There is a girl I lived with for three years when I was in college, my room mate, and needless to say when you are sharing a living space of 8ft. by 10ft. with someone for three whole years, you pretty much know each other inside out. She joined college, fresh out of a relationship with someone, from back home, me never having had one ever, never wanting one either. That was back in the days I never wanted to marry, and had huge,possibly extremely unrealistic plans about my life ahead. (The DH of course came into the picture later, and messed that all up.) She was a tall thin girl, quite the waif like eye-catcher, so lets call her tall-slim-girl(TSG). I was rotund and tom-boyish.
She and I met, liked each other, and decided to be friends and room-mates. She started dating one of our seniors towards the end of our first year. A guy called P. P and she were into what we can term as a serious relationship. Fortunately for them, they belonged to the same caste, creed and all else that matters in a marriage. From choosing the kind of house they will live in, to the names for their children-to-be, pretty much everything was in place. I was a pesky friend, and whenever the poor TSG would narrate these or any other deeply romantic exchange between P and her, I would burst out laughing. Sorry, I cannot handle mush, just cannot. Or maybe I am just insensitive, don't know, but talks of moons, stars and such just make me giggle. Here they were with each other, almost every possible minute, with love and dreams in their eyes and hearts. P actually enrolled in a low grade B-school to stay in the same town after he completed his graduation, so that they could both be together. Even though I never initially believed they were there for the long haul, such acts, actually convinced me that the baby names planned, would actually be put to use.
And there was the nut that is me. A lot of male friends, no romantic alliances, no hopes, no chances. When I met the DH for the first time, I was rather uncomfortable, mostly because of the terrible planning, of the mutual friend who introduced us, and made the situation as bad as it can be. But as they say, fate works in strange ways, and here we were, becoming friends, close ones at that. Liking each other, but never saying it out aloud (yes, I know quite the filmy stuff, and hence my strengthened faith in Hindi movies), and finally deciding to date each other without strict commitments of any kinds. (May I add here, that the DH buckled first and decided he wanted me for keeps. Yes, yes, yes he did!) Of all my friends, who were in relationships, mine was the only one without any plans of a future together. The DH finished his studies almost as soon as we started dating, and left the place. I still had a whole year to go, so we did not even get a lot of time together.
Three years later, I was married to the DH, working, and happy. The TSG, was finishing her masters degree, her relationship with P, after almost six years broken, and she was engaged to be married. Indeed, strange how things work out. She went on to get married to a man doing well in life, chosen by her parents, and approved by her. The DH and I were on the other hand freshers at our jobs, struggling to stay afloat, and yet happy, while TSG was enjoying African safaris, unrestrained shopping and living in the US.
Though she and I were great friends, all along our years in college, things changed gradually post that. All calls from her, were about how well she was doing in life, and how she was enjoying staying at home, relaxing all day long, shopping and the like. I was not bothered by what she said, but got tiered of knowing how happy she was, by her saying it aloud so often. She had a daughter about six months after the BB was born, and when the comparisons started there, I shut out. I am usually nonchalant about competing, I don't get drawn in for more than a couple of days, but the BB is precious to me, and I am not getting him into pettiness, from anyone. I think that was the point when I reduced, and then finally shut out my communication with her.
The DH and I had tough years financially at the start of our marriage, and I mean REAL tough, not the I-cannot-buy-the-imported-brand-of-we LCD kinds, but the we-could-do-with-a-cupboard-for-our-clothes kinds. But we managed to sail through, we fought like cats and dogs then, just as we do even now. There are times in our marriage we feel like pulling the hair out of our head, at the thought of having to live with each other, and then we have our sunny, full of joy days too. Our marriage is not perfect, or anywhere close to it, we are neither mushy, nor supremely romantic. If one thing defines our marriage at this one point, its our dedication to the BB and our roles as parents. And we disagree on methods there too. So basically we disagree on way too many things, and in turn express that quite vehemently too. The TSG portrays her marriage as perfect, but I am sure, like any other, she must be having her marital woes too, and having them does not really make a marriage bad, unless we are talking of abuse and such like. She did not see the hard days, like we did, and I am sure its a lot rosier to be in that state compared to what the DH and I went through. In terms of material comforts, I am happy where I am today, and value each and everything that I posses. I believe she is too, from what I hear, she has more and if that makes her happy, it works out just fine.
Now coming to the question that M4 poses in her post about love versus practicality, love won for me. Practicality won for TSG. That would be the obvious way of looking at it, but I believe it is practicality that won for each one of us, because selecting our priorities is being practical. I think it would be safe to say we are both happy today. At the end of the day we all know our priorities, and stick to what is more important to us personally. It takes courage to break out of moral bindings and accept the need for material comforts in life, or social status and prioritise that. To each his own I think. I am not taking any moral high ground here, because honestly I don't think there is any, as long as one is honest to himself or herself, that is the best choice to make. Had I married a man of my parent's choosing, I would have been richer maybe, had a similar cultural background as my spouse, but would I be happy, I don't know. And I don't think so, because I doubt any man would accept me as wholly as the DH has, knowing all my quirks and flaws. To me personally, the meaning of my relationship means more than other things. Money and comforts, came as and how they were required, that is why and I am where I am today. So for me love was the practical decision, because I would not have survived without it, the rest, which is required too, but stands a little lower on my list of priorities, followed in, as it always does with time.