Nuptial knot comes of age
In this age of
makeovers, the age-old
institution of marriage, too, is donning new avatars. The ‘new’
generation is learning from the mistakes of the ‘old’, and
pushing the frontiers, defining a new code, writes Aruti
else, the institution of marriage, too, has evolved over the
years, with a social contract turning into mutuality. If
socio-economic flux is putting strain on its dynamics, so are
heightened expectations, especially, when both the partners have
stressful jobs and timelines to meet.
What makes this challenge
all the more daunting is the dipping tolerance levels and even
lower thresholds of patience. The old parameters of what
constitutes marital harmony no longer seem relevant.
Sixty-year-old Kanta Mehta put it rather well: "We were
brought up to believe that kisses don’t last, cooking does.
Now you are lucky if the marriage itself lasts. It is gratifying
to see more and more young girls shed the baggage of having to
be good housewives and mothers."
These days, the
young people are more self-assured and independent at the time
of marriage. This is because of the changing child-rearing
practices with the advent of more nuclear and single-parent
Many people, who
go for premarital as well as marital counselling, are not
willing to have unequal relationships like their parents.
have more people looking for equal partnerships, either happy
with each other, giving each other the necessary space or opting
out of a marriage if they feel it is causing emotional
bankruptcy. Some are not averse to taking a second chance at
A young girl opts
out of her marriage because she finds her affluent, golf-playing
husband not in sync with her sensibilities.
And there is an army
officer, who leaves his job rather than living apart from his
wife, who has an equally demanding job in the private sector.
Such choices are
not whimsical, but carefully thought out. As Simmi Waraich,
clinical psychologist at Fortis, Mohali, puts it: "This
generation has the satisfaction that comes from doing something
they believe in, without the burden of the superego.
to live out the truth instead of subterfuge carried out for
others’ sake. It’s a form of ‘stepping out of the shadows’
as it were."
There is a change
in parents, too, who are now more supportive of their childrens’
They themselves are members of the ‘sandwich
generation,’ caught between the restrictions imposed by their
authoritarian elders and their more-than-liberal children and
changing child-rearing practices.
lifestyles, too, are rapidly changing. The earlier generation
used to slog it out, and then invest a lifetime of savings,
either into a house or on the education and marriages of their
children. Often, such decisions would coincide with the
But these days,
youngsters with their double incomes (shooting into lakhs,
sometimes) start planning their dream-house, the moment they get
Most of them have enough money to splurge, or even
squander. They know what they want out of life and are not
willing to take any chance.
Though there is no
recipe for a happy, successful marriage, the psychologists and
counsellors do recommend their own list of do’s and don’ts.
Each couple must not only work out what is best for it, but also
be prepared to exercise flexibility. It is important to keep the
channels of communication open, because in the end, all
relationships are just about that.
Aman, a lecturer
teaching English, and Amanbir, an official with the Punjab
Government, compare marriage to a concert, "Like Indian
classical musicians engaged in a jugalbandi though
following the same raga, the vocalist and the percussionist need
to constantly improvise so as to remain in tune.
They can have
their alaaps but are bound by the bandish of raga."
In the ultimate
analysis, it is such a personal, intimate relationship that the
partners in marriage must evolve their own ground rules and
stick to them, if possible.