I was surprised to see a friend of mine who is going through legal separation, was in no mood to lament. One thing I realised is that marital relations bother only when a woman is economically not sound, otherwise such decisions hardly affect anybody. The reason for her divorce was “her Independent Approach towards life”. It was a love marriage (at early age), she gave her hundred per cent to him, but she was always deserted by her darling hubby.
‘Not-so-beautiful girls’ generally face this type of threat. Her husband used to slip into extra marital affairs and deprived her off with the basic needs of matrimonial associations. One fine day — maybe due to a self realisation or saturation — she motivated herself and trained towards grooming, success and pursuing her career. She was not in a mood to be at the receiving end. Her relation went to the situation of break up and finally they both came to a decision, to get separated. In India, nowadays divorce cases are on the rise.
Anyways, there is nothing wrong for women who wish to be financial stable before getting marriage or remain stable even after marriage. In fact, in today’s circumstances, it is only sensible decision that both buddies should continue to earn whilst in their marriage. Maybe, this is the reason why divorce has become common practice and late marriages have come into effect. Nowadays, women are giving first priority to her financial stability. Late marriage is not a punishment, quite a few studies have shown that late pregnancies negatively affect the growth & development of the child and affect the mother’s health too. I think, we need to find a proper middle ground in terms of the ‘marrying age’ for women to be both financially and physically healthy. Things like compatibility, mutual sincerity, honesty, acceptance by both sides of the family depends upon mutual understanding.
Early marriages were considered to be wonderful, to help a couple in fast tracking several aspects of modern day living such as ‘building’ a home together, purchasing stuff together, choosing, budgeting, designing, project managing the actual renovations, etc. in short, helping each other in daily chores i.e. ‘covering’ for each other. But, there is a lot of compromise in the name of adjustments and sacrifice. When they start realising the difficulties of surviving in the relation, there begins the challenge.
Marriage at mature age is a blessing. At least, the couple knows what they are up to and how to prepare themselves for their life ahead. Best of all, it is wonderful to be able to go on vacations together, sharing the same room and of course, the best gift of all relationship is passionate intimacy; when partners want it, wherever they want it. The decision making capacity at mature age is definite.
The social circumstances in many communities have forced women to put a premium on financial safety for themselves. But, this financial security is always expected in terms of ‘Stridhan’, (derived from the words stri meaning woman and dhana which means property). This property either she gets as dowry from father or in terms of jewellery or gifts that she receives from her husband or in-laws. However, this ‘property’ has never guaranteed the financial independence for women.
Female infanticide, honour killings, eve-teasing etc, are a big menace in our society and people’s attitude is required to change towards women. When a girl leaves her family, abandoning her roots and enters in new family, she certainly holds some dreams. It is expected that a sincere man can make her feel special. I am not talking about the luxury or riches here, but he can fulfil her basic needs with compassion. This generally won’t happen in traditional marriages. Too much of intervention by society and parents suppress the independent life of married couple. In many communities, even today young women are being pressured into marrying early. I think, India and Indian women are going through a seismic shift and financial stability will empower women to break such social norms.
Hardly, some small percentage of couples in India lives with mutual love and sharing of views. Most of us, bonded together by marital ties, somehow pull on for decades and the children result in that bondage. Presently, no wonder we are aghast with our way of married life.
When a boy reached the age of 22 everybody asks what job he does, what are the new plans for his career etc whilst for a girl everyone asks, what are her marriage plans? Being financially independent is culturally not meant for women in India. Here comes financial dependency and agony for marital ties. This culture is more prevalent in middle class. There is a lot to be done; there is huge cultural wall that has to be pulled down. One more important point here is the trend that is pointed out about divorces and confident women. Correlation does not imply causation. Besides, it could also mean that though women have become more assertive, society has not changed in the way it treats them, leading to higher tensions. It is a tough battle for women against exacting social civilisation. For them, to succeed, they can use all the support they can get. I am sure, sincere guys also appreciate a woman having the self-confidence that comes along with a successful career and financial independence.
Financial independence in woman has its disadvantage too; the relations are not stable and in most of the cases the vermin elements in society uses woman as stepping stone or ladder for his personal comforts and growth. A man in financially independent woman’s life is not introduced or forced to realise his duties and responsibilities towards her and their family. In such cases man remains with a parasitic approach. Education and career have not given emotional intelligence to the couple in modern times. Financial freedom and matured individualism has its deterrent side effects but, fewer risks.
If we look at other side of social elements, there are some who don’t want the responsibility of marriage or an exclusive relationship. I do know a lot of successful women, who are much happier to be single and mingling after a divorce. Invariably, all of them seem to express a gratitude for their new found freedom! They all express that marriage is not for everybody and that it is an overrated institution. The more our younger women are educated and independent, the more opportunity they will have for dreaming ideas other than what one can expect from within a marriage. The fact is that hundreds of young women in India prefer to be either spinsters or prefer late marriage. That’s the changing marriage patterns. But when this union is intended only for child-bearing, it loses the sheen, denying the couple, its due privileges of companionship and bonding.
Marriage thus, is not the end. It is a new beginning.