Thursday, December 4, 2014

Marriage isn't for a lifetime.

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A woman married for 14 years to a man who never respected her or earned her respect. He never had a job or shared responsibilities. He lied about his educational qualification and his family supported him just to get him married. She ran the household. She took care of her girl-child. She put up with his egoistic tantrums. But after 14 long years of her life, she decided to call it quits. But isn’t marriage supposed to be a relationship of a lifetime?

My last post was about my own blissful years of marriage. Very ironically this one is pondering over whether there is a justified time and reason to walk out of a marriage. No, there’s no storm brewing in my life. But when you come across people who carry on being married even though it is unendurable, one does stop to think. 

I always believe that if it doesn’t work out between two people, it’s just better for them to find happiness elsewhere. But what is that limit? What determines that it isn’t working out. And how far along do you wait before giving it all up? Are there times when staying married is worse than giving it up, no matter how sacred the institution? 

Yes, there are. 

In popular perception of our times, marriage as a tie is at its tenuous best - thanks to DINK couples and all the stress they go through. It’s just too much effort to live up to the expectations that keep this bond going. It is quite possible that it might not work out between the spouses. 

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The first reason, to me, is lack of respect for the spouse. If the spouses don’t love or care for each other anymore, the whole point of being in a marriage is futile. Being together is to be able to share ones good and bad times. And if that isn’t possible anymore in a relationship, it is best to let go. 

As if the complications of making it work between two people isn’t enough, marriage is very much a function of families and the society. And both these institutions - family and society - could be responsible for keeping two people yoked together. 

I have seen some of my own friends go through a bad marriage because their parents wouldn’t hear of anything else. Girls in our country are always taught that it is their duty to gel into their new family. They are trained to look after everyone and not expect in return. This becomes her undoing since she becomes incapable of standing up for herself. The boundaries of tolerance are pretty wide. Hence, it takes a long time to realise how much is too much. But lack of support from parents is still a a big reason why they just carry on with their marriage. 

Even though this is common for women, I also know men who just stick to their unhappy marriage because their parents think that just living together gives respectability in the eyes of the society. They would not bear to compromise on that. And this is irrespective of the fact that their own children live through suffering. 

There is also a lot of “what will people say!” So people just choose to stay unhappy as long as they can maintain the facade of being happily married. 

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But whatever the reason, I think only the two people involved in a relationship should have the freedom and the right to decide to call it off. In many cases, marriage is not a lifetime of love. And it is better to accept that for the good of all the people involved. To use the liberty to go out there and find your happiness with someone else more suited to you. 

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