Ashutosh Rana and Renuka Shahane
Ashutosh Rana and Renuka Shahane

Shikha Jain talks to celebrities and experts who have been there, done that

All through childhood, we learnt from fairy tales that love was about riding off into the sunset with your Prince Charming and living happily ever after. “So you think the biggest escape in life is to go on that horse and then life is nothing but clouds in silver buggies—but real life couldn’t be further away from the truth. Everything needs a lot of hard work and it’s a process of continuous learning to be with somebody,” claims actress Rajeshwari Sachdev, who has been married to actor Varun Badola since 2004.

Hitting the right chord

Experts believe couples should concentrate on doing the basics right rather than trying to do big things.

It is commonly said that marriage is all about compromise but essentially it is about making necessary adjustments. “Once you start living with a person, there are a lot of things that you might have to change about yourself. You need to give space, be fair and compassionate,” suggests Varun Badola. Actor Ashutosh Rana prefers not see it as ‘change’ per se… “Renuka (Shahane, wife) and I come from different cultures. Marriage is not a matter of change; it’s a matter of ‘exchange’. We exchange our thoughts, views, and our lives; this exchange turns into enrichment. I’m happily married,” he says about his marriage with his wife since 2001.

“Well, it always happens that one has to back down a little bit and it’s very important to talk over what your goals are in life,” believes the Maine Pyar Kiya actress, Bhagyashree, adding, “But if you have a long term goal that is similar to each other’s then it becomes easier.”

Varun Badola and Rajeshwari Sachdev
Varun Badola and Rajeshwari Sachdev

Holding on

Every relationship goes through its own ups and downs as there are two different personalities, perspectives and opinions involved. “When a couple contributes to the relationship with this knowledge, less bitterness and more of accommodation and patience it leads to a long lasting commitment,” points out Dr Anjali Chhabria, psychiatrist. Rajeshwari affirms, “The fact is we go through thick and thin together and we are committed on that.”

Communicate constantly

“What keeps relationships going and makes couples perceive happiness, meaningfulness, satisfaction and contentment in their relationship is mostly positive and meaningful communication,” says Dr Shefali Batra, psychiatrist. When couples communicate with each other, they ‘identify’ their differences and find meaningful ways to resolve these differences and conflicts that occur time and again. They also become more tolerant and realise that the relationship is much bigger than the differences, arguments and conflicts. This is where the relationship becomes actually very fulfilling. What’s more, a couple who doesn’t argue, probably doesn’t even really communicate with each other—which is far from a healthy scenario.

Embrace the differences

It is imperative for a couple to know that there will be differences of opinion even though there is love and care towards each other, and that these differences must be respected. “We don’t believe in changing each other. We have accepted each other for what we are. We have our own unique personality; there’s nothing wrong or right with it. I’m in love with her personality and also appreciate her. First, you acknowledge then you accept and then you appreciate,” maintains Ashutosh. For a relationship to succeed, one must contribute to personal growth as well because personal happiness also contributes to overall relationship happiness, according to Dr Anjali.

Love but respect first

Love without respect is meaningless. Love has to be on the shoulders of respect to keep going. “Love without respect cannot exist but love with respect plays a significant role because when you love a person and respect him or her, your bond is going to stay forever,” says Ashutosh. Dr Anjali points out that there should not be any hesitation in being thankful or apologising to one’s partner. “Sorry and thank you is my main motto. If these words can have an influence on strangers, then why will it not work on our own people?” adds Ashutosh.

An ongoing process

“I wouldn’t put any difference between arranged marriages or love marriages because happily ever after is not something that gets decided at the onset but is rather an every day, ongoing process,” says Dr Shefali.  So, if today is good then it’s going to make for a better tomorrow and if tomorrow is good it makes a better day after. And after many, many such days we realise it has been happily-ever-after, after all.

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