To divorce or not to divorce?
This question is as vexed as proverbial ‘To be or not to be.’
Very often, friends or friends’ friends assume that I have competence to answer this question for them. Generally rather always I manage to steer clear of this question without offending the inquisitor. The weekends are chosen days for such exercise.
Sometime ago a friend’s friend approached me. He was troubled with the most vexed question ‘to divorce or not to divorce?‘
He was married for eight years and had two children aged 7 years and 3 years respectively. Why this question now?
Before reverting to his answer let me add a little background of husband and wife:
This friend was working as research fellow in some institute with competitive environment and belonged to working class. Wife belonged to a business family of traders. This is a class, in which, rarely any dead line is to be met. She had no professional qualification, though she was educated.
Parents of spouses
There is an ancient saying that children do follow the habits of parents or one of them. So intrusion into their past revealed that wife had taken after her mother and my friend had taken after his father. It is common knowledge that personality does not exist in isolation. It requires complementary personalities around it. Now my friend unknowingly missed the behaviour of her mother towards his father and wife missed the behaviour of her father. They lived together 8 years fighting and bickering like adolescents, never stopping for introspection.
For last many years this friend had already found out a solution: i.e. To reach home late and avoid facing the wife. It complicated the matter further and now this question:
Divorce or not to divorce?
Now the advice that was given to him is not relevant. But his answer to a question is.
Why you got married? His answer was: Because that is what everybody does after getting a good job. This answer reflects the typical human behaviour. Imitation. Rather mindless imitation. Getting married just because there is nothing else left to do? It betrays lack of observation and experiencing.
What is marriage? Please do not trouble religious scriptures. I am not fond of any institution including marriage as all institutions stifle.
It appears it is a commitment of sharing resources and responsibility. But that is not all. The third factor is companionship. The first two factors make a marriage go and if third factor is present, the question which started this post, would not arise at all.
One would not walk into a building without knowing what lies inside. How come, millions get married without any clue of what is ahead of them.
Each person has his own selfish way of sharing the resources. A spouse can not be branded as selfish on the touchstone of opinion of other spouse.
But all this does not matter when there is companionship.
Just because two persons share similar jobs or like similar movies or brand of coffee, does not make them ideal companions. These are cultural similarities which may help to an extent but not very far. Similarity of IQ may help but two persons of high IQ do not always get along as higher intelligence comes with higher ego.
To be a good companion, one has to learn to live with oneself. We have such a chaos inside that we are always in pain. We are so occupied in our thoughts that we do not notice the companion next door. First step is to learn to live with oneself. If pain of disappointments, anxiety of chase for position or money does not spill over the other person, discovery is not far.
Just another lazy thought for lazy Sunday.
(c) Sandeep Bhalla