Today, my post is for those who are struggling in their marriage and almost living a broken marriage. They have tried everything they could think of, yet the struggle continues. In the last post, I briefly talked about the four truths of marriage.
Almost all couples go through at least one phase of crisis in their marital relationship.
The nature of the relationship is such that episodes of deep conflict appear natural and can lead to a broken marriage.
Just when they thought they had it figured out, that they really understood each other, and that they could make it work together, they found themselves at a crossroads. This is the key to remember, if you are married, you are going to go through a period of crisis, at least one such phase that may completely challenge everything you know about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. If you two can stay together during that difficult phase, there is very little probability of ever separating thereafter.
A pertinent question is how do you know if your marriage can work? Should you be putting your effort into trying, or trying to move on instead? There is no definitive answer as each individual is unique and each marriage, is a little different. I can, however, offer you five analogies, metaphors if you will, of a broken marriage. As follows:
1. The Fresh Wound
Let us say you have a wonderful marriage. You are intimate, understand each other, share common interests, and enjoy mostly a good life. There are no major arguments and there are no violent disagreements. The vehicle of your marriage is moving just fine.
And one fine day, you find out that your partner cheated on you. Such cheating could range from flirting to philandering. Clearly, you are hurt. Badly. You feel your world has come to a dead end. You are certain of never being able to love your partner again. You feel suffocated. Well, do not call it off just yet. You may want to consider forgiving your partner if it was a one-off thing and you sense sincerity.
Like many other mistakes, this could simply be a mistake on his part, albeit a grave one. This is a fresh wound, it will heal over time. Provided, of course, it does not keep getting scraped again.
But yes, it is going to leave a scar. God forbid, if you go through this, give yourself time, six months to a year, to see if you feel differently before making a radical decision leading to a broken marriage.
2. The Dented Car
When you are on the road for hundreds of days in a year, it’s quite possible your car can get scratched. Even if you are ultra-careful, a shopping cart in a parking lot may come along uninvited and chip your car. Some rowdy ones may graffiti your car, some jealous or ignorant types may just enjoy drawing on it with their keys.
Sometimes, in a marriage, external factors can cause damage to your relationship leading to a broken marriage. These could be demands at work, social commitments, the expectations of in-laws or other family members, and so on. Often, these ones are manageable with mutual understanding and commitment. Sit down and talk to each other, work it out, make changes, prioritize. Do not let these minor scratches ruin your driving pleasure. They can be repaired and more importantly, they are inevitable.
3. The Birth Mark
Imagine a birthmark, a prominent one, on your face. There is very little you can do about it unless you choose some artificial method. The partners are stuck together for whatever reason, maybe because of their children. Sometimes they believe they are making a sacrifice, but many a time, they lack an option. They have nowhere to go, no one to look up to and their inner turmoil makes them confused. A lot of broken marriages fall under this category.
The two partners are not getting on, just getting by, they are not together, just living together, they are not in love anymore, just loving, it’s already a broken marriage because theirs is not just about two opinions but a fundamental difference of opinion. If you cannot move out, and you cannot make it work the way you wish, you’d better find a way to be happy, to be at peace. There is no point complaining in this type of marriage. It will not yield any results, in fact, it will end up making you more negative and stressed.
This marriage is unlikely to offer you that joy, bliss, and care you may be seeking. Turn inward; that is the best recourse, the way to permanent bliss, unconditional, unsullied, independent, and unselfish. Have a little bit of self-dialog, and discover your own method, your own path. Turn that birthmark into a beauty spot.
4. The Broken Vase
Some marriages are like a broken vase. Just before being dropped, it was beautiful, carefully crafted, and was holding together fresh and fragrant roses. One careless move and bang! It shattered to pieces.
Someone did not exercise care. The greater the fall, the more the damage. If it shatters into hundreds of pieces, it is not possible to repair it anymore. If, however, the drop was not so great, one may be able to put it together again. It will forever look patchy though, it will never be the same again. It will become a great degree more fragile thereafter. The impact of the drop is directly proportional to the gravity of the error. You cannot undo your own or your partner’s acts; if the pieces cannot be rejoined and you have a choice, move on and learn to get over it.
5. Malignant Tumor
If your partner just does not care, and can’t be bothered, if he has made it clear that he will not change his ways, that, this is the way he is, you can try your best; it will make absolutely no positive impact on the quality of your marriage.
If you can be without such a partner, move on. And, if you cannot be, there is no point in searching for answers. If you are stuck because you cannot be independent, you practically have no choice. A relationship like this only worsens with time.
This is the harsh truth. If the other partner does not believe there is a problem, that, anything needs resolving, how can any corrective measures ever be taken? When a tumor is malignant in nature, it needs to be removed, lest it results in a terminal condition. There is no other option.
Maintaining a good marriage is like maintaining a garden. You can do your own math as to what that may be like! To quote Jiddu Krishnamurti, “A husband and wife are like rail tracks, they go parallel but never meet.” My personal take on this statement: that is fine, however, issues arise when other lines come crisscrossing changing the course of these tracks! The danger is always at the junction, on diversions. If you are going straight, you have much less to worry about.
I wish there was a ‘u’ in marriage rather than an I. Perhaps, things would have been easier. Heavens! there is no ‘v’ in it either. No wonder, it requires constant care.
Somewhere among mar, rage, and age, sits the lonely I. Love has ‘v’ (we) in it. Fulfillment has ‘u’ before ‘i’, as does beautiful. Marriage is not all about what is in it, it is a great deal about what is silent about it, like we, you, us, and ours. I is in marriage, but it is not about I; if it were, it would be more of a mirage. You may want to read The Four Truths of Marriage.
