On the eastern side of the district of Chitwan lies Tandi. One of the fastest growing cities in Nepal, and home to people from across the country who, it is said, have migrated there from all 75 districts of the country.
Picturesque and panoramic, the city has in the past been a sight of tension and conflict between different ethnic groups. However, it is also a place of love and understanding as embodied by two of the cities inhabitants – Bedraj and Radhika – who have been selected as one of the finalists for the Samajhdari radio program’s ‘Most Understanding Couple’ campaign. The campaign started 9 months ago, with the task of finding couples who embody the program’s goals of promoting respect, love and understanding between husband and wife. Amongst over 500 entries, the story of Bedraj and Radhika stood out as a young couple who in just over one year of marriage have found a balance in their relationship that some take a life time to achieve.
Bedraj is a teacher who is also completing his Master’s Degree at Sahid Smriti Campus, while Radhika is a full-time student at the same University. Their story starts just over 2 years ago when the couple were introduced by their common friends. They started talking to each other and soon started their relationship. After a year they got married with the full blessings from both their parents and now rent a small place together in Tandi.
For many couples, the first year of marriage can be one of the hardest times they face as the dreams of what married life will be like meet the reality of everyday pressures and expectations. Yet, 15 months in to their marriage, Bedraj and Radhika appear blissfully content with each other and their lives together. So what is the secret of their success? We spoke to Radhika and Bedraj to find out more….
Radhika: A harmonious relationship comprises of two individuals whose souls are matched. There also needs to be mutual agreement on decision making and mutual consent more generally is also very important. Communication plays a vital role in any relationship and both husband and wife should share everything with each other.
Bedraj : They say marriage is a unity of two souls. In any marriage, trust is the most important element. When we talk about understanding between couples, then there should be understanding in everything from daily activities to emotional support and physical presence in each other’s lives. As a couple we work together doing household work, we discuss everything with each other including financial decisions – we even opened bank accounts that we both have access to. We do not hide anything from each other. We are constantly talking to each other about our social life and families. She advises me to look after my relatives and I remind her to do the same. We always talk to each other before making any sort of decisions. Sometimes we might have disagreements but we work to find a middle ground that we both can agree upon.
Radhika: (Before getting married) we dated each other for a year. Slowly, we started realizing that we had many things in common and started to fall in love and eventually we got married. That year was long enough for me to know that he was the right person for me. I found him very funny, which I liked very much at the start. Later on, as time went by, I started doubting if he was actually serious about me, as he seemed to take everything lightly. But now, I have come to realize that he can be serious about things that are actually important in life, which I admire a lot.
Bedraj: You know it has only been 15 months since we got married and some may say that’s too soon to say anything about the relationship. But as the saying goes – first impression is the last impression. We are still in the learning phase of the relationship. But even in this small period of time together, we have found we are in a strong relationship where our values, opinions and beliefs are very similar. We may not have been together for long and cannot say anything for sure about the future at this stage, but I can definitely say that we have started our journey with mutual love and understanding for each other, which will go a long way. Morning shows the day after all.
Radhika: We have a very good and understanding relationship. We share everything with each other and we do not make any decisions without talking to each other first. We do have small arguments here and there. I am studying and sometimes I get lazy which he dislikes. During those times we argue, but I know he is only encouraging me to work hard for my own good.
Bedraj: Conflict between husband and wife arises if a husband or wife doesn’t understand the feelings and desires of their spouse. Also, if the couple is not transparent about their financial dealings then this can also create misunderstanding between them. Another important aspect of a relationship is intimacy and sex. For this, it is very important for both husband and wife to understand and respect each other’s feelings and desires. We are both happy with that aspect of our life – I always try to understand her needs, wishes and desires and we only have sex with consent.
Radhika: We always openly talk to each other about everything. For example, we have decided that we will not start having children until I finish my studies and get a job. We have a very intimate relationship and he pays attention to my needs and desires. I can tell he is interested when he starts teasing me and giving me indications that he would like to have sex. We have a very healthy and consensual relationship.
Bedraj: I am content with my life. We are both very happy together. I know some days are harder than most, but with her by my side, I feel life will always be a bliss. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than her and working hard to make her happy has been my topmost priority in life. I believe that we can achieve anything we want in life as long as we have each other.
Talking to Radhika and Bedraj it is clear that since they first met, they have not stopped talking and working together to maintain a balanced and harmonious relationship, getting to know each other, finding out about each other’s likes and dislikes and taking time to understand the feelings, emotions and desires of the other. The couple have decided together that the most important thing for them is to finish their studies for now and look for better employment opportunities before starting a family. Balancing these commitments is never easy, but Radhika and Bedraj don’t mind this struggling phase of their lives since they have each other to lean on for support. They are a reminder that it is ok to be careful and sparing now, if it means that they will have a bright future to look forward to.
Even though the couple started their journey together little more than two years ago, the Samajhdari radio team felt that they deserved a place amongst the ‘Most Understanding Couple’ finalists as they already have a good grasp of what it means to have a relationship full of mutual love and respect for each other. What Radhika and Bedraj have between them shows us all that we can be content in life if we focus on what is important and not worry about the petty things.
This couple has a long way to go in this ever changing life and they will certainly go through good as well as bad days. But if they continue to look at their life with positivity, and work together to keep a relationship full of love, understanding, intimacy and bliss then we have no doubt that they will go far and will continue to be a ‘most understanding couple’.
If you think you are an understanding couple or you have any comments about what Radhika and Bedraj have to say then please send us your comments either via facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChangeStartsAtHome , our blog website https://change-starts-at-home.com/ or our twitter account @changestartsww
The Samajhdari Radio Program is part of the Change Starts at Home project, which is designed, developed and implemented in Nepal by Equal Access International. The project is funded by What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women, a DFID funded global programme to prevent violence against women and girls.