Matrimony is neither a word, nor a sentence. It’s old poor joke, at that. It’s also not an institution, for it’s about two individuals and a shared vision for life ahead.
When people speak about perfect marriage is about equal relationship, I shudder. How does one define ‘equality’ in a relationship?
The notion of a perfect marriage being synonymous with absolute equality oversimplifies the practical everyday aspects of human relationships.
True, equality in certain aspects is crucial, but the stress-test of a marriage lies in its ability to accommodate differences and embrace dissent. It is within the sanctity of such diversity that the relationship flourishes. Seeking absolute parity may inadvertently stifle the unique voices within a partnership. Embracing the asymmetry, acknowledging that each individual brings a distinctive set of experiences, beliefs, and emotions, allows for a marriage to evolve organically. It is in the acceptance of dissimilarities and the navigation of disagreements that a relationship gains resilience. The perfect marriage, therefore, is not one devoid of differences, but rather a union that thrives on the delicate balance between shared understanding and the celebration of individuality.
Constant imbalance and delicate asymmetry
Spouses are distinct individuals, partners with their own narrative, with possibly different interests in life, social and political ideologies, and emotional spectrum. Their union and relationship is expected to be based on respect and trust, much before the sacred vows of marriage, and the resilient bonds of family, constructed together amidst the challenges and disconnections that life inevitably presents.
Within those shared existences, one can observe a constant imbalance, a delicate asymmetry that defines those partnerships. There is nothing called perfect marriage, as much as any other human to human relationship. And there are millions of couples, who share equally the responsibility of being in such a ‘unequal’ relationship.
There are instances when the wife’s belief in a subject or a dilemma or a life situation stands unassailable, where the husband finds solace in being a silent companion. Conversely, life unfolds scenarios where his certitude takes the lead, and she gracefully assumes the role of the observer. In certain topics, they could bring their own experience and views to a topic to make it a 100%, together. It’s how they complement their understanding, views, and bridge their differences. It is how they implicitly trust each other, and leave the decision to the other. It is in these moments that their relationship thrives—like a harmonious duet, where one voice may momentarily yield, but the symphony remains steadfast.
A unique bond requiring nurturing and care
Marriage, unlike any other human relationship, carries the weight of institutionalisation and societal expectations. It is a unique bond that demands careful nurturing and unwavering care. The institution of marriage, with its vows and commitments, requires a constant collaborative effort. It is within the folds of matrimony that the richness of our diversity becomes the cornerstone of understanding. The complexities of marriage demand an ongoing commitment to walk the journey towards shared dreams, conflicting aspirations, and the unpredictable human emotions.
In facing shared challenges, two individuals undergo a transformative journey testing their resilience and trust. These experiences are not just obstacles but chances to strengthen their bond. Trust operates as a binary factor – it either remains intact or suffers irreparable damage. When trust is broken, it profoundly impacts their relationship. The aftermath reveals a landscape marked by the consequences of broken trust, raising doubts about reconstruction. The outcomes of these trials, whether strengthening resilience or exposing vulnerabilities, highlight the complex dynamics in human relationships, where trust is the critical determinant of their collective life path.
A space where love flourishes because of differences
Equality in understanding is not a prerequisite for a profound connection. Rather, it is the recognition and acceptance of our disparities that nurtures a robust bond. Our identities, though unique, find resonance in the shared space we meticulously craft. It is a space where love flourishes not in spite of our differences, but because of them.
It is in embracing vulnerability, navigating the complexities of pride and humility, that one unearths the true treasures of companionship. Marriage is not a fixed destination but a perpetual journey—one that thrives on the exploration of self and the better-other. It is a journey where understanding and acceptance, though unevenly distributed, create a better-self. After all, marriage still has legal standing, societal-contract, and more essentially commitment between two individuals.
(Dr Srinath Sridharan is a policy researcher and corporate advisor. He can be found at https://srinath.blog and @ssmumbai)