On choices, nagging and unpredictability of life. Blog marathon post 16

A discussion I had with a friend sparked off an interesting thought in my mind. She was very surprised to know that I do not object to my spouse smoking. (He is a smoker).
"But why don't you stop him? Why do you allow him to smoke?" She asked, genuinely surprised and stunned perhaps that there indeed exist wives in this world who 'let' their husbands smoke!

What interested me was the choice of words--"letting" and "allowing" your spouse to do something.

It's usually children who are 'allowed' and 'not allowed' certain things.

I told my friend that my husband is an adult and smoking is a choice he makes. He knows enough to decide what is good and not good for him.  I do believe that one of the worst things spouses can do is nag the other about something.

I think a good marriage is one where a spouse respects the other. One cannot act like a protective parent in a marriage. If you act like a protective parent, be prepared to deal with a rebellious teen.

The fact is nobody knows what will happen even in the next one hour. A few months back my cousin's wife dropped down dead ( a massive cardiac arrest) at the age of 36, leaving behind two kids who are seven and five. She neither smoked nor drank.

Another close friend's first cousin went through a similar tragedy. Her spouse who was 41 dropped down dead on his way to the bathroom. He neither smoked nor drank and was a pure vegetarian too.

A friend's father who was a chronic smoker lived upto the age of 75. My maternal grandfather lived upto the age of ninety two or so and he smoked too.

Yes, I am aware of the dangers of smoking.
I am also aware that life is very unpredictable.

What matters is how you live each day.
Be grateful if you have lived today well. Say a little prayer of thanks if you have had happy moments of togetherness with loved ones--friends and family.

And don't try to control your spouse. If it makes them happy, let go!  Life IS short!

And  be happy  yourself too!!

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  1. Really appreciated the post. It kind of made me speechless. Remembered my aunt, she never nagged uncle on with his habit of drinking or smoking. But he too died all of sudden. Doctors never told it was because of his habits, but it was in his fate to leave all of us.

  2. This one was the best blog ... N an advise to all d couples world wide.. Live u preety..

  3. as much as I appreciate your thoughts and agree that nagging is the worst enemy in a relationship, I would have reacted exactly the way your friend did ! Yes a chronic smoker may live till 75 and a non-smoker may pass away at a tender age but that does not mean allowing better-half to squander away their health ! of-course we cannot force them to do something against their wish as admonishing/condoning will only aggravate matters;; however we don't stop trying just because it makes them happy.Cheers

  4. I have been asked the same question many times, and I have also tried explaining the concept of an 'adult' to many. But, I usually get it in return from elders on how I should try to help him leave smoking.

  5. Mmmmm. Where does caring stop and nagging start ?? Fine line isn't it. Sometimes the role of a spouse or a close friend is also to say when the person may be going wrong. Yes it is an adult adult relationship and freedom is extremely important, but the maturity of the relationship is also to be able for one person to say that it may not be good.

    Of course, every two people must make their own choices and I do agree that anti smoking culture has gone way too high (as opposed to other self inflicted health risks such as obesity, lack of exercise, etc etc).

    Lovely post - for me certainly the best of this blog marathon.

  6. Ramesh: Absolutely right and thank you for a superb comment. I would say repeating anything more than 5 times is nagging.

    Aathira; Like ramesh pointed out, there are so many more other things that outs you at risk other than smoking!

    Priya: Not exercising, using more oil in cooking, obesity, bad dietary habits--all of it is also squandering away health, like Ramesh pointed out. For a matter of argument, I could take it further and say that a parent not spending enough time with their children is harmful to the child's mental health.Someone else could say a mother drinking in front of kids is very wrong. Where does it stop? Its a matter of perception and it is highly a personal choice. I still stick to not nagging. (anything said more than 5 times is definitely nagging in my books).

    Isha: Thank you!

    Sridevi: death is not in our hands.

  7. Hmmmm. now this has made me think on whether I nag my husband... yes I do at times though not on smoking ... it may be more of a protective thought. But I agree a happy marriage is one based on a good elbow space
    ... Each one for himself and God for all..Thank you Preeti for such beautiful posts..

  8. Another wonderful post Preeti.I know how irritated I get when someone nags me so I feel others do too ,doesn't matter who it is.

