With exploding egos, stressful lifestyles and altering attitudes, the image of enduring marriage is crumbling. However, traditional prescriptions of love, communication and respect for each other hold good today, when men and women need each other even more than ever before
Alternatives to marriageSunjoy and Puneeta Roy admit having married under societal pressure. Otherwise the couple belive that "marriage as an institution is obsolete".
They argue: "What is it that you can do in a marriage that you can’t do outside it?"
A view endorsed by Dipti Priya Mehrotra who finds marriage a confining institution.
A social activist, she has been exposed to the most gruesome underside of marriage—dowry demands, bride burning, physical and mental abuse by in-laws.
Her own unsuccessful marriage shattered any remaining illusions of marriage as a way to be happy.
Dipti is critical of the so-called ‘lasting marriages’, which are seldom more than an arrangement of compromise: ‘‘Most marriages will go on smoothly for a long time if the set stereotypical patterns were adhered to."
She continues, "Society should give individuals space to ask real questions like ‘what really makes me happy?’ and ‘what is love?’"
"Marriage thwarts you, stops you from exploring other relationships and tapping into other sources of love and affection.
Why limit yourself to one human being? By doing that we’re overloading this relationship", says Dipti.
It’s worth considering that ‘a primary commitment to a man reflects only one opportunity for intimacy in a world that is rich with possibilities for connectedness and attachment,’ as spiritual gurus exhort.
She suggests that the answer perhaps lies in reworking the institution of marriage, away from the rigid roles specified by society.
It’s not necessary that a live-in relation will be mutually respectable. Any relationship between two individuals should give them enough space to develop and mature.
‘‘To navigate that delicate balance between separateness and connectedness and that we confront the challenge of sustaining both—without losing either,’’ as Harriet Lerner puts it.
Defining sexuality within the narrow parameters of marriage is another irksome factor. This led to the trend of cohabitation, popularly referred to as live-ins.
Same-gender couples who are not legally allowed to marry avail of this option. Open marriages where sexual promiscuity is of little significance are on the rise.
Women’s lib has seen a rising number of women who choose to remain single, adopt a child or conceive through artificial insemination or other means.
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