It is said that no two spider webs are alike – relationships also are like spider webs, delicate, stubborn, gossamer but most importantly so different and yet so much within the confines of the broad definition of what society, culture, norm and conventions define them.
My point here is that, within this broad definition of relationship lies the internal dynamics of each category and constant change they undergo through a continuous process of evolving and redefining. I really get amazed to see the way conjugal relationships are evolving; if we look closely there are some seminal changes happening so far as the whole concept of marriage is concerned.
Earlier marriage meant two people from the opposite sex, male being elder to female mostly, staying together under one roof, solemnised by law and having children.
But if we go to see the metamorphosis it appears baffling and one does get to think about it all. In fact, the basic premise of a union between two people from opposite sex which was the alpha and omega of marriage has been diluted to admit people with same sex preferences as their marriage partners, to an extent of even defying the basic definition of marriage based on the biological premise of ‘opposites attract’. It seems to be losing its importance as the fulcrum around which the institution of marriage worked since the dawn of time as more and more couples are boldly talking about their unconventional leanings in choosing their partners. We are also seeing to it that such marriages make structural and functional families and so there are institutions which help them make babies who genetically belong to at least either one of the couple.
Whether I like it or not at a personal level, but it most definitely is worth a notice, I mean the increasing acceptability of such a union at familial, social and legal level. And, therefore, I am motivated, nay, compelled to think whether such a shift should be called an expansion of the definition or the dilution of it or should we look at it as the strengthening process or as a weakening process of the concept of marriage? Or should we call it a compromise or an accommodation to accommodate new possibilities that contemporary environment offers?
There is another thing which I feel is worth a discourse is whether there are any imperatives left in a marriage. So even as we are giving same sex marriages an acceptability, we are seeing conventional marriages undergoing a different sort of metamorphosis—the almost sacrosanct element of any marriage which is marital sex is going down on the list of priority of couples—where the work pressure, boredom, depression, preoccupation and hundred other things have taken a toll on the sexual relationships. Or the pleasure that sex gave to the couple is being derived from alternatives which on a positive note could be a more metaphysical mindset of the couple or either one of them, or either or both of them being workaholics and hence consummation of tasks is almost orgasmic to them.
Despite so much addition and deletion to the traditional marriage concept—it still remains one of the strongest institutions…why?
I think the answer to this is the human need to share some common goals with a partner who appreciates those goals with equal commitment,human need to share responsibilities – responsibilities that arise by being in this world, human need to share laughter, joy, sorrow, and share one roof; human need to get habitual to someone all the time, human need of raising young children, human need to be socially acceptable.
It is nobody’s case that marriage doesn’t face any challenges, it does for example there are a lot of single parents, lots of divorces happening (in fact we hear a lot about divorce parties now a days), but somehow it is still the first question that comes to our mind and many times to our lips when we meet someone for the first time “Are you married?”
So is it a permanent change? Are we going to redefine the marriage to calibrate it to the present circumstances and make the new definition including all the alternative arrangements which actually imply a marriage meaning a functional family unit bound either by love(platonic or non platonic) and an arrangement of a – habitual ,need based , care based, relationship where the couple stay together first because they are married so it is a natural corollary – and also because their lives and their goals converge either due to children or due to need for social acceptability?