After 9 months of searching, over 500 entries and 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. Despite having to look after the needs of so many family members, they still find time for each other and, luckily for us, time to speak to our Change reporter about what it takes to be the most understanding couple in Nepal.
While working away from home in Pokhara, Ribraj received a call from his father, who told him that he had found a girl he thought was suitable for him. A thoughtful person, Ribraj told his father that it would be best if the family met the young woman, Pramila, first, concerned about possible damage to her reputation if her family rejected him. His parents agreed and went to meet Pramila on his behalf. Ribraj’s parents were immediately taken by Pramila’s warm, friendly and humble nature, and passed along their thoughts to Ribraj, who met her soon after and was equally impressed.
After deciding he wanted to marry Pramila, Ribraj was open and honest with her about everything. He told her that he didn’t come from a well-to-do family, and that his elderly parents and disabled brother would need a lot of looking after and would be dependent on others for feeding, cleaning and mobility. Marrying Ribraj would mean that she would have to share his responsibilities and face hardships with patience and endurance. Touched by his honesty and straightforwardness, as well as his dedication and love for his family, Pramila married Ribraj, knowing that if he loved and treated his family so well, that he would love and treat her with the same commitment and respect.
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 arise 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.
No matter how much the two show their love, affection, and devotion towards each other, they both continue to want to show more, making them a prime candidate for the Most Understanding Couple. Their blinding faith towards one another is powered by trust and good communication. And while this couple has had to manage the many complex elements of their relationship, they haven’t forgotten to have some fun as well. Pramila and Ribraj show us that couples need to laugh with each other, even through difficult times.
Pramila and Ribraj truly exemplify what it means to be a perfect couple. Their story illustrates that unwavering devotion and trust can overcome the many complications and hardships in life. When we heard the story of Pramila and Ribraj’s relationship 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 or our Twitter.
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.