Case Study 3

Divorce rates have spiked recently in India.  Though they are still low in comparison to many other countries, they have become a matter of concern for Indian society. Divorce petitions have gone up manifold and most are being sought over spur-of-the-moment emotional outbursts and in some cases over trivial, issues.  Reasons for divorce have also changed from the past. Such negative developments are deteriorating the basic fibre of the social institution of marriage.

Analyse this problem in detail from different perspectives and indicate various social, psychological and economic factors responsible for this problem. Also, distinctly bring out –

a) Why divorce rates are high, especially in urban areas, when compared to rural areas.

b) Why divorce rate is high even in the cases of love marriages?

c) What steps can be taken to stop couples from taking such strong decisions?

Marriage in India has sanctity attached to it – an element of divinity in it. However, now the institution of marriage is undergoing change:

  • Individualistic, materialistic and self-oriented goals over family well-being.
  • The tolerance threshold seems to have moved down while the egos of individuals have risen remarkably.
  • The societal stigma attached to divorce is also diminishing.
  • Priority of job over the relationship
  • Psychological tiredness – Couples are now getting mentally fed up with their spouse.
  • Some of the major reasons for the increasing rate of divorce in urban areas, as compared to rural areas are:
  • The fast-paced lifestyle of the couple leads to less understanding and hence incompatibility issues.
  • The economic independence of urban women allows them to move out of abusive marriages.
  • Traditional counselling support for couples is missing in nuclear families.
  • Work stress leads to frequent fights at home.
  • Changing gender roles in cities leads to frequent fights.
  • The divorce rate is high even in the case of a love marriage, because of the following reasons:
  • Expectations Vs Reality: When couples are in love, lots of positive attitudes develop towards marriage. But, after marriage, they realize the hard truth of the relationship. Arranged marriages have much lower expectations, so they tend to survive.
  • Arranged marriages have a firm root in society and culture. Couples get family support. But in love marriage this is missing.
  • Unrest and inner dissonance are high as many times such marriages are done against the wishes of the family.
  • Some of the steps which can be taken to prevent couples from taking such strong decisions are:
  • Understanding the balance between work life, social life and personal life.
  • Formal and informal counselling professionals expert counsellors and family members of the couple.
  • Bridging communication gap.
  • Transparency and trust development.
  • Spending quality time together.
  • Sorting out differences, by making slight adjustments in thinking and lifestyle.

However, despite the new strains on marriage and the increasing number of divorces, faith in marriage as an institution remains unshaken in our society.

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