On Marital Disharmony

September 12, 2011

Marital frictions and tensions are quite common among every couple. A saying goes, ‘those couples that do not fight, are cautioned of a divorce’. Husband and wife who have come from entirely different sets of background, culture, environment and upbringing may tend to find fault with each other and may have a fighting for unnecessary reasons. Unless the marriage oath and sacrificial commitment to each other is not strictly followed every marriage bond may break and we may not find couples in future. Which couple never fought in their entire life time? When two people want to live together for a life time, give and take; argue, fight and compromise need to be the daily choir.

Marriage is a legalised social unity between a boy and girl making a couple. It upholds and binds the interpersonal intimacy to the extent of sexual needs which are mutually agreed upon.

It is a social contract between two individuals that unites them emotionally, financially with a legal bond. Many a time it was said that marriages are made in heaven and celebrated and lived on earth. It should bring a lifelong stability since it a physical, emotional and spiritual unity. Marriage will bring the sexual proximity, courtship and prosperity. Marriage is the strong foundation for the emergence of a family and contributes to the society as a whole.

The social system is founded on a family and in turn on marriage. Each one of us is unique and special and room for suspicion is the beginning of disaster! When we see other couples, may be in the parks, beaches or may be in resorts, every one of us must have felt how lucky these couple are? Holding hand in hand, cuddling, hugging and kissing in the open must have given us a good signal of their “LOVE” for each other. Many a time we must have felt for ourselves and the tensions in personal marriage must have initiated a thought of ‘if I would have married, so and so, maybe I too would have been so happy like those couples which I saw in the garden’.

God is very special in creating man and woman. He created them in His image and blessed them, to marry, flourish and bring up a family. Most of the couple, in the beginning of their marriage, though it is a good selection and decision because, ‘I married the right person (boy/girl) who is so lovable and generous’. What happens to the same (husband/wife) generous and lovable creature as days, weeks, months and may be years pass by? Why the love what he/she was expressing going on declining? I start suspecting.

In the initial years of marriage generally in our Indian society, a boy may be of the age of 26 to 32 and girl maybe 21 to 28 years. Both energetic and attractive ‘made for each other’ couple. It is an emotional, economical and legal bond wherein both must have the equal opportunity and freedom. Libido and physical union is the major component that keeps them going as this is the basic instinct and need for every individual and it was legalised based on mutual cooperation and need. Basically fight may erupt when these needs are not fulfilled or the doubt on celibacy and trust on each other is lost for many reasons.

Women are more emotional with fantasy, whereas men are more realistic in nature. Generally fantasy and reality are two opposites. Physical drive in men declines gradually whereas it is the opposite in women to a certain age. Secondary to the hormones, life stress, job stress, different habits such as smoking and drinking also have a major impact on these aspects. Normally men fall asleep easily and women can keep awake. A few physiological and life stress related problems may hinder the kindling flame and when such a thing happens, chances of ‘doubt’ and relating a situation may kindle the fire. This is for both men as well as woman = couples! A wife may suspect her husband and husband his wife. Couple need to discuss every detail of their routine with each other and such open discussion helps them to understand better. Husband can be a counsellor to wife and vice-versa. When couple do not discuss even the small matters, shall give room to doubts and that may lead into a major problem rather disaster.

Adjustment problem – In Indian society, traditionally a girl comes to husbands house and many a time she will have to adjust with the husbands family, father in law, mother in law, brothers in law and sisters in law. Nowadays, education has given way for independent living of boy after marriage and many a time girl is also an employee or professional. If the boy has to stay back or take care of his parents, most of the time, a boy (husband) is more than a husband to his wife; he is more of a son to his mother. A boy needs to balance this situation. Not a single wife in the present decade may like her husband controlled by his mother; and no mother likes her son to be controlled by his wife. She may call her son, wife’s puppet rather my bucket! Every parent of a boy especially the boy’s mother needs to understand and give scope for her son and daughter in law to understand each other. She needs to restrict a bit from her control over her son. Same way, a wife also need to understand that, still she is his mother and it will take time to readjust into the new atmosphere. “Mother please understands that your son is married and has started his life; his wife is an important member in your son’s life - maybe more than you”!

Sometime girl’s family (wives) too act very smart and girl’s mother keeps controlling her son in law through her daughter. In Indian context, girl’s family is a secondary family as many a time a girl goes with the husband’s family that’s why many a time it was told that, a girl has two births. Many a time, wife (girl) also tries to pull her husband to her parents and those in laws try to capture their son -in law into their custody. If the boy is smart enough, he may surrender himself to his wife’s family which again is a good point for the sake of saving their marriage. Marriage bond is a lot of understanding, sacrifice, no-ego and adjustment and readjustment. Each day, couples need to rise from the bed with a new resolution – give and take policy.

Misunderstandings need to be discussed in between, healthy arguments are good but it should not end up in calling the neighbours. If suspicion overpowers, such doubts must be clarified by an open dialogue. If husband turns up late one day, it may be for his pressing duty schedule. Need patience to tackle such problems. If late coming to home becomes routine, need to be questioned in the right way right time. If any doubts lingers one’s mind, should be brought to each other’s notice and rectified with new dimensions. Old mistakes or doubts should not be repeated for silly reasons. If nothing works out, couple need to seek a qualified marriage counsellor. Do not bring small day to day marital matters to the notice of parents, neighbours or friends. Try to solve any big problems with love and understanding. Do not jump to conclusions.

