Today on turning 65, I reflected upon the changes social norms have undergone which I am a witness to and the impacts thereof. Changes are a must for a society to remain vibrant but it is the misuse of such changes which defeat the purpose. I have read views of a couple of young ladies on touchy but important issues of relationships and that has acted as catalytic agent to make me write this. Recently I visited space of Restless and read what she wrote about Live In and Bad Marriages. This made me decide not to lose any more time and put my thoughts across.
Let me start with Love. Love is of many hues, like between parents & children, siblings, relatives, friends to name a few. What I will take up here is Love between two persons, generally of different genders and unrelated. There is no secret that there is attraction between genders. It is from times immemorial. Let me give examples starting with Dushyant and Shakuntla and then coming to recent times of Romeo & Juliet, Shirin & Farhad, Sassi & Pannu and Laila & Majnu. But in olden days it was not widely prevalent as opportunities of interaction between persons of opposite gender was not so common. There were few instances of Love Marriages. As the time passed there were more opportunities as girls started taking up higher as well as professional education. They also had more opportunities to go for jobs in or outside hometown increasing interaction between opposite genders. Thus it is natural for two persons who are attracted and like each other to fall in love and parents need to open their mind to let children have space. This brings us to point where I can say with conviction that when two persons are in such relationship, there is bound to be certain amount of physicality. In my younger days it was close hugs and stolen kisses. Of course there were those who went for more but that was not so common due to lack of opportunity. This brings us to question of pre-marital sex. May I pose a question to all of you, specially males, why is it accepted if a boy has sex with a girl but she is the one who is castigated? Is she not a human being with normal urges? In olden days too there were a lot of instances where cousins had indulged in physical relations as interaction with outsiders was restricted. In some cases it resulted in Forced Marriages if customs permitted. I feel it is upto individual to set limits and to go this far & not farther. But after marriage both boy and the girl should keep trust intact. I do not advocate promiscuity but if it is discreet with those in Love, others should not raise fingers. I have only one Thumb Rule for this which I told both our children, daughter and son, once they were off age “ Follow your conscience and never do something which makes you hang your head in shame later.”
Let us now see Live In relations. If two persons are in love but are not yet in a position to marry, here I must say that marriage is definitely ultimate aim in Love, they may decide to live together depending upon circumstances. Here comes a point which Restless has raised very pertinently , what is the status of children born out of this relationship? Specially if parents do not get married ultimately. Other drawback is what about those who just wish to do so because of LUST? Mostly boys. I know there is Court ruling that those who are in Live In relationship for a reasonable period are to be treated as married couple but such period is not quantified. What happens if boy after having had his fun for let us say a few months walks out? I always say it is unfortunately it is the girl who is at the receiving end. So GIRLS before you decide to go for Live In relationship, do apply your mind fully.
Now coming to Bad Marriage. It is advisable that couple who are going for marriage have pre-marriage counseling. No matter how long they may have know each other or dated, it is only when you are together 7 X 24 that you know the other person fully. It must be borne in mind that both are equal partners in marriage, and that is possible only if few golden rules are kept in mind. Along with pre-marriage counseling, they should also not project goody goody image but talk to each other frankly about own expectations, willingness to adjust and shortcomings. Once married, following , which is my experience after having been married for almost 39 years now with our normal ups and downs, should be kept in mind to ensure there is no issue which raises ugly head :
a) Mutual respect as the person is as well as respect for each other’s relatives.
b) Mutual trust and ensure that this is not broken.
c) Willingness to adjust and accept the other as he or she is.
d) Giving space to each other and to ensure that it is not misused.
e) In case of any misunderstanding, open & logical two way communication without throwing tantrums. They may even agree to disagree.
f) To be there for each other in time of need and try to go extra mile for other.
g) No verbal or physical abuse, specially from husband.
h) To be able to ignore unwanted interference from others.
i) Last but not the least, frankness on physical aspects.
Well, I am open to your suggestions.