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Marriage versus Live in Relationships

Alarm bells are ringing for the institution of marriage. Cracks are appearing in the oldest institution on this earth. No wonder marriages are on the rocks today as present day youth considers marriage more of a liability than a social obligation. They prefer easier options like Live in, where there is no commitment. You can get out of it as and when you like.

Marriage on the other hand is lifelong commitment. Certain shocking facts have come to light in recent surveys.  The most startling fact is that number of unmarried youth, at present is record high in the world. And in a country like America, single youth outnumber married people for the first time. Even in our country, the present generation is enamoured by the western culture and is averse to wedding.

A report issued by the ministry of statistics found some concerning facts regarding the status of marriages in India. The report, noted a fall in the number of youth willing to get married. The Kerala high court made some sweeping observations regarding marriage and its sacredness in the society while hearing a divorce petition. The bench lauded institution of marriage which held society together for centuries. In a reference to living in, the court highlighted how the present generation viewed marriage as an evil, to be avoided for enjoying a free life without liabilities or obligations.

Thus for this reckless joy, social responsibility like marriage is avoided or nuptial ties are broken for selfish or flimsy reasons. In a humorous tone, the bench pointed out that this generation would explain the word wife as , "Worry Invited Forever" instead of the old concept describing wife as ‘ Wise Investment Forever’. The judges observed that if there is one cohesive cementing force at the heart of traditional Indian society, a single powerful strand for centuries, that has woven the tapestry of our rich social  and diverse fabric in to a whole, it is marriage and our family system.

The bench expressed concern over Live-in relationships, which can be abandoned at any time, and said it is on the rise and this trend can be observed Pan India. And it is no longer limited to educated, urban and affluent classes. Even the uneducated, rural and poor sections are equally affected.

The big question is why the institution of marriage is on the rocks when it has both social and religious sanctity. The family is the first and vital cell of society, says Pope John Paul II. As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the entire world in which we live. The families begin with a husband and wife, and their union welds society together. Creating a stronger world for your kids to live in is a pretty good reason to get married. During a traditional wedding ceremony, the man and woman make this vow: “I take you to be my wedded wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.” 

The Gospel of Matthew is the first book of the New Testament of the Bible. How beautifully saint Matthew talks of marriage; Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate . Same is the sermon in different religions and more so in Hindu religion where the couple goes around fire seven times and take vows to spend life together, stand by each other through thick and thin and be true to each other.

Stable wedding requires lot of flexibility, commitment, compassion, patience and adjustment. In a marriage, both should give space to each other. They should also try and understand each other’s viewpoint. As they say, "A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” Making your relationship intimate and special is the responsibility of both partners. Practice little acts of kindness, appreciation, and enjoy physical intimacy as much as possible to sweeten your relationship. Ego is the main problem  of our youth today. My way or the highway is the maxim they believe in. Another major reason for breakdown in marriage is extra martial affairs. Anger and resentment and financial accountability could be other reasons.

When married couples start arguing over small things and shout at each other, they are setting a bad example for kids. As the kids grow, they carry a bad image of marriage in their mind . They wonder if this is marriage, I am much better off as a single person. For some, “tying the knot” can be a frightening proposition, especially if their  parents are divorced. Today, a bewildering number of choices can lead to indecision.  With dating apps and social media, options are seemingly unlimited, so people may  be obsessed about finding the “perfect” match. Rising cost of living may be another reason, especially after the pandemic period. Physical and emotional abuse can quickly ruin a marriage because it leaves couples feeling as though they’re living with a stranger or more like roommates than spouses. This can be from a lack of physical and emotional intimacy and is not always about sex.

If you are constantly giving your spouse the cold shoulder, know that it can become the ground for divorce over time. Often couples struggle with different sex drives and with different sexual appetites. This can really plague a couple as they try to get their needs met.  In addition, at different stages of life, our sexual needs can change ,which may lead to feeling of confusion and rejection. Ignoring your partner’s sexual needs is being called a selfish cause of divorce in recent times.

Good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage. When two people are sharing a life together, they must be able to talk about what they need and be able to understand and try to meet the needs of their partner. Yelling at your spouse, not talking enough throughout the day, making nasty comments to express yourself are all unhealthy methods of communication that can ruin a marriage. Besides, when couples stop talking to each other, they can feel isolated and lonely and stop caring about one another altogether.  This can lead to the breakdown of the relationship.

Poor communication is one of the biggest reasons for  divorce.

From bickering about chores to arguing about the kids , incessant arguing kills many relationships. Every couple must negotiate through their challenges and find their own way of living together as two equals enjoying  a respectful, harmonious, and joyful relationship.

Why divorce rate is on the increase. Surprisingly, divorce rates are highest among couples in the twenties. Almost half the divorces occur in the first ten years of wedding , mostly between fourth and eighth year.

We now hear of Sologamy, a quirky act of marrying oneself in a public ceremony, also referred to as self-concept of marriage or autogamy. While such a marriage has no legal sanction or status, the symbolic ceremony is used by  some as an act to emphasize their self-love and independence.

A few people in Japan have gone a step further, choosing Robot as virtual partner  in marriage to satisfy their whims and fancies. A  36-year-old man, Akihiko Kondo,  in Tokyo has married Hatsune Miku , a popular illustrated Vocaloid voice synthesizer character appearing as a hologram in a cylindrical contraption called Gatebox. Through censors and microphones, she detects Kondo's movements and speech, and responds accordingly. Wanting to make their love more concrete, Kondo spent 2 million yen to throw a wedding for himself and Miku in November 2018. Both of their names are etched on the name plate on the front door to Kondo's apartment.

Both self-marriage as well as marrying a robot look more like stunts to satisfy ego. They have no social sanction and are not recognised by law.

Here are some quotes for and against marriage. Have your pick:

1. Socrates ,a great philosopher puts it in a lighter vein, By all means get married. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a  philosopher.

2. Learning to accept each other’s flaws and living with them, forgiving one another, and sharing and growing love, is what make marriage so special.

3. A happy Marriage is one where the roots are deep, the covenant is solid, love is sweet, life is hard, and God is kind. Never marry the one you can live with, marry the one you cannot live without.

4. To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.

5. Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution .

6. Marriage is not just spiritual communion; it is also remembering to take out the trash.

As society continues to evolve, so too does the institution of marriage. While traditional norms and expectations may undergo shifts, the essence of marriage remains a profound commitment between individuals, grounded in love, respect, and mutual understanding. Embracing these changes with open hearts and minds, we can navigate the complexities of modern relationships while cherishing the timeless values that unite us in the sacred bond of matrimony.




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