Why exactly are marriages in India disintegrating?

A response to ‘When a daughter refuses to go back‘  RR says,

“I strongly disagree with your views. Having girls live in marriages where abuse is involved, is unjustified. But, women breaking up marriages because they are not “happy” is purely selfish. Let me ask the question : what is this so-called “happiness”?”

What is happiness?

Unfortunately a woman’s happiness is not taken very seriously in our society. If a young married woman does not want to go back to her husband, should she be forced to go? (That’s what we generally do).

Who decides how much unhappiness is acceptable, and when is a woman right to walk out? Do you think a woman should have a say in how much unhappiness she can bear?

Also why exactly do you think women get married?

RR further asks, “What happened to sacrifice, commitment and the vows made at marriage? … The reason marriages in India are disintegrating is because certain people have false notions about the definition of marriage and happiness in marriage and then tend to influence their married friends in a negative manner. ”

Why exactly are marriages in India disintegrating? What has changed?

Did couples take marriage vows more seriously earlier or was it pressure from society that kept them together?

Is it because of false notions about marriage? Didn’t we have false notions about marriage earlier? Was that generation more matured?

Were marriages more successful in the past? Our grandparents and parents… did they have better marriages?

Or do we see more divorces because women now have the option of walking out? (Earlier it was Bollywood style bride goes in Doli,  Arthi comes out).


Note: I will be on a short blog break this weekend.


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115 thoughts on “Why exactly are marriages in India disintegrating?

  1. There’s not one answer I think. Mostly, we can agree that it is because women are economically independant now more so than in the past. [I sometimes wonder what the divorce rate would’ve been had our grandmothers been working :)]Also, the shock factor is decreasing – I’m meeting more and more divorced women who are not hestitant to say they’re divorced.
    There are and always will be the few women who do it because their egos are hurt or those who don’t have the patience to put up with the new husband or “fall out of love” (the western approach :)). Can you blame them for it? Debatable question.

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  2. ooh IHM, its the lax modern values- specially those where a woman decides to live her life her way, rather than serve others that cause marriages to disintegrate. Oh there horrible modern women, always wanting to be treated like human beings. Don’t they know their job is to be baby machines who clean and pick after their spouses. Its not even doli and arthi- but saat janam ka saath- like they feel death is an easy way out. After all men are prized humans, women exist to serve them. And like awful modern women you go about blogging, when you really should be cooking and serving hot chapatis to your husband… I mean really- no wonder Indian marriages are declining, taking Indian values with them.

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  3. Reached here from Indiblogger..Have read couple of your posts till now and I m hooked (excellent writing skills on relevant things…) and thought I would comment on your latest one.

    Its sad but true that people like RR are having lots of problem adjusting to the changing social structure and mindset in India. While ‘these’ people consider perfectly ok for a man to be ‘unhappy’ and wander off (read cheat and/or torment /torture) their spouses; while the same if a woman were to do would be branded as immoral, ‘selfish’, and so on….
    Women earlier couldn’t walk out of marriage due to social stigma, or the fear of being labeled a ‘witch’ (this practice still continues)
    ; all due to the fact that these women were economically and emotionally dependent on their so called “parmeshwars”. With more and more women finding economical freedom, the freedom to express them selves is surging high in India, a cause for distress for people like RR, who still think that ‘such’ women can ‘influence’ their married friends…as if women are born without thinking and reasoning capacity…!!

    Also I would like to add something here. As far as Hindu tradition goes by (My marriage took place in an utmost traditional manner); there isn’t a single rule / tradition / promise or vow which binds a hindu married female to sacrifice or what so ever in a marriage(and I wasn’t sleeping during the rituals of my marriage, so I know that for sure). The only thing I had to promise before Agni (Fire) was to tell everything to my husband, while he had to promise for being the provider, the protector, to disclose his finances, and not cheat on me, 🙂. Another interesting thing was the account of “Paap and Punya” (Bad deeds and the good deeds) for Hindu married couple. The pandit read from the scriptures (as was written) “ Whatever Paap (bad deed) the married woman commits in the household, half share of that would be accounted in the husband’s record, while the reverse is not true . So, the Man’s bad deeds remain entirely his. And whatever good deeds or punya that the man earns, half of it goes to his wife, and here again the reverse is not true”. Women clearly gain, where is the sacrifice !!!

    While the religion (I am still talking about the hindu religion here) and (most) scriptures remain extremely pro women and liberated, what I find amusing is that people have convoluted views and mis- information / mis-conception about the same. The regional customs and traditions haven’t been prescribed; they have evolved over a period of time, making sure that men would have complete control over the destiny of women folk, and hence such men are finding extremely difficult to deal with the new found freedom of women folk.

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  4. IHM,
    I would say, /generation of now it too mature, when it comes to being happy with oneself. own happiness.
    Earlier, there was no concept of self reliant female, she was always dependent on male dominated society hence she had no choice of walking out of marriages.

    Now with a liberal society, girls who have equal opportunities of education and career, can simply pursue their career and happiness.

    Actually, i thinks its time females with broken or unhappy marriages can start living.

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    • I do not think women know what “happiness” means, nor do they understand what it means to “live”. So, even if they were “living” and were “happy”, they probably wouldn’t realize it.

      Seeking happiness is as productive as chasing the wind.

      Joy is not something that can be found – it is a state of “being”. Either you have it…or you don’t.

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      • So society, patriarchy and family elders know what is happiness for women?

        If we feel that someone does not know what makes them happy and we know what’s better (or what’s best for them), that’s perfectly fine, we are free to feel whatever we do.

        What we can’t do is force our views of happiness on women who would rather be born, educated, travel, who would rather not be burnt alive, would rather not be forced to have sex, would rather be self reliant, would rather be treated like a person etc. Difficult to imagine that even women want to choose for themselves?

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  5. Oh gosh, I disagree with RR on so many levels…I was wondering if he/she thinks that only women are supposed to commit and sacrifice in a marriage which as far as I know is a partnership…I do believe that once a couple is married, they should try their level best to make it work (as long as there is no physical and/or emotional abuse) but if they realize that no amount of effort is going to make the marriage work, they should opt out of it…Marriage is not about being right or wrong – both partners should be looking at bettering the relationship even if it means one person has to adjust more…

    Happiness is a subjective feeling and the importance of it in a marriage depends on an individual…For a relationship to work, each partner has to be individually happy…

    Marriages have traditionally been a gendered institution…Today, this highly gendered institution is in transition because women are more educated, work (and therefore see what’s there outside) and have economic independence…They expect their husbands to participate more at home…Because of this change in attitude and economic freedom, it is easier for women to walk out of an unhappy marriage…It is not as if older generations were ‘happier’ or they did not expect to be happy in a marriage, it’s just that there was no option then…

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  6. lucky U IHM, short break and vacation what are those terms??????
    long time back i had also discussed the same topic
    http://anjugandhi.blogspot.com/2009/05/hum-saath-saath-hai.html
    and
    http://anjugandhi.blogspot.com/2009/04/dawn-or-dusk.html
    if you have time then read it and read the views given by some young people too
    as i said earlier marraiges are disintegrating because women have become more aware of their rights, their position, and their needs.
    earlier during my mother’s or grandmothers time they were more submissive, dependent and emotinally bound to family and societal values.
    they also suffered a lot, much more than what the present day generation is suffering. but they didnt have any support system to fall back upon
    but these days, with education, independence , awareness the women have realsied that why should they go on suffering, why should they endure so much, why should they be the only one to sacrifice, why all patience shoudl be demanded from them only. and men and their egos cannot digest a women being emotially financialy independent

    may be these are the reasons the marriages are disintegrating

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  7. What RR says about sacrifice, vows of holy matrimony is absolutely correct BUT do only women take these vows? Why can’t men be equally involved in marriage related discussions?
    Anyway, as far as happiness in a marriage is concerned, the definition cannot be generalised. For one couple, living alone without interference from either set of parents might be ‘happiness’, for another giving the partner his/her space in the relationship might bring joy to the marriage.
    Well, men can also walk out of a marriage if they are not happy. And they have been doing it too. So why is it a big issue when a woman does it?

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  8. I think marriages were same in past too..just that the pressures of society and theo ways in which girls were raised prevented the couples to seperate. No one supported the girls if they walked out , not even their own moms. They were not educated and confident to stay without anyone’s support. Men also had pressures from family to keep the marriage going.

    So the couples who looked happy outside where hollow inside..which was worse than what it is today..what do you think ?

