Friday, February 25, 2005

Knot now, darling!

This is an article that I read in The Pioneer. Nice one!!

Mohinder Singh
Joan Erikson, scholar and wife of the famous pyschoanalyst Erik Erikson, was once asked what could be the secret of their celebrated marriage. The Eriksons had been happily married for 60 years and were known for radiating mutual love and respect in each other's company.
"Well, that's easy," she said, "A sense of humour. Humour is what keeps everything in balance."
Over and over again, it has been observed that shared laughter happens to be an important bond between happy couples. Not laughter in the sense of jokes making the rounds but something deeper. It's a state of marriage where the partners continue to find each other interesting, almost "funny".
Happily married couples have an intimate way of relating to each other. And this connection they are often seen to be keeping through a mild sort of spontaneous bantering. A majority of happily married couples are to a degree playful. Light-hearted attitude towards each other keeps them from acting defensive, combative or argumentative.
The same factor was operating between my parents. They enjoyed an enviably happy marriage extending over 65 years. As children we would hear father's marital banter, sometimes we also joined in the fun. If mother got upset misplacing her bunch of keys, he would banter about the manner she kept the bunch, while helping in the search. Father also had a knack of relating petty office incidents in their comic context. In later years when mother gained in self-confidence and education, she bantered in her own inimitable style. And she learnt to laugh over little household mishaps.
Right into their old age, you could see them teasing each other with light-hearted banter. Even under umpteen illnesses, they retained a capacity for amusement over each other's good-humoured remarks; their banter poking fun at the ups and downs of everyday life.
Good marriage that way is not a business partnership or a form of friendship or just a support system. The distinctiveness of a good and happy marriage lies in its electricity.
Humour, even otherwise, has its uses. Few strategies are more useful in defusing frustration or tension or restoring a wounded ego. No better tool for handling petty irritations that often cause disproportionate hurt and anger.
I remember when I was a kid Mahatma Gandhi visited our town. In the crowded public meeting my father got his purse picked, with 50 rupees in it. In the 1940s that was some money.
Anguished over the loss, father was saying, "Gandhiji was raising a fund. I wanted to contribute Rs 10. To my dismay, when I put my hand into my trousers' pocket for the purse, it was gone. Some rogue making merry with it." "Gandhiji would have welcomed all of Rs 50," said mother. "This is what happens when you defy a Mahatma." And her banter lightened the mood.
Once my counterpart from another state had come for an official discussion. When it finished it was lunch time. I asked him to come along; I was going home for lunch. This gentleman, a giant in size, gave proof of a gargantuan appetite. He ate so many chappatis that our maid had to kneed flour again.
On his leaving, I said to my wife, "Sorry for the discomfiture my visitor caused." "That's all right," she said, "but since when are you befriending hypos?" We both laughed. In fact, it became a private joke between us when we run short of food at a party.
Here are a few allied do's and don'ts for a happy marriage: Learn to laugh at yourself. Stay away from ultimatums. Learn to deflect occasional uncalled-for comments. Accept apologies gracefully. Allow your partner a few eccentricities. Stay away from comparisons and And don't let your children come between you.


Blogger Dinakaran said...

Its a beautiful article. Having 'sense of humor' is mistaken nowadays for the 'ability' to tell stupid jokes. It is not so. One can said to be having a sense of humour when he is able to take even criticisms lightly.
Lightly doesnt mean not acting on the criticism, especially when the 'critisiser' is pointing out a mistake. He must take action to rectify the mistake. But at the same time, try to lighten the situation.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Arattai Ambujammal said...

While humor may enrich a marriage, I believe that no marriage can exist true to its meaning unless the couple practises mutual respect. Husbands all over the world - please refer to the dictionary for the meaning of "mutual". Wives all over the world - please refer to the same for the meaning of "respect".

7:22 AM  

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