A family is a significant unit of any society. Family is a formal social contract in which a husband of a family and wife take the oath to live with each other with common family interests. Their reasons to be married may be; mutual financial benefits, physical need, religious obligation, children thirst, sharing wealth, home management and a life sharer. Nevertheless, I encourage a marriage couple can be seen in terms of synergy and a source of creating a 3rd alternative life in celebration of their differences or so-called conflicts. Marriage or family is so inter-connected with job and work of a complete person. If it gets disturbed then it will affect on your job eventually. I observed many professionals working and behaving poorly on workplaces are the outcome of stressful family life. Either they have problems or threats to be separated from the spouses or matrimonial annihilation is being undergone. I guess that much multinational cooperation and high ranked organization do consider spouses and children as their sub-employee or give them priority. Human Resource leaders believe that a complete employee cannot be extra-ordinary productive unless she or he would have been successful marital life. Therefore in coming discussion, I’ll unhide core situations in the marriage life.
One of tragedy of the world in every society is ‘divorce’ which is an outcome of serious insurmountable conflicts and counter-arguments from not only husband and wife but also from two different human worlds. A rough idea says that people living in US have divorce rate at critical height of around 50% [i] which means every second American is divorced. One of paradigm associated with these conflicts are the role of in-laws and families for a couple. Influence of parents, parents-in-laws, siblings, relatives, customs of families and social norms play crucial roles in shaking this beautiful relation of husband and wife. Socially, a person’s mind has images of their own childhood experiences, upbringing styles, media interactions, intra-family interventions, academic and professional exposure and it all from attitude of the husband and wife in deciding for difficult problems they facing. Whenever husband and wife perceive differences of each other as conflict and threats for them rather than opportunities to create a 3rd alternative and unique future, they become insecure and defend and start to justify their doings. To giving explanations and arguments become common practice. Hence they assume themselves as victims and live by narrow vision. First alternative opinion of husband clashes with second of wife and hence both go opposite and equal and in large magnitude usually. Generally, a weak Husband is recognized for his low-income, not giving time to wife and children and wife usually mis-perceives him in many situations, in addition, sexual incompatibility, unorganized house keeping and in-laws troubles become front issues. Husband and wife blame and complain each other everyday. The excessive misunderstanding and over-understanding bring lot of complications and ever-lasting fights. These acute tussles become chronic when no husband or wife is able to have sense to solve and think out of box. Both try to find solutions from 1st and 2nd alternatives and not the 3rd alternative. The 3rd alternative solution can be resourcefulness in bringing peace and harmony to every troubling couple. Couple should celebrate their differences and see differences as their unique endowments and not the errors or flaws. They become vulnerable and create negative synergy. Thankless, underestimating and mistrust allow them to feel insecure. Their reservations are their daily agendas and demand ‘do’ something immediately. Any delay or slow response is taken as a doubt. Both do insult, disrespect and hurt each other. In conservative and narrow visionary social settings, wife has very limited role and subjected not to allow any show of liberty, her ‘will’ and doing creative thoughts. Traditional home settings may be dis-empowering woman and husbands take benefit of this tragedy. Gender race is practiced and man usually wins over woman. Society considers a woman as weak, less-esteemed, non-productive, unemployed, less-rich and inferior in intellect than to a man. They assume intellect of a woman is as faulty by birth from nature. These believes and old tool-set followed by husband and in-laws of wife make her very limited and ineffective in a social context. Role of mother-in-law for a couple of play significant role in many cases. Moral, legal, spiritual and intra-family influence of mother of both wife and husband is taken as a threat in privacy, liberty and couple’s goals. Media is exposing many filmy and reality based TV dramas and subjects of movies are being broadcasted in terms of mother-in-laws and in-laws openly. A possessive and emotional wife does not like influence of mother-in-law and vice-versa. This situation gets worse and unaffordable when husband prefers his mother and siblings than of wife and vice-versa. Husband puts conditions of love to his wife for love with his parental family. This insecurity creates negative emotions, jealously and makes her bias in very discussion of parental families. Reactive husbands behave badly sometime in response and this fight continues and divorce looks like only hope of survival. In this condition Dr. Stephen R. Covey says “To solve our most difficult problems, we must radically change our thinking[ii]”.
Most concern stakeholders in result of separation of couple are children. Distorted minds, shattered personalities and psychological weaknesses of such children are their outcomes. As Dr. Covey says:
“Divorce affects more than a million children annually in the United States alone. The data show that children of divorce are more likely to suffer from discipline problems, psychological disturbances, lower academic achievement, and poor health”.[iii]
I know a brilliant but very disappointed and deep teen age boy of 12 who writes very sad poems and share it with others, for the reason of his separated parents. Since he has experienced harsh quarrels between his mother and father since his very childhood that’s why he is now such a boy who posses a tragedy & passive literature in mind all the time.
