Tuesday, November 16, 2010
"Forever and always," "In health and in sorrow," "for better, for worse," "till death do us part," are words we hear always at wedding ceremonies that send ripples down our spines/veins causing us to think: "see how they love each other" or ask: "do they actually mean that?" They are words we always hear when love overcomes us and is translated to marriage. Many believe that love should be the basic underpinning of every marriage. This love is given many other definitions by many others, however, such as: understanding, appreciation, complementarity, etc. All the same, what we read from all these is that what should characterize every marriage union is mutuality of affections, feelings, sharing, - love.
It is always encouraging and desirable when we see coupes hell over heels in love with each other in marriage. Their relations are always a magnet, spectacular and envious. In such a situation, life flourishes, is so pleasant and nice, and looks as if it would last forever (often it does however).
But often we come across situations where this explosive love only lasts a few years into the marriage. For one reason or the other, the couple begin to replace their love for one another with other things, such as their children, ambition, career, friends, money, etc. Gradually, love begins to grow cold. We hear appalling stories of couples who so desire to destroy themselves barely few years (two or three even) into their marriage.
Love titivates the world. Loving and being loved is what every individual human person desire. No man is an island. Man is a social being, a relational being. That is why we find ourselves giving ourselves completely over to others in love - a love that overwhelms us completely that we opt to spend all our lives in intimacy with such an 'other'. Francis Bacon once wrote, "It is impossible to love and be wise." Every loving relation demands some blind trust. This is the dose that makes the lover want to float adrift the others world and be borne by the securities which this 'other' provides for both of them. It is like a leap into the unknown, the lover learns to lean on his/her love and to be leaned on.
But some people find the ones they have loved hurting them so much by not actually loving back appropriately, as expected, by not remembering to do so or failing to do so deliberately. Rather this love is given to some other person, thing, event or concern. As such the feeling of betrayal sets in leading to a heart break. Consequently and gradually the partners begin to drift apart, despair and detest ever haven given themselves completely to one another in love and trust. This can gradually deteriorate to hatred for self and every other person around, a refusal to love, to trust and be open to another person again for fear of a repeat of such an experience. At this stage life becomes a living hell for such a person/people and everybody around him/her/them.
What if this happens in the most honoured institution called marriage, where the couple are expected to remain together "till death do them part", "for better for worse", i.e. when love grows sour in marriage, and the couple in marriage are heart broken, and utterly bitter at each other?
Such a dismal situation is always unbearable for both couples who are forced to have mixed feelings for each other always, i.e., feelings of hatred and responsibility, repulsions and union, aversion and need, etc. There is the responsibility they owe each other because of their offspring, the union that has become inevitable because of the many subtle experiences they have shared together (sex, love, watching their children grow together, etc); and their need for each other because of the family they have built. Amidst these, there still exist deep seated feelings of hatred, repulsion, aversion, betrayal, revenge, punishment, etc. which continue to surface from time to time.
In such a situation, many a couple separate, many get divorced, many still, seek annulment of the union, a few however take to drastic measures such as homicide, suicide, murder, conjugicide, etc., just to be freed of a living hell. Nevertheless, in more traditional/conservative societies, the couples unwillingly remain together and live a living hell for the rest of their lives, believing the society and their religion expect such from them, or that it is for the best of their children who deserve the love, affection and presence of both parents for proper human development. In such a situation, such couples end up silently and indirectly killing each other, enduring each other, secretly desiring evil for each other, nagging persistently or even fighting always. The whole relationship is a cold war that is inevitable. Gradually the couples destroy their persons/personalities. They begin to lead anti-social, separate lifestyles to the utter amazement of friends and relations. As a way out, many often take to alcoholism, drug abuse, flirtation or staying away from the home. Once, a man had to walk away from the wife and the family never to return again. What a disaster! In such a situation, every one in such a family suffers. Even the children, for whom the couples claimed to be remaining together, and who also want the parents together, suffer most. Many are of the view that children living in such families suffer more than children of divorced/broken homes or of single parents. At least children of single parents still get the love, affection and concern of whatever parent they live with instead of constantly suffering the nagging and open battery of a love-grown-sour marriage/home.
There are a number of woes associated with such families with respect to the children of such homes, the worst being a low sense of self-esteem. A child who constantly sees both parents fighting, nagging and battering each other never wades through life positively. His/her face is always downcast as shame becomes his food everyday. He may even be a victim of such ill situations as when the fighting, nagging and battering are directed at him/her. Think of a man saying to his wife: "I do not think this child is mine. Are you sure he is not the product of your sexual escapades?" What a word, a rejection!!! Such words remain forever in the mind of a child who overhears such a comment said about him/her.
Many teenagers have run away from their homes because they cannot withstand the amount of assault and hatred between their parents. Children of such homes wade through life confused. They either get bad influences from their parents that characterize their personalities all through life or they relapse into proximate comfort zones that are anti-social thereby making them societal misfits. As such they live their lives always regretting their upbringing, that they grew up where and the way they did, and not being able to face and address properly the exigencies of life. Some, for example, may find it difficult entering, maintaining or keeping any meaningful relationship with any sex. The situations of self-hate, hatred for any/the opposite sex, etc may be blamed on such relationships.
Most people are very cold to love and to be loved. They find it difficult to love others, to express love or to accept love from others. Every of such is held in high suspicion. A child who grew in such a family where love and affection, trust and friendship are never expressed, but where there is constant battering, nagging, hatred, repulsion, may never be able to know what is right again, no matter the amount of influence coming from the outside - from peers, friends, school, etc.
Nothing good comes from evil. Sympathy should be expressed towards people living in such homes, especially for the couples. Everything has actually fallen apart. Our mistakes catch up with us, condemning us to live in hell even here on earth. Our societal, traditional and religious faith/believes have destroyed some of us who have failed to see them in their proper light! Most of us are confused, not actually knowing what to do. What would have been a fulfilling life, has become, more or less, a nightmare, an impoverishment, regret, a failure. Most couples are alone/lonely, even in the midst of a crowded family, even though secretly loving their spouse.