LAW or LBW, Marriage is an Institution

May 1, 2017

Marriage is an institution than an event or contract between a girl and boy. Institution in the real sense is a place of education which is evolving higher even to a place of life-long-learning. As such, there is no end for education and education has become a culture of life-long-learning process. It is not static but dynamic throughout one’s life. Similarly, marriage can be very well related to an institution where, the couple keeps learning together.

In ancient times when education was mainly through gurus, and sages, student had to totally keep aside his/her ego aside to learn. A pedagogic learning culture was the backbone with which civilization kept evolving to present time. In marriage, a relationship shall continue as long as both partners are pro-active in learning together by keeping their ego aside. Couples who are totally different from each other, the way they were brought up, the way they were nurtured, educated and culturally groomed from different backgrounds, make way for a new life. They need to learn to love, care, and respect, mutually understanding etc, it is a life-long affair and a journey together where two brains work constantly to balance each other. When the balance between the two is optimum, the marital life is healthy, or else, otherwise.

Around 75% of marriages in India are arranged. Parents of both the boy and the girl arrange a suitability of their children’s possible partnership and even the marrying couples mostly give the privilege of arranging their marriage to their parents. From Vedic times, arranged marriages were the preferred choice culturally accepted at large. Manu Smrithi clearly outlined the 'do's' and 'don'ts', law of conduct and virtues that need to be practiced in marriage and family life. Generally, in arranged marriages, the parents of both boy and girl used to decide everything even without discussing with the prospective couple. Based on accepted criteria, such as religion, caste, horoscope matching, physical, education, professional standing, and culture and of course financial ability (wealth!).

There are common discussions and debates among the public quite often on the issue of arranged marriages verses the love marriages. In both the agenda is same, 'after marriage-life adjustment'. I personally relate arranged marriage as 'LAW' and love marriages 'LBW'! If you want to know the meaning of both 'LAW and LBW', lawfully parents arrange a match and get the knot tied and this results in 'Love After Wedding' (LAW), whereas, in love marriages, prospective partners fall in love, date each other and may proceed either by convincing the parents or against the wish of the parents to tie the knot and of course, the love is 'Love Before Wedding' (LBW) which may flourish after the marriage.

In both cases, if it is a 'win-win' understanding, love may continue and the institution of marriage may be successful for the rest of life. The basic essence of marital unity is 'listen, listen and listen….' It is very essential and important, for listening is an art rather than speaking. In our Indian culture, we talk more and listen less. We also forget to follow a simple practice - ’when one talks, the other needs to listen and vice-versa', but seldom do we listen or even give a pause while talking to make way for the other to talk. Communication in every sense is mutual, or two-sided, it needs a listener and other to talk. Seldom have we remembered this in every aspect. We may listen only when we come across our boss or a superior, otherwise in day to-day life we never listen to others!

Secondly, an important missing attitude of every person around is to judge the other; 'who am I to pass a judgment on the other?' Even in the Indian context of routine court cases, the judge may pass a judgment, after many years of hearings and evaluations through witnesses and evidences. A simple case to serious one may be dragged for years where a plaintiff and defendant may leave this world before the judgment is declared. But in real day-to-day life, we just judge a person even if its mere gossip!

Mutual dialogue is one of the most important essential spices of mutual living. Couples seldom lack a spirit of open discussion when any issue arises in the relationship. Couples listen more to the outsiders and trust them than their own spouse whenever there is any misunderstanding. Be it your own parents or siblings, one needs to remember that, among the couple, each partner is a 'first person'. Listening to others may worsen the situation and cause further damage, as only the couple may know the real truth of the problems in their relationship. A fair and true well-wisher may misguide and misinterpret and pass a judgmental conclusion which may create further feud among the couple.

Resolve the conflicts with open talks and listening. Point out each misunderstanding with open dialogues. Trust each other and love each other as your own. Nurturing a culture of tolerance and resilience is the best way to maintain a balance. In case of doubts, do not lose hope and give up, when patience takes over the situation, gradual correction with mutual open discussion shall make way for a new sunrise.

Initially, people practice their new life based on their inherent belief system. Basically this belief system is built up gradually in every growing child by exposing it to its surroundings, parents, neighbours, friends, relatives, peers and culture. Many a time, a son may practice his father's ways and daughter her mother's. This learnt behavior over a period of long years, becomes a practice and the same shall be practiced in their later married life. For example, in an alcohol drinking family, son or daughter may accept drinking as a culture or a prestige symbol. If a girl of such a family marries a teetotaler boy, she might find his practice of not drinking alcohol as awkward. Couple needs to shed away any bad culture that they may have inherited from their parents. A new life which is tailored best for them needs to be adopted over time and each one need to give enough time to understand each other mutually. Whether it is arranged or love marriage, success is in the best hands of each partner - the 'couple'.

Live a long life cherishing this blessed happy union of marriage - whether 'LAW' or 'LBW', let it be a lawfully loved union.

By Dr Urban D'Souza
A native of Udyavar, Dr Urban D'Souza is professor and head of the department, faculty of medicine, University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia.
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Comment on this article

  • Prashanth Maxim Sequeira, Mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2017

    Dear Doc, Nice Article ! Its Clean Bold
    Love is blind and marriage is the institution for the blind

  • Beowulf, Mangalore

    Thu, May 04 2017

    LAW is a disgusting practice and it must be ridden off. Under LAW there is always a possibility of coercion.

  • Roshan Braganza, Udyavara / Mumbai

    Thu, May 04 2017

    Earlier times marriage was about gynocentrism, and most boys were forced to prove their worth for a trophy bride , as most girls were gold diggers Even now in a traditional patriarchal set up such rules apply and it never carries a pseudo equality badge , which is the exact problem now a days . The diveristy in a relationship matters , both partner must not strive equality but complete each other . Husband has to be supremacist in decision making .

    On other side we have advent of femimism which is making situation even worse , a propaganda is working demonizing or criticising marital conecpt with rise in live , MGTOW or open relationships . The decrease in bankable brides who often come stray past intimacies make i t worse , as girls feel such culture is empowered . With average age of marriage is on rise , this can have tremendous effect on society challenging traditions . Only positives being men are relieved of gynocentrism , where they are not forced to buy house and pay for it , and take care of financial things . Now they can happily stay in brides house or as house husband .

    I feel patriarchy is much better than feminism as it gives men the power to decide and cherry pick the trophy bride . But again gynocentrism and misandry have gave rise to biased laws against men , alimony and dv laws highly twisted again men , specially in country like india . Marriage is worth pondering of only if all this points taken into consideration .

  • Praneetha Palasuberniam, Aberdeen

    Wed, May 03 2017

    I like the way you say that they are both win-win situations as long as the couple is proactive by not bringing egoism in their relationship. Great article Prof Urban.

  • Wan Salman Wan Saudi, Malaysia

    Wed, May 03 2017

    Enjoying reading this article.. Thumbs up Prof!!

  • Tony Crasta, Taccode/Venur/Sydney

    Wed, May 03 2017

    Well analysed, researched and written article by Dr. Urban D`Souza, of much value to all the married couples. I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Well done Dr. Urban.

  • Juliana Fernandes, Kemmannu/Sydney

    Wed, May 03 2017

    Great article!!!!

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