Is Intolerance Spiking Marital Bonds?

Mar 13, 2011

We have been together now for forty years,
An’it don’t seem a day too much;
There ain’t a lady livi’in the land
As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.
         Albert Chevalier, English comedian and song-writer (1861-1923).
Compare this happy situation of love, loyalty and fidelity to a case   reported in Deccan Herald (11-3-11) under the title “HC prods veteran couple to part ways” by manufacturing consent. Unable to lead a compatible life during nearly 40 years of their marriage marred by bouts of litigation, a Delhi couple has been prodded by the Delhi High Court to take divorce from each other with mutual consent after realizing that they were not made for each other. The court, while managing the veteran couple to part ways also ensured that the old lady does not have to lead the fag end of her life in penury. It asked the former IT clerk to pay an alimony Rs 16 lakh to his wife for maintenance.
The court passed the order on the lady’s petition seeking maintenance and divorce from her husband. In her petition, she had alleged her matrimonial life had turned sour soon after the birth of her first child, a daughter, in July 1973, a year after her marriage. Since then both parties moved the courts for divorce; but withdrew the petitions for various reasons. Thus, despite being incompatible from the very first year, the marriage subsisted for 39 years.
Disenchantment with the marriage partners is a worldwide phenomenon, leading to divorces or continuing with discontented marriages, often for the sake of children. Earlier, the disenchantment used to creep in over a longer time span, typically reflected in the phrase seven-year-itch. It seems that this period has now come down by more than half. But, first the facts.
According to a Reuters report from London, based on a survey, the “three-year glitch” has replaced the “seven-year-itch” as the tipping point where couples start to take each other for granted.  Weight gain, stinginess, toenail clippings on the bathroom floor and snoring are a few of the passion-killers that have led to a swifter decline in relationships in the fast-paced 21st century, said the study commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the comedy film “Hall Pass” in UK cinemas. The survey of 20,000 British adults in steady relationships pinpointed the 36-month marker at the time when relationship stress levels peak and points to a trend of “pink passes” and “solo” holidays away from partners and spouses that many Britons resort to in order to keep romance alive.
“Longer working hours combined with money worries are clearly taking their toll on modern relationships and we are seeing an increasing trend for solo holidays and weekends away from marriages and relationships in order to revive the romantic spark,” said pollster Judi James who oversaw the survey. The poll compared feedback from those in short term relationships (defined as less than three years) and people who were married or in longer-term relationships. The findings showed the 67 per cent of all those surveyed said that small irritations which are seemingly harmless and often endearing during the first flushes of love often expand into major irritations around 36 months. More than half of the Brits surveyed (52 per cent) who were in younger relationships said they enjoyed sexual relations at least three times a week, compared to just 16 per cent of those in relationships older than three years.
This suggests that as we get older together, romance gives way to day to day practicalities, supported by the fact that 55 per cent of busy people in longer-term relationships admit that they now have to “schedule” their romantic time. The report also said those in the first flush of love can look forward to an average of three compliments a week from their partners - a figure which falls to an average of a single weekly compliment at the three-year high tide mark. The prognosis gets worse the longer we stay in relationships, three in 10 of those surveyed that have been in a relationship for five years or more said they never receive any compliments from their partners.
The findings also showed that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of all people surveyed responded that “individual space was important” within a relationship and pointed to a rise of individual activities. A third (34 per cent) of those who have been seeing their partners for longer than three years have at least two evenings a month defined as a “pass” or a “ticket” where it is accepted that they pursue their own interests and 58 per cent of the same sample group enjoy regular holidays without their partners.
In the West, and to an extent in India too, in today’s corporate world, the line between home and office are getting blurred and people are wired 24X7.  With Blackberrys, smart phones and tablet PCs the trend of working from home is accelerating. This also reduces the exclusive space spouses enjoyed hitherto. With mobiles, one can even locate if a person is in the bar or office. Incidentally, in the earlier era, some bars used to have factory noises in the background to makes the claim of overtime working credible. Also, in the Indian context, the move to include “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as a ground for divorce is likely to boost the intolerance bar. Against this background, it is apt to introspect on the lines of William Wordsworth, English poet (1770-1850):

Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge,
And nature that is kind in woman’s breast,
 And reason that in man is wise and good,
And fear of Him who is a righteous judge, -
Why do not these prevail for human life,
To keep two hearts together, that began
Their spring-time with one love.
John B. Monteiro, author and journalist, is editor of his website (Interactive Cerebral Challenger).

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Comment on this article

  • Selwyn dsouza, Gold coast, australia

    Sun, Mar 13 2011

    Wow - I guess whatever is the s...... that results from divorced couples - confused, no goals in life, irritated with everything, sad inside, angry and not at all marriage material. Moral of the story: People should stay separate and lead a simple life alone with their parents if they are not able to handle marriage.

  • whatever, india

    Sat, Mar 12 2011

    its just that men cannot handle their filthy brain when women starts moving neck to neck wit them. They start acting insecure, they start accusing, abusing, and God knows what not. Men here still run with the concept of women being the dust on their left foots little toe. If they start getting thier rotten brains right and give space to the women , evn a working lady would make a best home maker. may be better than their moms..i said this because men want their wives to be carbon copies of their mom and in the process they forget that few years ago his own mom was victim to these same dire consequence and in the near future their daughter too will be suffering in the hands of some hooligan like himself..So we the people who talk great about our culture and tradition and what not,,need to get out of our own boundaries and see for ourselves of what shit we create for each other by imposing ones good for nothing notions on the other,,
    this applies to both man and woman..woman must stop nagging too

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