Lucky couple I thought, when reading about a marriage that was dissolved as soon as the loving duo registered their marriage in a courtroom.
The couple were stepping out of the judge’s office after signing the papers, when the woman tripped. The brand-new husband looked at her, and said, “Stupid”. The woman went livid and immediately asked for a divorce.
This is reportedly the shortest marriage in Kuwait. The bridegroom must have felt stupid losing a wife so fast.
In Gujarat, India, there was an incident where the bride and bridegroom’s people started fighting over lunch and threw dishes at each other. The two sides called their lawyers and annulled the marriage. When the police arrived, the wedding gifts were being returned. Whatever happened to give and take in a new relationship, I wondered.
One more marriage that went bust even before it started, happened in Lucknow, India, over the famous biryani, a meat and rice dish. The bride’s parents could not serve beef biryani to the guests because the local government had banned “illegal abattoirs”.
The husband and the parents-in-law taunted the bride and the woman’s dad blew his top and called the cops and asked the wedding gifts be returned. Speaking about gifts, people are sure greedy about ‘dowry’ —gifts that the new bride brings to the man’s family, in arranged marriages.
In India, several Arab countries and some Jewish communities, arranged marriages are the norm, as a couple falling in love by themselves is next to impossible due to a host of issues such as horoscope match, number of olive trees that a family owns or the influence the family has in the financial world.
According to Unified Lawyers, an online site, divorce in India is very rare (about one per cent) and the highest is in Luxembourg (87 per cent). The rate of divorce in the US is 46 per cent and the UK 42 per cent.
Divorce and social media
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It is rich and has the highest population growth and divorce rate. Incidentally, to get a divorce in the UK you must be married for at least a year and show cause of violence, alcohol abuse, desertion or infidelity. In the US, men with higher incomes are more likely to be divorced. Women with higher incomes on the other hand, cannot get life partners.
In another development, social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Tinder is leading to a lot of couples separating as they make new friends and relationships in the virtual world. To counter that the Religious Affairs Ministry In Malaysia has training programmes for young couples to teach them not to marry early and prevent divorce. Unlike in the West, it is difficult to get divorced in India as the courts drag the cases for ages. Plus, in arranged marriages there is lot of bonding between the families and the women are afraid to break the tradition and separate. In fact, in certain parts of India, women pray and fast for their husband’s long life, which I thought was a very cute thing to do. That is the secret for a happy marriage.
The scientific recipe for a happy marriage, according to an author who wrote a bestseller on the subject, is the couple should have fun together and be good friends. “Raise your standards,” advises the author.
People who want to be treated well, want romance in their marriage, end up getting that type of marriage. That is the bottom line.
Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi.