A big debate – Kids and Marriage

We all know that having kids is a wonderful experience and adds a
whole new dimension to the relationship between husband and wife. But
can you honestly say that had kids not arrived on the scene the
relationship would have continued to grow and evolve into a deeper
attachment?

I say this with reference to the increasing number of divorces that
are occurring among DINK (double income no kids) couples .

What do you think about the assumption that kids become an essential
binding factor in keeping marriages strong? Or is it the other way
round…?

Here is a note I recently wrote to a friend who has decided to
separate…an old friend from college who called up out-of-the-blue to
share that she was getting divorced. She had an arranged marriage to a
doctor in the USA 7 yrs ago. Right now – she said – she was a US
citizen, had a career as a counsellor going well and had decided to
move to California and start dating again.

Hi

I’ve been thinking overwhat we spoke about yesterday. Yes it seems
life has many aspects to teach us. Each rite of passage – completing
college, getting married, being economically independent – brings its
own set of expectations to live up to. But at the end of the day I
hope God gives me the conviction to be honest to myself.

I heard you the other day – about the decision you’ve taken. You
sounded very practical about it – I’m sure its still a life wrenching
call you took. You also sounded very convinced. I hope you are.

I enjoyed a recent book called ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.
She talks about her really interesting journey starting from calling
off her 7 yr old marriage with her husband to journeying to Italy (to
eat!) and to India (to pray!) and finally to Bali (find love!).

Please try and read it. It will connect with you (and hope soon you’ll
be writing your very own bestseller :))

All the best for this new chapter in your life. May you break
stereotypes, make new ones, find love and good food and “live in
interesting times” (chinese saying)

——————

Last 5 posts by Sophie



12 Comments

  1. Sudha

    I am also seeing a lot of DINK divorces. The reason is our generation does not accept staying together unhappily like the last gen. We are a bit more culturally conservative because of kids but that will pass to. I am cynical, but is the truth

  2. Anonymous

    Well, its just globalization of divorce. Kids or no kids. If the marriage is hollow, i dont think kids can hold it together. Its putting too much pressure on the kids

  3. Khushi

    I think kids are a glue in some sense. Because love tested against the rigors of daily life can often lose its shine. Because when you think about things that add to the glamour of child less life or any life for that matter – traveling, going off to a univ to study, joining various clubs, even working late every day – and you find that your partner is holding you back, there is really not much to keep you in the marriage. And you will here the word ‘suffocating’ marriage being used by a lot of DINKs too – suffocation of desires to explore and be a kind of person we dreamt of growing up in India. Before we were held back by a cultural bias – well, we have broken that now. So I hope your friend finds happiness.

  4. Tana

    I like that you have broached this rather difficult subject. As a divorcee from a DINK marriage I can provide some perspective – although I felt like having children several times during the 8 years, I was unequivocally determined that my marriage had to be independently healthy before children could even be introduced into the picture. The approach that kids will make a bad thing good puts a great burden on children (and I know this too firsthand from having been such a child). I think that a good marriage can become great with kids, and that in tough times, (which happen in ALL marriages) kids can provide the impetus and inspiration to bridge difficulties, but I would never make them the primary glue that binds a marriage.

  5. Tana

    I wanted to add that Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love is a fantastic book and on my list of all-time favorites. I had a very similar journey to hers unraveling and putting myself back together and could identify with every page.