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  9. I believe in one thing when it comes to life of marriages – just staying under one roof is not a proof of a healthy marriage !! There are a majority of couples in our society, in my view who face the society as a “happy together” couple but inside there is a storm. This not the purpose of life. Therefore when such marriages end up breaking, I guess it is for the better of both the people involved in it. A break up is always unfortunate, specially for the children. That is why, people must be encouraged to get marred only when they are “mature” to understand the complexities of life and world and to have children when settled in a marriage. Marriages that we want to consider here should be the ones which are not a burden for either of the partners and which helps them grow as life partners.

    I have a doubt that so called “successful marriages” in the past were the marriages of the kind where only “living together” was considered as a parameter for judging the health of a marriage, what happened inside was not taken into account (and that still happens) !!!

    Another reason for breaking up of marriages is that now a more independent class of people is emerging in India…. if one has the right to choose his partner (and has the courage) then that one also usually has to courage to confront the reality and break that which is unproductive.

    Also, for past some generations now.. I think most people do not take the effort to understand the meaning and importance of vows and other marital rituals (I talked about it in one of my posts). They simply do it mechanically. Sad !

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  10. Right questions…but each can have a differently interpreted answer. Bottomline, institution of marriage has evolved and will continue to do so, just as mankind is evolving. The answers of today will be outdated tomorrow

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  11. The conservatives and liberal-minds will have same answer to this question.

    Because women are educated, are aware of their rights and many speak up against spousal abuse etc. etc.

    The conservatives will say that it is a bad sign and all blame on women. They say that women today are career-oriented are breaking up relationships. According to them women should still be a doormat and try to save marriage come what may.

    The liberal-minded also will give you the same reason and in this case it is positive. Yes! Many women now are financially independent and also have support in their family because nuclear families are much stronger and also many parents like before don’t teach their daughters to be doormats. They too speak up when their daughter is abused and also re-marriages aren’t uncommon.

    As usual the onus falls on women and men gets away unscathed.

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  12. There are so many factors which go in to breaking up a marriage.

    Lack of trust between husband and wife
    Exploitation of bride by the inlaws
    Misunderstanding between the elders
    One of the partners cheating on the other one
    Inability to bear ofspring and many more other reasons.
    But certainly the financial independence of the working women and awareness about their rights has accelerated the breaking up process.

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  13. Well! Too much food for thought!

    I think rather than marriages being more frutiful in the past, people being more mature or being happily married, it was more about women hvng brought up in such a way that they hd no liberty to say anything! Hv across so many women who still say what if they get bk to parents! They already spent a fortune and getting them married. So they can’t burden them some more n have got to stay in the place which is their home nw [nt home in real sense though isn’t it?]

    Nwdays, we hv more freedom of expression and are nt leading our life to please the society or being scared of what ppl will say! [may nt be all but atleast there hs been some improvement!]

    If our grandparents have had better marriages in the true sense, it wud hv been bcoz of love and understanding and mutual respect! The others were only influenced by fear of what society wud say, guilt of being a burden on their parents etc..

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  14. If more marriages are disintegrating today, it is simply because women today have an option to come out of an unhappy marriage. In the past, women had no options but to stay within a marriage, no matter how unhappy she was, even if it was an abusive marriage.

    Today, financial freedom also gives women a choice. She does not need to put up everything and anything – and I think it is perfectly right too. Staying in an unhappy marriage, knowing that there is nothing that can be done – is not beneficial for anybody. People talk about staying together for the sake of children – but in a lot of cases, children are more likely to be affected by the bitterness and unhappiness around them.

    While, I am not advocating separation, but in some cases – that might be the only way out.

    False notions, unhappy marriages would have been there in every generation.. I don’t think that matters. Even today, a woman without the financial freedom or a support system outside her marriage – will not be able to take that decision to step out of her marriage, no matter how unhappy she is.

    And women having more options is no bad thing. I think it grounds good marriages better with mutual respect and love being the very foundation of marriages rather than staying together to please the society or because that is the only option.

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  15. Divorces have been happening for centuries, IHM. Of course, they were not done legally, but there were silent divorces in millions of married couples. The fact is that it is very very very very rare that two people can get along for a long time. I can see so many “divorced” couples in my own family. These men and women put up with each other for the sake of children, society or their own family members.

    Oh, this is so thought-provoking! I gotta write a post.

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  16. it is a bit of both IHM.

    The fact that today women HAVE an option to get out of an unfulfiling relationship on one hand and some fairly perfectionist expectations from marriage on the other hand.

    i have seen one of my closest friends being shattered because his wife within 6 months of marriage realized that she is not “marrying” type! huh??!! is that even a reason IHM? and if yes, arent you supposed to realize that BEFORE you get married. and this is when the couple knew each other for 6 years!

    most couples dont think the marriage is worth taking effort on. We all want all the freedom sans the responsibilities.

    here’s a very interesting post by Usha on similar lines with her beings based on why arent single people finding the right person!

    http://agelessbonding.blogspot.com/2009/07/matchless-matches.html

    marriages break from both ends. and frankly i wont attribute them all to women power except when there has been abuse in any form whatsoever.

    but when I hear i am divorcing because I fell out of love / or because the guy doesnt dance well / or because she doesn’t cook at home i am seriously appalled to say the least.

    for whatever its worth marriage for me is an important institution and i believe in it! and though i would never condone sacrifice in every form to keep it alive, i cant believe in flippant reasoning under guise of personal freedom and feminism / chauvinism! and if that makes me conventional, so be it! 🙂

    Asaan’s take is fairly interesting too!

    http://asaaan.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/first-comes-love-then-comes-marriage/

    cheers!

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    • I think each person is entitled to have their own ideas of marriage and what they want in their partner, however trivial they might sound to others. They might actually be a breaking point for them. Having said that, getting married is not a decision to be taken lightly. One must take responsibility for their lives and actions and think through thoroughly before making a commitment. If they don’t do this prior to marriage then they will end up hurting not just themselves but the other person too.

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  17. Very thought provoking IMH.
    I think the only difference between marriages of yore and today is that the woman is independent now. Earlier, if she was unhappy with her marriage, she had no option but to stay put, since going back to her home was simply out of question.
    Today’s woman is most improtantly, financially independent which makes a lot of difference in the relationship. And when people talk about sacrifices, commitment and all that nonsense, why do they refer only to women? And who said we women do not make any of those sacrifices? In most of the cases I know, leaving a marriage was the final step after everything was tried out.
    I am not denying the fact that there could be exceptions where the girl or her parents were adamant, but that is true when you look from the other side as well.
    For every marriage that fails, there are equal or more marraiges that work. I think it is a question of equal commitment from both the parties that there might be hiccups in between, but we are together for life. Both the parties and the families need to realize that maraige today is an equal partnership whether at work or at home.
    What is the point in being married if it is like someone whom I knew very well. They had more than fifty years of unhappy marriage and finally when the husband was terminally ill, the wife went shopping for silk sarees and diamond sets to wear for his funeral. I am not joking here.

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  18. You know we have so many people working towards underprivileged women, with women married off too early, with women facing violence in marriages etc but how is that the we never talk about the real privilege. Freedom – to make your choices.

    Sometimes unhappiness is a the only problem and it’s a justified one as well. And you dont have only lower class people in this, ask any rich joint family girls and they’ll tell you how they have NEVER made any decisions of their lives. That is helplessness.

    Why is it that if your husband earns well and is not hitting you, he’s live-able and you shoudnt ask for more. And everything else just says that you’re a much too read woman who refuses to compromise in life. Why am I selfish if I dont want to marry guy because well, I’m not happy with him?

    How much unhappiness is justified unhappiness?

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  19. Good questions. In a feudal male dominated society the relationship between husband and wife was supposed to be like that of master and servant . In the modern society the relationship is as between equals. We are in a period of transition. Different communities and families are at different levels of transition. So the expectations from marriage may vary leading on to conflicts.In modern society due to a more equal relationship we cannot deny the fact that there is more chance of divorce as both partners find it easy to walk out of an unhappy marriage .

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  20. RR’s comment is typical of the tribe I call the extreme traditionalists…according to them things have disintegrated and culture has become non existent since the day feminism came into being (this argument is disguised in so many forms the essence however is the same)…its only because women have become independent that the social ‘balance’ has now gone wrong…IHM it will take a long time before people understand that women are also separate human beings…long long time

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  21. First reason-Women this day is more financially independent compared to olden days..

    Second- Walking out is no more a taboo

    Third-Meida plays a major role in telling women that there is nothing worng in waling out if one is abused and it tells you that sacrifice yeilds no fruits..

    Fourth- People,both men and women these days are not as ready to compromise as compared to olden days..Self esteem and awareness of personal space plays a major role in making decisions..

