It is my conviction that while looking down at Earth from the heavens, the One Above must be bemused by the name we earthlings have given our planet. With the human species’ obsessive preoccupation with marriage—the making, the tolerating and the breaking of it, wouldn’t a more apt name for it be Planet M?
Having been married till a couple of decades back, I am privileged to share the same bird’s eye view of this beautiful institution. Others may be bird watchers. I happen to be a couple watcher. And that talent has helped me in the marital therapy I so much enjoy doing.
After all, can you imagine how much a simple observation reveals even to the untrained eye? Who walks ahead of whom? Who smiles at the other? Who looks angry and frustrated? Above all, the chattering sound of silence…
It amuses me to see how much energy people put into chasing their dream partner; marrying her/him; getting miserable with the chosen one; divorcing the dream and once again getting on with another chase! No wonder there are as many marriages as there are divorces and as many remarriages as there are divorces after remarriage. It is almost as if the genders have made the M game their life’s preoccupation.
Someone once said something to the effect that Marriage is allabout Who tells Whom to do What, When. I would like to add another pronoun to this deadly list—How. Imagine having a partner by your side who decides everything you need to do. The arrangement works out fine until the other partner decides to call the shots. That’s when they come to me, bewildered.
The most popular clashes are in four areas and their by-products—sex, money, in-laws and religion. Very often, a couple may come in with a conflict over money, only to reveal later that the actual conflict lies in any of the above areas. The active exercising of power is as much a problem as the inability to actively exercise any power or control. Chronic warfare is as bad as paralysis of action.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not against marriage, having enjoyed a beautiful relationship myself. I am merely perplexed at the attitudinal change in the genders of today.
With both partners working and more economic power, the apple cart of society has turned. Women are less sacrificing, understanding and giving. Instead of nurturing, they demand to be nurtured themselves.
On the other hand, while ‘working woman’ is a popular term, ‘working man’ is not. And that speaks volumes for our society. With two individuals demanding the same kind of power inside a marriage, there are bound to be struggles—not for power, but to escape being ‘controlled’.
I feel that in the metros, life has become truly tough for young people. Time, or the lack of it is the big villain in any relationship. Add to that the pressure of having to balance a stressful job. Where is the time to nurture their marriage—a delicate relationship that requires a lot of time and loving each day?
As a Communicator, I see modern divorces as pre-emptive strikes to retain power or control of the relationship. I mean, how are international relationships any different from interpersonal relationships, no?
As a mature woman and a writer of romantic stories, I bemoan the passing away of the era of romance, where couples courted each other by running around trees; communicated their love by trembling of lips and promptly burst into melodious songs, Bollywood style. Will somebody please give me back the “happy ever after” era again?
I propose a shift back to those idyllic times when Love and only Love ruled every aspect of life. To love and be loved was the one pre-occupation of youngsters. And this pre-occupation brought in its wake all the wonderful prerequisites of sacrifice, loyalty, understanding, trust, care and empathy.
A marriage was sacrosanct. Partners were accepted—warts and all. Ego was unheard of. Intolerance was a foreign word. Fidelity was a given. People worked through their marriage—however much effort it took.
People actually adjusted—through thick and thin.
Ofcourse they say it’s always easier to preach than to practice.
Any guesses why I did not re-marry?