A few days ago, you asked me, “Dad, what will you give me on my wedding? I am sacrificing my independence, so gift should be huge.”
Son, this letter is my gift to you. It has the secret of a happy married life!

Now when you are married, you will soon see a lot of changes down the lane, most of which you will cherish throughout your life. Ramya is a lovely girl, and we are so happy that she has become your partner in the journey of life. Son, today I want to share a few things that will make this journey memorable for you.

Like the seven vows of marriage, here are seven pillars of a happy and successful married life.

First Pillar LOYALTY: You have promised to Ramya that you will spend the rest of your life with her and I want you to take that vow seriously. Your wife trusts you blindly, and it is your duty to ensure it remains intact. Never dishonour her trust as once the trust is broken, it can take a lifetime to regain it. Even if you regain the trust, doubt will always remain in the heart of your wife. Remember, some scars never heal!

Second PillarTRUST: Your wife will play a number of roles in your life. Trust her to be that best friend you can depend on whenever circumstances become worse. Trust her to be that support system you rely upon when the time is not in your favour. Trust her because a marriage can’t survive a day without trust.

Third PillarRESPECT: Ramya is not only your wife; she is a daughter, a sister, an aunt and above all, she is a woman and an individual. Respect her individuality and never try to force your decisions and beliefs on her. She can have a life of her own, and it is fine if you are not a part of it. I know, she is married to you, but remember, marriage doesn’t mean that you own her. She has her work, life, and problems. As a husband, it is your responsibility to give her space whenever she needs it and respect her for who she is.Your wife isn’t the perfect person in this world, and you shouldn’t expect her to be. She is best in her way, and she would complete you only if you play your part with honesty.

Fourth PillarEQUALITY: I know son, you have a broad mindset, but still we men, unknowingly say or do things which make our wives feel inferior. Currently, Ramya is working, but even if she doesn’t, you should divide the household chores and take up the responsibility of paying utility bills, laundry, and food. If you see her doing laundry while you aresitting and watching a cricket match, stand up and help her. Trust me; these small gestures will strengthen your bond and bring equality in your marriage.

Fifth PillarCOMMUNICATION: Never hide things from your partner. Talk about every issue, whether they are good or bad. Tell her if you have a problem with any of her behavior, but in a nice way. In every successful marriage, communication ismust.

One such conversation you must have is regarding money. With both of you are working, money management should be given the top priority. By discussing money, I don’t mean that you put unnecessary pressure on Ramya or snatch away her financial freedom. Remember, before marrying you, she was managing her money on her own, and therefore, she should not feel that you are taking away her financial independence. Jointly manage your money by giving individual financial freedom to each other. I will give you some ways to make the most of the dual income:

1.    Plan monthly budget together: Husbands and wives come from different financial backgrounds, but both shouldfollow certain common financial practices. How much can be spent on day-to-day expenses and luxuries— these all have to be decided jointly.

2.    Buy/invest in real estate: I always want that we all live as a happy family under the same roof.But still, I would advise you to buy your home and create an asset for a lifetime. Investing in a property is a smart move, and you can earn extra money in the form of additional rental income. As you both are earning, you can easily get a higher loan amount.

3.    Build a contingency fund: Time never remains constant. It might be good today, but it will not remain same in future. So build a contingency or emergency fund today to cover expenses in case of the loss of income or other financial emergency. Make sure you invest in short-term investment avenues from which you can easily withdraw money in case of emergency.

4.    Buy term insurance: Marriage is the first step that you can take towards leading a life of togetherness. Soon, you and Ramya will buy a house and car together, and a big amount of your incomes will go towards EMIs. It is easy to bear these financial expenses today as both of you are working, but God forbid, should something happen to you, how will your wife manage these expenses alone? It is your responsibility to take care of your wife even in your absence, and one way to do so isby taking a term insurance plan. This insurance policy will ensure that your wife remains financially protected even in your absence. It is the most selfless way of expressing your love.

5.    Buy health insurance: You both might be covered under your employer’s health insurance policy, but I would suggest youbuy a comprehensive health insurance plan. Your corporate health cover will not be available if you change your job,or after retirement. Also, you can buy a family floater health insurance plan which covers both of you in a single plan. I still remember that day, when your mom suffered from dengue, and I had no individual health insurance policy. At that time, we were shifting to Mumbai where I had to join a new company. As I had resigned from my company, I was left without an insurance policy. I had to dig into savings to fund your mother’s treatment. Take a lesson from my situation and buy a good health insurance policy now to fight against hefty medical costs. Most of the health insurance policies come with a maternity waiting period of, say 2or 4 years. If you buy a comprehensive health insurance now, then you can avail maternity benefits after a few years when you will start your family. You can also cover your newborn under your health insurance policy.

Sixth PillarRESPONSIBILITY: Now you are not leading thebachelor life of a 27-year old Kabir who had no worries other than planning for a vacation or partying with friends. Now, you have one more responsibility added to your life, and it is your duty to take care of her. By saying this, I don’t want you to think that marriage takes away your freedom as I only want you to understand that your every action or step will have a direct impact on someone’s life. So, tread cautiously!

Seventh Pillar LOVE: Son, love is what gives strength to all the above pillars. There is no standard definition of love because for everyone the meaning of love is different. For me, love is when two people fight like cats and dogs and vent out their anger and frustration. Neither of them thinks of breaking this relationship, asthere is one invisible thread of love that unites them. Love your wife, not without her imperfections but because of them. Love her for being a part of your life. Love her for her choice— YOU.

Son, there is no such perfect marriage in this world. It’s only that two imperfect people, who have learned the art of forgiveness and grace, are working together to make their relationship beautiful and long-lasting. A happy marriage is not when you live in peace with your wife, but when you can’t live in peace without her.

Marriage is like a car. With plenty of maintenance, i.e., love and caring in this case, it will last a lifetime. Like you don’t fill fuel in your car and drive for the next 30 years, similarly, you can’t expect your marriage to run for 30 years and more without putting love as a fuel in it. As you drive down the path of life, trust your partner as your navigator to guide you around obstacles. If there is any accident, push your marriage car out of the ditch together and resume your journey. Never leave the journey midway!

I know that you will give hundred percent to the relationship because you have always been like that. But if things may not look good, come to meet your dad. We’ll sit for a drink and complain about women of our lives and how much it is difficult to live with women and how much it is difficult to live without them!

I hope you did not find this letter boring. Don’t worry; this letter is not the only gift for you. Your mother and I have bought a gift for you which is right now on your study table, waiting to get unpacked. Go, open and show it to Ramya.
Once again, welcome to the gang of husbands!
With lots of love,
Dad