    Source: My idle brain 😉

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  22. very close person in my family, got married about 50 years back. right after 2 months , she went back to her mom saying “Ma, I can’t make this work. If I do there will be no “me” left. I am much to strong to bend so much” and what did her Ma say? “We have nothing for you here, I will send a msg for you husband so he can come and take you back” But Ma, it will not be life worth living, I won’t be happy” Ma said “when you get married you need to live for others”
    and the girl remained married for her life to sorrow and pain. There was no physical abuse int hat marriage
    but there wasn’t pretty much anything else too. To the outside world, this was a successful marriage and not a divorce but what success did it achieve? It was a dragging pain for everyone involved, husband, wife as well as their kids. she was a career woman back then too but the social stigma didn’t allow her to live alone and then fear of no one marrying her kids kept her stuck to the man.

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    • Many women from that generation (some from even today’s generation) were simply married – no love-no communication but perfect marriage for outside world where the lady is looking after everyone and taking care of the house while enduring everything in a loveless marriage.

      The major problem with the setup is that many such women keep everything bottled up become indignant and bitter with passing time. Some wish the same when a new girl enters their family.

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  23. Such a thought provoking post(as always) and so hard to come up with any solid answers!

    Well women in the past were so conditioned to believe that after marriage they could not break out if the marriage got rotten and had to keep up a facade! now we have the option to opt out, and this is now accepted like perhaps in older generations it was not!It maybe true that our threshold for patience has lowered,and some divorces are just made out of a rash decision, on both sides!

    Yet, it’s great that now, if the bugger beats you, cheats on you, pushes you around and hurts your self worth,constantly women decide to just get themselves out of this kind of a lifelong suffocation, and about time too!

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  24. Is RR’s comment on the post (‘When a daughter refuses to go back’) you’ve linked? Asking ‘cuz I couldn’t find it on that post. 😦

    I did not publish that comment 🙂

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    • Brilliant, what ever comments I read till now were not trying to get to the roots of an unhappy marriage at all… The fact that someone can walk out cannot make a marriage happier!

      Destination Infinity

      DI the fact that they can’t walk out can make very unhappy marriages 😦 Just being able to able walk out of a bad relationship means there is hope for better things.

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    • Yeah, I did not say what I wanted to – The cause of unhappy marriages is the way in which our society (parents, relatives, friends and the person himself/herself) select their partners.

      The youngsters do it like selecting a job! Interviewing them and all that … Funny, this attitude by the present generation (both girls and boys) – they ‘chat’ with a number of people to find the best partner based on commonality of interests, it seems!

      One of the reasons for an unhappy marriage is the dowry system… and parents/relatives of both girls side and boys side supporting this – Everyone is interested in how much they gain (in monetary terms) through a marriage. This is time invariant. It has always been happening. If two richer families get their kids married to each other, they assume that the marriage should be happy, because of the wealth that goes to the children. Funny, again! because all it does is to discourage hard work and results in the spoilt kids eating away the free money they get!

      IHM, your commenters have taken a stand that being able to come out of a marriage (by a woman in this case) but we can take it to be both of them, in itself is the best thing. I feel that, while it is good – we have not addressed the main question at all – what makes a happy marriage, or is it simply ‘no marriage = more happiness’ ?

      We had a system to determine that earlier – the matching of the horoscopes, but it has been brilliantly and cleverly abused by every one (both the matchers and the seekers)!!. The point I want to make is – If someone thinks that they are extra clever and tries to create short-cuts to work ‘around’, they need to pay the price for it. The price we have paid is – we do not trust the system which existed solely for that purpose any more. Until it is replaced by a better system, we need to suffer. Simply put, until we stop exploiting others in whatever context, we will suffer. Of course, I am no authority – I seek to learn, as much as the other commenters here want to!

      Today, I am writing such big comments! 🙂 I like it, for a change… Thanks IHM for putting up a thought provoking post 🙂

      Destination Infinity

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  25. It’s true that RR is still hooked to the idea of a joint family and that’s what’s causing him to look at things in a bit skewed fashion vis-a-vis ‘our’ perspective of things.

    Since I couldn’t find in on the linked post, I haven’t had the opportunity to go through his entire comment. But to the extent I’ve read, I don’t find it as sexist as some of the respondents have made it out to be. He’s specifically spoken of “certain people” having wrong notions about marriage and happiness in marriage, and I don’t find even slightest hint of sarcasm to the effect that he could be actually refering only to females.

    You might have taken an extremely feminist view (yes, indeed extreme anything-ism is possible; afterall, it’s also a kind of communalism!) of his comments.

    You’ve a son, and when he gets married, and has a fight with his wife over TV’s remote, and decides to file for divorce, would you not be echoing RR’s words simply ‘cuz it’d truly be insane for your son to do that! Would you not ask him to reconsider at least once his decision? I’m not talking here of which gender divorces which gender (male-domination), but the flimsy reasons that could serve as grounds for divorce in many cases only because of unreasonable expectations off a marriage by either gender! Would you not be worried about your son’s idea of “happiness”, just like how RR has asked?>

    IHM: Ketan do you think such divorces are really about REMOTE? BREAD? FOOD? ETC? If a person says they cannot bear to live with someone- and in India if a girl says this – then there is more to it than meets the eye…some underlying problems? Incompatibility?

    I’m only speculating all this in light of the fact that RR has emphatically stated that ‘abuse is wrong’.

    IHM: Not all abuse is obvious… a girl may not be happy because there is subtle control or criticism, fear …WHY DO WE INSIST THAT SHE CANNOT JUDGE FOR HERSELF … and if she cannot take such a decision for herself, then she was not yet ready for marriage anyway..we don’t give her the option of not marrying…

    But if he removes the notion of sanctity of a joint family, maybe he’ll realize that a lady who herself is having to stay away from her own family is not unjustified in expecting her husband to do the same if she faces genuine problems in her new (joint) family (not just for the heck of it!).
    IHM: Ketan who judges if the problem is genuine? Is the husband expected to give ‘genuine problems’ for not living with the wife’s family? Why have double standards? Joint family is a very convenient system for families who have sons, the system is responsible for why we do not want daughters, everybody wants boys so that they can bring home a bride to take care of the parents…

    Yes I understand, here problem is in defining ‘genuine problems’, but if we are to take any problem that a woman faces as genuine, then, people would most definitely be justified in breaking their marriages even after a single fight over the remote!

    You’ve tended to think young woman could do no wrong, ever!

    IHM: In India a large number of girls are sent back, unwilling, and very unhappy. A much, much larger number of women go back on their own, (I personally know a few), and an even larger number never dare to step out even when there is violence, they know they would be happier if they had the courage to make a new start.
    It’s not about whether they are right or not, it’s about TRUSTING THEIR INTELLIGENCE, if they are saying they do not want to go back, then not putting any pressure on them to ‘make it work’. Counseling, discussions, any talk is of no use if we are convinced that she must make it work. LET HER HAVE A SAY. THE FINAL SAY.
    She needs support – she needs faith in her own judgment, she needs to know that it’s okay to have been in a relationship that did not work, and that life goes on, and so must she.

    Quoting from your linked post:

    “Today I feel if a girl says she does not want to go back to her husband’s home, it is reason enough to let her stay. No arguments. No attempts to ‘reason’ with her.”

    In above example of remote, would you not be justified in ‘reasoning’ with your son? 🙂

    IHM: Ketan I would understand that it isn’t the remote – even if the remote was the proverbial last straw.

    TC.

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    • IHM wrote:

      Joint family is a very convenient system for families who have sons, the system is responsible for why we do not want daughters, everybody wants boys so that they can bring home a bride to take care of the parents…

      Exactly. As I mentioned once before on your another post, the son works outside whole day whereas the DIL is expected to look after his parents, cook and clean and when the son comes home she gets the instruction to now bring tea for tired husband (no one remembers that she was also working the whole day) and continue with her duties.

      In the end the credit goes to the son for taking care of his family. 😆 This is the farce of our Indian joint families. Only men and mothers of sons will still support the system and claim harmony.

      Absolutely Soilo!

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    • I have never heard of a judge granting divorce over a remote fight. Since women today speak up, these are the jeers made at her for seeking divorce. How dare she? What is happening to women today? How can they break home? 😉

      The fact is that in India, divorce still happens for mainly these reasons : abuse and infidelity (there was an article recently which mentioned that now it is not always about opposite gender-article 377).

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  26. IHM,

    Oh yes, you haven’t mentioned if RR is ‘he’ or ‘she’. So much for my jumping to conclusions just reading a few comments that insinuated the male gender into the person of RR.

    RR is a man. I didn’t publish the comment, because I wanted to put the comment here.