I will write more on the present topic, including why people cheat and when you should move out, in the next post or two. Stay tuned.
To give up a marriage – someone unmarried might imagine it’s like giving up a seat in a theatre… but is it harsher than anyone could realize: a hot invisible fire, burning pieces of hope and fantasy, and charred bits of the past. It ha(s) to go, however, if something (is) to be built in its place.
The Story of a Marriage – Andrew Sean Greer
A broken marriage is one of the hardest realities to confront. It isn’t just the separation of two people but the separation of a dream, a family, and a life together.
Art imitates life and vice versa. Broken marriage quotes, like the haunting one above, abound on the internet, showing us that though we may feel alone, this is a collective pain. Countless people go through the agony of a destroyed relationship every day.
How to fix a broken marriage, especially when the very foundation is corroded? Is there any coming back from trust being broken? Because qualities like love, faith, and respect are not measurable.
Like Greer says -Perhaps you cannot see a marriage. Like those giant heavenly bodies that are invisible to the human eye, it can only be charted by its gravity, its pull on everything around it… I must look at everything around it, all the hidden stories, the unseen parts, so that somewhere in the middle – turning like a dark star – it will reveal itself at last.
If you are in a situation where your marriage is falling apart and you need help, please reach out. os.me’s free helpline is a wonderful option! Our compassionate, non-judgmental life guides are available to counsel you through relationship crises while maintaining complete confidentiality about your interactions. A little support and love go a tremendously long way.
They are invisible but without them, the entity of a relationship does not exist.
Art of Meditation
Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)
The FAQs below go into this and more, sharing eye-opening truths about the institution of marriage and how sometimes, there is hope after all.
I have a child. Can I still walk away from my broken marriage?
There’s no clear evidence to suggest that children brought up by single parents turn out any less in any way compared to those with both parents. Some of the kindest and most adorable people I’ve known were raised by single parents.
Children of single parents tend to take their own relationships more seriously because they have already experienced the fragility of it. What matters more is not whether a child has been raised by a single parent but if she’s been provided a loving environment conducive to personal growth.
And, this is really the spiritual perspective I wish to offer: a close-knit family with fewer people is infinitely better than a toxic one with more people.
When two partners frequently argue, quarrel and fight, this has a telling impact on the child. In such a case, in my opinion, it’s better to split and be at peace than live in a tense, unpredictable, and unhealthy environment.
Continue reading Single Parents and Broken Marriages.
The Top 3 Causes of Cheating:
Why do people, especially men, cheat in a relationship? Cheating is an abuse of trust, it means you have been taken for granted, for a ride. Like many other artifacts of one’s personality, cheating is a habit too. It is a conscious act.
People cheat when they lack inner fulfillment. Although that is no justification, it remains the primary cause; they are seeking fulfillment in a pleasure outside of what is reasonable.
You can be the best partner in the world, you may be most caring, giving, loving, and faithful, but that still does not guarantee any loyalty from the other side.
If your partner is the restless type, like the monkey that hops from one tree to another, the baboon that flings to the nearby available tree, he is more prone to engage in extracurricular activities. Predominantly because that is part of his fabric.
There is never a reason for cheating, only an excuse. To understand how to fix your broken marriage, know why it needs to be fixed, in the first place. The top three excuses for cheating are:
- Opportunity overrides obligation
- Lust defeats love
- Habits die hard
Continue reading Why Do People Cheat.
Why do marriages fail?
Most people marry with the primary intent of satisfying their own needs. You want someone who could take care of you, be there for you, someone with whom you could share your everything, and so on. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s just that it’s a little impractical at times.
When marriage becomes a contract of responsibility in which the other person is constantly watching out for you, such a marriage is doomed to failure. Why? Because one day he or she will get tired.
- A sense of tiredness creates distance in a relationship.
After marriage, we feel a sense of ownership, of possessiveness. When requests turn into demands, that is when a marriage starts to come apart at the seams.
- Demands destroy marriage.
If you want hukum mere aaka, your wish is my command, type of partner then I suggest you should get a magical lamp, like the one Alladin had.
- How to fix a broken marriage like this?
Give each other freedom and learn to lead individual lives outside of work (and home) as well. If you are positive and happy, and not controlling and demanding, your partner will want to spend more time with you.
For more insight into how to fix a broken marriage, continue reading Why Do Marriages Fail?
The 4 Truths of Marriage:
Fulfillment in any personal relationship is directly dependent on the quality of commitment from both partners. Both partners want some quality, a certain equality in a relationship. It is often compared to a two-wheeler, where both wheels need to be balanced for the vehicle to move smoothly.
However, that is an intellectual proposition, albeit a convincing one. In reality, men and women are built differently, psychologically, emotionally, and physiologically.
I would like to share with you the four truths of marriage. Most broken marriages are a result of not understanding these truths:
- It is not possible to let go of expectations in marriage
- One partner is always more attached than the other
- One is always more expressive than the other
- A functional relationship is not about perfection
Continue reading about these truths in detail, in Personal Relationships.
How does one turn an unhappy marriage around?
Sometimes, it may seem like the end of the road for a relationship. But at such a moment, take a step back and reflect. Perhaps there’s still hope. Maybe there’s still a way back in.
The video below highlights the different aspects of marriage and lays out some beautiful pointers for how to fix a broken marriage.
- 1:11: The whole challenge of a relationship
- 2:46: What a relationship is not
- 5:38: The thing everybody aspires for
- 7:19: The notion of loyalty
- 8:40: The story of the two spiders
- 13:26: The point of a relationship
- 15:07: The foundation of successful relationships