Thursday, February 28, 2013

Divorces on the rise

The other day I came across a news item regarding divorces. It said that our family courts are witnessing a growing number of divorce cases among the newly weds and couples who are married for a few years, irrespective of whether it is an arranged or love marriage.

While infidelity and extra marital relations in the work place by both men and women is contributing to the breaking up of several marriages, the number of marriages which break up for other reasons is also growing. Incompatibility with the spouse or the spouse`s family are often cited as reasons by girls who want to get out of a marriage. Harassment for more dowry is another contributing factor. Invariably it is the girls who are increasingly initiating divorce proceedings.

What is the main reason for this phenomenon? Undoubtedly the empowerment of women. Today, thanks to the government’s programmes more and more girls are getting educated in all stratas of society. Every girl who comes out of the portals of a college has a dream of her own and has a clear idea of what she wants her life to be. She is also conscious that she has the ability to bring additional income to the family kitty. When she finds that the expectations of the family she is married into are different, she starts rebelling.

If her husband is understanding and respects her feelings then there is no issue. It helps to some extent. But when she is not in a joint family and has to manage a separate house, while also working to support family’s income, she wants her husband to be an equal partner in running the household. She wants him to help her in the kitchen, in the maintenance of the house and also looking after the needs of the children. She is also not willing to tolerate a husband who cannot provide her physical satisfaction.

If the husband turns out to be a person who comes with a traditional value system then there is trouble. Because unlike a traditional housewife who accepted her role as a 24 x 7 x 365 days bonded labour of the family, the new generation woman refuses to be treated like a doormat. She has her priorities, strong views and identity of her own which she would like to preserve at any cost. Even if it means sacrificing her marriage and irrespective of the impact that it will have on her children, in some cases. While in the past women were willing to be the suffering partner in an unequal marriage for the sake of the children, today’s women are increasingly becoming intolerant and are willing to break a marriage to pursue their own dreams

On the other hand men, even those so called modern youngsters who claim a progressive outlook towards life in general, expect their wives to be traditional at home. They refuse to lend a helping hand and often hold the woman responsible for any problems in the family be it domestic issues or problems related to bringing up children. This often leads to conflicts in the family.

No wonder, the number of eligible boys finding it difficult to get life partners, is also growing because girls today are demanding and want to be absolutely sure of what they are getting into when they agree to a marriage.

The other day I met a friend who is struggling to find a bride for his well employed 37 year old son. He expressed shock at the kind of questions the girls ask the boy during their informal chats. They want to know all about the eating, drinking and other habits of the boy, whether he knows cooking , what is his salary and also how many baggages he will bring with the marriage (ie.) a joint family and if so the number of family members who can be a liability. Unlike in the old days when girls shuddered at the thought of being rejected by the boys, today it is the turn of the boys who fear rejection by girls for some reason or the other. If the boy is earning less than the girl he is rejected. If he betrays any sign of being conservative he is rejected. The agony that the parents of girls go through to find grooms for their highly demanding and independent daughters is also a reality today.

Today`s youngsters should know that a successful marriage calls for a lot of adjustment and compromises by both the partners. My generation understood this basic tenet of marriage because of which our marriages lasted for several decades.

If youngsters have king size egos and an uncompromising attitude towards life and are unwilling to make even simple adjustments then surely they are heading towards early divorces. This is the price we have to pay for aping the West. While Westerners are discovering the merits of our family values, by blindly following the West, today`s younger generation is endangering the future of their insecure and often confused children.

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