    If RR is indeed a female, I take back all my words. Afterall, how could I do the ghor paap of defending a female! 😛 And if RR is a female, she must be wrong ‘cuz females are always wrong! But you’re not (female/wrong!) 😛

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    • Dear Ketan
      I am female and therefore probably wrong…but aren’t you meant to be studying for exams at the moment?!? Go study!! Are these fighting words??? 😀
      S

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  27. The question of “What is happiness?” is such a deep one.
    It can be interpreted as the light hearted, fun, bubbly type of happiness.
    However in a marriage or long-term relationship of any type, I think “happiness” eventually actually relates more to a calm feeling of belonging, being accepted and respected and giving respect back, of being cared for and caring back, of sharing life with another decent person. Soemtimes also referred to as contentment. And that state takes time and effort (from both partners) to achieve. I’ve been married 12 years and we still work on it everyday! That’s why the initial state of matrimonial bliss (for many couples) is called the “Honey-moon stage” I guess. It ends and then you have to find the deeper ties that bind you together.
    Sometimes I think that when people hear that someone left a marriage because s/he was “unhappy”, they think of some Hollywood type of scenario where celebrity couples jump in and out of relationships and marriages regularly because they are happy / unhappy.
    But I think that for the average couple, unhappiness relates to a deep state of discontent. Something that develops over some time – not overnight. There are of course, some things that are instant “deal-breakers” – different for each couple – for me (and my husband) abuse, violence and infidelity are the deal-breakers. Everything else can be worked on (at least we hope so!)
    Some of my more traditional relatives who entered into arranged marriages have never found a state of comfort and contentment with their partners (and some have). Some are actually terribly unhappy. But they believe in sticking it out for the sake of family / children / respectability etc. That is their right. My problem comes in if they insist on inflicting that on others – including their children – the “we had to live through it, so now you do too” mentality. Live your own life as you wish and let others live theirs for goodness sake.
    I believe that when you enter into marriage (arranged or not), you should put your heart and soul into making it work – that’s both partners! Violence and infidelity are definite deal-breakers. No discussions – no questions (in my view).
    And finally, I believe that there are very few “modern women” around (or men for that matter) who would break up an otherwise reasonable marriage because they are not “happy” – as in not “having fun”. RR seems to have a very suspiscious and disparaging view of women and our motives. It’s a shame.

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  28. Solilo, and even if a case comes up in the court, the judge would ask them to reconsider, but eventually, if both the husband and wife believe they should part (for whatever reasons), no judge can come between them. 😉

    I’d given the remote-example for entirely different reason.

    @IHM:

    You’ve two children (nothing personal that already the second time on this post, I’m giving their example), and they must’ve fought in the past, might do it in the future, too. Is it not that at least on few occasions you’d have found the issues on which they fought too trivial? Have you never seen life-experiences, where two people start fighting on very small things, but then the fight just keeps on getting bigger ‘cuz none of them would look back if it’s worthy of fight, and they start hating each other to the extreme? Only because none of the two would be ready to take a step back, and concede that they were being silly. It becomes such an ego-issue where it shouldn’t. Partly because of lack of courage to concede a point, and other part, communication failure. And if you ask them later, they’d be so angry, from their account it would seem like the other was ‘tormenting’ them. I’m not talking of marriage, but in general.

    But then can the same thing not happen between married people?

    I agree that in vast majority of cases, it’s the girl who’s traumatized, and wronged, but not in absolutely all.

    My objection is to your idea that one must part the moment the idea of divorce comes to the mind, or that at least in a few cases it’s not possible that the girl could be asked to change her perspective.

    Think of a girl spending disproportionately to her and husband’s cumulative income (not living with the inlaws!) on things of much lesser necessity (say, fancier furniture than what they can afford) as compared to their own house, insurance policies, investments for kids’ future, etc., would it be wrong to explain how to prioritize things in life? I know you might say, it’s her prerogative, etc., but then as a parent it’s your right and duty to point out their children’s follies. It’s children’s prerogative to smoke or do drugs, but parents are within their right to point out the detrimental effects of such ‘choices’, just like choosing ‘unnecessary’ furniture over housing, secure future. Mind you, both the examples of smoking/doing drugs and spending disproportionately on ‘unnecessary’ things are not uncommon.

    Ketan counseling is fine.
    About spending on ‘unnecessary’ things … very subjective. One person’s luxury is sometimes another person’s necessity… if the couple are really at odds about this one, I have read money is one of the biggest reasons for problems.

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    • IHM,

      But how would one counsel, if the parents don’t ask their sons/daughters the most fundamental/primary/original cause for strife?

      Also, I did know, you’d point out that ‘unnecessary’ spending is ‘subjective’, that’s why I too had put it in inverted commas even in my own original comment.

      But, if a parent thinks that (in these times of inflation, where everything, especially, children’s education and health care in old age) it’s more important to spend of costlier furniture than they can do with as compared to the education and well being of his/her children, and the security for their old age, then, I concede, it’s his/her prerogative to make those choices, but in my very, very humble opinion, outrightly insensible. One does not have any right to produce children if they think they don’t need to give them the best of education and care. Also, to make suicidal decisions (unrepayable loans owing to rampant spending are common causes of suicide, in the West, and increasingly, commonly in India, too) is a grownup’s prerogative, but such insensibility is bound to anger the spouse, and create strife.

      I think parents can express their opinion (if at all) and let the couple sort out their difficulties… 🙂

      Also, would you not agree that whether one should or should not smoke/do drugs are ‘subjective’?

      Should be discussed before the marriage and in case there is any lying, that’s reason enough for serious strife.

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      • And IHM, that’s the only thing I’m trying to point out that for any parent assume by default that their son/daughter will always make the right decision, and they can’t go wrong, would itself be wrong. At least an attempt to understand the situation has to be made.

        You probably might have lost the chain of my thoughts with regard to smoking and doing drugs. It was not in the same context you thought it to be. I was merely trying to point out that even if a grown up gets into smoking and drugs (entirely their prerogative), their (even more grown up), parents have a duty to point out the folly. And similarly, if their daughter does something wrong (as an example, rampant expenditure to the exclusion of spending on children’s education and their own future financial security), they have a right and a duty to point out their her folly. Of course, same thing also holds true for their son if he makes this mistake. The basic thing I’m trying to say is parents should try to get to bottom of the marital strife as many times the actual cause is pretty trivial, and could be resolved if all concerned discuss it sensibly with an open mind.

        TC.

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  29. Sioneve,

    ‘Fighting words’?

    What fight? Which fight? 😛

    Though, I concede, I need to study (more; no amount of studies is enough in these kind of exams!). Though, I’m unable to study all the time, especially IHM’s posts and others’ comments on them are irresistible.

    And oh, you are a woman, and probably right (whenever someone is ‘probably’ wrong, they’re also ‘possibly’ right!) :O ! But then, I’d once heard exceptions only prove the rule! 😉

    Thanks!

    Take care.

    PS: You don’t have a blog?

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    • Ketan…Your photo is amazing – I always have to look at it twice – perhaps that is my brain’s way of checking that it is still able to turn its retinal upside-down image, the right way up…and then it realises that you really are upside-down! Yes, I am easily confused.
      The ‘fighting words’ were mine – as in ‘go study’. But I was just kidding around.
      I do have a blog. Although it is very depressing at the moment so you may prefer to give it a miss: http://www.sioneve.wordpress.com
      Lots of luck with your exams. I know how taxing these never-ending med exams are! 😀

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      • Thanks Sioneve!

        Yes, these exams are weird, and I’m only trying to become weirder so that I could crack them. I found your views balanced, hence the query about your blog!

        Thanks for the link, too!

        TC.

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  30. A thought provoking question indeed!

    I have always believed that it takes a two to tango. I know of many cases especially in arranged marriages where marriages happen under a carpet of deceit. That also raises a question about arranged marriage. There are cases where the horoscopes where forged and many more reasons. Who are to be blamed for this? As many of them rightly said, women in the present times know of their rights and have the freedom as well.

    On a hilarious note. ‘I haven’t heard of a man running away from marriage due to the atrocities inflicted on him by a woman’ 😀 :D.

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  31. 🙂
    one word-zeitgeist(spirit of our times)

    ‘Times are A-Changing’ that’s what happening and women are getting more space and freedom to assert themselves and for once, the chance to think for them and their happiness.

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  32. its disintegrating because the mutual understanding is gone these days… both of them were not in a mood to give an inch to their partners and think.. 😦

    and I disagree with RR’s views… Women have their right and you can’t live in some hell just to keep marriage bond.. whats the use of it if they dont have any right in it….

