“Give that damn divorce –hang up”- 16 January 2013

Take a look at this. The woman is a dominating nag, a shrieking brag who likes to control her husband at any cost. He must do and say things the way she likes it. He must live according to her dictates and she is full of that. He must do this and he must do that is all she says at all times. In this must-must world the man is lost and harassed out of his wits and does not want to live with her anymore. Theirs was a strange case of love at first sight, hurried marriage and now crying for help for granting divorce. But she won’t grant the divorce she says and will follow him to hell! It’s been a gruelling decade of coexisting and no relief in sight.

Take another example of the opposite sex made by God and flavoured by man. The man is an alcoholic, low performer, low achiever and aggressive. He tends to fly off the handle on the slightest provocation, beats up his wife and children on silly excuses and justifies his behaviour. His wife obviously tired of his brutish behaviour wants to separate out with the children but he won’t have it. ‘She cannot run away from her duties of earning for him, feeding him and becoming an easy scapegoat of his aggression’, he argues! She continues to live in hell and crying for respite from God.

I could give you hundreds of cases of marital discord ending in regular /periodic physical and verbal abuse. In such cases generally one person is sane /submissive and the other one irrational/ dominating. This is a deadly combination in marriages and such marriages could last only for a few years, not forever. For, the submissive will rise one day to assert against the dominating partner and rebel to say ‘enough is enough’. That is when the boat gets rocked badly and reaches a crisis point.

Ibsen’s Dora in the masterpiece play ‘The Dolls House’ does exactly this. A docile polite dutiful housewife suddenly one fine day leaves her husband and house as her husband wakes up to the rude shock that he never understood that she was in so much trouble! He had always thought that they were an ideal couple made for each other for the world to see and follow as an example! But that is how submissive people rebel- quietly and boldly one day disaster strikes. But this is not the point I want to make.

The point to tell people is how damaging it is for the marriage and for the children- to continue in an unholy, unhealthy, violent, abusive, loveless marriage which seems like a life imprisonment for one. We all know who hangs on and does not let go- the dominating spouse of course. The submissive victim is the one asking for the separation and eventually divorce, for that partner has taken the shit for so long and has reached a point of exhaustion. The persecutor would love to continue the marriage and not let go of his/her victim so easily- for who would then take the oppression. This master slave relation does not work in marriages for long. It might have worked in ancient times when the man ruled and the woman submitted but now everyone wants equality.

A marriage is a relationship of two grown up adults who we assume would be matured enough to strike a balance with each other. This entails accepting each other while respecting each other’s differences and celebrating the similarities. This means good communication, trust, tolerance, patience, being responsible for self and the other, adjusting to circumstances, problem solving, being kind, considerate, finding ways to seek happiness, being assertive, being intolerant of any type of abuse and understanding each other’s vulnerabilities. That is a tall order! Who said marriage was a cake walk or just a walk down the ramp!

The Indian legal system has a provision for divorce and that must have been done with lots of thought and wisdom by the guardians. Then why does it appear that the courts of the land still drag their feet and go tardy on matters of divorce. It is a question of peoples’ life; it is a question of moving on and rebuilding their lives for happiness. It is a question of remarrying and finding satisfaction of needs. If the best productive years of someone’s life are hanging in the court of law without justice it is a case for suicide. In a film I saw recently, the heroine submitting to her father’s wish to marry the man she does not love, says, ‘Papa I thought I would commit suicide but then I thought why not get married’- (meaning it’s the same thing).

A bad marriage is like committing suicide every day. So wisdom lies in agreeing for a mutual consent to divorce and re-starting life. Those who become hostile, vindictive, and deny the happiness of the other partner are desperately sick and are responsible for the state they are in. They will always be lonely and frustrated. That is all they can spread in this world- unhappiness.

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