Matters related to marital disharmony may end up sending your spouse behind the non-bailable custody. The height of hour, mistakenly or unmistakingly, matter may be taken to legal action, but hours to days’ time interval, one may repent as each one’s spouse is important, if not he/she is the mother or father of your child. Your child needs his father or mother. Marital problems must end by the time husband and wife goes to sleep like the very saying of kannada ‘Ganda-hendira jagala thindu malaguvathanka, but husbands and wife’s (couple) please do not fall asleep, go ahead with your love making, that keeps you going forgetting all the differences and revenges. Marriages are made and celebrated on earth, not in heaven! The best gift one can tender to his/her child is ‘his mother –father loving each other boundlessly everyday’ – means you both (couple) love each other that are the gift to your child.

By Urban D'Souza
Dr Urban D’Souza is a Professor in School of Medicine, University Malaysia Sabah
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Comment on this article

  • Dolfred D'Souza, Goa/Mangalore/UK

    Tue, Sep 20 2011

    Let me tell you one thing that it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly someone else sails along for the ride. Hence, sacrifice is the most important characteristics of true love. Do you want happiness in life? If yes...Then you need to stop being a beggar and instead be a donor of love! One more important thing...giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they'll love you back. Don't expect love in return, just wait for it to grow in their hearts but if it doesn't, be content it grew in yours. Remember that what goes around comes around- back with a large interest.

  • Asha Corda, Mubmbai

    Sun, Sep 18 2011

    Good Article.There are lot of new article keep on coming now a days.but couple should understand how to live life..that is the most important.

  • sandya, mangalore

    Thu, Sep 15 2011

    good article. well done...


    Wed, Sep 14 2011

    Very well Done Mr.Urban...nie one thanks to u nd daiji..lved it...!!!!!

  • Jason, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 14 2011

    Married life becomes peaceful if everyone in the family (husband, wife,parents, siblings etc) understands the situations and does some level of compromise. Ego is the main issue. It is never easy to control the ego levels hence the issues. In the indian culture since it is male dominated it is always better if the girls family is of lower status than the males. Married/experienced people do not share the lesson's learnt in their married life hence everyone keeps doing same mistakes.

  • ashenoy, mangloor

    Tue, Sep 13 2011

    Todays marriages have lost relevace in society.

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara Mumbai Doha Qatar

    Tue, Sep 13 2011

    The article give a narative of responisbilites in one's married life . It is haring bearing and caring . Fight and compromise not easy it requires forgiveness from one to the other. Marriages are broken and divorce increases day by day because of infidelity to each other lack of trust amd doubts kept secretly, should be open hearted and talk to each oteher to sort out the problems even with arguments. If one's mariage goes beyound control then it must be informed to the eleders and parish priest whoever even counselling.

    Also let me say more If marriages are made in Heaven then if one makes ones marriage life like Heaven on earth then fruitful happy living otherwise the saying has no meaning. one need to love and respect one another , ready to sacrifice and reconcialiation is a must if couple fight. The purpose of marriage is sacred not to fight entire life, then what is the use?It is a sacred insitution in the realistic life in the society which gives purpose of life.

    I refer to all the Bible - New Testament passage to read St.Mark: chapter 10 verses 6 to 9 als St. Mathew chapter 19 verses 4 to 6 . Also love is everything including sexual relation, courtship and prosperity which is utmost important in marriage life . Please refer also Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians Chapter 13. if one follow this one get everything for the success of married life.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Tue, Sep 13 2011

    With all due respect to the Dr., this article looks like a script gone horribly wrong, with situations conceived, solutions
    advised etc seemingly based on old film formulas. Situations like these may prevail still in rural areas,
    but Urbanites have discovered new ways to initiate 'marital discords'. Studies reveal astonishing reasons for such behaviour, grappling by the day
    still to arrive at solutions. Gone are the days of pep talk,
    counselling, advising etc. I just could not make out as to what the sentence-"Fight and Compromise should be the daily choir"! Anybody please explain?

  • Lavina Picardo, Katpady

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    I feel if you are mature enough than only you should take decision to marry otherwise please don't spoil and waste other person's life,if you are acting on other's opinions and do not have decisive powers then please spare the life of your spouse.....For married couples, there will be differences but please don't allow others to take advantage of this differences because people especially in-laws very seldom help to mend the problem but more or less they increase the problems and misunderstandings between the couples.......

  • sameera, mangalore

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    really good article ..

  • geoffrey, hathill

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    Much advice is available on ‘How to resolve marital issues’. Fact of the matter is, marriage like any other man made institution can never be perfect. A couple can only attempt to march towards perfection but perfection itself will always remain a mirage. In the west and in the high society of east when a rift develops, many resort to separation which results in great damage such as devastation of children emotionally, tearing of the social fabric etc .. etc.. the list can be endless. Nevertheless, number of separations has always been on the increasing trend. Middle class on the other hand choose to continue to live together in a suffocative atmosphere chiefly out of fear of the society. This is the harsh reality of life

  • Langoolacharya., Belman/USA.

    Mon, Sep 12 2011


    In olden days when arranged marriages were prevalent,,, there were less divorces because,,, both sides were trying to save their marriages ,,, not to let down their parents....

    Now with the advent of more education, TV, Mass media,,, people dont care much about relationships and keeping their parents happy....

    No real attempts are made to mediate disputes by elders, parish priests, village seniors...everybody thinks they know everything,,, no more scope to learn...So we are here.

    Last but not least let me tell this,,, in divorces nobody wins except divorce lawyers and perhaps people who look to take advantage of the situation.

    My request to people who seek divorce,,, please give a chance for mediations by elders...and God willing u will able to save your marriage.



  • E.J.D'Souza, Bangalore

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    Good article bringing out the marital conflicts leading to disharmony in the married life. It is a true fact that small matters should not be brought to the attention of parents, neighbours & friends, rather be sorted between the husband and wife. Further, help from the Marriage counsellor is to be sought at the right time before the matter flares up. Timely article to be read by young & old couples, as the number of separations are increasing day by day.

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