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  33. IHM, I see joint families as a way of infantalizing grown up people. Adults should learn to live on their own. “Taking care” of elderly parents can be done, sometimes better by letting them lead their own lives. I really like the Western concept of living on one’s own and being independent. Joint families are a drain on that individual independence. As is living with one’s parents after one is an adult. Clashes of personality are bound to happen, and are best avoided. But of course this is my opinion.

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  34. wow..!! awesome.. lovely, very refreshing header IHM.. Loved it.

    And as far as the discussion goes, I guess the problem is this that Indian male is just totally confused themselves.. They want to flaunt a partner who has a successful career and could be taken around and at the same time expect her to behave the same way their mothers or grandma’s did in domestic life!!..
    They live in computer age but think like a stone man!!…
    double standards…

    guess am being too critical but that’s what i’ve seen all around me. In the name of being liberal they encourage wife to work(read earn ‘money’) and then come back and do all the house work and take care of kids while they sprawl on the couch controlling the ‘TV Remote’
    WTF all in the guise of economic independence!!..
    Is it wrong then , if u walk out of marriage?!!?? Is this not physical , mental and phsycological abuse??!!??
    If the same women falls sick the man makes it a big[!!] issue that he’s stressed and his family never cease to sympathise.. it’s horrific.. what kind of people are they? who have no care for DIL but cry hoarse if SON does the same thing for just a few days…
    hell

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  35. I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the fact that while Indian women have become financially independent and career savvy, they still (often voluntarily) stick to traditions and norms when it comes to choosing their husbands. They still allow themselves, to use an old distasteful expression, to be given away. India hasn’t got over its love for ‘arranged marriages’ yet. The notion that marriage ought to be for love is still considered a bold and unconventional idea. We are, after all zealously proud of our Indian Culture (TM).

    The result is a marriage involving two enterprising professionals, each of whose personality is incompatible with the other’s, only now, unlike in the past, neither of them is forced to live in submission to the other’s whim.

    In short, I think the problem has to do with the outdated arranged marriage system here. Look at the slew of online matrimony sites, the basest example of which is probably is this.

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  36. Thankfully time is changing…such mindset as well as people like RR will go…

    But I must say it brings more responsibility on us to select right partner…be flexible and give our kids better parentship..

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  37. Marriages in India are disintegrating because Indians have finally realised that there is nothing called monogamy. Humans were never supposed to be stick to one partner. A civil or religious ceremony called marriage cant win over the animal streaks that their DNA contains. To stray is human.

    Its something that the Europeans/Americans realised decades earlier. And yes, iam a married person too 😀

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  38. That’s a great post IHM!

    My take is – the reason marriages are disintegrating is because Indian women have evolved but most men haven’t been able to, they are stuck somewhere in between and are confused the way they want to go.This I think is creating dissonance . Also, all those years back maybe women didn’t have the option of walking out of bad marriages (though most still don’t opt for it).
    Today, I know of parents who stoically stand by their daughters and pull them out of bad marriages even if the society advises them otherwise. Though instances like these are not plenty, even the few that I have come across showcase the changing mindset.

    Hats off to these courageous parents A! I wish more of us love our daughters enough to do this!!

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  39. Just today my maid told me that she doesn’t want to educate her daughter much. Why? Because otherwise the girls get too smart, start demanding things (like happiness????) and speak back to their husbands and neglect the house! Then she explained she doesn’t think so, she wants to educate her little 4 year old, but her mother in law says no. I guess this is what keeps women’s education in check. The belief that women will start demanding happiness! What a sad state of our society.

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  40. Be it a woman or a man…one should get married only if one wants to…not for the society or parents sake.
    “Why one would want to get married”…is quite a big question but I think when you want a family of your own, social security, a companion for the long journey called life, a good team mate for the mission of fulfilling your dreams can be the reasons…. but you don’t ‘have to’ get married for that… these days people also have an option for ‘live in relationship’ …if you can ignore the taunts from family and relatives.

    Apart from all these…one biggest and most valid reason for getting married can be love….but doesn’t happen to everyone…does it ?

    Another thing…the case that you had pointed out … and the kind of society we live in…are two totally different scenarios.
    I think I had read a post with a title something like ‘Our India, their India’ on your blog only.
    The same difference can be seen in ‘Our’ and ‘Their’ marriage / divorce system. Where educated and independent women are free to take decision on their own, without necessarily going back to their family for support…. poor and uneducated woman will still need her family’s ‘agreement’ and ‘support’ to get divorce.
    For a modern society woman… her husband’s not paying ‘enough’ attention can be a big deal…while for the poor girl being beaten up by a much elderly husband is quite a ‘normal’ thing for them and can not be considered as a valid reason for her to complain. :/

    I’m glad that you are making efforts to bring such thing in light and make other people aware about it…but as I had said earlier also…things will change only if these girls and their families can be inspired to do something for themselves first.

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  41. Did not go through the previous comments yet, wanted my comment to be unbiased, so apology for if there is any repeat of the previous comments.

    Following are my reasons (in no particular order)
    1>Any relation for that matter needs a certain level of tolerance from both the party. Isn’t our tolerance level as a whole decreasing faster than we even realize?

    not sure about any decrease in tolerance, I feel mainly women were the ones who were taught tolerance, but one sided tolerate resulted in a lot of unhappiness for many families… I am glad we are changing…

    2>Women are becoming more economically dependent, thus having more options than their previous generation used to have. So, at one hand, we have more options and on other hand, we are less tolerant,so naturally why should we adjust then? Our mother/grandmother did not have option, so they adjusted,

    Yes, many of them led very unhappy lives…, though some were lucky too, but it was all a matter of destiny, they had no power to change their destiny…

    right?? Even the men don’t lag far behind today. They dont mind looking elsewhere if the wife is not exactly up to his expectation,

    Mustaf I think men did that earlier also, only then the wife had to tolerate this because she had no choice. now she can refuse to adjust to such things.

    they do not want to go slow any time in their career even if the “home” needs him.

    Mustaf I am not sure how many divorces are caused by this … a lot of families are quite happy with this.

    We sometime forgets adjusting does not mean making your self unhappy, adjusting does not mean loosing your self dignity. We dont mind adjusting till the very last we can when it comes to our cold relation with our boss in office, but when it comes to marriage, we first ask why shd i adjust and then we start to think, if at all we think

    Actually Mustaf, with a boss there is no social pressure, and we are paid for what we do; if we get a better offer, we are free to leave, in a marriage there are emotions and social pressures, family pressure too. I have seen this example being given to women many times.

    3>We, today’s generation feel we are more matured than our parents were at this age,

    I am not sure about more, (though that is not impossible specially in the case of first generation learners) the younger generation does know as much. Also when it comes to their own personal lives, parents are known to make mistakes… For instances, dowry and bride-burning would not have existed if all parents were selfless and more intelligent than the children…

    we are obviously more intelligent and we in most occassions override parent’s say if they are not in sync with us thinking they are “old-fashioned”, but we forget to acknowledge their worth called “experience”, where we see how experience is respected in our day to day life in our professional world. So, if my parents tell me that may be there is some problem within me that I am not able to adjust with my spouse, we believe they are horribly wrong and we are always right.

    Unfortunately parents and elders have misused their experience for controlling their children’s lives, many times for selfish ends [to stop a child from going to another city to work, or to force him to marry a more submissive bahu instead of a better, self reliant (but difficult to control by in laws) life partner etc]… Now they cannot demand obedience for experience, if they want their children to do blindly obey them, then must raise children in such a way that they are not able think for themselves. Once the children are educated, they will think, question, use their own minds…

    4>Finally, in relationships it’s “We” that is more important than “I” and today we are living “My” life, where it is our career the most important to us, where i am always right and where the word “sacrifice” has become extinct. Whenever it comes to sacrifice, we ask why me? why not he/she? The overdose of male vs female, freedom, independence,personal space and what not(I firmly believe in each of them , but i am saying overdoes of these creates the problem as does the overdose of anything else).

    Again mustaf, we have taught all these things to only one of the partners (for centuries) she hated it, but was forced to sacrifice… she was forced to give up her dreams and happiness, sometimes life became so difficult that we have many cases of women taking their own lives, but nobody takes all this seriously, they didn’t matter because one could easily subjugate them… then they started demanding that they be treated like humans (and not devis or sluts) and most conservative societies were taken aback. It is difficult for most people to accept that a woman may not want to sacrifice her happiness, maybe she wants to live a happy life, and she is actually able to live her life her way, this bothers conservative mindsets… The system is changing and it is bothering those who benefited from the biased values that we earlier had.
    There is no male v/s female here. Many women are socially conditioned to believe that sacrifice is their duty, and many men fight against this injustice too … maybe you could say this is a struggle between those who are prepared to take a stand against what they see is wrong, and those who feel any system – right or wrong, must continue, if it has continued all this time there can be nothing wrong with it.

