After 9 months of searching, over 500 entries and many days of deliberation and discussion among our panel, we have finally found the very deserving winners of the Change Starts at Home ‘Most Understanding Couple’ Campaign: Pramila and Ribraj.
Pramila and Ribraj live together with their three young children, a disabled brother and elderly parents in Bhandara, Chitwan. With the responsibility of looking after the needs of so many family members, one can only imagine how busy this couple must be. And yet, despite this, they always find time for each other and, luckily for us, also time to speak to our Change reporter about what it takes to be the most understanding couple in Nepal.
Like many couples, Pramila and Ribraj were brought together by their family members. Ribraj was working away from home in Pokhara, when he received a call from his father telling him that they had found a girl who they thought would be suitable for him. Ribraj, being a thoughtful person, told his father that it would be best if the family met the girl first. He was concerned that if he went to see the girl and her family rejected him, then her reputation could be questioned by others in her community. His parents agreed and went to meet the girl, Pramila, on his behalf. After their first meeting, Ribraj’s parents were immediately taken by the warm, friendly and humble nature of Pramila. They passed along their thoughts to Ribraj, who met her soon after and was equally impressed.
Once Ribraj had decided he wanted to marry Pramila, he was open and honest with her, about everything, from the very start. He told her that he didn’t come from a well-to-do family, that his parents were old and would need a lot of looking after and that his brother was disabled and dependent on others for everything including feeding, cleaning and mobility. Marrying Ribraj would mean that she would have to share his responsibilities and face hardships with patience and endurance. Pramila was touched by the honesty and straightforwardness of Ribraj. She also admired his commitment and love for his family and hoped then that if this man loved and treated his family so well, then he would love and treat her with the same commitment and respect. That was all 17 years ago and they have been married ever since.
Pramila: Back in those days, the boy and girl didn’t talk much to each other before getting married. Most of the things would have been decided by the family. But when we talked to each other he told me his familial situation. He was very open and honest about it. I told him that I wanted to continue my studies after marriage and he said he would not stop me pursuing my education. His love and dedication for his family was what I admired the most about him. I knew then that I would also get the same love and dedication, if I were his wife.
Ribraj: I remember her telling me that she wanted to continue her studies. I promised her that I would support her with her studies even if I had to work harder.
Pramila: I finished my year 12 after I got married and also joined university. But soon after, I started having health issues. He was scared that I would die and that was when I dropped out of university. I didn’t want go back when I had recovered my health.
Ribraj: When I have to think about things that I like about her, I wouldn’t know where to begin. She doesn’t have an easy life. She has to look after my disabled brother, 3 kids and my old parents, yet she never complains. She is always smiling and putting on a brave face. She brightens our home with her vibrant personality, and that’s what happiness is.
Pramila: The quality that I admire the most about him is that he never gets angry. He is a very happy person. Another thing that I love about our relationship is that he is very honest and has never lied to me about anything. Although, sometimes when he goes out, he loses track of time and stays out. His parents start worrying and I have to cover for him. This would be the only one thing that I don’t like about him!
Ribraj: There isn’t a thing that I dislike about her. Why would I? She has loved and accepted me and my family with all the struggle and hardship without any complaints or grief. Sometimes, I feel like maybe I haven’t been able to return her love back as much as I should. I don’t think I will ever be able to return the love and affection she has shown towards me and my family.
Pramila: I think he has showered me with all the love and respect that I need. We have been married for such a long time and yet till this date I do not know what conflict or disagreement between a husband and wife is. We are always working together. Whenever, I am working around the house, he always helps me. He helps me with the washing. If I am feeding the kids, then he will feed his brother. He looks after the family member as much as I do. Some days, if I have to go out of the house for a meeting then I leave the housework for him, and he finishes them. I don’t feel like I am restrained to the house. I am able to do and get involved in anything as I please. He never restricts me. Everyone has responsibilities, and I do not get fazed by them. Money is not important, self-satisfaction and contentment is more important. I am here because of his support and he is here because of my support – that support is the most important thing in any relationship.
Ribraj: Communication is also very important in a relationship. A husband and wife should talk openly with each other and share everything. We do everything only after talking to each other. For example: before we start farming, we discuss what crops we will be sowing. If one season we don’t get enough return, we don’t stress about it, we will just let it go and hope for a better return next time. If one of us got angry just because of one bad return then of course there would be fights and disagreement. But we are both easygoing and don’t fret about small things. We just support each other and carry on, that’s what makes our relationship strong and free of any troubles.
Pramila: We work together as a team. We make all the financial planning and decisions together. We both have control over our family income. We don’t keep anything separate. This is why we never have misunderstanding or disagreement.
Ribraj: I have never known us to fight with each other. Whenever there is tension, I start laughing and then she starts laughing – all the trouble just disappears.
Pramila: We have never fought as far as I remember.
Ribraj: Sometimes I try and tease her by telling her about some girls who used to like me in the past. I do that to get some reaction out of her, just for fun. She never gets irritated. That is how strong our relationship is, we never doubt each other.
Pramila: He has never lied to me about anything. He always shares everything with me. Even in the past when he used to work in logistics, he used to meet many different kinds of people. He used to come home and tell me everything. And now, he just stays at home and works with me, why would I doubt him or be suspicious? I trust him totally.
Ribraj: I really don’t understand what happens between other couples. I don’t know if they don’t talk to each other or they just make a big deal out of some small issues. I have no idea why other couples fight. I cannot relate to it since I have never experienced that in my relationship.
Pramila: I think most of the conflicts that arises between a husband and wife is due to lack of trust between them. If one person in the couple doesn’t trust the other one, then that’s how a situation escalates and fosters misunderstanding. I have seen couples leaving their home just because of a small misunderstanding. And when they later reflect on things, it turns out it was just miscommunication. You just don’t make irrational decisions over small misunderstandings, which is why I think talking to each other is essential. What everyone needs to understand is no one is perfect and to be happy in life we should not worry over small things. Every problem has a solution. Both husband and wife have to work together for a relationship to sustain – one cannot do without the other. I am just very happy that we are both so easy going. We don’t really need to worry about anything because there is so much trust between us. He said that sometimes he feels like he hasn’t reciprocated my devotion towards his family, but I know, in my heart, that he has.
This is what the Most Understanding Couple looks like. No matter how much Ribraj and Pramila show their love, affection and devotion towards each other; they both want to show more. When we search for elements which strengthens the bond between a husband and wife, then often it is said that love, understanding, trust and respect for each other is required. Even though this couple have managed to balance all those elements in their relationship, they haven’t forgotten to keep it simple and have some fun. They show us that even through difficult times, couples need to laugh with each other. They have a blinding faith towards each other, which is powered by trust and good communication.
Pramila and Ribraj have been able to set a very good example of the perfect couple by sharing their story with us – a story that exemplifies that life is full of complications and hardships, but when a couple have found an unwavering devotion and trust for each other, then anything is possible. When we heard Pramila and Ribraj’s story, one that has lasted 17 years with hardly a cross word between them, we knew we had found the winners of ‘The Most Understanding Couple’ competition. Congratulations to them both and may their love continue to grow and inspire others!
If you want to share your story of being an understanding couple or you have any comments about what Pramila and Ribraj have to say then please send us your comments either via facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChangeStartsAtHome, our 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.