Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mantra for a good marriage: I Give Shit, I Take Shit

Not all dogmas originate in religious mumbo-jumbo, old customs and beliefs. Some of the most injurious dogmas are invisible to us because they are woven into our social millieu -- the secular-global-careerist-consumerist culture that prevails.

Let me pinpoint one such dogma IDGiSA-IDTaSA (pronounced as 'Idgeesa-Idtaasa). The full form is: "I don't give shit to anyone, I don't take shit from anyone."

We have a minds-eye picture of a model citizen who lives and lets live -- a pleasant, helpful, no-nonsense person. And we each believe that we are this model citizen. And therefore, when we percieve someone as interfering in our lives, we turn indignant and say, "IDGiSA-IDTaSA!!!"

It's a dogma. It is thoroughly untrue. Living is a process of giving shit and taking shit as well as gold. You exhale what I inhale, you fart what I inhale... and unless I learn to hold my breath for a verry long time, I doubt I can escape a whiff of what's in your rear. It may not please my ego, but it's an inescapable fact.

When we live in a family or a close circle of friends, we all give and take shit in varying degrees... because your rights are my duties, and vice-versa. Because when you neglect your duties, my rights are affected. And because when I take more than what is my just due, your rights are affected. Because whatever you say or do acts upon my mind, body and spirit. And because even your private, secret thoughts shape your behaviour towards me.

Between spouses, there's a lot of give-and-take of crap... and that's living. There isn't much to distinguish between what's best and what's worst in us. In life, in the world, there is no compartmentalization of good and bad... kya karein?

I sincerely believe that our closeness as spouses is determined by how much crap we are willing to take from each other. The quality of each embrace is determined by how much willingness there is to like each other's armpit smells and facial wrinkles. The quality of each love-making session depends on how much tolerance or liking we have consciously cultivated for each other's bodily secretions, awkward smells, unsightly hair and bulges.

The quality of each conversation depends on how deeply we are willing to listen, understand, engage and forgive. It depends on how much of our inner shit we are willing to risk revealing to the other.

Some of it comes naturally with the fascination that comes from being in love. Some of it comes from the painful but automatic learning that happens when our relationships fail. And some, we have to teach ourselves; like they say, you have to work at a relationship... any relationship.

It helps to shed the IDGiSA-IDTaSA dogma. It helps to say, "ILU-IGYS-ITYS (ie. I Love you, I give you shit, I take your shit). You can pronounce it Eeloo-eye-geese-eye-tease.

The more shit you are able to give and take without breaking it off, the better the quality of your relationship... any relationship.

Think it over. Consider it.

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