Friday, 25 January 2013

Divorce – The New Marriage Mantra?

“They are going through a divorce”, she said nonchalantly. Her friend mouthed an “Oh!”, equally nonchalantly. One would not ask, the other would not say! 
I was surprised to be witness to this passive exchange - no tch tching, no sympathy, not even gossip.
Had we learnt to mask our reactions or had we simply learnt to take in the 7 letter word – DIVORCE, as easily as some 4 letter words thrown around these days?!
So what’s the big deal really, you might ask. Divorce has become as common a word as ‘marriage’. 

Earlier in India, divorce was taboo (well almost), but not so anymore.  Divorce rates are rising steadily in India with a speed that would put some other nations with higher divorce rates to shame. The divorce rate in the IT industry, they say is climbing. But why single out the IT industry? Divorce rates are increasing everywhere – caste, creed, religion, culture, community, age no bar. 

So what’s going wrong in marriages these days?
Blame it on poor relationship management and certain other external factors like work, stress, environment, family and expectations that lead to a divorce. Although each divorce case and its reasons are different there are a few common causes that lead to it:
1)      Changing work environment: Rising ambitions and increasing work pressures exert an inhuman demand on both partners, whether both are working or not. This results in none being able to give each other enough time for the relationship to work, leave alone prosper. The additional demands of children and family make things worse; if both partners are working, the situation is like a sitting bomb ready to explode at short notice.
2)      Gender roles are blurred: When both partners are on an equal footing in their careers, it becomes difficult to establish clear roles for each one at home. The blurred roles add to intolerance, frustrations and may lead to separation.
3)      Incompatibility: Sometimes the marriage is wrong in the first place with at least one partner being against the marriage or forced into it. In such cases, sooner or later the gaps start raising their ugly heads.
4)      Other reasons such as in-law trouble, domestic abuse, alcoholism, etc.: These reasons always existed; only now it is easier for the abused to end the marriage. Society also looks at such instances more benevolently than it used to, earlier.
5)      Extra marital relationships: With both men and women spending more time working outside and succumbing to attractions outside the marriage. These ultimately may result in divorce. 

Is it possible to prevent a divorce? Save a marriage?
Divorce can be prevented in some cases, but not all and not always. Where the relationship is sliding, steps can be taken to arrest the downslide. It is possible through counseling to pinpoint the underlying causes and take concrete steps to eliminate those causes over time, then working on the relationship to revive it. Relationship management has helped hundreds of couples who have been fighting for a divorce on relatively flimsy reasons. Through emotions management and relationship management, many divorces have been avoided with the couple enjoying a fulfilling relationship for years. 

So what exactly is this relationship management?
I am not talking of an MBA degree here, I am talking about some simple principles we all need to follow in all relationships – romantic or not.  

Key Principles that can make a good relationship better or save a deteriorating one      

1. Forget selfishness. Be ready to give more. 
Both partners should be willing to give more. Not resorting to calculating who has done what, or who should do how much; both should give love, time and effort to the relationship. 
2. Do not expect anyone to be perfect. Avoid playing the blame game.
Accept that like your partner, you have your problem areas which he/she cannot take, and be willing to change. If things go wrong, do not blame your partner, see how you could together improve the situation. .
3. Say ‘Sorry’
Everyone makes mistakes, but in a good relationship, both willingly accept theirs. Saying sorry can do a world of good to your relationship. Keep your ego aside, say sorry and move on. 
4. Listen more. Talk less.
First make sure you know that your relationship is not a win-lose game. If anything, it is a win-win game. If you listen more, you will understand your partner better, his/her fears, concerns, insecurities and goodness. That way you will be able to give more. When your partner does the same, you have a Win-Win relationship on your hands
5. Trust and support one other.
If you follow the principle of ‘Trust by default’ and ‘Support without a cause’, you will have a long lasting and happy relationship. Support your partner in all times and see how things improve
6. Talk and Communicate. Be open.
Misunderstandings can ruin a relationship within no time. Instead of sulking, talk it out with one another; you will be surprised how easy it is to resolve the issue. Never be critical of one another, but do make it a point to suggest an improvement. A healthy dialogue is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
7. Respect one another
Respect all human beings and more so your partner. Respect can change your perspective about your relationship and help you realize its value in time. 

There is no perfect relationship. Only, perfectly good relationships. 

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