Before launching her latest venture, an online matchmaking platform, Shalini Singh spent several months talking and listening to people. She wanted to know what people thought not just of commitment and partnership but also of life after the honeymoon is over.

Singh recalls a woman telling her about what seemed like just another household squirmish that involved household labour and demanding in-laws. But when there was disagreement, the woman got her parents to intervene. “It got ugly,” Singh says, “because the couple didn’t communicate. The families did.”

What could have been easily resolved became contentious with grave repercussions. Eventually, the woman agreed that it was a failure of communication—something that Singh believes is paramount for any good relationship.

“With both partners working now, there are bound to be more challenges,” Singh adds, talking of the many problems that arise when one partner shirks responsibilities and the other takes on more than what they can chew.

But the challenges are not unique to them, there are challenges in any kind of relationship: whether it’s with your parents or siblings.

What is key, Singh believes, is that the partners “must respect and trust each other, and most importantly, communicate. The way you communicate can make or break the relationship.”

What After Equality?

Singh saw her working father and homemaker mother beautifully complement each other and keep the house free of gender biases and obligations. “Even if my parents had disagreements, my brother and I didn’t experience it.”

Singh continues to see good relationships around her. “In my extended family and friends, I don’t see inequality between genders. In fact, times are changing. From boys playing cricket to girls playing with dolls, both girls and boys today are coding.”

However, the question is, what can two partners who’ve forged a relationship based on equality do to fight disharmony that often leads to a lopsided division of household responsibility?

Start with Men: Singh says just as women have learnt to fulfil certain domestic responsibilities, men can learn, too. “They should be taught to be supportive of the woman in their lives.”

For Women: Singh believes women must learn to speak up.They need to learn to not have to take ownership of everything. A lot of women want to control everything. I would like to tell them: It’s okay if dusting is not done today. It’s okay to bring food from outside. You don’t have to be a control freak. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.”

And for Men and Women: “A new-age relationship is one where both partners,” says Singh, “are willing to take responsibility”. This means that the partnership is by choice, and not under societal obligation. Trust, communication, and respect might sound like buzzwords that are thrown around, but are hallmarks of sound relationships.

The partners must then learn to speak up, express themselves, and be clear of what their expectations are from each other so that not only can they support each other in life, but also listen. “Listen to what your partner has to say,” Singh concludes. The key to a harmonious relationship, where both divide burdens, joys and sorrows, lies right there.

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