Biggest reason why marriages are failing

Monogamy is a myth.

 |  5-minute read |   07-08-2017
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As with any famous person, anecdotes are attributed to them without any provenance of truth. However, the context is in the anecdote and not the person (who shall remain un-named) though he is known to be a key member of the "Hollywood rat pack".

Apparently, he was invited to the 25th wedding anniversary of a couple where he was seated as the guest of honour to the left of his lovely hostess. As the champagne was poured, he turned around and asked in a loud voice, “So what is it like? Sleeping with same man for 25 years!”

Have you been surprised into silence as all the guests at the table were? Then you too are delusional. Monogamy is a myth. Or rather, the concept that man and/or women should love one person alone and forever is just psychologically and anthropologically impossible.

Women are meant to procreate and men are supposed to spread the seed. Read the Old Testament and it will testify that dear old Moses was well and truly active till his last years. We have our own Hindu gods with pantheons of wives, married or stolen. Wars have ensued over women, or their sexual mores. Even the pious Muslim emperors had harems full of beauties – brought in from Nubia, Abyssinia, the Steppes or wherever "exotic good looks" could be found.

Well that is just me putting a cultural stamp on the idea that love is not forever. But I have proof, and in print.

couple_080717051312.jpgThere are so many milestones to achieve in the first year of matrimony to 'prove' how much in love you both are.

I have this macabre habit of reading the daily obituaries and celebration ads in newspapers, and a few years ago, one often came across a lovely, wrinkly couple celebrating their golden jubilee, their doting children posting "then (in black and white) and now (in colour)" pictures. Vows were renewed and good old whiskey and chicken tikka were consumed in copious quantities. They belonged to an era when Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Rajendra Kumar regularly celebrated 100 days at the box office or 25 weeks - the mark of real stardom.

Longevity was the name of the game. I am sure Bombay/Mumbai had its own satta or matka on the outcome of an Aah, Arzoo or Naya Daur - "Kitni chalegi? Silver Jubilee karegi?" - until Rajesh Khanna delivered seven flops in a row. And now there are no congratulatory quarter-page inserts in newspapers either.

These days, the fate of the best of the stars is decided in one long weekend. That Rs 100 crore collection is all that matters. Three days, hit or miss. And that, my darling is how a superstar is defined. Seriously if I miss a Raees one week, it is impossible to find it running in a decent cinema 10 days later.

The marketing activity crescendos in the fortnight before the release and we learn about the promise of love, friendship, fatherhood, nationalism, spiritualism, world politics, fashion, literary tastes, all in a package. And we love it until the film is released and gone in a week, released of the thrall we were held in.

Therein lies the parallel for modern-day relationships. They too do not come with staying power now. Men and women expect the full monty from just one person. Are we going to Koh Samui for the wedding? And then eastern Europe for the honeymoon? What is my trousseau budget? What will the groom’s friend wear? And this is in the category of "affordable" middle class families. I am not even going into the "elite matrimony" sector where marriage has a lot more to do with caste and status and, of course, matching backgrounds.

There are so many milestones to achieve in the first year of matrimony to "prove" how much in love you both are - the worth of the first month anniversary present, the number of imported roses on the Valentine’s Day, the diamond ring on the first Karva Chauth and, of course, the first anniversary party, a getaway to the Bahamas or a new car?

What has anything like this got to do with love or a lifetime of companionship? It is about the here and now. As this cannot last forever people start looking sideways at others - can such a high stress performance be sustained forever? Burnout will always ensure.

No women can wear a thong every day of her life. Give her 20 years and she will snore like you too. And order takeaway more often. The girl on the other hand will dream of an expensive holiday every year, shopping the likes of which none of her friends have seen, a nanny and a half per child who will have their own frequent flier card. And in their 30s, they will look around and wonder where the fun has all gone.

Shobhaa De wrote her magnum opus about spousal care etc, and there were plenty of titters about it too. But there was one chapter which made real sense - do those small things together. Like sharing a single ice-cream cone. Well, you may do it because you are both diabetic, but the point being: don’t measure the quality of your relationship through the prism of what can be bought, but what can be shared.

As fewer and fewer marriage reach the 10-year mark, forget a golden jubilee, we lament the lack of that spark.

But what is it even there from the very beginning? Make a list of things that made you want to marry? Good education, family, job, right?

Didn’t you just forget love out of that list?

Well then, you just have a blockbuster week ahead of you and boredom thereafter. Have fun where you find it because love needs work and you don’t want to work hard.

It is a feeling not a thing you can order online. 

Also read: How love struck a fairytale marriage and ruined it


Anjoo Mohun Anjoo Mohun @anjoomohun

The writer is addicted to sports and is indebted to the inventor of the flat screen TV.

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