Rules of Engagement

I was about to get married. It was after many rejections and failures at self-match making. I was happy like a butterfly who has just emerged from the cocoon. People were congratulating me and wanted to be part of my celebrations. And I was happy to oblige. One fine evening I was pondering and trying to figure out if I had inadvertently forgot to invite someone. 

It was then that it stuck me. All the people who were dancing around me and made me party every evening, were either unmarried or married under one year. Where are the senior and more experienced guys? 

So I went to a senior friend. “Hey man. Congratulations, you are getting married.” He said.

“Thanks bro.” I was all smiles. “Been missing you in celebrations.” 

“Never mind, will be there for the big event.” He thumbs-up-ed me. “Marriage is a tricky thing. It is like handing over a jet to an untrained pilot. There must be some training by simulation.” He made the statement very casually. 

I could read a deeper meaning to that. “Can you please explain.”

“You have to be hammered for a successful marriage.” He commented nonchalantly. 

That sounded violent to me. I retracted back in my seat. 

“We friends have devised a manifesto for that.” He said.

Manifesto for hammering? – I wondered. I should not have complained to him about not coming for celebrations. 

“We call it HAMMER.” He continued. “Happy And Mushy Marriage – Engagement Rules.”

“Wows.” Finally I could speak. I could see that experience matters. “Can you please elaborate.”

“Ya sure.” He said. “There are points for him and for her.”

I was all ears and ready to be HAMMER-ed.

“Points for him to remember:

  • She is leaving her home and family to be with you. You can never stop appreciating that. And she is marrying you and NOT your family. 
  • Your mom can not be her mom. Just make sure mutual respect is not eroded. 
  • Do not compare her cooking with the cooking of your mom. Come on man, you been eating whatever your mom cooked ever since you were born. It might not be tasty or healthy, but your taste buds are aligned to that cooking. 
  • You have to balance your ownership between your mom and wife. There is another module on how to wriggle out of any sticky situation that develops because of difference of opinion between mom and wife, and you are asked to decide. Simple conclusion of the module – DO NOT TAKE SIDES. Just wriggle out without seeming to ditch the situation.
  • Do not bring home unannounced guests. She needs time to look good, clean up the mess in house, which was created by you in part, and needs to get the snacks ready. 
  • She has the right to choose side of bed to sleep. And the temperature of AC. 
  • The child that you so happily announce to the world, has half the genes that have come from you. That makes you at least half responsible for changing diapers and waking up at night to figure out why the child is crying. You just can not turn side and sleep. 
  • Set alarms on phone or mark the calendar – do not ever forget engagement date, marriage anniversary, her birthday and birthdays of her parents. “

Sounds very doable. I was actually feeling encouraged. I nodded my head in agreement and he continued.

“Points for her to remember:

  • His mom gave birth and reared him. It will not be easy for her to shift the ownership to you immediately. Appreciate her rights and slowly you can work towards undermining them. 
  • Any fault in him does not mean bad upbringing by his mother. 
  • Late night messages on his phone do not indicate that he is having an affair.
  • Occasional reference to his ex does not mean he is still continuing with her.”

Common points

  • Do not take each other for granted. Forget your exes and live for presents. 
  • Be sensitive to each other’s needs. You are still to know each other well and many demands may seem alien to you. 
  • Occasional flirtation can be healthy. 
  • Individually, both know better about their respective relatives. Do not try to insinuate additional characteristics. 
  • Points once fought over, should not be raised in subsequent disagreements. Bringing up points of the past is like polishing a shell found in scrap.”

Wows, man. So simple. Be HAMMER-ed and have a happy married life. Amen. 



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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