ROMANCING THE SPOUSE
As a young girl, fed on romantic novels and mushy Hindi films, I dreamt (as all post-pubescent girls normally do) of a handsome young stud who would come in a flashy car and sweep me off my feet. He would bring me flowers and chocolates, woo me with serenades and take me to fancy restaurants where we would listen to golden melodies, gazing into each other’s eyes as we sipped chilled champagne from thinly stemmed goblets. Then later, much later, we would make our way across the moon-kissed sands of the nearest beach, searching for a secluded spot where we could give free rein to our pent-up emotions. Well, that day has yet to come (and I have been happily married for the past seventeen years!)
A young woman in my cousin’s office once received a bouquet of roses from her fiancé. He had sent her a dozen roses – 11 yellow roses, with a single red one nestled in the centre. Wondering at the hidden meaning behind the red rose, she turned to my cousin for a clue. “Well, if these had been sent by my husband,” my cousin quipped, “it would mean that they were selling cheap because it wasn’t a complete dozen.”
Romance is not just for young, free spirits; it is the yearning of every heart, even the middle-aged or old. When I see an aged Parsi couple stroll hand in hand or a married man hold his wife around the shoulder while his daughter clings to his little finger, I feel a warmth curl around my heart. How I wish all couples could be like this!
But sometime after the chiming of the wedding bells, the trip down the aisle (or around the fire) and the rain of confetti/rice grains is over, one may witness a scene thus: “I have an idea,” a wife will say to her husband. “Let’s go out tonight and have a good time.” “Excellent.” answers the husband. “If you get home first, leave the light on.” Or a woman will say to her husband who is looking at garden tools in a hardware store “I want you to pick out the best, darling. I really enjoyed using the lovely ironing board you bought me for my birthday.”
Yeah, once the trip down the aisle is done and the confetti plucked out of a carefully coiffeured hairdo, the daily humdrum of life leaves no room for romance. Unless, unless, both make a serious effort to keep the fire burning bright. How to do this with dominating in-laws and demanding babies is a big question mark. Plus people expect you to sober up and behave after you have sown the honeymoon oats. Especially after the kiddies come. Why in heavens would one want to act like giddy-headed teenagers when Baba and Baby are watching, they ask, eyebrows raised in scandalous scorn.
Alas then, with romance flushed down the drain with the baby’s bath water, it is inevitable that the sidelined husband should look over his fence at a more viable option. And the weary wife can now lament, when her little daughter asks, “Mummy, do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’?” with a terse “No dear, sometimes they start with ‘Darling, I’ll be working a little late at the office tonight’.”
It takes, as I said earlier, a lot of effort to stoke the fires of one’s marital flame into the towering inferno it once was. So I applaud the husband and wife who are making that effort – making time for that night ride on the bike, the wife clinging like Feviquik to her husband’s back as he ‘vrooms’ to the nearest chemist for Baba’s fever medicine.
And I appreciate the husband who goes shopping with his wife and stands patiently as she tries on the hundredth dress, fishing out his wallet to throw a coin into the wishing well so “I can afford whatever it is you wish to buy, dearest.” As do I love the woman who waits patiently at her husband’s side at the annual rotary club party while he downs his ‘nineteen to a dozen’th peg and ‘gases’ about his unsung laurels.
A friend of mine was going away for a few days and left her husband a list of chores. For fun, she put down as Item 5: Think About Your Wife A Lot. After she returned, her husband proudly reported that he had completed every job. When she saw the list, however, each item except number five had been crossed off. “What’s this!” my friend exclaimed, “Didn’t you think of me while I was gone?” Her chagrin vanished when he replied cheerfully, “I started to, but just never finished.” THAT’S THE KIND OF SPOUSE I WOULD DIE FOR!
Couple-love should never end with the dessert at your wedding; its forever and should keep on increasing in quality and quantity, like a snowball rolling down the slope. Romancing the Spouse sure beats Romancing the Stove, Romancing the Store or Romancing the Office any day! Ask my husband, if you don’t believe me.