The men’s finals of the Australian Open between the Adonis Rafael Nadal, the winner of 14 Grand Slams versus the stylish Roger Federer, the winner of 18 Grand Slams, had every sports lover in the world on the edge of their seat last week. Their face-off against each other exceeded the expectations of what one expected from true champions of the game. The formidable part of the contest was not who won or lost but how they played the game and what they spoke about each other after the game. Their acceptance speeches were gracious, each congratulating the other on their exceptional play of the game.
Isn’t marriage like a tennis match? Each partner gives it their best and keeps playing the game till it gets over. Sometimes the game gets over soon and instead of a five setter you have a mere 3 setter, but that’s the nature of the game. It’s the same with marriages, some last forever like I recently attended a friend’s grandparent’s diamond jubilee anniversary celebrations-60 years of being together as a married couple. On the other hand, I have met couples especially in my professional capacity as a divorce lawyer, who have barely made it through their first year of marriage and others who have called it quits after a decade of togetherness. Before you frown your forehead and jump to a judgement of whose side you are on, I’d say that there are no sides, we are all on the same team. Sometimes things don’t work out, as we often see in tennis game where the top ranked players come out and say, ‘It just wasn’t my day, I did what I could.’
The important thing to remember is that you gave it your best shot and no one can decide, but you, what works in a marriage and what doesn’t. Like tennis champions who know each other’s game, spouses similarly know each other’s nature and this determines how the marriage pans out. The game of marriage depends on the partners and if they are in sync with each other it becomes enjoyable not only for them, but even the others involved in the marriage. After all no one exists in vacuum and there are children, friends, relatives who are stakeholders in the marriage. Some may be minority stakeholders and some may be majority stakeholders but being stakeholder’s impacts them both, positively, think loving parents, or negatively, think divorce. If only we remember that perhaps we would play a good game of marriage, however long or short, the duration would not matter.
More than the marriage, if we remember, that it’s the spouses who made the marriage great and rather than cursing them, when things go bad, or not acknowledging them, when we take things for granted or resenting them, for taking us for granted- a simple ‘thank you for being my partner’ would be a fantastic way to look at marriage. After all, as tennis has shown us time and again, that no one’s game is perfect and to play the game perfectly is the real joy.
Originally published at medium.com