Divorce: Changing attitudes and social mores

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Divorce: Changing attitudes and social mores

Thursday, 02 November 2023 | Taruna Ardhendumauli Prasad

Every marriage is different and so are the issues that couples face; divorce sometimes is the only option to end a dysfunctional relationship

The average individual feels sufficiently prepared for marriage before getting married. But as time has gone on, they have discovered that marriage is unexpected. Although someone can learn to fly an aircraft in a classroom, does it qualify them as a pilot until they take to the air? Getting married involves a lot of similarities. A formal and social contract is made between two people, uniting their lives on an emotional, financial, and legal level. Making it successful is wholly their combined duty.

During the first three years of marriage, some general patterns of adjustment have been observed. The first six months of marriage considered the "honeymoon phase", are characterised by few serious problems and a general sense of satisfaction. The relationship in marriage gradually gets stronger day by day as it passes through different stages like romance, disillusionment, power struggle, stability and till the stage of lasting commitment.

The idea of marriage and how we define marriage has changed drastically over time starting with only being defined as the coming together of a man and a woman, binding them into a relationship of love and support for each other. Every marriage is different and so are the issues that couples face in their conjugal life.

Mutual respect, understanding and compassion are essential elements of a strong marriage. We give up the less important ones, which are the building blocks of the foundation of a relationship, for more important larger and tangible issues. Sacrifice in marriage and relationships is often about making efforts to enhance the qualities of the other person.

A healthy compromise is the key to a successful relationship. If you cannot learn to do that then I am sorry to say your relationship will never survive. Love is all about give and take concerning individual, familial and social responsibilities. It’s not just kind words, but a lot more.

The Indian society exhibits considerable variations in customs, culture and the meaning of a marriage between regions, between classes, between rural & urban areas and finally between different ethnic, religious and caste groups. The rise in the number of single-member households, break-down of traditions, joint family system, individual male migrations to cities of work, erosion of the authority of patriarch, the erosion of traditional family values, increase in the number of working mothers in cities, rise in domestic violence and practice of dowry, neglect of children and elderly and poor regard for family codes are enough indications of the danger that the family and ultimately society are progressively facing in the society.

There are so many factors that are giving rise to stress in life and which are leading to couples failing to compromise and sacrifices in their marriages. And then begins the conflict, and so does the journey of pain.

Even though young people these days marry mostly of their own choice and even check their sexual compatibility before marriage because people understand that relationships are not prison, your spouse is not your jailor, and it is okay to end a relationship that isn’t working. Divorce is not a problem. Divorce is a solution to the problem of a dysfunctional relationship.

Conservative societies like the idea of forcing people to remain in dysfunctional or even abusive relationships. I happen to think that’s morally wrong, and kind of sick. Divorce is okay, breaking up is okay, starting over is okay, moving on is okay, and being alone is okay, what is not okay is staying somewhere you’re not valued and appreciated.

Staying in a bad marriage can provide security because at least you know how your life will go. But getting a divorce gives you hope - the hope to be who you want to be, the hope to be happy and the hope to find someone else to love.

If you have done all the work of trying to make the marriage better and nothing is changing, finding the courage to leave and move forward pays off in the long run. You stop putting all your energy into a relationship that no longer works and put more energy into yourself and your kids.

Divorce is preferable to a marriage without love. We all deserve to be loved. I never want to be in a marriage where that partnership isn’t sacred and a priority. Life is far too short to spend it immersed in an unhealthy relationship.

Divorce may be a difficult process that leaves emotional wounds that may take some time to heal.

Divorce can have severe aftereffects when emotions like guilt, resentment, and perplexity can persist long after the court case is over. Cognitive scientists have found that there are "clean" and "dirty" pains involved with the divorce process, thus even if one starts the divorce, there might be a major emotional cost. But occasionally, one must battle for peace, and when it is won, nothing is better than ending a bad relationship and living a calm existence. Consequently, divorce may turn out to be a good thing in the long run.

(The writer is an Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India, views are personal)

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