So the joke went that people either had chikun gunya or were divorced and in some more unfortunate cases both!
To begin with I was rather bemused because couples I had imagined had a rock solid marriage had separated but soon it bothered me so much that I started discussing divorce and what marriage means in the modern context. My discussions included people of different nationalities, ages, sex, singles, married couples and once married people. It interested me that people still believed in marriage and took it seriously, only the current scheme of things didn't seem to have an exact fit for it.
A lot of people I spoke to seemed to suggest that they had just drifted apart from their partners, careers had taken centre stage and there just seemed too little time to make it work. Most of the people divorced seemed extremely affected and found it hard to move on; except in extreme cases where a partner had been unrepentantly unfaithful, couples seemed to speak well of their ex-partners. Given that feelings lingered and the major reasons stemmed from lifestyle rather than irresolvable issues, one can't help but wonder if counselling or the help of mediators may perhaps have saved the marriages.
<b> A Helping Hand</b>
Couples who are having trouble in their marriages usually grapple with mixed feelings, ranging from anger, disappointment, sadness, confusion, guilt and loneliness. Being caught up with mixed feelings, having careers to hold on to and if children are involved, responsibility, it becomes very difficult for people to separate issues and be objective about a situation. Once a partner's opinion becomes coloured by a negative emotion it becomes hard to appreciate the good qualities of the other partner. In this scenario, counselling helps put things in perspective.
The first step of being able to discuss one's problems to another person without fearing judgement takes a huge load of a person. The process helps couples see how both have contributed to the problems and it isn't only the other's fault. Counselling also helps couples stop playing the blame game and understand the consequences of ending a relationship.
Mediation also helps couples communicate with each other which very often they have stopped. Communicating opens up new channels of understanding and having someone who is unbiased support the process helps make it easier.
A third party well wisher can help a couple see the issue for what it is and hopefully separate it from the larger picture so it can be resolved. Going to a counsellor doesn't automatically guarantee a successful marriage and resolution of every issue. It is an honest attempt by two people to save a relationship that went off track by seeking a guiding hand. The best professionals can only help create a more congenial atmosphere to resolve issues but it is the couple themselves who should want to.
Seeking professional help for a marriage that is suffering is akin to going to a doctor for a medical problem. Just as a doctor diagnoses the problem and prescribes suitable medication, so too will a counsellor help zero in on the most troubling issue. Once the issue is figured out a professional can offer advice about how to approach resolving the problem.
Sometimes, professional counselling may not appeal to a couple for reasons of their own. In such a case even an unbiased and trusted friend can play the role of mediator and help a couple communicate their fears, their problems and their expectations.
Seeking help in any manner offers a glimmer of hope as it means a couple do want to make their marriage work. After all, these are two people who have shared their dreams and experiences and had promised to be together for life. Healing emotional wounds through counselling can help a couple rediscover their love and respect for each other.
Relationships are beautiful and meant to be cherished. Having said that, no relationship is easy whatever its nature. Marriage is even more difficult because it assumes that feelings and circumstances will remain exactly the same. However, relationships are dynamic in nature and to make it work one must be open to change. If things go wrong it should not be the end of the road but instead be treated as a hurdle that with help can be overcome successfully.
Publish this article: Making Marriages Work