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Happily ever after: Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar

As reports of celebrity marriages falling apart continue to abound, Saira Banu, who’s been married to Dilip Kumar for four decades, explains how to keep love alive and everlasting . Even the most successful marriage needs work. Here are Saira’s tips.

entertainment Updated: Jul 14, 2012 14:08 IST
Hindustan Times

There is no universal recipe for achieving success in any personal relationship. In my opinion all relationships demand a good measure of nurturing. Why do brothers and sisters who’ve grown up together, fall apart? And why do children have conflicts with their own
parents? It is simply because each one of us has our own individualistic traits, making it difficult to achieve perfect understanding and harmony. I would say that it actually takes a lot more to achieve stability in a marriage than happiness, because it is a relationship that involves a deeper need for love, respect and understanding.

If it weren’t for my mother Naseem Banuji’s guidance, I wouldn’t have evolved into the woman I am today. She taught me to be not just a good, caring wife, but also to respect my husband’s love for his own family and give him the space he needs.

Appaji used to point to the logs in the fireplace at our house in London and say, “To keep the fire burning brightly, you have to keep the logs close enough to keep warm, but far enough for breathing space. For a family to stay happily together, the same rule applies.”

I still am head over heels in love with my Kohinoor, Yousuf Sahab. So I understand the wisdom in Appaji’s words. When you are deeply in love, you become possessive and cramp the space. Our marriage has survived the ups and downs of four decades. I wonder if any marriage is perfect and flawless. As human beings, our lives are not perfect and God has his way of testing now and then.

Even the most successful marriage needs work. Here are Saira’s tips

* For a marriage to last, there has to be an element of quiet sacrifice and deep adoration from at least one partner.

* There has to be respect for each other’s sentiments and beliefs so that no one is hurt, even in jest, particularly in family matters.

* You have to be brave and have faith in the power of your own love, to tide over a crisis with dignity and composure.

* You must find contentment and happiness for your own selves. If you don’t have kids, like us, become kids yourselves! Pamper each other to the hilt.

* Develop a healthy sense of humour so that prickly situations are overcome with laughter, rather than bitterness.

* Value each other and accept your shortcomings, because all of them make you and your partner the individuals you are.

* Be grateful to God for his blessings. Not a day passes in my life when I haven’t thanked Allah for giving me a Kohinoor called Dilip Kumar.

And finally, know that you can get back in life only what you give to others. Give happiness to everyone around you and God will never let you feel the absence of happiness in your life. I believe and practice this fully, just as I have seen my grandma and my mother do.

First Published: Jul 14, 2012 13:42 IST