People across the world view marriages as the key to a happy love life. Two souls who seek to join their lives into one not only establish a physical connection, but also a spiritual one. The two individuals take the purest form of vows, deemed to be the purest form of relationship, and must demonstrate continuous commitment, loyalty, mutual respect, and selflessness. In India, tradition considers weddings the primary element for creating a family, and society strictly adheres to this requirement, which is not a biological one.
However, while marriages symbolize a utopian vision of eternal love, reality can often be an eye-opener for many. Some marriages do not always go smoothly, and not all unions are harmonious. Perfection is a myth, and no partner is perfect, but people tend to overlook this fact. Over the past decade, divorce rates have significantly risen.
Tradition, culture, and customs hold a strong grip over Indian society, causing people to resist voluntary marital breakups and maintain their societal reputation. Despite the toxic relationships, people tolerated their partners, leading to low divorce rates in India. However, these lower divorce rates were not an indication of happier marriages. This commitment to stick to the vows was at the expense of mental health for many, especially for women who chose to remain in abusive relationships. Domestic violence and abuse were often ignored for the sake of children or because women lacked financial independence. According to the World Bank, Indian women’s participation in the formal economy is low, leaving the majority of women dependent on men for financial support. Divorcing women also face ostracism from society and lack support from their families. The reasons for low divorce rates have both positive and negative impacts, which will be addressed later in the article.
These days, it has been observed that living standards, economic challenges, and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic have taken a toll on many relationships. Divorce rates have risen globally, including in India. This change was first noticed in the 1970s and 1990s when divorce rates increased dramatically in many countries, such as in the United States where the divorce rate more than doubled from 1960 to 1980. This increase was partly due to the unrealistic expectations spouses had of each other during the “Swinging Seventies,” making it easier for them to have extramarital partners.
While recent divorce increases were initiated by women worldwide, in India, men have become the initiators of divorces. It is important to not only look at the data over time, but also to understand the reasons behind these changes. To get a complete picture of the increasing divorce rates, let us take a closer look.
Exploring the Shift in Divorce Trends: A Look at Rising Rates in India
The divorce rate in India has been increasing over the years, but the exact figures can vary depending on the source of information. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of divorce cases filed in India has steadily increased over the years, from around 70,000 cases in 2007 to nearly 160,000 cases in 2018. However, it’s worth noting that these figures may not fully reflect the actual number of divorces taking place in India, as many couples may choose to settle their differences informally or through mutual consent divorce procedures, which are not reflected in NCRB data. Additionally, due to the social stigma attached to divorce in India, many couples may not report their divorce or choose not to get legally divorced. As a result, the actual number of divorces in India is likely to be higher than the figures reported by the NCRB.
- Uncovering the Reality Behind Arranged Marriages: Why They Sometimes Lead to Divorce
Arranged marriages are a common practice in South East Asia, but that doesn’t mean they’re destined to fail. Despite being popular, arranged marriages can sometimes lead to divorce due to a lack of mutual understanding and love between the partners. This is often because the couple’s families choose their partners, sometimes against their will, leaving little room for love to develop post-marriage. As a result, infidelity can become an issue. It’s important to examine the realities of arranged marriages to understand why they sometimes lead to divorce.
- Money Matters: A Major Cause of Marital Discord
Money has become a major source of conflict in marriages, with couples frequently arguing about financial issues more than any other topic. These arguments can escalate and threaten the future of the relationship. In India, it’s traditionally seen as the man’s responsibility to provide for the family, but when he can’t keep up with expenses, it can lead women to end the marriage. Some men also object to their wives working outside the home, viewing it as a threat to their ego. This mindset can lead to the termination of marriages with women who value their rights and dignity.
- Women’s Inequalities, Misogyny, and Violence: A Global Crisis
The reality of millions of women globally is one of inequality, misogyny, and violence. A recent survey revealed that three billion women, including those in India, live in places where marital rape is not considered a crime. According to the United Nations, 19 countries legally require women to obey their husbands.
In India, data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that 19 women die each day from dowry-related violence. The recent NFHS-5 data found that on average, 30 percent of women in India have suffered from domestic violence, a number that is likely higher due to underreporting. Sadly, less than 1 percent of unmarried women aged 45-49 have never been married, while over 90 percent of married women have never divorced due to suppression from husbands and societal pressure.
This exploitation against women results in women feeling trapped and oppressed in their marriages, leading to a loss of autonomy and often, drastic measures to escape their dominating partners. It’s time to raise awareness and put an end to this global crisis of women’s inequalities, misogyny, and violence.
- Mutual differences
Partners often drift apart due to mutual differences. These differences can arise from various reasons such as excessive family interference in their personal relationship, growing responsibilities of marriage and children, and simply falling out of love over time. As the differences pile up, the partners may find it increasingly difficult to reconcile and find a common ground, ultimately leading to the breakdown of the relationship.
