Friday, June 3, 2011

On Marriage

Long back in the 1980's when I was an active member of Indian Jaycees, I was member on the faculty board of Karnataka Zone; I used to conduct courses on Human Relations. I had evolved a different type of conducting the course, away from recommended conventions. I was fairly successful in using the new type of coaching. I had earned many friends,- friends to the extent of revealing their personal secrets of life in the hope of getting a solution to their problems from me. That gave a boost to my ego to try formal counseling. Yes, at my age and the surrounding environment at that time, I was proud as it should naturally be. Most of the problems presented to me to cull out a solution were marital. I had immense faith in marriage, and really wanted to help those who had marital problems.

At the end of this article, many of you may not agree with my opinions on marriage. But they are based on my observations over a long period of time; some of you may agree and a few of you might have taken a well thought decision never to marry. Ever since the time in the eighties when circumstances pushed me to find solutions to marital problems, having not been a properly trained counselor, nor a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist, I was rather forced to observe both within me and outside me, the relationships, of which marriage was primary. I had choices to have proper training in marital counseling or to privately study human psychology. But being a businessman added with social activities like Jaycees and other community services and maybe a speck of laziness, I did not consider serious study of the subject but keen observations did help me see the intricacies of the relationship.

What is marriage? There are numerous ways and meanings to marriage according to traditions, regions, societies, cultures and religions. Basically, marriage is to restrict or to moralise, if so preferred, ones sexual behavior. Marriage is to raise a family of your own. What does that mean? Your children get highest priority over other children and the segregation goes beyond this,- there are street children belonging to nobody deprived of all, - even the minimum attention, minimum security. Do I need to explain how they grow or what they become as adults? Segregation breeds evil and more evil in a society in which everything else is secondary to me, my family and my children, does it not? Hence, marriage, an important event in one's social life is also a custom that recklessly promotes self.

Well, that issue is different from what I wanted to venture into, in this article - the intricacies of the relationship in a marriage.

Marriage is a form of relationship that is created newly between two individuals. Irrespective of what color the religion, culture, tradition or society gives to this relationship, whatever importance is given to this event, marriage is basically dependent on individual capacity to understand the other, irrespective of one's faith. If that basic criterion goes wrong, no religion, faith or societal conditioning can save the marriage from crumbling. So it makes it most important that one should have a clear idea about what basically a relationship is, before entering into a much more complicated relationship called marriage. For those who do not have this understanding and simply enter into marriage just because tradition and culture demands it, OR simply because they think they are in love, in most of the cases moved by stories like Romeo & Juliet or such other emotional imaginations, marriage has to fail. And if corrective steps are not taken in lightning speed at the earliest stage of crumbling, and if the partners in the marriage continue to remain married and allow children and start family under one or other compulsion, a life long suffering is guaranteed.

What is an understanding? Let me try to explain. Understanding basically involves meanings and values. Meanings come to mind and get fixed there as early as the birth of the mind itself. They hardly change. A just born baby has no mind; it has no understanding of this world; no understanding of the environment and the society with its beliefs and customs. But the five sense organs do work and send signals to the brain, a purely survival mechanism. Does the brain give a meaning to the signals it receives from the sense organs? I don't think even scientists are able to give a satisfactory answer to this question. But for sure, the environment, the society in which the birth of the child takes place gives meanings. The color red, has the same name in every one of us, but the reaction that color red makes in the mind is all different in different minds. If that is so, and I do have enough reasons to believe it is so, then whatsoever understanding is, it has nothing to do with reality. That makes a complicated relationship called marriage a pure belief and most illusory. And belief is gateway to cheat. By cheating I don't mean adulatory or any other serious deceit; simple 'I love you' is cheating! Instead of 'love' if the word is 'possess', the statement becomes a bit more realistic. Because that is what we mean by 'love' - possession. Do I tolerate if somebody in the crowd stares at my newly wed beautiful wife? She is my wife, isn't she? She is my sole possession! What is love then? It is the most abused word in all human history!

If that is one front a marriage has to fight and survive, understanding between the partners is another front where the battle is more severe. As I have briefly explained earlier, understanding is more an assumption than reality simply because no two minds have the same meaning and value for the same thing. The value of a rupee is solely dependent on my sense of security. I am secure with or without money, wealth; are you? If my partner says 'I love you', I take it that I have the freedom to have sex with another, but for the one who says 'I love' you' , I have no such freedom; I am a solely owned property. Do you see the battle of meanings? Nature is totally disregarded and suppressed in this battle.

So, marriage is not an institution in which family values are created and promoted, in which children are given a good culture and security. To see this truth you have to struggle hard to come out of your frame of mind, which is restricted by your beliefs, cultural values and this civilised society you live in. If you are able to see this truth, you will not care to have your own children; the entire world of children becomes yours; this universe becomes your family!

So, in my opinion, marriage stunts or narrows down or hinders the intellectual capabilities of the mind, making it waste its energies in achieving ideals given by the society, in making sacrifices and compromises, depleting entire life energies in suppressing and struggling against nature.

O young man and woman out there, you have much more responsibilities to make this world a better place to live than to marry!