    Also some people don’t want our society to change because it suits them. That is selfish… that is how our world is… 😦

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    • After going through all the comments, I must say I agree with sraboneyghose & Abha’s answer, thanks to them for bringing some freshness into this discussion. It is a number of reasons and NOT only women empowerment and financial independence, as pointed out by most people here. If we take away women empowerment today, will not the marriages still disintegrate? The basic fundamental is that human(not men or women ) characteristics/mentality/principle/ethics everything is changing.

      Do you know what are the commonest causes for divorces? Abuse, violence, harassment, infidelity. Do you think a woman who has no support and is not self reliant either, would dare to walk out of an abusive and unhappy marriage? So it is about women’s empowerment.

      Now IHM I was quite surprised to one of your answers you gave to Ketan If a person says they cannot bear to live with someone- and in India if a girl says this … Are not you biased while saying so? why are you expecting that “indian girl” can’t say this? Are you still holding those age old conventions that you are fighting against that “indian girls” are supposed to behave in a certain way!! Why are you under illusion that if an “indian girl” says something, it MUST be believed, that it can’t be questioned and that she can never be guilty!!

      Indian girls are conditioned to ‘save’ their marriages at any cost, they are discouraged from complaining, and even when they complain they are not taken seriously, they are told to adjust, they are told the elders also suffered but sacrificed, they are told about ‘men’s ego’, and about ‘men will be men’, and of course, they are told not to bring shame to their family etc etc so it is not easy for her to complain. They are generally taken as guilty because it is convenient to declare them guitly…

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      • I am not denying whatever you mentioned about what girls are trained to do. So keeping that in mind, in those days if an indian girl said that they cannot bear to live with someone obviously there must be something horribly wrong. But it need not be always true for today’s educated financial independent woman, may be many of them are taught the same, but they take their own decisions correct.So, if a girl of today says they cannot bear to live with someone , there is no reason to believe that the girl is always correct. May be the percentage is comparatively lesser, but today don’t we have incidents where girls falsely accuse their husband and declare the marriage void because of their own interest,whatever it may be. Just to summarize, I am trying to say that if a girl says today that “they cannot bear to live with someone” it may be true but NOT ALWAYS

        Mustaf true, we can not make such rigid rules… but generally, would you say sometimes we send the girl back even if she says( falsely accuses?) she cannot bear to live with someone? (Men generally do not have this issue because they get to live with their parents most of the time). Who decides if she is lying/being unreasonable or not? You do realise that most Indians will blame the girl, or at least expect her to go back and somehow adjust.

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        • “today don’t we have incidents where girls falsely accuse their husband and declare the marriage void because of their own interest,whatever it may be”

          But if someone is finding excuses to get out of a relationship doesn’t that mean she really needs to get out and wants to get out? why should we want “that someone” to be bound in that relationship? What will be achieved with that? “falsely accusing and declaring marriage void” isn’t this reason enough for that relationship to end?

          IHM: I agree sands, it is reason enough!

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        • Sands, please go through my comment with the context I said it. I objected to the comment when IHM said in her reply to Ketan “If a person says they cannot bear to live with someone- and in India if a girl says this – then there is more to it than meets the eye…some underlying problems? Incompatibility?” My objection was only to the point that “if a girl says this” , then it MUST be TRUE, it can’t be questioned. If she doesn’t want to be in any relationship, fair enough but why the prejudice that she is always right that’s where I objected!!

          Irrespective of whether it is a boy or a girl, if he/she has to take a decision let them take it, I am not against that. But if he/she needs someone’s else support be it family or friend to take that decision, then is it not unfair that someone will have to blindly believe him/her and support her. If today my son says (I am not that old though 🙂 that he can’t stay with my DIL and she has some problem (whereas the actual reason could be he has some other GF), then don’t you think I will be wrong if i just blindly believe my son and take his side. According to me (and that will vary person to person), i should support here my DIL and not my son and should try to help my DIL in whatever way I can(but obviously, not forcing her to save the marriage etc etc )

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  42. Yes, today marriages are disintegrating more… But, I feel its all happenning for a long long time and now, its all coming out, due to media.

    Also, generalising the whole issue is also not right. While the men behave like animals with their wives in some cases, all the women cannot be branded as gems.

    We can also point out that all the marriages in India are not based on love. When the purpose of getting married is lost, where is the promise of sustained happiness ever after ????

    Umsreflections even if it is an arranged marriages, if both the partners keep their part of the deal, their is care, respect, thoughtfulness, fair play, justice, some space – they could live together, but when one partner has too much power or control over the other partner, then some abuse is almost inevitable, even if it is not intentional… I think every human must use and must be allowed to use the brain and the decision making power that they have.

    With developments in the socio economic culture that is very prevalent in India now, both men and women want to active in their social circle. This might cause problems in their respective families, of which they are not aware at that time.

    I agree … most families in India kind of own their families time… we have no concept of giving other members some space… we don’t think that maybe some people are totally happy to have no personal space, but some might feel otherwise…

    My God, IHM, you are making everybody write a post in your comment section. Anyway, gud thinking !!

    It’s great to hear how much we are changing, growing and evolving…

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  43. My mom often tells us that we have less tolerance than their generation. This may be partly true – we are more self-centered and more consumed with our needs, convenience, comforts. This may be partly true but women do have to give in to a lot of things and in so doing, often tend to lose themselves. However, it is not the same for men in the Indian society. Men still remain ‘boys’ and are still protected by the parents who think their son is their ‘raja beta’. Also, while independence can be an issue, one of the issues I think that takes a toll on individuals – mainly women – is the space. With education and independent thought-process comes the need to be on their own and somehow, our society fails to provide that sense of space to people. Families live in cramped places; privacy is often misinterpreted; less respect for women’s growth; within a family itself, a woman is another woman’s enemy – and the works.
    Marriages can be integrated if families remain united in disintegration.

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  44. Still too angry(from the previous posts) to comment coherently. And then of course I read RR`s comment. So I wont even try to put down my thoughts now. BUt shall get back in a while.
    Meanwhile, just a thought. The only thing that`s changed is that women are educated and independent and fully capable of surviving without the alms thrown their way. That`s the reason they choose not to stay in decaying relationships.

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  45. The sad part is, thanks to this kind of convoluted thinking, men think they can do whatever they want and leave the responsibilty of the marriage to the woman. A person I knew told me once, “Anyway the fate of the marriage is in the hands of the woman. I have nothing to worry about.”
    The sheer arrogance!

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  46. I am late to the party IHM but I wanted to comment.

    1. “women breaking up marriages because they are not “happy” is purely selfish.” what does that mean IHM? Isnt a marriage supposed to be where the husband AND the wife are happy? if the wife is not happy, why would she stay in the marriage? Even if she has unreasonable ideas of marriage, if she isnt happy, why would the marraige even exist? I am not being a feminist or anything like that but if a man is unhappy I would say the same thing. How is that wrong? And why is it bad to be selfish?

    2. “What happened to sacrifice, commitment and the vows made at marriage? … The reason marriages in India are disintegrating is because certain people have false notions about the definition of marriage and happiness in marriage and then tend to influence their married friends in a negative manner. ”

    So married people dont have brains of their own and can be ‘influenced’ by people with false notions? We should give ourselves a little more credit and understand that we all have a working brain and can think for ourselves. And the notion of sacrifice is so old and broken. Marriage should be something both the man and the woman love to be a part of, and the so-called sacrifice should come naturally. It should be called ‘tradeoff’ rather than sacrifice.

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  47. Acc to me….I think previously girls used to stay in bad marriages cos of social conditioning. Even now I know a parent telling her daughter to adjust cos her younger sis is yet to get married. So i can just imagine how things must have been a generation ago!

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  48. its hard to make generalisations in such cases. causes of marriage breaking up are very case specific. women have the right to be happy in a marriage as much as men. happy by reasonable standards acceptable to her, not what the society or the husband thinks is an acceptable level. donot know if our grandparents and parents… did they have better marriages. but they surely dint have the choice of walking out of a bad marriage.

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  49. I came here via Churumuri – I got thrown out because I tested their patience – They don’t like that 🙂
    Please join the discussions, share your opinion… why test anybody’s patience?

    But what’s the agenda here? Are you against Marriages?
    No, what made you think that?
    Family?
    Not at all.
    Society?
    Not if it lives and lets live.
    Or are you against abuses therein?
    Abuses therein.
    Because if you are against abuse; then you have everybody except retards supporting this position.

