What is it with cousins? We rarely meet, yet when we do; it seems like the bygone days are back again. I met my dear cousin Radhika after almost 8 years, and it felt like we are children again.
“So Radhika, happily married? How has it been?” My petite 36 year old cousin looked up at me and said,”Married, yes. Happily, I really do not know”.
“Ok tumble it out Radhika”, I said. She knew I wouldn’t let her go otherwise.
“I have been told by many a people, that as long as there is no physical abuse in the marriage, it could be endured. However, no one ever realizes how painful an emotional abuse could be in a marriage. Venkat and my horoscope had a 9 point compatibility. He was well educated and employed. His background was pretty decent, coming from a family of qualified doctors. He neither smoked nor consumed alcohol. So for my parents, it was the epitome of all marriage alliances. He would be a perfect match for their daughter.
I however, realized our incompatibility in the initial days of marriage itself. Venkat has a short fuse. The slightest of things would irk him and make his temper flare. I initially tolerated it, hoping things with smoothen over the days. And each one of us have some weakness or the other, right? But over the years things seem to have just got worse. This is partly because of his professional stress, and partly because I have become his punching bag to vent out frustration. His comments have become demeaning. Off late, realizing that I have become a bit aloof due to his temper, he suspects me of infidelity if I got back home late from work. My 10 year old daughter is so affected by these temper flares, that she often skips dinner, locking herself in her room. There seems to be really no love in our relationship. We just live on, with life moving from weekend to weekend.
On occasions when I have felt like walking out of the marriage and looked up to my mother for support, she just says, “There are husbands worse off. He just has a bad temper. He never hits. He does take care of you. Walking out be a tough thing to do.”
So tell me now, where is the happiness in this marriage? It just seems to be an arrangement of sorts with parents, who want us to live together for their own reasons.” I heard her out completely. I realized the grim situation.
Many parents even today insist on arranged marriage, giving more importance to horoscopes, groom’s education, income and parents’ background. The fail to focus on a very vital aspect of marriage – compatibility. Compatibility is not about having similar interests/family background. Or for that matter belonging to a certain profession. Compatibility is about couples treating each other with equality and respect. It is all about couples spending time with each other, sharing their crazy thoughts and time, and just having a good laugh together. Relationships thrive on these small things. Venkat is a good provider to his family. But what really lacks in their relationship is respect.
Often, when a girl expresses her concern over her husband’s nature/ ways, the first reaction she gets is “just adjust” or “see the positive” or “it happens in all marriages”. Instead we should focus on giving her a nonjudgmental compassionate hearing. We should be offering her suitable tailor made suggestions. And if required sought the help of a professional counselor. This in reality will bring in respect, space and individuality for the Indian woman! This would truly empower her.
I really wonder how ready we are for this…