Saturday, June 30, 2018

A fresh look at Marriage and Matching!

I was working on Environmental Studies Homework with my six year old daughter. ( Oh yes, it is nice to study some things again with a little student friend as long as it is not Algebra and Geometry, I can confidently say!)

"My Family" was the first lesson. The text read:

Tina is six years old. Her father is a doctor. Her mother is a teacher. She has a little brother. She likes to go for a walk with her grandparents. Tina has a pet dog. She loves to play with her dog. Her mother teaches her. Tina helps her father clean the living room on Sunday.

The lesson had pictures illustrating the whole scene in the house so the children understand how Tina was related to each of the family members, their roles in her life and how others in the family connect with Tina.

Beautifully done, I thought!...

The next day, my son brings a book from his Kindergarten class. The Homework for the week was to match the capital letters and the corresponding small letters. The next page had a list of pictures ( Example: Pencil) that had to be matched with the related things ( Example: Notebook).

Interesting again!!! The mind maps/matches things that the children know about, with the things that they can relate to in some way.

After all these homework books, a serious technical document or an article (even my own writing) seemed so uninteresting to my mind. How beautifully the kids are being taught some concepts! May be we learned the same way too, but the same concepts make a better sense today with a deeper meaning.

Later that evening, after the children's "End of Day", I was musing over the evening's homework, still amazed at how the concept of "Matching" was being taught in schools, and how 'matching' lesson has been the oldest, most effective, and the real lesson that has deeply affected/effected each of us in our social, personal, professional lives at large!

The mind that tried to match/map small letters to capital letters first, then learns to relate or connect stuff learned in Maths, Language, Bio-science, Social science, History and Geography over the years of schooling. Once out of school, the same mind (now over 17 years of age) in most schooling boards world-wide, is ready to map/match the people with their names, relationships, professions, roles, emotions, behaviours, attitudes, characters, traits and anything else I may have missed out, as it grows up in age.

These mapping/matching probably gives a sense of understanding to the brain that there is a certain unchanged connection, typical behaviour, expected result, relationship between the "left hand side of things" and the "right hand side of things or to put it simply 'two things/people/ideas/concepts'.

A pause here.... On a seeming digression for the moment, my mind asked "Could marriage also match with this theory of 'matching' given that 'matching-making' is a popular phrase in Indian households where 'arranged marriages' still happen!?" The marriage match-making websites serve as a platform to make available profiles that can be matched to preferences. The years of matching exercise finally has come to effective use - the idea of matching/mapping people for life!!!. May be 'Match the following' question is the single most important lesson in the entire school curriculum after all!

Don't you agree??

Matching is everything!! Trying to arrive at a 'Relationship' is the only way to match anything at all. From the first 'a' to 'A' lesson to 'Pencil:Notebook' lesson, we have come a long way in learning relationships.

Left hand joins the right hand in a 'Namaste', the traditional, Indian way of greeting people. The hands have to match in position at the chest level with eyes looking at the person in front. The receiver usually returns the 'Namaste' gesture in acknowledgement. The relationship between the two parties need not be a defined name. They may just have got acquainted or they may have known each other for ages!!! It is a mark of respect and the inner sense of 'knowing' the other person. There is no effort required here except to be aware of the courtesy.

In formal or informal handshake greetings, one of the hands brought forward has to be 'associated' with another hand brought forward to accept the greeting. If you shake hands with some one, the simplest relationship could be that of an acquaintance. There is no effort required here except that it is mark of respect to return a handshake.

Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Uncle, Aunt, Grandma, Grandpa, Friend are all relationships that we learn without having to really struggle hard to relate, love, believe, and respect.

Since all of these relationships in life seem a very natural bond, over the years, the word 'Relationship' must have suddenly changed colloquial synonym to "The bond between a man and a woman in romantic love within or outside the marriage."

In the new meaning of relationships, suddenly the 'Matching' becomes crucial. A sudden realisation that dawns in most relationships is that our minds continually try to join dots, match attitudes, draw meanings, resolve differences to keep the relationship going.  We either let go or keep ego, forgive or assume that we forgive, expect or give, respect or disrespect, love or drift, make or break!!!!

In the school exam's question, there were things and we mapped them according to their relationship. In the real life's question, there are relationships and we are trying to change ourselves.We are changing the question to suit the answer!!! Exactly why the concept of marriage/relationship sounds complex. "So, do we have to change for the relationship really?" is the next big question that crops up!

Now, there are some relationships where the parties that form the part of the question - the man and the woman - do not want to change anything for the relationship. They call their relationship to be based on what is assumed as ' freedom ', 'understanding', 'accepting', 'broad-minded' and 'love-intrinsic' foundation. Very good, I would say. However, the fact remains that this does not live to see success for a long time in most marriages/relationships. The reason : The institution of marriage is such that it brings into your life the big word 'Responsibility'. With 'Responsibility' comes a parade of emotions/restrictions/differences/anxiety/challenges.

If you do not give up anything, learn anything from, accommodate anything new, tolerate anything at all, then what exactly are you doing for the relationship?? That seems a very emotional question, may be, but if you love someone, mean it and show it in a way that it really is felt. Now, that is what is going to keep the relationship going, in my opinion. Applies to all relationships, but very closely relatable to marriages, I would say. "Now, do we have to?" is the next question!

All the relationships that we are surrounded with do not need as much of a promise ( so much of grandeur, so much of over-expressed joy, so much of noise, so much of expectation, so much of glow, so much of emotions) as the one called "Marriage" does.

So, we don't want all of that to be blown off in thin air right?? May be all the excitement is because we match a relationship between two growing people who have come from different backgrounds and it is not an ordinary happenstance that it is seems to be(Everyday thousands of people get married!).

If you think about it, this real-time "matching" translates to dealing with variable things ( the man and the woman ) with varying moods ( we all know it!) and various mind sets ( Opinions change Morning, Noon, and Night) for which we are trying to draw a constant relationship line.

Its like the "Pencil: Notebook" getting changed to "Penquin: Notebook" suddenly!!! The word just got longer, but means different!! Penguin cannot match in anyway with Notebook! But we drew the matching line when it was still 'Pencil' and the answer was correct!!

When the Left hand side shows a changed thing, the relationship which we strive to keep constant ,no longer seems to match perfectly with the thing on the Right hand side.  In the real life situation, all of us in the relationship keep changing with various experiences!!! Change is constant. How are we going to explain our change and yet keep the relationship line constant with the changing other person too??

Exactly why the whole idea of marriage often needs a re-shuffle of thoughts, re-work in love, re-alignment of priorities, and re-affirmation of the purpose. Easier said than done, I think!!.

Deep-down, I believe that we must do all it takes to keep the relationship line steady in Marriage, as in life, the rule is to "Do". But, if we are interested in really knowing more about how to keep the relationship going, there are numerous sensible write-ups online and great marriage counseling help available too!

With sincere wishes and prayers that everyone who reads this is constantly working sincerely to keep their relationship lines constant and bright,


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