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How to save your marriage for the sake of your children?
It is true that a person has the right to seek mental and physical peace from another person by seeking divorce. Divorce is also inevitable if love between a couple dies. Also may be, a marriage has been contracted without any possibility of love to blossom in the first place. May be one party never really loved her or his spouse ever. None can predict whether conjugal love will endure through the couple’s lifespan.

Many in our country believe love to be an accident and not a prerequisite for marriage- an idea reinforced by television advertisements. Be these as they may, I shall explore in this article the effect of divorce on children. This latter may prove a strong deterrent for couples' seeking separation. At the end of this article a few pointers to keep a marriage strong will be given.

First, here are some anecdotes of children’s trauma at their parents’ divorce ( I have deleted any identifiers and know the first three cases firsthand):

  1. An adolescent boy stays out of home till midnights regularly. The boy gets into trouble one night and lands up in a police station. The parents are called. The police ask in front of his parents why he stays out of home daily. He coolly pointed out that his new-mom, after his real mom and dad had divorced, was hateful of him and did not want him to come home early. His dad was controlled by his new mom. The other day he gave jeans for washing; his new-mom said that washing-machine would burst washing his filthy jeans etc.

  2. A child inexplicably ducks under the school-desk whenever s/he hears a loud noise. One day the teacher shouted at the class as a whole; this kid fainted. Upon enquiry it was found that before separation this child witnessed bitter fights between his parents day after day and the only way to escape this acrimony was to hide daily under the bed. Now s/he lives with his mom.

  3. Person X leaves a marriage and marries Person Y. Both X and Y have children from their first marriages. Their children are all between 13 to 17. Now the Indian laws allow vacation visits of children to the parent who does not have custody of the child.Thus X’s daughter may be allowed to visit X only during her vacations and Y’s son during his vacation. What do X and Y do? In a cramped apartment how will they let their daughter and son stay in the single spare room through days and nights? Therefore, the children are simply not welcome with X & Y.

  4. A lawyer friend recently told me about how a boy came in with his parents and looked hungrily at the lawyer. This boy’s last hope was this lawyer — not to help in the divorce; but to somehow get the lawyer to keep his parents together.

Divorce is a not a quick-fix as it has unfortunately become in a vibrant India. It is understood that divorces are inevitable in a few cases- physical and verbal abuse; one of the parties having an affair with another person and lastly; non-consummation of marriages. This last as has been regularly reported in many print-dailies is a very common reason of marriage break-ups. Thus, the solution lies in saving a marriage before any cracks appear in it. The following may help some couples:

A)The first condition of a marriage is that one chooses to commit oneself to one person exclusively for life. Therefore it is important to work at creating the magic of love and sustaining it. Love here is a doing word and not a verb. One has to be very careful that the other person is not taken for granted even for a single day. Nothing is a given; that should be one’s mantra in a marriage. 

It follows from this that one partner should never initiate any contact with any member of the opposite sex with the intent of impressing the new wo/man in such a manner that the latter feels more comfortable with the married person than s/he should in an ordinary atmosphere. The better part of wisdom is to eschew any intimacy with anyone other than one’s wife or husband. A person who leaves one person for another may tire of the new person in her or his life too.

B)Do not allow third persons to come in between you and your spouse; be them one’s in-laws or own parents. Do not even allow your own kids to rob you of your quiet time together.

C)Do not be jealous of your partner. Or suspicious of her/him. These two sound the death-knells of any marriage.

D)Those couples who are not having physical relationships need to see a medical doctor; the lack of libido can be caused by many disease like diabetes and thyroid problems. In some cases the problem may be clinical depression. Medical doctors will prescribe anti-depressants in these cases. Non-consummation of marriages is another problem in India. This author knows of couples who have gone abroad and had in-vitro fertilizations done for the sake of social propriety. 

The causes of non-consummation of marriage can be treated by marriage counselors and psychiatrists. The non-consummation may seem a huge problem for such couples but often a little talk-therapy immensely helps the affected couple. The problem is not sexual but often purely mental-blocks. Since such couples eventually have children through non-coital means; I had to consider them here.

From the above discussion it is evident that it is often better to approach a marriage-counselor for keeping a marriage alive than to walk away from it. At least for the sakes of our children. Children are most affected by a traumatic parental marriage. Adults can move on, but children are stuck in their developmental stages when the trauma occurs. It may be comparatively easier for a wo/men to have new spouses but it is definitely never cakewalks for the kids of these broken homes.

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