Appreciating The Differences

Ruth Davidar Paul   |   February 18, 2020 

After marriage, one generally discovers new aspects of one’s spouse. Some are positive, others negative, and still others darn right peculiar! The trick is to learn what to alter and what to leave alone. It’s a fine line, believe me!

I have known my husband for more than 10 years now, and been married to him for almost all of them. And one of the first things I learned about him—or rather, a way in which we differ—is his absolute horror of celebrating birthdays and my ridiculous excitement in celebrating them! Needless to say, this has led to some interesting moments in our marriage over the last decade. He can be quite pig-headed when he wants to be and I can be rather spiteful when I want to be, so there were definitely “moments”.

It took us ten years to learn that we would be happier celebrating our own birthdays the way we preferred rather than trying to live up to the other’s expectations. That seems like a fairly simple solution, but believe me it took several years of trying every possible wrong option before we arrived at this one.

So now, on my birthday, he buys me gifts, while on his birthday, I do not! That is his birthday present – no presents, cake, party, etc. This has saved me having to fret to buy the perfect gift – which I used to agonise over for months. Eventually I realised that it’s not that he didn’t appreciate whatever I got for him (given his lack of enthusiasm over any gift); rather he appreciated anything and everything I did and just because I did it on a certain date, did not make it any more special to him. On the other hand, he has realised that I do enjoy receiving gifts on a specific day of the year, and the thought that he made the effort to get me something—his thoughtfulness—means more to me than the gift itself. So he makes it a point to get me something each year.

One thing I have learned is to not assume that having personal expectations automatically qualifies them as right or correct. My expectations do not match his; his do not correlate with mine. But that does not imply that he or I is right and the other, wrong. Rather, it just means we have different temperaments. The fact remains that I am still married to an amazing man—despite his aversion for birthdays—and I would not change that for the world!


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

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Ruth Davidar Paul is a freelance editor, writer, and recently, an artist. She has lived in several cities across India and currently calls Chennai home, where she lives with her husband Abhishek and their children Abigail, Jordan, and Amy. She blogs at and paints @quaintstains on Instagram.

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