Can couples in same profession build a successful marriage?

Most of us remember the cult classic of Hindi cinema, ''Abhiman'' that painted a not-so-happy picture of a married couple in the same profession.

We have travelled more than three decades since then. Interestingly, the subject that the film dealt with in 1973 somewhere continues to linger as a reality among couples of 2012 too. Apart from being a sacred institution, marriage can also turn into a battlefield for couples to play out and resolve their personal differences and conflicts. However, when there is a commonality in the chosen profession of the partners, this battleground can take on a different meaning.

 While some of us may continue to abide by the old adage "opposites attract", there are couples whose marriages exemplify why similarities too can strike a chord and not be always repelling. Erratic shift timings, work pressure, stress-levels and debatable salary figures are some of the salient features of every professional life. Job market in itself is a maze where people race against each other to reach a desired destination. To find your partner as one of the participants in the same race turns the maze into a game of snake-ladder. American writer and journalist, Lionel Shriver in her book Double Fault (2006) discusses the marriage of two professional tennis players that ends on a bitter note after an injury affecting the rankings of the woman player while the husband continues to scale high in his career graph. Insurmountable jealousy and competitiveness cost the couple one thing: their ''happy'' marriage.

For TV actor Debina Bonnerjee, who became a known face after her stint as ''Sita'' in the mythological serial ''Ramayan,'' her marriage to TV actor Gurmeet Chaudhary did not invite any scope for career rivalry or resentment. "The truth is we discovered a critic and a well-wisher in each other. It has happened that we have expressed our creative differences and analysed each other''s scene shots but we have done that as an exercise for our own growth and development." Respect for each other''s work and mutual understanding between partners can save the horrors of fights over who-is-better leading to an unnecessary friction in the relationship. But what if the concern is not rivalry or competition but one of maintaining discretion and secrecy? Dr. Gitanjali Sharma, psychologist and family therapist explains, "When spouses share the same profession there is a risk factor. I remember a case where a couple, both of them in the electronic media had difficulty observing secrecy about their respective channels they were working for. Lines between personal and professional space blur bringing trouble for the couple," she adds.

Marriage is not a game of players where one wins and the other sulks on the losing side. It is a relationship of equals, a relationship that grows and nurtures only when there is trust, faith and affection for each other. Vikrant Sud, a pediatrician by profession and soon to tie the knot with his long-time physician girlfriend explains why an alliance of medicine practitioners works best. "Explanation or clarification on things like extended shifts, a call at 1 in the night would not be needed when I know my partner is on the same career ship as I am and would understand me regardless. Conversation on medical cases would not have been possible had I decided to marry a girl of other profession," he adds.

 Every marriage survives the inevitable highs and lows of life but the important thing is to face the challenges together as a team. Dr. Kamal Khurana, relationship expert and marriage counsellor sums it well, "A marriage can never fail till the spirit of togetherness prevents the trigger to go off."

Same profession or different, a marriage should end with the favourite cliche "...happily ever after!"

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