Customs, loosely perceived as marital relations, that existed in some regions eventually stabilised to matrimony. Then came social, educational and economic upheavals, muddying the milieu. From its lofty pedestal as a sacrament with ethical aura, marriage metamorphosed into a legal contract of crass commercialism. Considerations of convenience conquered sensibilities and sentiments. Durability of marriages some seventy five years ago — not that all were one long grand sweet song — stemmed from the narrow interests spectrum typical of the times, of both the protagonists, accentuating the need and scope of conjugal cohesion. As the complexities of life and interests of individuals increased and expanded, matrimonial harmony received a backlash. For that matter, empathy fled from all human relationships — between parents and children, for one.

Ironically, the spread of education among women apparently impacted domestic equilibrium. While, in olden days, sheer economic dependence on the male half made the women submissive, elite education and placements broke the shackles men had coiled around them.

With jobs, opportunities for a couple to enjoy physical comradeship get truncated. Marital fidelity has become an obsolete, if not obscene, concept. The spectre of income-based or education-based ego perches on the duo as an evil bird.

Pity indeed that marriage vows ‘to love, cherish and obey’, ‘in sickness and in health’, ‘till death do us apart’, are honoured only in their breach. When existence becomes fate worse than death for either or both, it is better for the sufferers to part ways. But attempts should always have been taken to the tether to ensure, as far as possible, ‘what God hath joined, man does not put asunder’. Moreover, the plight of the innocent progeny doomed to suffer should never be ignored. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) counselling agencies have a pivotal role to play — from the moment a jarring note is struck, and the mechanism should be an on-going one.

-The reader is a freelance writer based in India