No two individuals think alike. No two individuals act alike. Whether it is a married couple, siblings, friends or even roommates, tensions and conflicts are bound to arise. There is always some reason that keep people together – financial, emotional, physical, or something else. When the choice of separating doesn’t exist, people somehow manage to carry on. They make compromises which have their own positive or negative effects. In most of the relationships, the emphasis is always to resolve the issues and continue building-on. To be able to do that, it’s important to understand what could be causing those issues. We have brought up a few here. Please feel free to comment and add your perspectives.
Incompatibility is one of the biggest reasons these days for breaking up of marriages. In the past, when arranged marriages were the only choice Indians had for getting married, very few people thought of incompatibility. Whether a couple were happy or not, they just lived together. In fact, due to large joint families, most couples hardly had time to interact as much as they do today. So, they rarely thought of incompatibility in their married or family life. Today, educated urban people are increasingly moving away from arranged marriages. They are preferring to date and understand their future spouse before jumping on the wedding wagon. However, that hasn’t helped in bringing down divorce rates. Arranged or not, many marriages go through phases of incompatibility and lead to bigger issues like infidelity or severe matrimonial conflicts. Social or legal mediation can help resolve compatibility issues other than seeing a marriage counselor.
Instances of domestic violence are rampant all across the globe. A large number of matrimonial conflicts reported to police or contested in courts happen because of domestic violence In India, they are often linked to alcoholism, dowry or gender inequality. In other countries, they are closely associated to anger management or substance abuse. It is important to understand the reasons why domestic violence happens. What situations provoke a husband or wife to assault each other physically? Is it incompatibility, adultery, dowry-related, or simply personal behavioural issues? One big reason for situational violence among partners is because of a disagreement that turns into an argument, and finally escalates into violence. While men are known to be the biggest perpetrators of violence in marital lives, women are mostly considered responsible for unhealthy marital relationships and partner violence.
With the kind of educational or intellectual progress and social development that India has witnessed in the past century, it is shocking to know that dowry continues to dominate marital and family relationships in India. From the day a girl is born, parents start saving for their daughter’s marriage and to meet the demands of her in-laws. While the situation has improved in certain social settings but hundreds of thousands of women continue to suffer directly or indirectly because of dowry. Sometimes, a husband or in-laws may not demand dowry at marriage, but they would make their expectations known after marriage and hope for the girl and her family to keep bringing them expensive presents and money. These issues can definitely strangle any happy marital life. While many cases are based on truthful accounts of insults and harassment suffered by wives, there is no dearth of cases founded upon a pile of fabricated lies and self-vested interests.
Marriage is based on loyalty, trust and commitment between a couple as well as their families. The worst blow to any marital relationship occurs when a spouse breaks the trust and gets involved in a physical relationship outside marriage. This is termed as infidelity. Every year hundreds of thousands of marriages break up because of one of the partner’s infidelity. Many times, it is an isolated incident or at least the partner is not emotionally involved, and hence easier to repair the relationship. Mediators can play a significant role in rescuing such marriages. But, so many times, acts of infidelity become a behaviour pattern, a psychological issue or a personal lifestyle. How does one cope with it?
The word immediately communicates the image of a person trying to dominate through verbal or physical abuse. But little does one know that many times, an abusive partner could hurt the other person without ever raising their voice or hand but instead through his or her gestures or attitude. In an emotionally abusive relationship, one partner can get browbeaten and psychologically tortured by their significant other, just through mean tactics like playing mindgames, ignoring the spouse’s emotional needs, using condescending tone, questioning or ordering around, or insulting them in front of others. It is not necessary that the abusive partner is aware of it. He or she might just be living in their own self-referenced world where they think they are always right, and they must be in control of their partner. From eating, dressing or socializing to spending or investing – an abusive partner will try to control everything. This can lead to serious marital issues and often break-ups. A good way to resolve such conflicts would be to see a marriage counselor, social worker or mediator, or a mutual friend or family member who can work with the couple to repair their relationship.
There is nothing new or shocking about fraudulent marriages. Such marriages have been happening ever since the sacred institution of marriage was established in any culture. People will sometimes get married using false information, or by hiding any information pertinent to their partner, or for the wrong reasons. One of the things that made arranged marriage a successful and revered tradition in India or elsewhere was simply because it encouraged the family to make adequate inquiries about the bride or groom before finalizing a match. Families and friends sat together to approve these relationships taking great care in analyzing the facts about an individual and his or her family. But these days, the family and social structures have changed so much that it is not possible to involve people outside of the family to help make these decisions. With cyber dating on the rise, so many couples meet on the net and make their marital decisions online. It has given rise to fraudulent marriages.
One of the biggest chunk of fraudulent marriage cases are being reported by girls married to NRI grooms. When such grooms visit India, not only do they lie about their financial assets or personal life, but also about their marriage goals. Thousands of women sit around in towns of Punjab and other states waiting for their honeymoon grooms to join them in India or take them to the countries they came from. And, then there are umpteen cases of men and women getting married for residency purposes in other countries. Once their residency purpose is fulfilled, they break up those marriages.
These are just some major reasons that drive people to marriage counselors or family courts. Some of these issues are not as extreme as to lead to break ups, and can be resolved with outside help. A little guidance, reliable legal information, and help groups can go a long way in repairing marriages and restoring peace and happiness among families. It is important for the couple and immediate family members to recognize the issues, analyze the contributing factors and then collectively identify the correct steps for a happy ending.