    But if you are against evolved structures because you “think” or “assume” that they cause the abuse or are reason to abuse, then you will have to back up your position.
    Am not against evolved structures…
    Some questions –

    1. Have you come from a broken family?
    No.
    2. Is the Man wrong and Woman right?
    Can not generalise. Right and wrong are genderless.
    3. Who and what is involved in dowry abuse, for instance?
    Whoever supports it in any ways. You should have seen today’s Ladies’ Special. I thought the mother was as much to blame… 😦
    4. Finally and this is critical – What is meant by gender equality?
    Fair play. Justice for all… How would you define it?
    5. Am I a “Male Chauvinist” for asking these questions? 🙂 If not, why not? If yes, why yes?
    Not sure, you have only asked questions… I don’t know your answers yet.

    Thanks
    Welcome to this blog 🙂

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  50. Thanks for your response!

    Oh, my views tested their patience 🙂 Stuff happens.

    About me – I’m a traditional conservative. This only means I’m a social conservative too. I value the institutions of marriage, family and society. Goes without saying I value the Nation. These are all intricately and organically linked with/to one another.

    I believe in human values.

    To me, there cannot be “family” without “marriage” and then how can there be “society” without “families”? A “Nation” would indeed be hollow without “society” or “societies” that are not organically linked with one another. That’s where “culture” and “worship/religion” play their parts.

    So, a “marriage” is a union between man and woman. It’s only then that a “family” occurs.

    Aside – This is why I’m against “legalizing” homosexuality

    How about Live and Let Live? (so long as one is not hurting anybody) Hurt sentiments I am afraid have become a joke and cannot always be taken seriously.

    Now back – A marriage occurs because the man needs the woman and vice versa. They *complement* each other’s role. Together, they can have children and raise them well. The man provides and protects (for) his family and the woman nurtures her family. (This is so because man is unable to nurture as well as the woman and the woman is unable to provide and protect as well as the man) – This is evolution in action. Not some male conspiracy at work.

    Gosh of course there is no male conspiracy! Palahalli this system did not work so well, because it did not take the welfare of all it’s members into consideration… sometimes marriages broke, sometimes one of he partners died, sometimes widows were helpless and their children became like orphans, sometimes these widows were burnt alive, sometimes the man found he would rather write poetry then work in the filed, sometimes he would rather write than earn, sometimes the woman realised she made a better pilot than a parent… and they found when that happened they were treated like oddities. A society is only successful when all the members find (reasonable) fulfillment. I think our old system could have been (not sure) fine once upon a time, but needs to evolve now.

    Aside – It’s at this point that I will be labelled an MCP

    Now back – The alternative to what has evolved is not working.

    It will take a lot of time and effort to undo the damage by a system that is still thriving in Indian society. Indian families do not even want to have daughters, because they know under the present, traditional system daughters are a liability. When all children are valued and cherished, that would be justice. When girls will not be forced to die that would be the beginning of fair play… we need to allow the traditonal system to evolve into a more practical, more workable system that is fair to the 50% population that did not have much say in writing of the rules in the older system.

    Some questions –

    “Fair play. Justice for all… How would you define it?”

    Fair play

    – Are these the same for man and woman? Should we then do away with special buses and train coaches for women? Should we also ask the night shift driver to drop the woman at her “point” rather than her door-step? Because that would be fair play. Should I remain seated when I see a woman standing? Should I not expect a woman to vacate when I am standing?

    Will men think a hundred times before stepping out after dark? I don’t think women should expect any doors opened, seats vacated or chairs pulled out. Men and women are not same, they need not copy or compete. About ladies special coaches? You think it is unfair that women should travel safely without being harassed by perverts who actually grudge their steeping out of their homes to work etc?

    – What about justice? Is our anti-dowry law just?
    (I have a post on “dowry” and I differentiate between “dowry” and the “abuse of dowry”)

    About dowry… I feel we need equal property rights, equal responsibility, equal rights.

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  51. Ok I am late here and all has been most said, I enjoyed reading the posts and comments… was off blogsphere for sometime… catching up on all posts today

    Welcome back Monika, it’s great to see you here 🙂

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  52. IHM – Quite a few of my posts are stuck in moderation. Will they pass?

    Thanks

    All your comments require long response… I hope I am not trying your patience 🙂

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  53. I am a first time visitor here and find your blogs very thought provoking and relevant.

    Women in olden times did not have much opportunity to see the world. Their role was mainly to take care of the house and the family, even neglecting themselves, while men were out in the world and making rules for everyone. Also without a welcoming work environment for them, women did not have much options if they left a marriage other than take protection from another man(!!). These days women are educated and have access to the world literally in all the ways that men do. So why would they expect less from the world. And if they did not find what they want, they leave. Mostly this happens in relationships where women have moved up to current times and men still hang on to old notions(or vice versa). It is just part of changes in our society.

    Welcome to my blog Lakshmi!! You have put it succinctly – I absolutely agree! We are going through major changes in our society… and I am so glad we are!

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  54. to put it simply IHM….
    women used to tolerate men’s misdeeds … but now becoz of financial and mental independence, they are putting their foot down and walking out of marriages where they are not happy in…
    and unfortunately women are being blamed for disintegrating the harmony of marriages by not sticking to them 😐 go figur
    e!

    I agree Ashwathy! Is it so difficult to see, or is there an attempt to NOT see what the truth is here?

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  55. Everyone talks about how there were fewer or absolutely no divorces in the past. What they don’t account for is the many ‘zombie marriages’ that existed and still do. Just by staying together no couple is doing anyone a favor, not to themselves not to the children or even the society. Only ‘conditioned’ thinking makes people believe that everything was hunky-dory in the past and will remain so in the present if women continue staying in unhappy marriages. Besides, these marriage vows we speak of were taken by BOTH not by a ‘daughter’ alone.
    Everyone has a right to happiness. And yes, you can walk out of a relationship if you are unhappy in it. It is not a crime to want to be happy. In fact everyone in life wants the same thing, happiness.

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  56. In fact, everyone in life wants happiness – exactly… we have been trying to achieve that single thing for so many centuries, but the “Ever lasting happiness” doesn’t happen to us at all… and I think it is more fortunate than unfortunate because, both men and women will be ready to give anything and suppress anyone to achieve that. Some Men think that by suppressing women (and other men) they can attain ever lasting happiness. And yes, some women also think like that. I just wish them all the best …. if at all it was true, I would like to join your party! But unfortunately life is not so simple. The beauty of life is in its complexity.

    We have certain monolithic ways of thinking:

    More money = More happiness
    More freedom = More happiness
    More success = More happiness
    More power = More happiness

    If it was a simple direct proportion we should be much more happier than our ancestors. Are we? If we were, so much discussion would not have happened above! Everyone wants to exploit others to be more happy… but are they? Unless they have mastered the art of cheating themselves, the answer to the above question would be a ‘No’. Simple answers, but complex questions. That is what I like about life – the apparent mystery and complexity!!

    I am sorry IHM for totally divulging from the topic 🙂 But after a long time, there was a flow in my thoughts and I wanted to document it, I will come back to read it 🙂

    Destination Infinity

    Look forward to reading what you have to say when you come back 🙂

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  57. I think there is huge gray area, both sides have their flaw and their advantages be it traditional or the modern.

    With great power comes great responsibility, is one line which I really really believe in. You power to walk out of a relationship is a great power in itself but then it comes with great responsibility. And as it happen with all the power, this one too power is taken on well but the Responsibility ignored.

    I agree in the traditional system it was difficult to use that power and hence made people more responsible which I agree didn’t worked out absolutely well in some cases where the water went over the head.

    On the other hand, with that power being easily available the things are different. As a matter of fact one of the area where the power to walk out of a relationship is very easy is an affair and honestly speaking I don’t know a single soul in my friend circle who hasn’t had a couple of affairs and broken off hooked again.

    You know relationship and commitment is more of a joke, I have seen guys who would have made great husbands and family man changing into people who disrespect women, objectify (which I entirely dislike and have had great arguments with them) them because their counterparts walked out irresponsibly.

    The power to end a relationship is always their with the people, its just the responsibility/guilt/pressure of using it which varies in the model. I don’t think any of the extremes would be justified the balance would be in the middle but I find myself to be tilted towards the traditionalist side.

    I have always told people it takes 50 years of effort 24 hours a day to make a relationship last for 50 years and a 5 minute fit of rage to sign divorce papers/make a nasty break up call to break a relationship. One needs to make their choices very carefully, I am not sure how many people are careful/responsible enough to make this choice.
    Still not sure if I am able to convey my myriad of thoughts on this… but I am sure it would give u an idea of the assumptions on which I incline towards a traditional model with and added care & responsibility.

