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Happily Divorced, Unmarried and Childless: Lets break the norms of Indian Marriage

Author: Akhila Anand



Marriage has traditionally been regarded as sacred in Indian families. However, many people, including me, are left asking what is sacred in it aside from the rituals. While countries such as the United States and Luxembourg encourage people to divorce after an unpleasant marriage, in India, we have been trained to settle, adjust, and stay in a bad marriage no matter what. With these messed-up belief systems, I am sure you can imagine the extent of othering and disdain someone goes through if they are both married and divorced before the age of 30. In India, if a girl isn't married by the age of 30, it means there is something wrong with her because she is long past her marriageable age. In our twenties, society already starts to take care of our relationship status, "It's a pity you're still single" Aren't you planning to get married? A question especially women hear a lot. The social expectation that women marry at a certain age piques society's interest in why you are different. It is socially acceptable to marry and have children to continue the family line. It is not just a marital issue; it's a social one.


At some point in their lives, men and women have been scrutinized by society because they are divorced, unmarried, or childless. So, what is the source of these three? By delving deeper into the three matters, we can conclude that they are distinct issues with the same basic causes. Couples express their love for each other, and they flourish their relationship by tying a knot, but unfortunately, all couples do not end up forever and they walk out of their wedlock with a divorce. According to 2011 data from the United Nations, Russia has the highest divorce rate, with 4.8 divorces per 1,000 people and Sri Lanka, has the lowest divorce rate, with 0.15 divorces per 1,000 population[1].


Divorce occurs at a rate of less than 1% in India. Thirteen marriages out of a thousand end in divorce. As a result, Indians enjoy the lowest divorce rate in theworld[2].Also, the lesser rate of divorce does not mean happier marriage. Some of the reasons for divorce arelack of commitment, conflict, irretrievable breakdown in the relationship, extramarital affair, distance in the relationship, lack of physical intimacy, communication problems between partners, domestic violence, verbal, physical, or emotional abuse by a partner, substance abuse, love, marrying too young, lack of shared interests, etc. And these may be the same reasons why a person might not want to get married.


Our country values customs and beliefs at the cost of an individual's personal choices. When you reach a certain age, you are not obligated to choose the next person that comes your way as your partner. You will not be satisfied in the long run if you are desperate and selling yourself for less than what you are worth. We have turned the union of two individuals into a deity deal solely so that we, as a society, can maintain control over the story of the adarsh bahu and the sanskaari family. We forget that we are all unique individuals with various life perspectives, values, and standards. Perhaps we might reject someone ideal for someone else. You are unique, and it is for a good reason. We have learned throughout the years that it's more important to remember WHO we make to our life partner than WHEN we do it.


Parenthood is not an easy task it is a lifelong commitment. Many couples no longer see having children as the next logical step in their marriage, nor do they consider their lives to be complete until they have children. They are now debating whether they genuinely want children. They are aiming to make the best decision possible. While this may have been true in a century when marriage was primarily to have children, it is no longer the case. It is an option, a preference, to not have children. Despite or perhaps because of being "childless," it is a contented, fulfilled life.


It is past time to accept that it's fine to leave an unhappy marriage, not to have children, and to be single. We live in a world where it is always women who are chastised, mocked, and ridiculed, and fingers are directed in their direction. They are labeled as being obnoxious and socially inappropriate. It is odd that people who do not directly or indirectly affect you are bothered excessively. Thus, this becomes the starting point for both men and women to bear the never-ending and excruciating emotional baggage for the rest of their lives. Our country is famous for having close-knit families and communities which comes at the cost of a person's freedom of choices and decisions.


Motherhood evokes a unique set of feelings, but they must recognize that it is possible to live a happy life without becoming a mother. Even in 2021 where getting a divorce is frowned upon, society wants to see two unhappy married couples than two happily divorced individuals. We need to educate and spread awareness about women's rights and break the stereotypes of gender. Love, equality, humanity, and social and family harmony are likely to remain elusive until our culture recognizes the truth that divorce is normal, reproduction is only a small part of the vast spectrum of marriage and being unmarried is a personal choice that is not to be interfered with.


References:

[1]https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/divorce-rates-by-country [2]https://www.organiser.org/Encyc/2020/2/2/Why-India-has-a-low-divorce-rate.html


Edited by Shuruthi J, Associate editor, Lawgic Stratum.

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