Marriage and the flawed social premise for it – I
January 28, 2012 § 4 Comments
Marriage is a fundamental element of the social life – or so it is considered. Due to the widespread legitimacy it enjoys among a majority, it is the most valid mode for the continuity of human creed; and so, very crucial too.
However, the reign of this institution is increasingly diminishing in our times. So is manifest in an increasingly high percentage of divorces and an utter lack of interest among the youth to associate them with so ‘stifling’ a limitation. The trend is more or less the same both in the East and the West, though at different levels and for different reasons. In this article, I shall attend to the reasons contributing to its failure in our very own society.
Marriages, before the wave of modernism and urbanization hit our society, used to be largely successful. It may be a result of a number of reasons including the stigmatized status of divorce, a strong observation of the traditional morality that supported it and the not-yet-eroded family-system. All these factors contributed to marriages that were successful at any rate, though not necessarily happy. Divorces were very few and far between and it at least brought a sense of completeness to the married couple, if not a joy of togetherfulness.
However, inevitable as it is, we have evolved from that phase to the society we are today. In our today’s society, the youth seems to consider marriage an unnecessary burden and continues to evade it as long as possible, only to give in eventually due to social pressure. While many may quickly infer that the social pressure is perhaps the salvation for the institution of matrimony, I hold the views quite contrary. To me, the social philosophy upon which resides this important facet of human life is utterly flawed and contributes greatly towards its eventual failure. We shall see in the succeeding lines how this claim is substantiated.
Let us consider the many closely linked notions that are held, with slight variations, by the masses at large towards marriage. These can be divided into two broad categories: (i) considering a fact that religion still is a prevalent agency that drives most of our decisions, many consider marriage the necessary step to avoid ‘sinful indulgences.’ (ii) to those with a non-religious pro-marriage disposition, for a complete and happy life, marriage is inevitable. These are the two primary philosophies that drive a person or are used to drive a person to get married. We shall categorically investigate the validity of these conceptions and their eventual consequences.
Coming to the religious lot and their observation that marriage has a knack of saving one from sinfulness, we are forced to admit a basis for this profound relationship which is absolutely flawed and contributes greatly to the lack of any elation in a couple bonded thus upon these conditions. To put it simply, when a man is signing the marriage-papers, he is, in other words, telling his spouse that she is the ‘object’ that shall save him from lust and sin. And vice versa. This means that both are induced, by the social order, to use each other as a means to an end i.e. abstinence. How outrageous! And whereas such use to nobler ends, such as mutual happiness, could have contributed better to the longevity of a marriage, an end like this has an effect quite adverse. This view is specifically divorced of all emotion that is an essential part of a relationship and rests solely upon a rather mundane and incomplete principle. Not only that, it goes on to persuade the couple to view marriage as a ‘needed’ bond, not a desired and to-be-enjoyed one. The inevitable consequence is that such a start barely leads on to a successful future, with a lack of understanding between the parties and also a lack of respect, too, which is a logical outcome of viewing the other person as an ‘object’ to a means. In our male chauvinistic society, this lets the male partner have an upper-hand, both physical and mental. And marriage becomes a boon rather than a bane, more so for the female partner.
However, as women realize their rights and become increasingly independent in our society, and justly so, the relationship, that was once successful in similar circumstances plus the women’s timidity, now ceases to hold because the women wouldn’t let the man have an undue upper hand. Due to this, the only course for such a relationship, before long, is abandonment. Hence an increase in divorce rates.
A cross-analysis of the other, alternate premise often used to draft the importance of marriage will be discussed in another forthcoming post.
Image courtesy Charles.