  9. a personal choice indeed; happy relationship is a healthy give n take ! and totally personal.... the post throws much points to ponder

  10. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Absolutely correct !! Two things I would like to quote here. First, after reading this blog People will definitely be able to distinguish that thin line between caring & nagging and second thing I agree with is that line, over-protective parents should get ready for a rebellious teen !!

  11. Everyone needs his/her space and nagging (Especially when it’s for insignificant things) of course feels irritating and also you can’t control certain things in life but since some smokers /drinkers (Or people having any bad habit) live long and some non-smokers/teetotaller encounter unfortunate deaths, it does not mean smoking/drinking (Or any bad habit) should be adopted or considered as a good habit as it generally becomes addiction and that’s why it seems difficult to quit.

    Many people don’t find pleasure in exercising, some finds immense delight in eating oily/spicy /fast food (Many diabetic people find happiness in eating sweets), or some people find happiness in wasting time (just in fun like watching television all day, roaming here and there aimlessly etc.), sometimes people make wrong choices but their dear ones (family) cannot let it go and see just because they feel happy doing these things. Sometimes, nagging (repeating more than five times), for certain (important) things, is not that bad:)

  12. You know what preeti...this is a brillant post indeed,as it clears out the confusion between nagging n caring but I would still nag more than 5 times if needed in case of any bad habit of my dear one because in the case of smoking and drinking i am very well known to the fact that they are harmful in some way or the other.n basically both smoking and drinking(if done regularly)do reduce life expectancy.The simple logic behind nagging of every person is that they don't want to lose their dear ones n so they would like to stop any factor causing to near their death..isn't it?:-)

  13. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Awesome post Preeti.. Completely agree with you on this.. Loved it !!

  14. Wise words Preeti.

    Not being a mother to your spouse is one of the best things you can do for yourself

  15. Given I am the other part of the post I guess my view counts too for whatever its worth. I think Preeti is absolutely right here. If you are a smoker and your spouse nags you then you will hide and smoke behind her back. Which in my opinion is one of the worst things you can do. Every smoker knows it is not good for his health. I gave it up for 5 years in the middle. And that was cold turkey. She did not ask me to give it up. I just did. And I will again soon. But if she kept nagging me about it I doubt I would give it up - maybe just do it behind your back. I used to work for a choloate company sometime back. The philosophy there is to let you eat as much as you want when you join. In a short time you get sick of it and stop even though you work full time there. If people were stopped, then they would eat throughout their career. Let people have their space. Tell them a few times and leave it. After that they will change themselves. We all have our parents. Let the spouse not be another parent to you. :)

  16. Very provoking one this time Preethi . Was really lost! Well written about how martial relations rely on matured understandings and not on law order or to worst nagging! Perhaps s word or two repeated on some do's and dont's are rightfully our choice .

  17. Satish and Preeti - Thank you for being so candid and transparent about this topic. I would probably nag someone I care for deeply (like suggest to quit more than 5 times in this case) but there is a boundary which one should not cross, because if that happens, the situation worsens as Satish pointed out.

    It takes a lot of courage to accept some bad habit of your spouse or loved one.....and even greater courage to accept it publicly, so kudos to Preeti for this brilliant post. One of the best so far!

  18. Thanks Prethi for this blog.
    I appreciate a lot about your views. Marriage is not about controlling each other. Yes, true.
    But the other day , I too read in your blog 10things that annoy you and also you mentioned that none of your husband, kids do that. For eg. making noise while eating, or sipping tea by making sound. i get extremely annoyed with that. Now what would be your views? Should i control my husband for his eating manners or just 'allow' him to do since he enjoys them?

    Kinldy don't interepret as a comment to ur blog, its honest sincere confusion i come across and just get confused.

  19. Thought provoking post!!!

  20. You are so pragmatic, Preeti!!! But I am not able to accept it. Think I am so possessive over my spouse and only when he smokes. My Possessiveness just raises anger in me. But under the cover, there is a fear that smoking might cause a unrepairable loss to me. Could you justify this ?!

  21. Awesome post, it is true the compromise is necessary but you should think about each other and your family, I think the smoking is not good.

    1. Guess what--he has given up completely! And it is more than six months now :) And he did it entirely on his own. No nagging :)


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