11 ways to have a rocking married life

With divorces throwing many a marriage apart, there are those who feel that this institution is in urgent need of an overhaul if it is to remain relevant and not become the sham modern marriages are increasingly ending up as.

While many lament that monogamy is all but dead, we feel that it's still too early to write off the institution, or even reinvent it. It's worked in the past, and there's no reason why it shouldn't now. What we might need to do instead is to find ways to make our marriage work, rather than wait for it to flounder and then take recourse in the excuse that it wasn't meant to work anyway.

If you think marriage is for keeps, here're 10 plus One ways to keep your marriage strong and rocking.

1. Know that the romance and passion of the early days will sooner or later fizzle out. Instead of moping for that lost passion, recall the early days of your dating/courtship/wooing/chasing. This will instantly re-establish the connect that brought you both together, and you'll fondly look back at those days and moments. You may not be able to summon that kind of passion, but you can still steal time for just the two of you.... Remember when passion subsides, companionship takes over. Revel in the comfort of becoming good companions.

2. True, you are now man and wife, but you don't need to merge your individual identities. If before marriage you were fond of wearing skirts, or playing a game of cricket with the boys, you don't need to give that up just because you're now married. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, of course, like it would if you were a Casanova before marriage and insist on being allowed to remain so! It's worth preserving your own identity in a marriage because then you wouldn't be forced to cramp your signature/individual style or lose your personality. This will mean that there will be little scope for frustration and bitterness as your relationship gets older.

3. Have a lot of US time, but don't forget to have plenty of ME time either... you not only stay away from each other's hair, but also give no room for breeding contempt that too much familiarity and being together invariably bring.

4. While giving space to each other is vital, make sure that communication never ceases. Any lull in communication can be potentially dangerous. So, have periods of silences but fill each other in when you catch up. If there's anything that's bugging you about the other, or if there's something at work that's troubling you, nothing works better than using each other as involved and responsive sounding boards. Bounce ideas, plans, off each other.

5. Fights between couples are normal, but so is making up. Scream, holler, have it all out, but once you're over and done with remember to not let the sun go down on your fight. Make up before the day's out.

6. Many couples fight over finances. Joint accounts and holding investments together are all very fine, but there's no need to give up your fiscal independence or opt out of holding individual bank accounts.

7. Infidelity- Now that's a deal breaker, but don't suspect your spouse of infidelity if he or she is appreciative of someone of the opposite sex, or is a recipient of admiring glances from them. Also you don't need to jump into some absurd conclusion just because you stumbled upon some innocuous SMSes or mails, or the last number dialed happened to belong to a colleague of the opposite sex. Unless you've caught him or her red-handed or have enough incriminating evidence to nail him or her, like, say, lipstick on his collar (of a shade not in your lipstick collection) or some strong masculine perfume on her person (a fragrance that's certainly not part of your vanity collection), there's no need to go ballistic or melodramatic. Even in cases where the telltale signs are rather strong, it would be better if you can bring it up instead of losing your sleep, peace and equanimity of mind over it.

8. Parenting- now that's a tricky territory many couples fight over. Best would be to find a healthy middle ground. If one of you is too strict and the perfect disciplinarian, and the other way too indulgent, striking a balanced middle ground helps where parenting is concerned and less hair-splitting or accusations over kids and their upbringing, often an area of discord and bad blood between couples.

9. Take holidays together. Building your nest egg, or working doubly hard to see your way through that mountain of EMIs is smart, but don't forget to take a break and breather. Also, though our daily existence moves in a, more or less, set pattern, it is always nice to make room for some unscheduled and off the beaten track moments.

10. Respect each other's weaknesses and sensitive points. If he can't bear to hear any criticism about his mother, and she can't stand her unsuccessful attempts at losing weight being made fun of, know how to steer clear of those. Ribbing each other good-humouredly is healthy, provided you know where to get off. And finally:

11. Marriage is another word for monotony and routine, but nothing like action between the sheets to rev it up and keep it exciting. You don't need to keep your scores but remember that sleeping together isn't just a bedroom arrangement; it's a marriage binder too!

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