A 24 year old deconstructs the institution of marriage.
I’m not qualified to talk about marriage; I’m not married. But by that logic, I’m not qualified to talk about anything in life; I have the life experience of an overfed house cat. So I’m going to do it anyway.
According to all the mothers of the world (or maybe just my mom), marriage is the ultimate goal of existence. We hear these cute, adorable, inspiring stories about people who long for it, cry for it, fight for it. And then we read Buzzfeed articles about how their divorce is ‘heartbreaking AF!’
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Zack Galifianakis’s hilarious alter ego once told Obama that if he ever became the president of the United States, he would make same-sex divorce illegal and see how much they want it.
Isn’t that the most thought-provoking thing you heard today? Just pretend it is and stay with me.
Like mighty beavers, most Indian couples marry for life. Divorce isn’t even in the dictionary. So it’s basically like divorce is illegal. Whenever that online debate about “love marriage” or “arranged marriage” (yes, I used the air bunnies because those phrases sound dumb. As dumb as I “passed out” college and Hi, “myself Arjun”) comes up, the comments read ‘arre chutia, look at the divorce rates in Amrika and India!’
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We have to agree with the passionate commenters though, if we only looked at the stats I mean. It is claimed that half of all marriages in the United States eventually end in divorce.Half! But the divorce rates have significantly gone down since the 90s. Meanwhile in our great Sanskari nation, the divorce rate is 13 per 1000 marriages: one of the lowest in the galaxy.
But the divorce rate has significantly increased since we realized the world didn’t end in 2000. In Kolkata, the divorces filed in the family courts increased by 350 percent between 2003 and 2011. In Mumbai, the divorce rate doubled between 2010 and 2014. Thousands of divorce petitions have piled up in family courts across the country. But considering our overpopulation and the number of very arranged coitus (yes, I just said coitus), the divorce rate is still pretty low.
Now, is my patriotic, nationalistic, Sanskari self happy about that? Hell no!
In a country of 1.2 Billion (that’s a B, a B!) people where, except maybe for urban areas, women empowerment is a joke as pathetic as a KRK tweet, marital rape is legal(!), domestic violence is comic relief in movies (I’m not joking. There are scenes in Malayalam movies that show drunk husbands beat up their wives as a daily routine and generated many laughs in theaters!), “arranged sex” is the norm, and the best one yet, 47% women marry when they are below the legal age of 18, I expect the divorce rates to go higher than me on a Saturday afternoon. We should be setting world records!
Photo credit: flickr
Us millennials, even with all our “me me me” narcissism, or maybe because of our “me me me” narcissism, value our individual freedom more than anything. No way we will ever consider spending an eternity with someone if it’s at the cost of our freedom to do whatever we want when we want it. We’d rather be the stars of that office New Year party than the gracious host of that boring family dinner on Diwali. So this sense of individuality contradicts with the sense of community. That’s the reason there’s a global decline of organized religion. This applies to a party of two, too. We can’t get our grooves on yet? Well, maybe it’s time to call it a night! Plus, Everyone - men and women - unlike the previous generations in India, seems to have some sort of a goal in life, other than getting married, populating the planet and retiring, then making sure the offspring does all of that too.
Calm your married (or soon-to-be-married) self. This isn’t an anti-marriage piece. But, as much as we want to believe in fairy-tale romance, there are times when it doesn’t work out. And what we, as a seemingly civilized society, have to do is to accept that fact.
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There are 7.1 Billion people on this planet. It’s unrealistic to think that every single one of them should or would even want to find their ‘better half’. Or that all of them are “marriage material.” And let’s be kinder to those struggling through tough marriages. Let’s stop telling people ‘you just have to adjust’ or ‘you have to make sacrifices to make it work’ or ‘think of your children’ or ‘you are going to end up alone’. Let’s stop seeing divorced men and women as second-class citizens.
Let’s stop measuring the moral standards of a country based on their divorce rate.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com.
By Arjun Raj
Cover Photo Credit: strongermarriages.com