Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit perfectly together, it is possible for two different people to lead a balanced life as a couple. The trick to that is to work towards that same 'givingness' people practise during their courtship days when everything was done with 'the other' in mind.
When Cloud Nine floats away (roughly about the time baby comes, taking attention away from each other), it is necessary to make a conscious effort to keep the relationship balanced, says Ms Kana Gopal of Atman Counselling Centre.
"When you see a couple whom you know are comfortable with each other, you will notice that they tend to make up for each other's weakness and strengths. I know a husband who loves cooking while his wife hates it. She does the dishes and looks after the children but leaves the cooking to him. They learn to pick up the slack in each other and that make them whole," says the Atman trainer.
Then there are husbands who have to travel a lot on business. The wife, although she has a fulfilling career, chooses to quit to take care of their children and their home. They each realise that sacrifices have to be made for the sake of a balanced family life, including the wellbeing of their young children.
Valuing each other's role
As a couple, they have agreed on their areas of responsibility. They each value their roles and do not see the other role as being superior or inferior. "Finding and keeping such balances in a relationship requires respect for the other individual," says Ms Gopal.
She adds that relationships that break up tend to be because fail to see the other person as an equal. A husband who has acquired better qualifications and moved up the career ladder when his wife remains at the same point must appreciate his wife's special talents. For instance, she may be wonderful with the kids and great at home entertaining. Unless he is willing to recognise these skills, the relationship will suffer a rift and the couple will drift apart.
Seeing life the way you were brought up
The home in which each half of the couple was raised as a child is often also a stabilising, or in certain cases destabilising, force. Most people form value systems early in life, in the home that they grew up in and can rarely change.
Ms Gopal cites the case of an accountant who loves gardening and plants because she was raised in a house with a garden. Her husband, a flat dweller most of his life, cares little for gardens and sees them as a nuisance.
The husband didn't particularly mind the sunflowers she had grown until they were in full bloom and began attracting bees. He has them all chopped down without consulting her. What has happened here is a clash of value systems. While she loves nature, he craves a maintenance-free environment.
Even something as simple as this can cause an emotional split. But a balanced couple will take this as a lesson to be more sensitive to the other person and will aim for a compromise. If not sunflowers, how about roses?
Take another couple.. She loves filling every nook and cranny in the house with knick-knacks. He doesn't care for such things but is willing to make space for her passion because he wants to see her happy. In return, she agrees to make space in their life for his passion for golf.
So respecting each other, talking things through, being sensitive to their feelings and caring for them. These actions go along way towards keeping the yin and yang in marriage.