We all grow up thinking and fantasizing about that day when we will get married to someone truly made for us. When that day arrives, it’s nothing short of being just perfect! Right from the clothes to kind of lights, decorations, music, ambience, people; it’s all about making the day wonderful and amazing.
Just being with that special someone, paints our life in a different hue. Some people find differences attractive and some revel in the similarities they share with their partners. At some point or the other in our lives, we do feel the need to find an anchor to hold us steady. But if marriage is the next and most obvious step to legitimize and sanctify the relationship, then what changes afterward?
Those who have been able to sustain their marriage, would probably know what it takes to hold on. Yet there are people, who enter this institution with fancy ideas, but can never understand the institution itself.
Marriage is like entering a new phase of life, a new beginning, and for some a phase of life they want to get out of, a life to be forgotten. Marriage is not just about giving a name to a long standing or heartfelt relationship. It’s about acknowledging that, you and I both have our own feelings, fantasies and expectations from this union and mine need to be fulfilled as much as yours. It’s about acknowledging that I may or may not change as a person and that you don’t need to be extraordinary yourself. Yet, some are still eluded by the pleasures of a happy married life and they find divorce closer to their hearts and sense of being.
If reasons like need for security, need for affection, appreciation, etc are the criteria to let someone enter this seemingly comfortable, yet complex institution, then perhaps the same reasons stem the departure from it as well. Whatever the broader reason may be –incompatibility, improper communication, infidelity, dissatisfaction etc, they all ultimately stem from the individual person himself.
The human mind and heart are both inexplicably restless as the existential quest to add meaning into our lives is never ending. The concepts by which we define our lives rapidly undergo a change in this fast paced world. What makes us happy at one moment, changes the next minute. It is the same restlessness that reduces the lifelong bond of marriage to a thought of a fickle minded child, and, it does not end here. Instead of learning from our past experience to try and make the future a little better, we cement the “I haven’t found my Mr or Mrs Right....” ideology leading us into a vicious circle of marriages and divorces. From one broken marriage to another, one divorce to another, some people can never know where they want to settle and how much of 'being secure' is actually secure.
As the relationship progresses, so do the needs and expectations. The understanding and fulfillment of those very needs and expectations is what keeps a relationship going. But, there are some souls who remain eternally dissatisfied from every relationship making marriage even more stifling. Perhaps when the partner has exhausted all the resources and energies on you and still you frown, it’s time to call it quits.
What really changes is the perception of the self and the partner and that change is neither noticed nor acknowledged. Traits, behaviors and habits that were once found to be attractive are now frowned upon. The number of phone calls that used to signify deep care and concern, suddenly begin to breach our privacy and space. Taking our partner for granted, comes easily to some and there are others who feel the relationship has lost its sheen.
It’s not about what marriage does to you always, but what you do to your marriage as well .It’s about two individuals sharing a life and not just the mere fulfillment of one person’s needs. Some people expect too much but give not even an iota of themselves to the relationship. Some are too rigid to let the winds of change affect them. Others can never trust their partners enough as their insecurities, fears and inadequacies overshadow their ability to see their partners as separate, living and not mere breathing individuals. There are plenty of reasons to mark the beginning of a cycle of suffocation, irritation, suspiciousness, nagging and dissatisfaction finally leading to a divorce.
Some people might make divorce a way of life, failing to realise that the reflection in the mirror is a mere projection of themselves and not who they really are. In this ever changing world of today, it’s easy to hide behind the blazing city lights and yet be enamoured by this bond. Perhaps to run away from the emptiness of their own lives, they move towards the glittering world of marriage. But how long can a relationship based on shaky and insecure foundations last?
It’s not that relationships, marriages or divorce is a complicated affair. It’s the thought behind that affair that starts getting complicated. Those who cannot change themselves, attempt to change the situation because changing their own selves would probably affect their sense of identity and way of living. Perhaps, it’s easier to take flight from an unexpected situation than to stand up and fight it out. For some, stability is all that they want from their partners and themselves while some find instability quite stable. Whatever the choice may be, it’s all about the perspective we take. The only thing that is different for a married man or woman and someone divorced, is perspective.
Contributors: Dr Amitabha Saha, Senior Psychiatrist and Psychologist Ms Damini Grover, Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital.
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