Challenges For the Institution of Marriage

 Challenges For the institution of Marriage


Dearest Shuchi,

I am aware the you will feel amused while reading these letters from me. Even an involuntary laugh may escape your mouth. You must be thinking, ‘my dear mom, Do you know what you are talking? Today’s world has changed a lot ! This is the age of Hi-tech computers, chatting, face-book, social networking and the like. Old ideas have no place in this age of ours.’

‘We don’t believe that Marriage is a sacred tie and that it doesn’t remain for this birth but it goes beyond – life after life after life. We also deny that one cannot break it or get rid of it. The idea that Married life or the pair of husband and wife is made in heaven is just sham. Over and above this – we also do not accept the ideas that marriage is also a social responsibility, a sacred tie and is necessary for social stability’

Shuchi Darling! I know that the modern day young generation in cities does not believe in these dictums. It has other ideas about them. For them –

“Marriage is a contract. It can continue till each of them feels happy about it and when it becomes uninteresting and suffocating, one can get out of it – contract can be broken. Is it necessary to continue with the soured relationship or the mistake one has committed? Is there any sense in living in grief for the rest of one’s life? It is just unfair and is out of question. What is the sense in continuing with the relationship when it no longer remains happy and harmonious for both? Can’t we have a new beginning and start from where we have erred. It is better that we part ways if living together does not give us any happiness!”

Not long ago, we used to be proud of our institutions – marriage and family. I also know that the youth today has no faith in any of them. The institution called marriage has become outdated for them.

At no given point in the history of human race – so many changes have come in so little a time simultaneously. There has been fundamental change in our life-style is so short a time – simply unbelievable. There have been enormous changes in relationships between men & women, husband and wife and their roles. There have been several forces like Second World War, Freedom Struggles, Literacy movement among women, movement of women’s emancipation, and women’s own search for identity that have shaken the foundation of institution of marriage.

The most important thing in all this is that the role of women has expanded a lot.  There are many opportunities that have opened up for her. She no longer has limited role of the past.

The old saying, “Cow and daughter move where they are led” is not acceptable to the modern young women. She wants to shape her own life and her own future. Marriage and Husband no longer remain summum bonum of her existence.  Marriage is no longer necessary for her. She is educated and can remain financially independent. She doesn’t need a husband for sex and children. She doesn’t consider her husband as her destiny-owner-lord-god anymore. She believes that husband and wife are both equal partners in marriage. A wife, according to her, is dear girlfriend, fellow traveler and life partner. She is not his slave. Modern young women have quite different ideas about their husbands and their expectations for themselves.

The institution of marriage is under severe stress due to women’s changed ideas about their career, time and division of work. Men and women work together, come into contact with each other at workplaces and they have fundamentally different ideas about the concept of marriage. These, too, have put a lot of pressure on the institution of marriage and married life.

Shuchi ! I am quite aware that ‘Living Together’, ‘Live in Relationship’ and ‘Same Sex Marriages’ are gaining ground and acceptance with each passing day.

Today’s Young men and women do seek each other’s company and friendship but they want freedom and absence of any responsibility, too. Young boys and girls today are attached to their career. Shuchi, married people have to tolerate a lot of things together, they have to let go many things, they have to adjust with many a situations and they do not have any tendency of tolerance. This is why they argue that, ‘what is wrong with ‘live in relationship’ instead of marriage.’ It’s a happy state that you live under one roof as husband and wife and still do not have to  follow any rituals or any condition.

‘Live in Relationship’ provides mental support and you save money on living separately.  One young woman told something about it in these words, ‘ Marriage is just a Responsibility – a continuous worrisome process of passing through other person’s expectations and forgo or relinquish one’s own likes and dislikes.

Young women today want freedom. She doesn’t want to be bothered about the process of adjustment with husband and his family. Live together till you feel it is good, get married if you pass the compatibility phase and if it fails – part with each other. Today, ‘Marriage Live Apart Arrangement’ is also in vogue. Live separately, spend a day or two together for companionship! No long term commitments at all.  Living and uniting but without losing identity.

Shuchi! There is another perturbing side of ‘Live in Relationship’. Is there any guarantee that women will in no way be exploited in this arrangement also? Won’t they have any child? What will be the future of the child? – These and many other problems have to be sorted out. I know that law has given legitimacy to this relationship and still problems do remain.

Change is the law of nature. It has to come in relationships, too. Whether we like it or not – the flow of time continues to change.

Despite all this, Shuchi!

I would like to emphasize that Marriage is a very important and meaningful relation. Don’t you think that Its success or failure- its happy or grievous state depend upon the two individuals involved in it? I urge you to brood over it.