Marriage has been an important institution in almost every known society. It legitimises two-person relationships and assures social sanctions in society to reproduce and meet the physical-emotional needs. Most importantly, it gives a sense of togetherness and security.
Charlie and Nicole have been married for ten years and have an eight-year-old child named Henry. They are a New York-based family. Charlie is a theatre director, a self-sufficient, confident, caring and a loving dad who is the king of his own constructed world. He has a beautiful wife, the best child and a home, furniture etc, what else could he dream of? Nicole belongs to Los Angeles and possesses a great sense of affiliation with her city where she was grown up. She’d always wanted to return there but her first marriage and an unplanned child deter her in New York, ultimately evaporating her desires.
When they married, they did discuss all these kinds of stuff which a newly wedded couple discuss with each other bit but slowly, Charlie got submerged into his giant bubble of work and the endless lust of getting something. He slowly got lost into his world which left his wife Nicole aside, impacting her and their relationship drastically. This created a gap, a sense of drainage of affection, intimacy, love between them ultimately leading to the divorce.
In a conversation Nicole says:
“He talked to me and….He talked back and it was better than sex, the talking, in the beginning, was the actress, the star and….. That felt like something, you know. People came to see me at first, but further away I got from that and.. the more acclaim the theatre company (belongs to Charlie) got, and I had less and less weight…and…that….would’ve been fine, but I got smaller (She became too emotional at this point)
I realized…I didn’t ever really come alive for myself. I was just feeding his aliveness…….& then I got pregnant[sniffs], And I thought that having a baby could be ours, could really be ours, but also really mine. It would be strange if he turned to me and said, “What do you want today?” He didn’t see me as separate from himself.”
Identity and recognition are two of the most important facets of a human being to be alive. Nicole lost her identity and did not get any recognition beyond the confined role of a wife and mother. She was nothing except that. Whatever success and achievement were present in their lives, it came through that man, which left a mammoth derivation and sense of unimportance in Nicole’s life.
As American Sociologist Talcott Parsons states, back in the fifties, women were assigned to play an expressive role- nurture and affection, men’s role was instrumental- bread giver. He was criticised by many feminist scholars long back. The matter of the fact is that it’s high time we alter these prefixed roles. Things are changing structurally, so when Nicole doesn’t get the space and gratitude that she was supposed to get separated in fact both of them.
Conducting a married life is a full-time job. In order to have a healthy relationship consistently, one needs to be reflective and even simple issues can be resolved through discussion and talks. Life is short and simple, let’s grow together.