Friday, October 1, 2004
Nabnita Jit

“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden,
Along with the sunshine, there’s got to be a little rain sometime,
When you get, you gotta give, you’ve gotta live and let live oh, oh, oh ...”

The drones of a country and western song from the 70s. Most married couples would agree with this equation of: Marriage = Rain + Sunshine.

Regardless of threats like sexual permissiveness, cohabitation and homosexuality, marriage is still a fundamental social institution for human and social development. It satisfies a personal and socio-emotional need. The modern metropolitan married couple describes the goal of marriage as ‘holding hands and looking out into the world together’. Many soon discover that unity comes not by merely looking into each other’s eyes, but by looking together at something. The synergy of two individuals, united in spirit, can create a dynamism and space which can be used to provide succour to others. Marriage no longer has the limited objective of mere security or progeny. It has evolved into a system that has learnt to play an important part in the growth and development of other social systems around.

The individualistic lifestyle of current times has given way to assertion of one’s identity and self-worth. On the one hand this might lead to bitter ego-clash and alienation in marital relationship. While on the other, it settles into amicable sharing of work and roles between the spouses. Lack of tolerance and high incidence of divorce has often been attributed to neoteric materialistic trends. Today individuals are groomed to be independent. However marriage is all about togetherness. It teaches you the joy of giving, of sacrificing voluntarily and in trusting each other. Interdependence is a higher virtue than dependence.

This issue has four women and two men who have penned down their expectations and experiences of marriage. Christina DeAngelis, a participant of Action for Life programme and a professional Social Worker from Australia, writes about her thoughts on the role of fear and faith in the stability of permanent alliances such as marriage. Army wife Cecilia Kelson traces 27 years of marriage with references to joys and trials from her zestful life in the armed forces. In a special profile, divorcee and single mother, Susan Kumar shares about the hardships and her life after the break-up of her marriage. The Bococks from Canada recount the common bond of goals and faith that has kept their partnership alive for more than 50 years. Pravin Bhosale, (Manager Admin.) at Asia Plateau writes about his awareness and initiative to put the state of marriage right. Mahendra Shah, a Consultant from Pune, writes about how even extreme differences can make a successful marriage.

Suggestion by ‘Punch’ for those who want to get married: Don’t ! Having come across similar form of jest mostly by married people on the state of marital union, I realise that underlying the witticism is an expectation of contentment that only comes from assured companionship and love. For most, mutual love and trust is still the underlying foundation for marital bliss. Discussion on this with a colleague led to this remark, “The highlight of my marriage has been the feeling of joy and permanent companionship. Marriage is undoubtedly challenging, but if it weren’t for my partner who else would tolerate all my idiosyncrasies!”

Nabnita Jit
(The writer has done her Masters in Social Work from MS University, Vadodara and has worked at Asia Plateau for four years)