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    • How surprising that you veer towards the traditional model, being a man. 😉

      I’m sure your experience would have been different had you been a woman stuck in an unequal, suffocating marriage

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  58. Prats don’t you think walking out of relationship that is making two people and their children very unhappy is also a responsibility?

    I know women who are miserable but are afraid of leaving – some are financially self reliant but still are afraid of leaving. Everybody, the man , the woman and the children are unhappy but they still are together.

    About break ups where two people are not married, I feel break ups in relationships are a part of growing up and learning to get along and finding the person one is really suited for.

    Some break ups might simply indicate that one is not ready for a relationship yet – not matured enough perhaps. I feel even if it hurts when the break up happens, it is perhaps for the best in the long run for both the partners.

    If we are with someone we feel miserable, confused, resentful and unhappy with, and we are still going out with them – then, aren’t we missing out on a chance of meeting someone who is right for us? Someone we feel good and positive, and confident and happy with?

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    • Well I don’t agree with the someone right for us theory. Extending that line of thought I would support Tiger Woods may be he is just searching for someone right. There is nothing as someone right, its just a basic compatibility and over time we become right for each other. May be this viewpoint is because I see relationships too practically because I am that kind of a person.

      I can read and on a different plane may be understand ur point of view on this but then I think we can agree to disagree here

      Me – Prats I spoke of someone suited for us in young people’s relationships, but marriage is a serious commitment, and Tiger Woods still want to stay married, if he was looking for someone right, he should gladly be divorced by his wife, and continue his search.

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      • Exactly my point he searched out and eventually found his wife was the right one for him… I know this is a stupid argument, but can be valid and somehow these kind of things I am not very comfortable with or can approve off.

        I don’t think divorce should be an option at least not an easy one.

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      • Essentially my point here is- Marriage is a serious commitment and having an easy exit option ruins a lot of things for the entire family. The option should not be an easy one. You know as a society we are moving towards, a frivolous culture where there is skepticism for commitments and lack of belief in the institution of marriage and staying together. I mean look at the generation today people prefer live-in relationships as a trial run for marriage, do we need a trial run that two people can live under a roof without killing each other something? People want an easy way out of the relationships and of marriage too. I somehow think that this is not what Indian culture (really sorry to use this so misused term here) is about, we have traditionally the land of very strong family values and it has been working a lot better. I still know people who shudder at the thought of having a drink in front of their parents, you never heard the lines from kids (we were just here because you had sex, this has happened with some1 I know) some how we live in a world of depreciating family values. Where the motives are judged in almost everything you do, I tell you I so feel deep down that something is not right about the way we are doing this.

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        • Prats most of us feel comfortable in a system that we are used to, change does worry most of us. Actually the only thing that is changing is that now women are also walking out. Earlier only men ‘left’ their wives, and the wives were condemned by all for this, they were considered a ‘burden’ on their brothers because they had no rights in their parents’ homes. (Shouldn’t all children be equal in a fair society?) So wives lived with husbands even if the husbands hated them, and even if the husbands were involved in extra marital relationships. There was no respect, there was often violence, abuse and fear. In worst cases men brought home another woman, and the woman still dared not leave because she had no where to go. And men could get away with all this because in a patriarchal society, they lived in their own homes and since they were the ‘head’ of the family, everybody tried to be on their good side. Even their own mothers didn’t like them to be too close to their wives, because that made them insecure.
          Women were also condemned for bearing female children. Even though we have come a long way – this needs to change.
          Also women marry and live with their spouse’s family (even if they are the only child of their own parents, our culture discourages a girls parents from as much as drinking water in a daughter’s family, even working daughters’ parents hesitate in accepting monetary or any help from their own female children.) This is wrong. All children – male or female should have equal rights and responsibilities. Nuclear families have made it easier for daughters to care for their parents. Nuclear family also gives the woman freedom which till now only men enjoyed. They are able to get out of the house on their own, they can take decisions that their in laws may not approve of (like giving birth to two daughters, or not bringing gifts from the girl’s side on festivals, or wearing sari without covering their heads, or letting their daughters get educated instead of marrying them off.)

          Joint family is a great system for couples who have male children, and as a result today nobody wants daughters. In India when we talk of ‘senior citizens’ we talk of sons and daughters in law neglecting them, nobody even considers a girl’s parents plight. Then we wonder why nobody wants baby girls. I read a post where this woman was begging everybody on a railway station to take away her daughter, because she will have to kill her otherwise, or else her husband will throw her out. My own maid went to leave her fourth daughter outside an orphanage and then came back and cried bitterly. She was afraid because her husband and his family were not talking to her since the birth of this daughter – she was a skeleton and I had got her tubes tied so she won’t have any more children, so they had also threatened another wife for the man. This is a bitter reality of our family values.

          Drinking in front of parents is as bad as drinking behind their back. If it was my son I would rather he was close to me and had no fear in admitting his wrongs – I would rather he smoked or drank in front of me, or not at all. Is it not hypocrisy to drink in front of the entire world but not infront of the two people who would guide best and care the most? Today most parents prefer to be free with and close to their children.

          Live in relationships are a personal matter, the only difference is now even women are opting for them. We have had couples in live in relationships throughout history but earlier the female partner was condemned and could never hope to marry another person once she was in such a relationship. This has changed now, both can walk out and marry people of their choice. I feel again the only difference is we are no longer condemning them. I would say Live and let live, we live our way, they live their way. To each their own.

          I feel in India we expect children to be grateful to their parents. I find that unfair. I have heard parents talk of how much they have done for their children and I find that kind of talk incorrect. If a couple does not like to take care of their children they should not have children. Parents can’t call child rearing a favour to the child. Providing a warm, encouraging, loving, non violent, non-abusive environment is an important responsibility. We beat our children, we criticise, label, neglect and on top of everything, we expect the child to be grateful for the ‘sacrifices’ we have made for them. If the upbringing has been wrong, if the neglect and role models have been wrong then it is really sad. Any child who is rude has been spoken rudely to.

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  61. It’s not always only one responsible for something in marriage life. I have few real examples here…

    Family 1 (Mr. and Mrs. B):
    I know a women (Mrs. B, homemaker) and does nothing at home, nothing means not even cleaning the house, cooking (at least for her self and husband). When I visit their home, I feel horrible, they have every piece of furniture but she never cleans and put the things in right place. Her husband has to come back from work, and then cook everyday… or else he has take her out or bring something home of her choice. But still they are continuing their life.. Why!!?? Because husband is compromising in this particular case and he was hoping that his wife will realize someday.

    One day this happened:
    For pot-lock, Mrs. B husband prepared C.Biryani and Mrs. B didn’t like the taste, she said to her husband
    Mrs. B: If you don’t know how to cook why don’t you bring it from outside?
    Mr. B: Don’t waste food, try to adjust this time.
    Mrs. B: (Started crying and said) you insulted me in-front of my friends.
    And conversation continued for sometime.. and finally
    Her friends supported her and said to Mr. B, your wife left their parent came to US with you, you should take care of her!! ( WTH!!! )

    If this guy fights with his wife to take care about the house, the same people will call this “harassment etc”.

    Family 2 (Mr. and Mrs. C):
    One of my colleague (Mr. C), he works and his wife is homemaker. He just goes back home and watch TV. Everything he will get into his hands, he won’t help his wife in cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. One day I asked his wife, “did you ever ask your husband to help”, she said no and said, “I am staying home all I do in daytime in cooking (that will be for 1 hour) after that I am free. Especially when in you are in USA, there is nothing to take care about the house everyday, we have dishwasher, vacuum etc you just press some button and it does for you. In this case why I have to ask my husband for help?? My husband is working 8-9 hours a day and at work I know there will more tensions (from managers, seniors, collogue politics etc)”

    And a group of women in my apartment talk about these families and their comments,

    About Family 1:
    She (Mrs. B) is very lucky, her husband helps her a lot with home duties. Every men should behave life that!! (But they never say it’s bad.)

    About Family 2:
    Mrs. C is doing too much, she should involve her husband in homework’s. What if our husbands came to know about this!! We should not tell them.
    (But they never try to think in a way Mrs. C thinks)

    Most blogs discuss about women, unfortunately no blogs (or no one knows) what’s happning to men (like in Mr B case). The main problem is in our country women still get lot of support (Women Org, etc etc) when comes to marriage life. That’s the way it is since many years, that didn’t change. But women changed a lot since then.

    Me – Women despite the support get exploited but that is no reason for ignoring men who might also suffer. Injustice is bad for everyone. I feel if a woman is totally disinterested in housekeeping, she would be happier working outside and then both can share the house hold chores also. Also gadgets still require a lot of work while women in India often are used to maids so that might cause some adjustment problems… My best wishes to both the couples.

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