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The concept of space in a marriage: Does it really work?
Marriages today are all about ‘spaces’ rather than sharing or togetherness. Bank accounts, EMIs, hyphenated surnames are de rigueur for couples today. Where does that leave the union called marriage?

KHALIL GIBRAN has said about ’space’ in marriage that the spouses should be like the pillars of a Temple, far apart yet equal. So that the space between the columns can hold up the Temple of the relationship or marriage.

“Today this connotation of ‘space’ has taken on a new meaning. It has become a license for couples to forget what the meaning of ‘together’ or ‘unit’ is! What space was meant to be--- was a place where each could delve into his inner being to come up with something better for the whole,” says a newly married Dipantri Khan. She had been seeing Mikhail for 7 years before they tied the knot. Earlier he would travel from Juhu where he works to be with her in Breach Candy where she was studying and living. They had to, just had to spend at least a few hours each day with each other, doing things together, just being together. Somehow when a couple is in love they just don’t include others in that haven. Friends also leave them alone because they know the couple needs all the privacy they can get. Assuming some dumbo piles on, the couple make sure he’s ticked off because they want to be alone, together.

“The travel, the lust, the joy, the exhilaration of knowing that I belong to her would just fuel me up,” says Mikhail. Today things are different and it’s not even a year past since they both have married.

“Whenever friends call, he’s get set and go! And if I want him to be with me he calls it SPACE! It’s just a concept that we both use when we want to do something by ourselves!”

So is the space concept a bad thing for the relationship or a good thing that allows it to breathe and grow? Did Gibran know that it would be one of the most misused words between a couple, today?

“Golf, diving, cards, drinking, pool, drugs…almost all status activities are today solitary pursuits. A decade ago it was fashionable to have a common set of friends for couples, similar pursuits, children etc. But today, one rarely sees couples partying together,” says Rahima Ewing. Every woman, every man today firstly has to earn his/her living. Not only that, one has to excel today, if one has to keep one’s self esteem. In all this, where is the fountainhead to give from…in a relationship, to the child?”

Really worrisome, this question of space. It has opened a can of worms for almost every couple I met. Old wounds, festering rejections (in the name of space) have come tumbling out in the open.

Virgil plays cards all day, everyday. When I asked her how she managed home and life in general, I saw, she almost had tears while talking. 65, today, she and her husband had started out together nearly 38 years ago. He had set limits for their interaction together claiming it important for his ‘nature’ to be able to travel alone. Then he took up a solitary sport seriously, encouraged Virgil to travel alone to her family home. All in all, they both have in effect hardly spent much time together. Today she is a card addict, and there’s so much of space in their relationship that they both don’t need each other.

Space was meant to be a tool towards self-fulfillment, which eventually would have led to a sane, well-balanced individual capable of having a stable and satisfying relationship. Like, it was not possible for women earlier to pursue education after having married, or they had to be subservient to their in-laws etc. So there was need for individual ‘space’ that actually connoted freedoms or rights. When these issues have taken on a different colour today, the need for space has infact died a natural death. It is imperative that each one is honest to oneself. Does not create flimsy alibis to protect one’s whims (I need space, if I want to go to the bowling alley rather than be with the spouse), checks to see if the activity is in aid of self-fulfillment or small term pleasure.

In today’s times of looser morals, lower emotional resilience, smaller individuals I would think it ‘s time to bind, to stay close together, to gel, so two halves can become a whole. Not cleave, so two parts can get separated from each other!



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