x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Navigating the channels

As in all relationships, the camaraderie I share with my husband has its ups and downs.

Marriage, I have slowly come to realise, is not all sugar and spice. As in all relationships, the camaraderie I share with my husband has its ups and downs. The difficult days unfortunately hit me harder than they should; perhaps because I have set my expectations of constant contentment so high. All the way through our courtship, I secretly thought of us as the "golden couple" - two people in love like no one has been in love before. Nothing could touch us, and happily-ever-after was already within our grasp.

But this attitude can be harmful. "The perfect couple" is a weighty label, giving us the go-ahead to sit back and relax, secure in the false knowledge that nothing can ever go wrong. And by looking at ourselves through rose-hued glasses, we forget just like any other relationship, marriage requires hard work and constant effort. Marriage took away my alone time, which came as quite a blow. Suddenly, I didn't have an hour to myself after a grueling day at work, to primp and preen and prepare myself to see Mr T. I no longer had the luxury of hiding my harried, unkempt self from him. Setting my alarm clock to ring a few minutes before his, so I could spring up and dash to the bathroom and do something about my frazzled hair and deadly morning breath, only lasted for a week after we were married.

I had to adjust. Sharing everything, from the remote control to the last bottle of juice in the fridge, meant that consideration for one another had to take precedence. There are days - selfish days - when I simply do not want to share. I do not want to put on a happy face. I want things done my way, as spoilt as it may make me seem. I want to pout and fall victim to my mood, and make Mr T suffer as a consequence.

These moments of discord wreak havoc on a young marriage. I never had dark moments where nothing ever seemed right during our early days, I thought to myself. Why am I having them now? It took Mr T to show me, as usual, that our marriage is going through the normal channels of growth: rough, smooth and bumpy patches galore. He does not stumble with every tiny mishap we encounter, nor does he question absolutely everything, from whether we'll ever be that golden couple again to if we ever really were that golden couple in the first place.

Mr T had to work late a few nights this past week, and I found myself at home with a lot more alone time than I had bargained for. This was what I had wanted - for months. Time to read a magazine, watch mindless reality TV, head out for some shopping. Well, alone time, I came to realise, is highly overrated. I spent hour after hour staring at the clock, waiting for my best friend to come home. We had become a "we" without my even noticing.

Besides, I can get all the alone time I need while he's cocooned in his world of anime, watching Japanese series on his laptop. It all works out in the end.