‘I feel that no body understands me. There is no place for me in this world. I feel like ending my life. I don’t see any future for my self’.
This is the anguish of a 28 year girl who is at the verge of tieing the nuptial knot with a person she chose and always wanted to marry. Now, she is developing cold feet and feels unsure about her decisions. She is referred for psychotherapy. The mother believed that this breakdown is due to the boy’s family’s of accepting her. The impasse is giving her cold feet. Her concern is whether she will ever be able to cope with challenges that marriage is a resistance. Will she be having a happy marriage?
The back drop to this sharing is that the seeds of low self esteem and mal- adjustment are sown early in life. However, these patterns are many a time not discovered until faced with some crisis. The problem is seen as lying outside the self and many times the in-laws, peers, colleagues, the system – in short the environment. The problem gets precipitated by the environment, but is nurtured within. No amount of suggestion, external changes can solve the problem. The cause lies in the personality predisposition and repetitive behavioral pattern.
Most of the times, we in India believe that marriage is a “cure all”. If the boy refuses to settle down, or is unstable in his job, get him married. If the girl is not doing her daily chores or not studying or over demanding, get her married. Marriage is seen as an end in itself. Too much is expected from it. It is associated to all kinds of myths, dreams and fantasies. The further the individual drifts and wanders, the more difficult it gets to settle in the reality called marriage. “Marriage is an over glorified, over romanticized, mystified universe where people ‘live happily ever after”. It is coded in our culture and is made to look like a fairy tale.
In the recent years, more and more marriages end in divorce, the percentage of divorce is on an increase. So, if marriages were made in heaven, how can one justify such break ups? Many times young people are disillusioned by the institution of marriage and are afraid to take responsibilities. They spend their lives as spinsters, bachelors or in live-in relationships out of default. Many have confessed that marriage is disillusioning as they have witnessed unhappy couples around them. Hence, they would not like to attempt it. Many times, marriages reach a psychological plateauting and end an emotional divorce. However, the couple lives together out of habit and not out of a choice.
In my experience of meeting couples before they marry and after they are unsuccessfully married I have concluded that people can be slotted into 3 categories – one category includes these individuals who want to marry just for the label. They marry as the role demands and their involvement is bare minimum. The other category of individual is the one who feel they will be unable to live life on their own, so they marry and carry high emotional dependency on the spouse. The last category of individuals, are the most realistic as they know their own strengths and limitations therefore, enter marriage with realistic ideas. They complement each other and try to accept the other person as he / she is. Most of us are thankfully a combination of more than one of the above category.
It is time to wake up and take a reality check. Marriage can be very smooth sailing and a beautiful journey provided two emotionally balanced and realistic individuals tie the knot. It is a journey and one has to be equipped to take the journey to make it truly blissful!
Listed below are a few guidelines for the married and those who are contemplating marriage. Read it and follow it as your own risk. It is time to demystify your myths.
Myths about marriage:-
I am perfect and make him / her perfect.
I will change the other person.
Love can do anything. (I want)
I will be blissful and all my miseries will be over. (Life will be a fairy tale)
I will get 100% of my spouse. (If he / she will forget parents and the past).
The faster we overcome these and other myths, the faster your marriage will start working. Making the marriage work is in your hands, so what are you waiting for!!!
– Dr. Nimrat Singh