Troubled Marriages

When we look around we see far more marriages failing these days than at any other time in the history of mankind. No doubt that we can point our fingers at changed times, a modern outlook and of course the equality of the sexes, but ultimately it boils down to compatibility and a number of other factors as well that are there within ourselves - not in the society nor in the changed times !

A couple I had known who had been married for about eighteen years decided to end their relationship quite suddenly. What was even more surprising was that it was the lady who took the first step, she told the husband in a very matter of fact manner that they had simply grown apart and could hardly see eye to eye on any important issue and taking joint decisions was becoming a difficult task. Honestly I was surprised on hearing this given the fact that I had spent a lot of time with them through the years and thought that they got along rather well! And I was appalled to know that I was totally wrong?

Apparently they had been trying to work on their relationship since almost a year with no improvement in their ability to resolve conflicts or come to any understanding. And, although both of them did'nt want a divorce , the thought of which actually made both of them feel distressed and the children (two teenagers) more so, they still felt that there was no future in their relationship with one another. Finally, they agreed that in the larger interest of all concerned it would be better to lead separate lives on friendly terms since they dint see the point in continuing as well. The children were hurt but later realised that it was better to have a stress free home atmosphere which had become a routine in their household for many years because of their parents’ non compatibility.

There was another far more disturbing information that emerged with respect to the issue of divorce and separation. According to many marriage counselors, couple who go in for therapy are bound to split up after a while in most cases. This is because they have left it too late and go when things have reached a point of no return. Their relationship may be hanging by a thread and then let off steam at the session it is almost like breaking away for good. A therapist can do only so much and unless there is determination and the will power to set things right from both sides, it is impossible for him to work alone.


 Some obvious signs

There are many signs that show that your marriage is not going the way it ought to and when couple realise this and work towards improving things, they can hope to stop the damage right at the beginning , so that the relationship improves and stops from deteriorating further ...

1. When you realise that you no longer are doing things together nor spend time together although you live under the same roof, it is time to make amends. This is something that can be tackled right at the beginning. We see couple attending social engagements or performing routine errands, yet rarely engage in meaningful conversation. This kind of living in silence is a primary symptom of major marital problems that needs to be given serious consideration.

2. Being critical and watching each and every action of your partner can be very stressful to both. There are households where the couple are constantly criticising each other or one off the partner is at the receiving end, receiving constant criticism. This is a very negative attitude that never does any good to any relationship leave alone marriage.

3. If you are constantly looking for some kind of a distraction to keep your mind occupied like watching TV or spending time on the net or reading a book for hours together without caring for your partners needs, you can be sure that all is not well with your marriage and it is time to go for a deep analysis, that is if you want to make things better!

4, Arguing continuously and bringing out past misunderstandings and unpleasant episodes over and over again is another sign that your marriage is decaying. When you have all the 4 mentioned problems in your marriage, you may need to seek the help of a marriage counselor.

5, Is your partner no longer sharing information with you about his career, personal problems or personal achievements? At the same time is he or she sharing this information with a friend and you hear it second hand? When this is the case where you become the last to know important information that concerns both of you and your family, one can presume that there has been a huge breakdown in communication between the two of you.

6, When sex becomes a chore and intimacy is forced then you have serious trouble on hand. No matter what people may say about mental compatibility being the ultimate, physical compatibility does count and matters a lot in a marital relationship and can never be over looked. According to experts a decline in physical affection is one of the most recognized symptoms of a failing relationship that has far reaching effects.

7. A change in appearance, according to counselors is another sign that a marriage is no longer as attractive or desirable as it used to be. A drastic change in personal appearance and hygiene and being lax in what they do  is a sure sign that they no longer care or, are happy within the marriage.


 When there is no other alternative

In rare cases when a couple are totally incompatible and have no future , there have been instances when a good therapist helps the couple to acknowledge that separation is the best course of action to take and that it can be done somewhat amicably and respectfully instead of creating more problems. Here many therapists agree that therapy cannot fix everything and also that every marriage is not strong enough or meant to go the entire distance. According to them , sometimes all you can do is give your blessing to a couple and ask them to move on.

