It’s about a week or so since we debated about this whole concept of marriage. Isn’t it, Tharani?! And, it is still there, I mean this concept of marriage, is sitting pretty well in that corner of my head and hitting me hard every time I think about it.
I’ll tell you how it all started. I had a big question which was haunting me for no reason at all. There should be no fights after marriage, between people who knew each other and were head over heals in love with each other before getting married. Okay.. That’s pretty Utopian. At least lesser fights, right? That was the fleeting thought. I call it ‘fleeting’ ‘cos I knew most of the friends who didn’t go through the arranged marriage route were fighting more or less like us, who had not even seen each other before our engagement. Does that mean their love has diminished after they got married? ‘Cos I knew most of them would fight very little before marriage happened.
That’s when I decided to ask about it to our ‘Love guru cum Marriage counselor’ Tharani. Does the love diminish after marriage to make for more vociferous fights or does the normal monotonous daily life take over what was originally called ‘head on heals over love’ and all that? That was my question. And, you know how crisp Tharani’s reply was. Just like that spicy potato chips from the local Hot Chips guy. (Sorry. Bad one that!) All she said was, ‘Love is a drug!’ Hah.
Thinking more and talking about it to various people gave me only more questions than answers. Again, nothing new. Tharani feels that before marriage, there is always the option of a ‘break up’ which somehow translates to being a very difficult option after marriage. It becomes the dreaded D word. Divorce. So, insecurity before marriage makes for lesser fights. And, security after it makes for more fights. I mean, whatever happens you still have to remain in the marriage, right?
Now, this morning I was discussing about this whatever happens with someone. Why is marriage such a rigid concept? Because it provides security. To whom? To both the parties in question. Why do we dread ‘divorce’? Because divorce might lead to lack of marital discipline. When can we divorce? Only when there are ‘extreme’ reasons and the marital discipline is compromised. What exactly is marital discipline? That the husband and wife be together in sickness and in health and till death does them apart. Who defined this marital discipline? That is how it has been for ages. There.. The final straw. I do it because my ancestors did it. Right.
Now, my problem is also the ‘extreme’ reasons given for a divorce. Generally ‘extreme’ is taken to be physical abuse. I agree that then divorce is the only solution. This morning I was listening to a story about a lady who’s been married for twenty five years and has a daughter. She’d taken care of her MIL who was sick for the last ten years or so without a hint of complaint. She learns Yoga to keep herself occupied. Yesterday, when she was leaving for her Yoga classes, her husband just comments offhandedly that in the North only rich ladies learn Yoga. They’ve got lots of money and hence to splurge on something, they go around ‘having fun’ calling it Yoga. She says such kind of sly remarks are a trademark of her husband and giving ear to it will only lead to arguments. Imagine she’s been with this guy for a major part of her life and still continues to be with him. In this case, can we call marriage a security? Isn’t it more a liability? Isn’t she compromising on her happiness just for the sake of ‘what other people might think if I end it?’ question?
Now, take another example. The husband and the wife are pretty nice people. But.. they have no interest in marriage or love for each other. They live together because they are married. They have kids because they are married. Now, is this the right reason for a divorce? According to me, it is. Why do we get married? To be happy. What’s the relationship worth when you can’t even get that happiness out of it? But, that’s not how this concept of marriage operates. This reason is such a flimsy one to ask for a divorce. Such reasons are against marital discipline. We need extreme reasons to get out of a relationship. Who cares about compromising on happiness?! Right.
So, is it okay to divorce if the coffee is not hot or the bedsheet’s got creases? I am sure you’d not want me to answer that question. All I am trying to say is each of us go through very different situations. A one-size-fits-all marriage can never fit the bill. I am waiting for a day when divorce will not be seen as an aberration but just an occurrence in the life of two people. And, these occurrences are left to be dealt with by the people involved in it and not become a spectacle of judgement for others. And, that is when marriage will let go of its tag called ‘security’ and take on a new meaning called ‘happiness’.