My blog friend Jody wrote a robust post in her blog which coincided with two other separate articles about the change that is taking place in relationships. One from the USA and the other from India. The institution of marriage is certainly undergoing change and I am musing about it in this post.
I was married to the same wife for a little over forty years. We knew each other for eight years before our marriage. Our marriage, by any yardstick was a highly successful and rewarding one. It had its ups and downs like all marriages do, but bar one occasion when Urmeela decided to go away to her Mother’s place, the marriage worked and stayed afloat.
With that background, when I discuss the current trends of divorces, messy separations and people having relationships without the formality of marriage, I find it extremely difficult to understand the break down of the institution itself as an important aspect of human relationships. The older friends agree with me, and the younger ones call me an anachronism.
My son and daughter in law, after being married for five years decided three years ago, that they would rather be friends and got divorced by mutual consent. Both of them are in different relationships with other partners. Neither is planning on marriage again. They continue to meet each other regularly, and out daughter in law is very much part of our household with regular visits to me. I have got accustomed to this relationship but I have not understood it.
Delayed marriages, live in relationships, just being single etc are all part of the modern world and so apparently is the institution of marriage counseling. In our times, we sorted out our grief ourselves, or at best someone from within the family knocked some sense into our heads. Marriage counseling has become a good business and I am seriously considering going professional after a recent burst of young people seeking my counsel. I shall be writing about two of them shortly from a different angle, but shall leave my readers with the following story to lighten up the post.
After 25 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for counseling.
When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the years they had been married.
On and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured.
Finally, after allowing this for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to stand, embraced and kissed her passionately as her husband watched with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.
The therapist turned to the husband and said, ‘This is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week. Can you do this?’
The husband thought for a moment and replied, ‘Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays…, I go fishing.’