The reality according to them is that if people are miserable together, a good therapist should be able to recognise the fact and help them separate and live happier lives apart. When we consider the statistics - one in two marriages ultimately end up in divorce. Of course the numbers could vary but the fact of the matter is that at approximately 50% , divorce rate is a scary proposition. However , the other 50% of the marriages remain happy and successful and one should analyse the reason for that as well.

It could be for any number of reasons - financial, religious, a belief that it benefits the children, a belief that one doesn’t deserve better, fear of being alone or simply a lack of desire to deal with what is at stake when there is a separation. It could also be a matter of making the best out of a bad bargain.

Reasons why marriages fail

1) Compatibility – this is not just for a year or two but for a whole life time .It is also a fact that people won’t remain the same person in five, ten, or twenty years. Their goals, ideologies, perspectives and interests change as they evolve. The problem comes your spouse is doing the same thing. Two people who marry at 25 or 30 years of age won’t be the same people at 45 and 50, so your compatibility level should evolve mutually and this is not an easy task. This is precisely why people grow apart and you get to hear one of the partner saying he or she isn’t the same person I married. So, couples need to realize that they will both change have to put in extra efforts to stay connected.

2) Monogamy – According to scientists most species are not monogamous and humans are not different. Almost invariably many people do feel a sexual attraction to others who are not their spouse but it remains just that for many people and they continue to remain faithful to their spouses . However in some cases this makes the person wonder if there is a flaw in their marital relationship especially if sexual excitement within the marriage has diminished. What people don’t realize is that an ideal marriage is striving for a greater good and according to many sociologists since marriage is a man-made institution, not a natural one it is but natural for partners to stray. But this very natural act can be the reason for disenchantment and stress.

fighting couple

3) Fights and Arguments – We have to remember that every successful and long-term relationship will have its fair share of conflict and fights. This is a natural aspect of emotional intimacy, but too many people shy away ( not necessarily ladies) from raising their voices or making themselves heard because of fear of abandonment and also a belief that fighting is a sign that the relationship is failing. This leads to frustration since all their feelings and pent up feelings remain within them and is bound to come out like a flood when the right (wrong)time comes.

4, Relatives and family members – In countries like India one marries the entire family instead of just a person and is answerable to all the members which is expected. If the couple is going to live in a joint family, there may not be a chance to have freedom of expression and thought on even personal matters which can become a major cause of distress with time.

5, For some Marriages solve problems- Many courting couple who have had some minor problems tend to think that once they get married things would work out , which is very wrong. In fact a in most cases problems get intensified after marriage . A ring ,a marriage certificate or a Mangalsutra does not help nor improve an individual’s insecurities, solve problems or alter personalities. The increase in physical proximity and the more time you spend with each other is only going to increase any problem you already have faced. However, it does not mean that having problems is a reason not to get married, rather, it’s a sign to start to address those problems and not assume they will take care of themselves, which never happens in life.

6) Pressures from family and society -Society and family puts a lot of pressure on people, especially women, to be married at a certain age. Some of this is natural and arises out of concern since that is the natural course of life. But ,because of society’s demands many make a decision to get married just to fulfill the wishes of their family - to have children, not be alone and find someone who fits their parents and society’s demands. Such a decision often leads to unhappiness because the reasons are flawed right from the beginning.

To conclude, many successfully married couples feel that they made the right decision and they have no regrets and no reason to complain either. But people are different and circumstances are different so one cannot generalise. If and when a person is planning to get married it is better to do so with your eyes open and Know all the pitfalls and problem areas .. For those who can’t seem to move past their problems it is advisable to see a professional therapist and the sooner you can begin that process, the better for your marriage since getting help when things have reached their zenith may not help you save your marriage, but the therapist would be able to offer some advise which would prove helpful in your later relationships at least!

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Should low level government babus come under lokpal?

Aren't they Indian citizens and answerable to people?

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