“Enough is enough! It’s been two years; I can’t take it anymore. Divorce seems the only way out. But when I think of the kids I get cold feet”. Vinay said this, his eyes brimming with tears.
This is the story of my dear friend Vinay. Vinay and Reema had married 10 years ago with a lot of pomp and fair. They were fond of each other since college. Initially the families were not ok with the alliance, but their love convinced all. It took almost four years, but they finally got married with everyone’s blessings. On their wedding day their happiness knew no bounds. And why not, that day had come after so many struggles.
They had an ordinary married life. They had two lovely children and were a picture of marital bliss and harmony. Over the years Vinay and I had managed to stay in touch and speak occasionally. But recently due to time constraints and because of our very different jobs, he being an army man and I part of the corporate race, we hadn’t spoken for quite some time. A few weeks ago I travelled to Vinay’s city and managed to catch up with him. The two of us had a lot to discuss, from the good old days of college to our busy current lives. Vinay seemed a little sad when speaking about his family and he happened to mention that he was considering separating from his wife.
The first few years were full of love and happiness, but as the years wore on their relationship lost the love and respect. Their behaviour towards each other changed as did expectations. The small disagreements turned into big arguments every day. Vinay felt Reema didn’t love him anymore. She changed from attentive caring woman to a dissatisfied complaining one. Initially Vinay didn’t realise what was happening, but soon her behaviour told him she wasn’t happy with him. According to him he tried everything to better the situation but after the daily fights and arguments, divorce seems to be the only solution.
There are many couples like Vinay and Reema, who start off the marriage very happy but the matters take a turn for the worse, often ending up in divorce. In India marriage was once thought of as a sacred commitment between two souls not only for the current life but for seven births. Today these relationships are very delicate and seem to not last even a few years. Divorce is seen as the only and best way to handle not so perfect marriages.
Marital disharmony, fights and divorces have become so commonplace today. The essence of love and sacrifice in relationships is eroding away. All relationships need love to survive, as does a marriage. If there is no love, there is no bond and the relationship weakens. Love is the secret ingredient. It’s like sugar that sweetens any drink. Traditionally in the Indian society the woman is deemed to be the thread that binds all relationships. She is expected to embody love, sacrifice and commitment required to maintain the varied relationships that co-exist in a family setup. If man is in charge of work and providing for the family, the woman is in charge of keeping the family together.
Whether its two people who decide to marry after having a long relationship, or an arranged marriage where everything is done after matching horoscopes and family details, problems affect every marriage. In the early years all seems rosy as the couple concentrates on each other’s good traits. But soon the small things that they don’t like about each other start bothering them. And in some cases these things blow up in proportion where the husband and wife can’t stand each other. According to a national survey only 1.2 % of the couples interviewed said that they have never fought.
So the question arises what changes a loving happy relationship into one where there is hate, disrespect and contempt between the spouses. Sometimes to this extent that the person seems blind to even the good things in his/her spouse. According to some psychologists, if you put the physical relationship aside, marriage and friendship are very similar in nature. we have many and different kind of friendships. Our relationship with each friend is different. Some friends you go out for movies with, some friends help you at workplace and sometimes some friends like family, help you in good and bad times. After marriage when you treat your spouse as your best friend, you are looking at him/her to replace so many of your different friends. That leads to the biggest problem. We expect one person to be a replacement for so many. We expect too much.
No marriage is perfect. Problems will arise, but how equipped and ready we are to handle the challenges makes all the difference. If tackled with maturity and understanding all relationships can be saved.
The key word for couples trying to survive marriage is compromise. Both have to be ready to adjust a little. Be it what food to eat for dinner, or what to watch on television? What work is important? From the biggest to the smallest decisions made together as a couple each individual might have a strong opinion. Often when the individual wants to make independent decisions and not take into consideration the partners wish the relationship starts going downhill.
Spouses that are mature and thoughtful and work to lessen the stress caused in their relationships lead more content lives. Prevention of these feelings of discontent and ego is the best way to maintain cordial relationships. If you can see the long term picture and not react to everything about your spouse that you don’t like, you find it easier to love and respect your spouse and your marriage
According to traditional Indian culture, love is not mental or physical compatibility. Love refers to selfless service. If the wife’s love is dependent on how much money husband gives her, or the man’s love is dependent on how well she cooks, it is not love, it is an arrangement, a deal. Love in its purest form is selfless. The man’s happiness should lie in the woman’s happiness and vice versa. Even if in giving the partner that happiness you go through some stress. There are so many examples in our classical indian literature: Nal- Damyanti, Satyavan-Savitri, Pandav-Draupadi and many more.
If in a marriage one partner sacrifices and the other only takes that leads to exploitation. Both people involved have to give and take. And that’s why the selfless love where your love for your partner makes you put them first is the only love that can survive. Enthusiastic but selfish love never lasts. Marriages that succeed need mature and selfless love. That is the only way to a happy married life.
Reproduced from Sri Niketan Krishna Prabhu’s blog, timeofintrospection.blogspot.com.