Government—look at and treat that same couple. Sexual fidelity, an economic union, a parenting alliance, the promise of care that transcends day-to-day emotions: all these are what give a few words mumbled before a ritual pyre or clergyman power to change lives.

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