Keeping the Romance Alive in Marriage
So the honeymoon is over! Your insta updates are full of your wedding photos and comes your one-month wedded anniversary! A couple of months or perhaps years will pass by in a newlywed euphoric state with status updates on how sweet your husband/wife is… and then the unforeseen after effects of marriage will wake you up! Undoubtedly you will hit that stage where you may fall into to routine with each other and lose that initial spark that kept you two rolling. You may begin to argue than ever before, may find each other boring and may even fall outta love. But, fear not! Romancing is a learned art. It is evermore important in marriage today and fortunately for you, we’ve got words of wisdom and trade secrets from the expert marriage counselor, Nalini Karunaratne! Read on to discover the Romeo & Juliet in you…
Before one strives to endeavor to keep romance alive in a marriage, the interpretation of what is considered to be the meaning of romance must be understood. Romance is often identified with physical attraction, lust, sympathy or affection, or even with the need to build one’s self-image. It can be one these or a mixture of many of them, but in reality, the meaning of romance changes with the different phases of life. Maturation changes an individual physically, mentally and psychologically. Meeting the challenges of each phase successfully with patience and understanding is what keeps the romance alive in a marriage to the end.
The challenge to keeping the romance alive in your marriage starts once the euphoria of the honeymoon period and the novelty of having an intimate connection with another fades. The timeframe taken for this to happen depends on individual lifestyles and personalities.
The prominence given to human rights and the necessity of being given space to build our own identities has encouraged the desire for individualism. But when two individuals who have been used to this individualistic lifestyle come together in marriage, the culture of togetherness has to be adopted to keep the romance in their marriage. The ‘me and mine’ attitude has to be replaced to ‘we and ours’ in many areas. This requires a sacrificial attitudinal change of thinking by both parties, but has to be embarked upon with determination. The name change after marriage is a classic example. To retain your identity by keeping your maiden name has become almost normative even in today’s eastern culture. But changing a hard earned professional name or even attaching your husband’s name to it, or giving up a prestigious family name, can be a necessary sacrifice made by the woman to identify a new family unit. Keeping self-centeredness at the apex of your triangle of needs will systematically destroy the romance in your marriage, but your determination to replace it with ‘other-centeredness’ will definitely help to preserve it. Rabrinanath Tagore once said, “I slept and dreamt that life was all joy, I awoke and found that life was all service. I served and found that life was all joy.” As we learn to appreciate the joy of serving to being served, the ultimate love relationship of marriage will be constantly revived and renewed.
Special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries must never be forgotten whatever the busyness of your schedules. This can cause hurt and disappointment and severely damage romantic feelings. Endeavoring to have meals together whenever possible, appreciative unexpected monetary gifts, joint shopping expeditions, planned holidays, travelling abroad together and sacrificially collecting the funds for all this enjoyment can be very bonding and brings you closer together. Love notes, flowers and compliments – paid especially in company – continually draw the couple closer to each other.
Thoughtful sharing of household chores in an environment where both partners have go to work in a climate of diminishing house helps, and also in times of pregnancy or convalescence, strengthen and keep reviving the love relationship which is kept nourished by this attitude of concern and consideration.
The popular Smart Phone can be used to a great advantage to keep romance alive. The constant keeping in touch with each other and being aware what each may be involved in doing gives a sense of attachment even in absence. However, this constantly easily available connection must never be abused by excessive usage, which could, with time, be wrongly interpreted with suspicion or distrust.
Maintaining a good relationship with your in-laws will earn the love and respect of your spouse and further strengthen your relationship. In-laws should never be thought of and referred to as out-laws! Social media’s usage of the relationship between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law for unkind jokes and comments have built up and strengthened a very negative mind-set regarding this relationship to the extent that a couple enter into marriage with a conditioned mind. It must be understood that love for a parent and love for one’s spouse are two entirely different sentiments and neither should feel threatened by a sense of loss because of theRead More
Does Marriage Involve a Name Change?
Oh the dilemma women face soon after the wedding is over! Should I be Mrs. His Name or can I just be me? It has been common practice and norm that married women gladly take on the husband’s surname, but today’s modern woman is not too enthusiastic about whole idea. Now is this right or wrong? Is it wrong for a women to decline to do so or is it right for a man to ask a woman to do so? Let’s seek help from our renowned marriage counselor, Nalini Karunartne to see how best we can resolve this issue…
You are given a name at birth so that you can be identified and from then on it becomes the most basic marker of your identity. At first, your name identifies the family you belong to – you have a first name and a second name which is known as your surname or family name. All your achievements, successes or failures are built around this name and you become attached to it and are generally rather proud of this identification, so much so, that you feel offended if it is misspelt or mispronounced. Your name is your identity and any other name would mean a different person altogether.
