Prabhjot Ahluwalia shares her point of view on what makes a healthy and happy marriage in our next installment of “Couple Love Series.”
If you had to describe marriage, how would you describe it?
Marriage is a contract between two parties. It isn’t a contract written by a lawyer and papers are not signed – the contract is built through actions. Every little act is like a letter or word on the document. Sometimes actions erase part of the relationship but hopefully over time, more actions write onto the agreement. The agreement gets more complex with time, addendums are written which include happy events such as children and also the stressful events that life brings.
Marriage is all about what we do for each other. We start with the attitude that we will give more to the relationship than we will take and in the end…hopefully both of us will realize an even greater love and respect than we could have imagined.
What is needed for both parties to be happy, respected, and fulfilled?
To be in a truly happy marriage, the most important component is that both parties have to respect each other. Even though you won’t agree on everything, you have to validate the other person by hearing them out and talking through the issues. Also, never going to bed angry helps as this simple act diffuses the conflict and hopefully resolves most of the argument, or at least ensures the differences are worth staying awake for …even if it is 2am or 3am . Finally, doing things together. Sharing experiences and activities brings us closer together – anything from biking or hiking to playing a game to sitting next to each other on the sofa and reading.
What keeps a sense of balance and equilibrium in your marriage?
There are things that each of us have individually as passions or hobbies. We encourage and support each other to pursue them – for me, its Zumba, biking, hiking, reading, and mostly taking care of my family and being a cheerleader for my husband and children. Gurinder loves photography and playing tennis or golf.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji stressed it was important for all of us to take on the role as “householders”. SLS (Sikh Love Stories) understands this term as a gender neutral and spiritual. What does the term mean to you and Gurinder as a couple?
We both take on responsibilities to run our house and family together. We talk about our values as a family and try to live by those values. Before we had children, we both worked. After our first daughter was born, we decided together that I would stay at home and take care of her. It was one of the best decisions we made for our family. Then we had our second daughter and I continued to be home for both of them. Gurinder helped out where he could, but he worked outside of the home and I worked inside and this has worked for us and our family. The big point is that the roles are different but the work is equally valued.
What do Sikh couples need to keep at the center of their relationship so every household can succeed in producing strong self-motivated Sikhs who are pursuing their happiness while giving back to the world?
The number one focus is that we have a set of values that we as a couple and our family adheres to. We then try to demonstrate those values in our personal and professional lives. Our family values include Sikhi and a Sikh way of life, giving back to our community (defined sometimes by geography, culture, religion and values), quality time as a family, quality time with our parents and siblings, and finally education.