Modern marriages, no child's play

With the graph of marital disputes and separation consistently on the rise, it is imperative for match-seekers to exercise caution and proceed with discretion rather than get swayed by extraneous aspects when finding a partner.

Irrespective of whether marriages are made in heaven or it is a game of the blind, the would-be spouses need to see beyond what they are given to understand, and not be overwhelmed by such considerations as facial complexion and features, financial backing or the hefty pay package.

In our age of presentation, most people have groomed their demeanour and honed their skills to show only the best of themselves. A fair analysis of broken or unhappy marriages can also reveal valuable insights to the new aspirants to learn how things fall apart.

Ever concerned about the welfare of their children, marrying them off suitably continues to be a religious and moral duty of Indian parents, who lose their sleep when the daughter crosses 25 or the son is around 30.

So far, partner selection for a son or a daughter lay primarily in the parental domain; they could do it with ease with the cooperation of close relatives and friends. In many cases, parents gave words years ahead of marriage and no fingers were raised against such agreements due to underlying trust.

With the loss of warmth in relations, families now have relatively isolated lifestyle. The kith and kin no more bring marriage proposals and, barring the workplace, one usually depends on matrimonial and social networking sites to seek a partner, which have their own risks in the absence of antecedents not easily verifiable.

The information available through these sites need heavy screening since over 70% of the stuff posted online is false, fabricated, presents only a rosy side and suppresses material truths. Little wonder then, many undiscerning partner-seekers become victim to mischievous hands or sex rackets.

Blurring the judgement of marriageable youth is the illusion that entry into the eligibility zone implies that they are competent enough to decide and choose a life partner. The media, the state machinery, leaders and others, all tend to inculcate, nurture and buttress a feeling that a person is the best judge to decide about his/her partner and it is his/her primary, if not exclusive, right.

Apropos of the oft-repeated refrain in popular TV serials that revolve around love themes, “It is my life and, therefore, my prerogative to choose the partner I want.” Faith in parental and elderly wisdom is on the decline and their opinion is welcome so long as it is not in conflict with their children’s.

The irony of this age of flamboyance, when one is often on cloud nine, is the difficulty to understand that there are certain dimensions of life that can be sensed only in mature years.

Parental advice
“By the time a man realises that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he is wrong,” said American musician Charles Wadsworth. No wonder, many failed marriages would have had a different story if only parental advice was honoured.

Assuming for a while that one is mature and capable enough to decide the solemn issue of choosing a life partner, why cannot one do without the traditional gifts and, above all, blessings from same parents whose aspirations were ruthlessly smothered.

Indian culture treats marriage as an instrumentality for the bigger purpose of procreation with discipline and values, and not an end in itself for indulgence.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery shares a similar view, “Loving is not just looking at each other, it is looking in the same direction,” suggesting that marriage is not a destination per se but a platform to move somewhere. This, precisely, is the issue that needs to be addressed – more than the compatibility with the partner – for tenability and happiness in conjugal life.

It is not love, for sure, that begins with promises of eternal togetherness, but evanesces once the duo have to part for a brief period.

Of the partners considering marriage as a target, driven by myopic, sensuous urge, Terri Orbuch, the therapist and author of Finding Love Again, says: “They think, once things settle down, once he gets a job or we live together, things will change. He will not do this or that. She will be different... They assume the problems they’re having are a result of them not living together.”

Labelling the unwilling parents orthodox or ingratitude towards them is not going to make married life of overassertive children happier, but their blessings certainly do. At the same time, parents need to develop a conciliatory stance for the sake of their own peace.

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