My friend Kate has just had a painful termination of her engagement. I am feeling sad about it — a broken engagement is after all about shattered dreams of a happy life together. My friend is as warm, giving and as ‘nice’ as they come. She’s also a smiling, positive, fun person. But things “didn’t work out,” she says. That sums up the disconnect that they encountered through the run up to marriage. So, why did something that started on a happy, celebratory note have to meander to a sour end? In India, speaking on a general note, it’s quite often about differences of expectations regarding the wedding. The arrangements, the level of grandeur, the material exchanges and so on.
Even on the personality front, when two people get engaged with a happy prospect of matrimony in mind, why do they break off? Often, personalities are so contrasting, tastes, tendencies and character make-ups so contrary, that it is for the best to part ways. In fact, an engagement is a period where you get to check exactly these aspects of each other before the pronunciation of “till death do us part”. Much better now than later. I know of a love story that seemed like a Mills and Boon romance once — at least for six to eight months.
They didn’t want to live a minute without each other and everyone predicted a match made in heaven. But things began to unravel soon enough. A slow ennui crept in where he sought his buddies more than her. She could have passed it off as a man thing but it got to her and made her demanding in more ways than one. There began the little spats. Then, he became possessive of her every glance and every word spoken to a man became suspect. She became suspicious of him too and their insecurities got the better of them both. It was an utterly avoidable situation, but it came about and wrecked all.
Another big destructive factor is wanting to improve one’s partner. His dressing sense, her style choices — these are superficial aspects that are not nearly as important as the heart that beats beneath them. People forget the totality of their loved one and dismiss many loving shades while refusing to let go of some aberrations. Bickering excessively about them or bringing up big or small part slips can create perpetual discord.
Weigh your trivial issues against the love you share with your partner. If spending your life with them is what you truly want, fling out the trivialities and let them blow away with the monsoon winds. What you need to understand is that over time, you will both grow with and into each other. With the bedrock of a will to love, let all anger and resentment flow out of you. Replace it with conversation, communication and the desire to move forward with new learnings. After all, it is folly to casually let go of an equation as rare and precious as love.
Understanding things makes great amends, and empathy and a willingness to make it work are winners all the way. All else follows. Forgiveness, caring and a little largess of heart, with encouragement to seek harmony rather than dissent, is the way from a successful engagement to a happy marriage. Armed with these, you could win over an enemy, let alone a somewhat recalcitrant fiancé. Go out and win him or her back with love!
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal @gmail.com...