Culture & Lifestyle / Finding Yourself In Your Relationship

Finding Yourself In Your Relationship

Culture & Lifestyle Jan 29, 2015

Getting Back To The Basics

Recently, as I began working through what I call my “early life crisis”, it occurred to me how many of my expectations of marriage and parenthood were rooted in the Indian cultural ideologies that women should be married, should be mothers, and they should be completely satisfied in their personal lives by fulfilling these two goals to the best of their abilities. In truth, however, something inside me is just not satisfied by these expectations alone, and that left me restless.
I am lucky to have found an amazing husband who is smart, sexy, and open to exposing me to his Norwegian culture while embracing my own Indian culture. I remember people advising us as newlyweds to make our marriage a priority, but that’s much easier said than done after 9 years and 2 kids when the daily minutia sucks the life out of you and you can’t stay awake past 9pm. I don’t believe this type of relationship rut knows cultural boundaries – it’s definitely an equal opportunity slump – and can make you feel like you’re suffocating. That’s why I started my own little experiment last year, to see if I could cancel out the noise and re-focus on the most important relationship in my life – the one I have with my husband, Johann. I know this statement may irk some people because I am basically valuing our relationship over that with my children, but the way I see it, Johann and I are together for a lifetime and had better make sure our foundation is solid. Plus, there’s no better lesson I can teach my kids than showing them what a supportive, loving marriage looks like. All of this is a work in progress, but here’s what we started with:

1. Instituted date nights. Period. We weren’t making alone time a priority at all, and that was a huge problem. In addition, I made sure we did an activity on our date nights. Part of our slump was that we spent so much of our time eating because mealtimes were when we could be together as a family, so I planned activities that weren't focused on food and packing on calories, but rather on our joint experiences. Amazingly, once this started, we started losing those last few pounds we had put on, which made us both feel better about ourselves.

2. No rules on conversation. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t talk about the kids when focusing on your spouse, but in reality we didn’t have much else to talk about in the beginning because we hadn’t communicated with each other beyond the kids in so long. The wonderful thing about this is that our conversations quickly evolved to be more about us as individuals, and much less about the kids. Re-opening that door to communication was key, and brought with it a new appreciation for how we’ve grown as a couple with our ability to trust and be open with each other.
3. We got back on the same page as far as intimacy is concerned. It’s easy to push your sex life to the back burner and not uncommon for couples to have different expectations, but there must always be some middle ground for a successful relationship.

4. I started taking care of myself. I was sick of being the tired wife with tiny, greasy handprints on my shirt every night when Johann came home from work, so I began doing things that made me feel sexy again. I started working out more, wearing eye liner, trying different shades of nail polish, and most importantly, I stopped changing into sweat pants immediately upon coming home so Johann could see me in my nice work clothes for a few minutes when he got home. Score one for sexy!
5. I reclaimed my girls’ nights out. Having a life outside of my roles of wife and mother reminded me of who I am as an individual – something I had forgotten along the way.

So, after a year of this little experiment, am I totally over my “early life crisis”? I don’t know, but I do know that I am getting back to that hand-holding, giggly love stage with Johann. We reminisce about our early dating days, and I feel like we are right back there again as far as our communication and intimacy goes. Ultimately, it’s been a really wonderful experience to find each other again, nearly a decade into our marriage, and for me to find myself along the way as well.

Amrith Aakre

Amrith Aakre


Amrith K. Aakre is a fitness nut, avid reader, and clings to her youth by going out dancing occasionally. Amrith’s goal is to communicate her thoughts on all topics from the perspective of a busy mom, wife, and attorney who is trying to find a space in the world.