Three is company

TREND SPOTTING

Three is company

Ever did the salsa? If your answer is no, maybe it’s time to start now. It might even help synchronise that shaky marriage giving you high blood pressure and troubled nights.

“Marriage is like a dance. You should know when to take a step forward, when to take a step backward and when to step sideways so that you don’t get in your partner’s way,” says Dr Rajani Nandakumar, making one wonder if she is a choreographer.

But no, this Shiamak Davar of Indian marriages is actually a trained psychologist and premarital counsellor with Bharatmatrimony.com.

First among equals
Psychological counsellors lately have some new appointments filling up their visitor registers. They are catering to young hopefuls desiring happy marriages and addressing issues rocking relationships. While India is known for its low divorce rates, research shows this is fast changing and many new factors are leading to nuptial knots coming undone.

Dr Nandakumar blames this on many factors. “In the earlier times, couples were much younger when they got married, now they are older, in established jobs and used to taking individual decisions in life. Both want to be equals in a relationship,” she says. Man-woman roles have also changed, shaking up marriage dynamics completely.

Yours, mine & ours
“In a heated argument, when my husband Madhu told me to get out of ‘his’ house, I just packed my bags and moved in with a girl friend,” says Preeti (29), who has been married for four years. “I knew he did not mean it but I wanted to show him that I was financially independent and could do it, so that he did not take me for granted next time,” she says, agreeing that her mother would have never done something like that. Preeti moved back in two days time after Madhu apologised.

“He has to realise that I live with him because I love him and I want to, and not because of any financial constraints,” she says. “We have a come a long way from the days when man was the provider and woman the nurturer,” agrees Dr Nandakumar. Also, now parents are bringing up girls with a lot of emphasis on making them independent.

“Earlier women were always asked to compromise in a relationship, even by their own parents, for the sake of a stable marriage. Now, they expect to be treated as equals and if they feel that is not happening, they ask why?” she says. Ego and personality clashes come in when the boy expects his wife to behave like his mother, not realising that she has her own aspirations. Preeti and Madhu married each other after a courtship of two years. They never had premarital counselling but Preeti feels it might have helped make the marriage smoother if they had received some guidance.

Ameeta and Joseph did go in for counselling. “I am a Hindu while he is Christian. Though I did not convert, we had both ceremonies to appease both families,” Ameeta smiles. “Before we tied the knot we had to go in for classes but I remember I went for only one. It was weird because father asked me if I practised my religion. I told him I was biologically a Hindu and had no idea how to practise it,” she says. Ameeta also had to sign a document saying she would bring up her children as Catholics. “It did not matter because we live in a patriarchal society and even if I married a Hindu all the husband’s customs would be followed,” she says.

The dreaded D word
However modern a couple might be in their thinking, Indian marriages have a greater strain factor also because divorce is still not taken as an option. That puts a greater strain on both partners to have a successful marriage. Suman and Romesh who are counting down to a March wedding are facing this. “Ours is an arranged marriage and we have known each other for just three months, so there are lots of apprehensions. We have to build up compatibility between engagement and marriage and also understand each others expectations from marriage,” says Romesh. Would a premarital counsellor help? “Maybe,” he says. Or then again, they could consider going for salsa classes.

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