Around the 15th century, women in England began taking their husbands last name after marriage in place of the name they had previously used. Their previous name became known as their maiden name. This was done to symbolize that the union made the couple ‘a single person, the two became one as their intimacy made them one flesh and one blood.’ Then, in English culture, it was common practice until the 1970’s that you could be with your original name or your maiden name even after marriage and could also be referred to as Mrs. (which meant mistress of) followed by your husband’s surname.
However, this tradition was not followed across the world. In Australia, women changed their name after marriage, but in many other countries like Greece, for example, women didn’t change their name and it was considered illegal to do so. In many cultures and religions they keep to their birth names.
Name changes mostly concern women, and people can be hard on married women who do not change their names. Until quite recently, about 10% of people thought that it indicates that you are not really dedicated to your marriage if you don’t change your name, and about 50% thought that you should be legally required to take your husband’s name and because of these views 90% of women changed their names when they got married. Social judgment in a male dominated culture made women to decide to change their name, as it was the path of least resistance. But with the rise of feminism all of this thinking started changing rapidly as traditional marriages underwent many changes.
Changing your name after marriage is no longer considered mandatory and it’s a choice you make, depending on your own views of marriage, the value you place on your name, the professional image you may have carved out for yourself, difficulties encountered in documentation and numerous other considerations. With globalization and more international travel, there are more marriages being contracted between different nationalities and this too has affected the traditional view of a name change after marriage, as different cultural considerations have also to be taken constantly into account.
In Islam it is not permissible for a human to attach lineage to any other than their own father. But it is common for Muslim women living in some countries to change their lineage to their husbands perhaps to fit into a culture or because they have been forced to do so. On the other hand, there is nothing in Christianity about a wife changing her name because in Bible times most people did not have surnames. They were identified generally by where they lived or by the children they had or by the husband they belonged to. Name change is common in Western culture not because it is explicitly biblical, as there is nothing explicitly unbiblical about changing it. The matter is generally based on cultural considerations and the wishes of the couple.
Many are still under the assumption that a woman must legally change her name to her husband’s last name. But she has many options. She is free to keep her own name, take her husband’s name, hyphenate her name with her husband’s name or come up with a completely different name. If the couple were to agree, they can even adopt the women’s surname. It is, however, radical for a man to take his wife’s name, but the number is increasing. Some men with embarrassing surnames don’t want to pass it on to their children, as to them their names are a liability because they are difficult to spell or pronounce. Some couples opt for ‘meshing’ – creating a new name by combining both names, which is also increasing in popularity as centuries of tradition go out of fashion. As long as the name change is not done criminally or fraudulently, any of these options would constitute a legal name change.
Your name does not change automatically after marriage, if you do nothing, then after marriage your name will remain the same. So how do you set about a name change? It’s easy; just start using it among family members and in social settings, when notifying a change of address or when opening new accounts and memberships and so on. If documentation is required because of the threat of identity theft and fraud, your marriage certificate should suffice. You also have to change your other identification documents like your identity card, driving license etc. In the event of a divorce you have the freedom to revert back to your former name. However, changing your name to something other than your husband’s name requires more than a marriage certificate. You need a court order and sometimes a formal announcement in the newspaper.
Changing your name is an important step to take today and before doing so, it is best for the couple to discuss and candidly share their views on the subject before they make a decision that should be mutually acceptable. Both should be happy with the choice, and once agreed upon, it should never be used to insult or hurt the other in a future conflict situation. Children too, should be encouraged to respect their parent’s choice and not allowed to show disrespect to either parent even in humor.
With the popularity of social networks increasing, it is advantageous when you can be traced easily by friends who may have lost contact with you over a long period of time, because you have continued to keep your name unchanged. But with the prevalent sexual permissiveness that is flourishing rampant everywhere, it can also be quite naturally assumed, by people who have lost touch with you, that you are in an intimate partnership and not a legal marriage with the person who is seen always accompanying you.
Many women today are not interested in the traditional responsibilities associated with marriage. They prefer not to cook or stay at home being a home-maker, they don’t like having children – it is generally one or none – and now they don’t even want to take the husband’s name! There are many reasons to justify all of this, but can marriage be considered a viable option for women with such views? Does such a woman consider marriage because of the social stigma attached to spinsterhood? But that is not the case today as the number of single women are on the increase. The marital status being hardly visible today with even the wedding ring worn when convenient and now no name change, one wonders whether the togetherness of marriage is being subtly destroyed. Lack of private space is one of commonest causes for divorce today. Why is this lack of space in the relationship of marriage considered so important today? It is a thought worth considering.Read More