- Women’s Financial Empowerment Fuels Rise in Divorces
As women gain financial independence, they break free from the limitations imposed by male partners. They take control of their lives and chase their dreams, including education and income-generating careers, despite opposition from men. Today, financially independent women no longer fear the consequences of divorce if they’re unhappy in their marriages. They have the means to cover legal fees and provide for their children. This newfound sense of empowerment drives the rise in divorce rates. But what are the positive and negative outcomes of divorce? Let’s explore both sides.
Impact: Examining the Pros and Cons of Divorce
Positive Outcomes of Divorce:
- Improved Mental Health: One of the most significant benefits of divorce is that it can lead to improved mental health. If a couple is in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, getting a divorce can relieve the stress and emotional burden, leading to better mental health for both partners.
- Increased Personal Freedom: Divorce gives partners the freedom to live their lives without the constraints and limitations imposed by a failed marriage. They are free to make their own decisions, pursue their own goals, and build their own lives.
- Financial Stability: In some cases, divorce can lead to financial stability for both partners. If one partner was relying on the other for financial support, getting a divorce can allow them to take control of their finances and become self-sufficient.
- Better Relationships: Divorce can help individuals focus on building better relationships with friends, family, and new romantic partners. Without the stress and strain of a failed marriage, they can prioritize their relationships with others and make meaningful connections.
- New Opportunities: Divorce can be a new beginning and an opportunity to start over. Partners can embrace new challenges and opportunities to grow as individuals and create a better future for themselves.
Negative Outcomes of Divorce:
The cons of divorce can be far-reaching and can impact all aspects of an individual’s life. Some of the negative outcomes of divorce include:
- Emotional trauma: Divorce can be an incredibly emotional and stressful experience for both partners, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.
- Financial burden: Divorce can be costly, especially if there are legal battles over property, custody, and support. This can lead to financial hardship for both partners.
- Impact on children: Divorce can have a profound impact on children, especially if the parents are unable to effectively co-parent and communicate with one another. Children may struggle with feelings of loss, confusion, and insecurity.
- Stigma: Despite the fact that divorce is becoming more common, it still carries a certain level of stigma in many communities. This can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment for the partners involved.
- Difficulty moving on: The process of moving on after divorce can be difficult, especially if the partners have a difficult time letting go of the past and the emotional ties that once bound them together.
- Effects on future relationships: Divorce can impact an individual’s future relationships, making it more difficult to trust and connect with new partners.
- Decreased standard of living: For many couples, divorce results in a decrease in standard of living, especially if one partner was the primary breadwinner and financial support decreases after the split.
Divorce is a complex and multifaceted issue that has a wide range of positive and negative outcomes. On one hand, divorce provides an opportunity for individuals to escape toxic or unhappy relationships, leading to personal growth, improved mental health, and a chance for a fresh start. On the other hand, it also brings along with it emotional distress, financial burden, and legal proceedings, which can be stressful and challenging for both parties involved.
Furthermore, the impact of divorce on children, if any, cannot be neglected. Children may suffer from the emotional and psychological effects of a broken home, and they may have to face the consequences of changing living arrangements, schools, and relationships. The separation of parents can have a profound and long-lasting impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children.
It is essential to consider all the aspects of divorce before making a decision. It is advisable to explore every possible option of resolving conflicts before resorting to divorce, such as marriage counselling, therapy, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. If, however, the relationship has become beyond repair, it is necessary to approach divorce with compassion, understanding, and a focus on ensuring the best outcome for all parties involved.
- National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): A government agency that maintains records of crime in India. It provides data on the number of divorce cases filed in India, which can be used to analyze the trend of rising divorce rates in the country.
- World Bank: The World Bank provides data on women’s participation in the formal economy in India, which can be used to understand the reasons behind low divorce rates in the country.
- United Nations: The United Nations provides data on marital rape laws across the world, including in India, which can be used to understand the reality of women’s inequalities, misogyny, and violence.
- National Family Health Survey (NFHS): The NFHS is a survey conducted by the Indian government to gather data on various health indicators, including data on domestic violence against women in India.
- “The Impact of Domestic Violence on Women’s Mental Health” by J. McWhirter (2010): This article provides an overview of the impact of domestic violence on women’s mental health and can be used to understand the reasons behind low divorce rates in India.
- “Marital Infidelity: A Look at the Reasons Behind Cheating” by R. Taffel (2018): This article provides an in-depth look at the reasons behind infidelity in marriages and can be used to understand why arranged marriages sometimes lead to divorce.
- “The Rise of Divorce: An Exploration of the Trends and Causes” by J. Smith (2017): This article provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and causes of the rise of divorce globally, including in India.