What is a Marriage?
Is it the meeting of two minds, two souls, two bodies, two societies or two lifestyles.
Is marriage limited only to two people.. ?
But then how do the parents, children, siblings become a part of it..?
And what about friends and lovers..?
Many relationships consider that a girl can’t have friends outside of marriage.
So lovers off course is out of the question.
Fidelity is a form of sacrifice, one can never fathom it.
Since childhood with all the movies and books, a very idealistic view of marriage is shown and our families prove it just how it’s supposed to be..
Love at first sight, may it be friends introducing you or then families introducing you. Then the various stages of love from a crush to lust to care. And then deciding if the person you are going to be with, would you want to have children with them and spend the rest of ur life happily ever after.
Most of the stories do end in the happily ever after.
BUT what do you do, when you close the book and get up from the chair and live your life.
Human emotions and needs , come into play.
Though emotions are considered more of a woman’s domain and needs are man’s domain.
Emotional infidelity is considered a taboo and so is physical, which is worse though?
Can you fall in love after marriage? What if the person you thought you married changes or isn’t what you thought? What if you married the wrong person?
Is marriage supposed to be perfect? Or do you define your own lines?
What if you start wanting different things than what your partner desires?
..There are so many what ifs that.. If what is done is done all the time, then all you get stuck is a routine.. Marriage only becomes an obligation.. Some just accept it and move on, but the independent souls need to decide if they want to continue or break free..
Breaking free is an option if the relationship is abusive. But what if it’s a happy marriage.. Everyone says marriage is tough.. Does it need to be?
There are all sorts of marriages..
Marriages as business agreements , marriages where either of the spouse has all the say , marriages done to keep the parents happy, marriages done out of frustration, ego, pregnancy, friendship, compatibility , marriages done for better career prospects , for passion.
Does it mean that all these marriages don’t have love in them?
What does love mean in a marriage?
It would just mean that you are there for each other..
But what about the marriages in the defence services when the spouses cannot be there for each other..
Does love mean spending time together?
Then what about the marriages in the IT world?
Then does marriage only mean a licence where two people get to stay with each other? Is it just a legal obligation ? ..
Love means care..
But you care for the street children on the road as well..
Well more care and affection and intimacy..
Yes marriage is about intimacy – of all sorts.. But can one individual provide for all of the needs?
Some couples talk about what their needs are, some are ashamed cause sometimes their ego and society doesn’t permit it due to the gender specific roles and responsibilities..
For the couples who talk about it.. They can say that they have a happy marriage if they are fulfilling each other and growing together.
But what happens when you don’t communicate?
Either one knows the other so well that without words they just know and without verbally giving sanctions they just accept each other..
Or then lives are spent just being polite and nice to each other.. Without really knowing what and who the other person is..
To come out and say what you want can be a very tricky thing..
What if the individual says they want space?
What if it is said that they want another person for sometime, while some ask for a guilt-free pass, or they say they want to end the marriage it self..what if , what makes one spouse happy can bring sadness to the other.
So marriage is something as personal, as versatile and unique as the individuals themselves. Though sanctioned by society, it is an individual unit, where the couples can decide how they want to live their lives..
Because after all though there are promises to be kept, there are also personal desires which need to be met. Marriage is all about finding that balance and doing what will make you happy, if you are happy then you can you make your partner happy. If you want to protect them with lies or you want to share every little detail without being sensitive about how it would affect them, or you would put their needs before your selves is up to you. It also depends on whether they would be willing to do the same for you.
Because never have lovers gone by where you know for sure that you have been loved equally.. At some point of time your heart will break, may it be before or after marriage.. How do you cope then?.. For you will always love more and the other a bit less.. You will find your own ways of coping, may it be white lies , affairs, food, money, career or a simple Shell..if it is right or wrong I do not know.. But marriage does seem about that give and take which helps you maintain your happiness, a transaction similar to a hug, you know what kind of hug it is, a mutual reciprocal one, one done out of missing someone for a long time, one just for pretend or maybe that awkward moment when you want to hug but the other person holds out their hand. Because the moment the balance of that give and take flips is where you will ask the question.. What marriage is?
If you are still struggling with the question, please feel free to reach out to our counsellors and talk about this. They would listen to you empathetically and without any judgement. We will explore the question in more depth together till you find your own definition of Marriage that makes you feel at peace with yourself.
In Therapy we would be discussing some of the following aspects
Aspects to consider before marriage
- Do you want to get married?
- Why do you want to get married?
- What are the pressures you are under currently?
- How much of these pressures are affecting your decision?
- What is your concept of marriage and love?
- What are your thoughts about an arranged marriage and love marriage and What differentiates them?
- What are the qualities you are looking for in your spouse?
- Have you already chosen the person you are going to spend your life with?
- Have you discussed the following with them?
- Where will you live after marriage?
- What are the chores and responsibilities you would be sharing?
- How many children are you planning to have?
- If its inter- caste or religion, how are you planning to face the various societal pressures, naming of the children, and your choice of religion for the children?
- Who will manage the finances and how will you distribute your savings?
- What are the boundaries you plan to draw in your marriage?
- When you have fights how do you plan to resolve them?
- When you have needs your partner doesn’t understand, how will you communicate them?
- What are your fears and insecurities?
- What are you attachment styles and how do you give and receive love?
- How do you intend to handle the other members of the family when there would be differences in opinion?
Aspects to consider after marriage
- What are the current problems you are facing in your marriage?
- What are the things you love about your marriage?
- Who are the individuals you feel your marriage is getting affected by?
- What were your expectations about marriage and how are you coping with reality?
- Why are you not able to communicate things to your spouse?
- How are you handling things when your spouse doesn’t seem to listen to anything you say?
- How are you handling things with respect to children and what help and expectations you have from your spouse with this regard?
- How are you managing time for yourself?
- If you are not getting any time for yourself, is there anything you are doing about it or only cribbing?
- How are you balancing your work life and family life?
- What are the pressures you are facing on both fronts?
By Chetana Alex.
Psychologist with BetterLYF