  6. Sophie

    Hi
    Tana it takes a lot of guts to ‘tell the truth’ out loud even to oneself.
    Khushi – I like your balanced view. Yes the daily rigors of caring for a)kids, b) hubby and c) career, take a toll on one’s “me time” in a big way. Its only when you begin to realize you can’t get beyond 1 minute before thinking of either one of the above three categories. Where’s the time to think of higher order stuff in life?
    Sudha — I agree with what you said. Its only matter of time before divorce becomes a real choice that Indian couples will increasingly make (kids or no kids)

  7. Indrani

    Believe it or not, divorces are happening everywhere, even in India where the families try a lot to put a marriage back on track. In metros like Delhi and Mumbai, the divorce rate is as high as 20% in upper middle class families. Sad but true, I know of so many couples who got married around the same time as I did, are now divorced. I think the reasons are quite a few.
    1. Most of the women now a days are working and hence financially independent, unlike our previous generation, so to opt for the ‘exit route’ is not so difficult.
    2. Parents are also changing their attitude towards daugters. Unlike a few decades back, when the girls’ parents would say at the time of vidai “Now your in-laws home is your home”, today’s parents say “If anything goes wrong, remember we are always there for you and you can come back.”
    3. Indian women have come a long way and their male counerparts have not evolved in the same manner. So a woman can be a Vice President or CFO of a company but at home there’s an unreasonable expectation that she should behave like a demure wife.
    4. Tolerance is at its lowest ebb. Marriage amongst host of other things also requires a lot of adjustment from both side and unfortunately niether side want to go through that process any more.
    5. Kids don’t normally come into the picture for at least 2-3 years now a days. And the educated couple don’t really want to utilize a child as the bridge any more.
    But some how I am of the opinion, before one goes for a divorce, one should at least give it one honest shot to make it work, If it does’nt then it better to get out of a marriage which in any way has become a farce.

  8. Khushi

    Fantastic analysis, Indrani.

  9. Khushi

    Sophie, you may like this post by Tana http://bloggermoms.com//?p=780

    I think the more educated we are, the more we want to steer always…

  10. Abhishek

    (a) Every life is based on promotions. If there are no promotions, then staggination comes in life. Promotions are not limited to the official lifestyle, but also to a personal life. I see, that my life in college hostels were one of the best times. We did (just like most of us) playing, cracking jokes, collaborating, studing, etc. But after a time, we have to leave the college life and get promoted to a much of responsible position. If a person, thinks to stay in that college life for-ever, then, definately, one day he will be stagginated and the having of no- new responsibilities, will collaspe it as a Human. Hence, in any life, it is important to promote oneself to a higher one.
    (b) Divorce (other than in extreame cases, like mental breakdowns, etc.) can be easily avoided. However, most of the people divorce, as they have never promoted themselves in life. They have never taken new responsibilites. They were doing some job (say of executive) before marriage and even after marriage, they are doing another job (may be they have been promoted to a Manager in a few years). However, no promotions in real life! Only job changes of different level. The people have never taken new responsibilites and hence they are incomplete as Human. Such people divorce on certain issues like ego, money, companionship, etc. However,
    after divorce, still repeat the samething time and again whatever they have done in the past. They will again date and marry and divorce (or estrange).
    (c) Promotion in life depends on many things. They can be:
    (1) Identify oneself: a person should identify itself. Know the pro and cons of yourself. Most of the people divorce, as they see themselve something more, but when they are allowed to do that, they never perform.
    (2) Follow Nature: Nature has gifted us life, and life gives some responsibility. Responsility of behaving as a Kid, sibling, parent, Grand-parent, etc. This is a much heavier responsiblity, but people try to run away with this. Hence, divorce.
    (3) Help Society: It does not mean to give a charity, but something which can help the economy as a whole. People search for jobs, but how many of us take a responsibiltiy to open a company, which have mass appeals and benefits to people. (like Walmart, Hotmail, HP, etc. All started in small shops but had mass benefits for the society)

    (4) Speak-up: Try to speak to as many people as you can. It helps in exploring new responsibilities.

    All the above helps the human energy to go go in a positive way and take responsiblity.
    Else, people spend their time in breaking and re-making their relationship again and again as that is the delicate thing to do!

    People in earlier days (before industrial revolution) were the one who were able to identify their capabilities, were enterpreours (mostly in farming), were having proper family (kids, parents,etc) and have communications with their neighbours.

    Good luck and start taking responsibilites!

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