this is something i wonder way too often... the number of dysfunctional families have just leap-frogged, marriages are going wrong left, right and centre.
over the years, in all of my working life, i have had friends who may have been colleagues to start with, but became really good friends, later on, either as we have moved out of the city, moved jobs or just moved on. and while B used to joke saying, "you have so many divorced friends", i never took it seriously, though i did have friends who were women and men, but a lot many were single, post marriage.
and let me tell you, almost none of my these single friends were very modern... the reason why i am saying this is: many a times, we tend to equate being forward in life comes with being modern. a couple of my friends, in fact, two to be precise, one man and the other a lady, came from very ordinary, middle-class homes. the lady went through a messy divorce in her 50s. was she dumb? no, she wasn't... she just thought things would get better, waited for the child to settle a little and moved out to eke out her own life at 45+. she now has a grandchild, ex-husband has re-married, but she is single, whether happily so, i do not know.
the other friend, the man, allowed his ex-wife to walk out on him, gave the divorce, was single for a time and has now settled into not-so-happy a marriage, but has become wiser as his words seem to suggest, "i have learnt to live with what i cannot change."
there have been others who have, i mean still have, not really great marriages, but have withstood the social pressures of making it work -- parents, children, this, that and the other -- and have just continued being as social entities, though hardly as partners. and i mean by partners, people who bond, who have opinions of their own, air those opinions but have learnt to respect each other (and the stands they take as individuals). that is the ideal situation which should prevail in this life-long relationship... in fact, we spend more time with our respective spouse than any other human being -- parents, siblings or children. each of these stay with us for a period and recedes to the background when another comes in...
what i have felt clearly over these years is: the crux to making a marriage tick is a fair dose of self respect and mutual respect. if these two are there, most partnerships last and happily so...
i feel sad for many people i know who are going through a messy life just because they have to... at the end of a harrowing experience, i have seen their faces change... they wear a weathered expression, with a smile that has lost the vibrancy. and it is then that i realise that many of us who have not the greatest marriage on Earth, but at least one which gives us enough air to breathe, have opinions, air them with little doubt and move on, without too much baggage, are indeed lucky.
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