The institution of marriage
The alarming divorce rates in some parts of the world make one wonder whether marriage is a dangerous endeavor? It is on increase even in lesser developed nations. Just for the sake of information, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Maldives ranks highest in the world with 10.97 divorces per 1000 inhabitants per year. Maldives’ divorce rate is twice as high as second placed Belarus. A quick checklist for divorces goes like this: no trust in partner, increase in interference from other family members, no compromise from both partners, no respect for partner, communication gap, too much knowledge regarding the loopholes in law and a tendency to use it against partner, no guidance from elders and lack of coordination.
At some stage in a married couple’s life a time comes when they find it difficult to stay together. It is usually difficult to know what to do when a marriage has fallen into a rut. Spouses start disregarding each other, they try maintaining distance from each other, all this after investing their energy, emotions and time in their marriage. Many times couples get stuck in shared finances, assets like a home, car, gold, land etc because they build their lives around the partnership. Can divorce really help people in resettling in their lives?
Sometimes the issue is best addressed with a realistic approach: simply by evaluating the advantages of staying together versus the advantages of staying apart. There is a lot to consider above and beyond how married couples feel about each other. They’re likely to have shared friends, in-laws whom they’ve grown close to; perhaps they’ve become used to moving in similar social circles throughout the time that they’ve been together. If they have children together then this, of course, is a major factor to consider. It might be helpful to draw up a list of all the pros and cons, in order to see more clearly what one stands to gain and lose by making either choice.
For women, if they change their last name after marriage and if they establish themselves professionally after marriage it is a difficult question for them to play with their identity. Most women who hold on to their married last names after divorce do not like to change it even if they opt for divorce. I think a woman earns her name, and she has a right to keep it apart from the marriage itself.
Preferably, 2 people will want to consider every possible approach in saving a marriage before deciding to disband it. Especially, if they can aid each other’s personal growth. The solution is to imagine or form some kind of picture of how one’s whole life might look as a result of making either decision. It can be disastrous to make a reckless choice on the basis of hurt feelings or anger. Then, ending marriage is not just a legal technicality; post divorce a person has to go through lot of emotional drain. While not everyone experiences them to the same degree, there are knowable emotions that need to be recognized.
When long-married couples are asked the formula for marital success, many identify patience as a key component. It’s the very important virtue for living together day after day in relative peace, without constant struggles to change the other to our liking. We all want our partner to change as per our liking. How can we live in a utopian world, when we ourselves lack ideal quality? Patience in marriage begins with the individual. Our daily routine gives us ample opportunity to practice patience, which we ignore for obvious reasons.
Many counselors agree that there are certain circumstances in which divorce may be the best answer. If one partner is abusive, addicted to alcohol or drugs, or extremely controlling, there may be no other option left. Even in these cases, if the partner is sincerely willing to seek help for their problem I think the partner deserves a chance. But, when partners have lost all sympathy or love for one another, and are dragging on it’s the end. When nothing is perfect in life, when we cannot define what perfect means, how can we dictate somebody to change? We tend to equate ‘perfect’ with ‘ideal’ and ideal is nothing but a preconceived notion. We all are programmed to seek an ideal life, an ideal spouse, ideal children, ideal parents, ideal childhood, ideal teachers, ideal jobs, ideal outing, ideal neighbors etc, etc, etc. Do those things exist? Not really. They’re only ideal in our minds. Some things may come close but it all depends how imaginative a person is. Nothing in reality can meet the high bar our mind goes on creating.
I think when difficult passages occur in marriage, it needs some time to pass away. Couples that are still together have faced several difficulties. They sort them out before they get out of control. I read this somewhere – start your marriage with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on your yearly anniversary open it to see all the good things from your first year of marriage.
A research in Michigan State University confirms that married people, particularly married men, live significantly longer than their single friends. Doctors at Harvard have shown that married patients were more likely to identify cancer in its early stages and less likely to die from the disease than their unmarried peers. So friends, it is worth keeping the institution of marriage alive.