Before we begin, I'd like to drive home the point that we come together with other people into relationships of intimate nature like marriage to seek fulfilment, happiness and mutual growth. If marriage were not to be a pathway for that, it is best we drop the institution of marriage. My approach is always towards a journey of personal happiness and fulfilment and in this context, it is about achieving the same in a co-existence setting. Thus, some of my views might not be viewed as politically correct and I am not aiming for that either.
If done right, marriage is a beautiful experience. But, some of us, unfortunately, falter in it because they have either started it wrong or couldn't keep the charm going after getting a good start. Let us explore both the cases in detail because they are very different in nature. I will conclude with two sections on what to do in case there are irreconcilable differences and especially on how to deal with children in these scenarios.
If you are yet to get married, premarital counselling is a great resource to avoid the mishap of bad-start. But, if its already too late for you, bad start ends up happening due to one of the below reasons:
- Forced by society or parents into the marriage
- Wrong perspectives and lack of awareness of one's true needs during match-making process
- Flaws and pure lies/deceit in the match-making phase
- Fantasies that seem like big deal to start with but fade in importance compared to true fulfilment (Ex: Longing for rich husbands, beautiful wives etc.)
- Blind and impractical love. (Love is divine for sure! But marriage needs an element of practicality too).
- Awareness: As soon as you realize that bad-start is your problem, the next immediate step is to become aware of your true needs and expectations from marital relationships. One may use the help of a Counsellor to assess oneself and understand his/her own needs and that of their spouse.
- Flexibility: Being flexible is crucial and rigidity is death. If you want to continue to be extremely rigid in your approach, marriage is not for you. You took a wrong step in your life by committing to a marital relationship.
- Compromise: Once the needs are clear and desire to be flexible is in place, now it is time to address the conflicting needs and make compromises from both sides to accommodate the interests and behaviours of each other.
- Imperfect Perfection: Yes. You're never going to hit a 100% satisfaction with any person ever. Consider yourself lucky if things are in order for 70-80% of the time.
Losing the Charm:
Somehow, you got a great start but things went way-ward in the process. How did it happen? Below are a couple of main reasons:
- Loss of connection
- Change of values and beliefs
- Zero efforts towards rekindling the relationship
- Too many responsibilities/priorities and lack of 'us' time
- Remember: Remember all the great days you enjoyed together and realize that nothing is worth losing that beauty and purity over. And no matter what things change in your life, you simply cannot say a blunt 'No' to commitments you have made life-long vows for!
- Re-prioritize: Put your relationship back on the top of priorities so that you can restore its quality to leave you with lasting happiness.
- Re-Invest: Invest time and efforts into each other to make sure that you both are growing together in all aspects of life.
- Realize: Sexual expeditions with multiple individuals is not what will really satisfy you in the long-term! Growing intimacy with one person you really value is more fulfilling.
If you have reached this stage, what it means is that you or your partner has become too rigid in their approach towards your relationship. Counselling could help in such situations to resolve these hard differences. But, it is wise to accept that it is impossible to change a person if they have absolutely zero willingness for the same.
If all else fails, what are your options?
- Minor Differences: Learn to ignore and let go. Increase your threshold of acceptance and include them in your empathy.
- Major Differences: If the differences are to the point that co-existence becomes a major challenge, it is time to consider divorce.
- Major Differences with Constraints: Constraints could include things like family settings and being stuck with kids. In such cases, it is important to remember that happiness and a feeling of stability by being away from each other is better than constant fights by staying together. Moreover, your kids will most definitely value two individually peaceful spaces than one highly agitated home.
- Physical and emotional violence: Leave immediately even if you have constraints and file domestic abuse case if need be. Nobody deserves violence against themselves. Do not go back until the situation actually gets better. In the worst case, if it is never going to get better, seek a divorce.
Dealing with Children
Whether you are about to divorce your spouse or getting into constant fights with them, please do not ignore the impact of these kinds of things on children. As much as possible, keep children far away from such discussions. Children need a sense of security and hence it becomes your responsibility to provide them with that through emotional assurance etc. Seeking the help of a counsellor, especially someone who is good at helping kids, is a great step in this direction so that the emotions of the little hearts are tended to and they feel safe and secure irrespective of the outcome of your conflicts with your partner.