"Once you know that you can spend a lifetime with a person, marriage is just a seal and gives you a document." I must have said something like this a few years ago, around the time I found my future partner. In fact, my statement became even more outrageous, when I realized that we needed to be married to get our travel visas on time. It became painful to get rejections based on 'what is a travel companion?'
G & I met through a common friend, who was kind enough to drop us both an introductory email. We met in a bar and then we continued to meet for coffee, movie, concerts and sometimes just to hang out. The meetings quickly sparked the romance and before we knew it, we were on a bike to Wayanad. The trip began our commitment to be with each other; and our unsaid fascination to explore each other. One day, after a few more trips and because of a bad landlord that I had to put up with, we decided to pack my bags and live together.
We were both surprised that we settled in almost immediately, despite a common history of unsuccessful co-habitations. We discovered that we are both emotionally unstable human beings. Neither of us had to say it, but we would jump at every opportunity to attend to each other; and this brought a gratitude to our relationship, that was reciprocated with the labor of love. That pattern continues till today.
The most magical things in our lives are also the most effortless - There were almost no complaints, and the confidence of our companionship was reflected in our individual lives. G became more approachable for his friends and I was more inspired to stick on with the decisions I took. For the first time, I understood what 'not giving a damn' meant. I also understood the difference between my spirit of adventure; and G's courage to fight his fears, and go on the same adventures! Time flew by but those few months filled up for a history of multiple heartbreaks, disillusions and the bitterness for the world that would creep in during misadventures.
There came a time when we thought we had to at least tell our families about us; and we informed them. A series of fun meet ups later, one day, my parents told me that they wanted us to be engaged/married soon. I was initially irritated because a decision was made for us, and we weren't asked. We looked at each other and smiled; it didn't matter. Our engagement was announced. A few weeks before the ceremony, we had to travel to Australia. My visa application was rejected and when I made a second application, I was questioned over a phone-call about who/what G was. It was awkward and unnecessarily painful. We never went to Australia. However, we decided that we would not go through the ordeal again and get our documents done!
We had lived together for over 18 months before we finally got married. We were supposed to fly to France and as fate would have it, despite being married, our application was rejected because G didn't have enough empty pages on his passport!
It's been many years and we have traveled to many places around the world. There have been no visa rejections till date, although most didn't need our marriage certificate either. Earlier this month, we celebrated our 4th anniversary in Iceland. When I look back into these 4 years and compare them with the 18 months of our live-in relationship, I understand how I was mistaken about marriage.
G loves his family and by extension, I put in efforts to establish bonds with everyone he loves. I spent an entire day in a hospital with his grandmother; it was just the two of us and we don't even speak the same language! I have a wonderful relationship with his sister and his cousin brother, both of whom had struggled for a platform to open up their hearts. Over these years, I have felt the need to stay with my mother-in-law far more than my own mother. His cousins, uncles and aunts - whenever and wherever I could, I have joined them in activities/helped them in events and shared moments that we could remember each other with.
I never imagined myself being this person.
Marriage has helped me grow as a person. It has created a better version of me and redefined commitment in the following ways :
- To be invested in everything and everyone you love
- To cross every hurdle to understand others and convert strangers into lovers
- To break the barriers of age, language, cultures
- To overcome distance
The 18 months that G & I spent to understand and to be with each other, prepared us for these lessons.