It is time to let go. Really let go. This is scarier than the first day at school or the first camp or sending you to university. This is the big daddy of worry. Nothing compares. You are old enough to get married. Despite the years of nagging, lecturing and disciplining, I feel ill equipped to guide you. I cannot protect you because this leg of the journey is yours to make alone. Let this be the most important advice I can give you through the trial and experience of my life. The rest I leave up to you. Your nest is yours to build.
Adjustment: When you get into a long term commitment, adjustment does not involve just you and your partner. It brings forth a whole battalion of family. Initially, the swords are drawn on both sides, as is the case with any change. Just remember, you are dealing with a mother, a sister or a father who is threatened by your presence. Make them secure. Let them know through actions that you are joining the family and not taking away a part of theirs. There will be rough days and unfair situations. Take it in your stride, like you did the arguments and stresses of growing up at home. There is one motivation which will see you through. A man torn between his family and his wife can never be truly happy. You love him and they love him. Treat them like you would want your own family to be treated. Meet halfway and ultimately your world will bloom with the seeds you have sown.
Friendship: Be your partner’s best friend. Passion can be replaced by another person but a deep, abiding friendship is irreplacable. Discover common interests. Participate in the individual interests of the other. Hold each other up when the chips are down. Listen. Counsel. Comfort. A relationship lasts when there is a need for the person. That is the foundation you are building for the future. Do not leave it till too late carried away by the alluring throes of new romance.
Disagreements: These are bound to happen. How you resolve them is the key to success. Keep your fights private. You are not degrading him but your relationship with a public display. Draw boundaries which must never be crossed, no matter the provocation. No violence, no divorce word thrown about freely and no hitting below the belt. Sort out disagreements quickly. The longer you drag on things, the worse they get. Stick to the old adage of not going to sleep on a negative note.
Children: This divine privilege binds you together for eternity. Parenthood can be exhilarating and excruciating. Be a unit even when you do not feel like one. Being in tandem on bringing up children, brings stability and security to them. Do not use the children as weapons to destroy each other. You are destroying them in the process. You are responsible for bringing them into the world so cast aside your petty differences. Lead by example so they imbibe the values that will hold them in good stead all their lives. Nobody said it was easy to be a parent but it is even tougher doing it alone.
In every culture, women are revered for their strength. Resilience and acceptance requires courage. You have the power to create a beautiful universe if you choose. Nurture. Nourish. Soothe. Support. That is the natural power bestowed upon you. Use it. Know you have given it your best. Stand up for what you believe in, always. It will not be a cakewalk but it will be worth it. You are a woman. It is an all encompassing honour. In our wombs, rests all of humanity.
The sea of life lies ahead of you and I hope these words are an anchor when the waters get choppy. Take your first step into the unknown and know I am always one step behind you. Always.
Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her new novel will be released later this year.