One of social dilemma of broken marriages is that no side is ready to accept or even listen the truth-slices from other side. In Dr. R. Covey’s opinion, these criticisms are very essential and important in order to get solutions. I know a family in which a semi-disable girl was married and her disability was hidden by her family and not communicated at time of marriage to husband family. After marriage husband soon knew this disability and did second marriage to someone. Husband could not divorce his first defected wife because of three children. On the other hand when she offended small crimes due to very mental illness, a series of quarrels in home was observed for many years. Ultimately, both families of husband and wife blamed each other for it and left each other permanently. Now they are separated because to not accepting reality of disability. Solution lies only within whether they will accept this harsh truth. It is all because of her mental disability was never communicated or admitted in-spite passing of 10 years of marriage. But future of those three children remained unresolved.
Many case show that week communication and misunderstandings between couples cause distressing results. Silence messages are either not understood or totally unintentionally ignored. On some situations both assumes that she or he is understood and it does not need any explanation as it is a common sense. This expectation creates a lot of complications because common sense is not a common practice. It may take several months and years that husband wanted to give quiet messages to his wife and wife never ever could able to understand it. This is also called communication gap. Both do not understand each and assume wrongly or weakly. This gap lasted for long and may cause more complications. Researchers have shown a clear proof that majority of separation of married people are due to weak or poor communication. Either they are uneducated enough to communicate their feelings or prejudice to listen each other. When communication is muted, all types of walls start to rise. In order to fall these walls, an empathic listening is needed. In this common situation Dr. Stephen R. Covey advises ‘First seek to understand then to be understood’[iv]. Actually when husband and wife listen to each other in a way that her feelings become of his and his troubles of her, then a straight line can connect their minds. This line will provide base to look into the partner. If both believe on any solution then they will come on a common. Because conflict is born when other side is not understanding or focusing on rising feeling. Now after empathy both husband and wife are source of love and care for each other and I am sure they will get through what ever the circumstances they would have in background.
Dr. Covey mentions shocking information: “wives and husbands who once had a passion for each other grow cold toward each other. The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world, at 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages. Russia is second, with the nations of northern Europe close behind. Even countries with low actual rates (usually because of cultural disapproval of divorce), “emotional separation” is far too prevalent.[v]
Possessive nature is a negative trait and should not be encouraged. Some people take it as signs of love, nevertheless, Person should always believe on sharing and not to block information, not jealousy and let not to bound spouse. This is in result of mind-set of ‘thing-paradigm’. When spouse starts to see his or her spouse as thing, not mind then spouse tries to occupy him or her like matter. When you shop mobile, it means you occupy it because mobile cannot do anything except depends how you treat with mobile and what you want to use mobile in any condition. Similarly when this attitude is transformed with spouses, obviously it is taken against dignity and freedom of man given by God. Conflict and resistance invoke. This resistance sometimes long lasted in such a way that bad consequence is happened, in form of low-trust, high ego and hence both fight or flight. A married couple is supposed to be combination of two mature humans. Human does believe in freedom of every person. In opposite case you will lose spouse or loved one in the end. Abraham Lincoln once said: The surest way to reveal one’s character is not through adversity but by giving them power.
Parents are most important and influencing relations for anyone in this world. After marriage, they also try to influence on couple because they think that they are young and with limited mind for discipline and balancing their lives. In modern era, wife never accepts this type of interferences. It causes tussle and typical in-laws issue invokes. Jealousies, baseless assumptions, wrong paradigms, negative thinking, reactive mind-set, socio-economic problems all are supplementary with it. So she perceives in-laws and mother-in-laws as hard people. Sydney Smith put it in this way
“Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated, often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes in between them”.
In all dimensions, love of son with her mother and mother’s love toward his son is naturally and appreciable yet wife in many of stances is not able to admit. Hence, wife feels herself unsecured. Because she thinks that her in-laws have started to rule on her husband on account of siblings which will make his relation limited with her. She opines that now she cannot define his love towards husband because of husband family and she gets worried and frustrated. And whenever unintentionally she show this reservation to his husband, in many cases husband do not tolerate and consider this expression, an error in wife and this conflict continue. Ideally, husband should play a role in balancing between his siblings & parents and wife. He should clearly discuss about relations and their important in his life and wife also respond it positively. If wife wants to avoid any in-laws dispute then she should trust and follow her husband. She should see her in-laws with eyes of husband and vice-versa. Because due to bad social weather about in-laws issues, when they will see their in-laws with their bias eyes and less-information and weak vision, both could create new and traditional disputes time and again throughout life. For this I believe, both husband and wife should believe on realities and try to educate each other about their parental families in realistic way so that both should understand it without any negative or opposite comments.
In many part of world wife is mostly victim and oppressed. Societies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and Korea have limited but important role of wife. In UK, USA and European countries, wives have all legal, social, work liberty and woman rights. In my view both sides are on extreme. Actually, both sides want to use women in their self-driven cultural context and hence both believe on restriction and liberty respectively. An ideal or good husband judges these differences and treats with his wife with different and creative thinking. He takes his wife in a different and unique one and let her to be apart from reactive culture. He wants to have a different set of believe and concept of greater family which will have quality and greater thoughts and acts beyond social paradigms. As far building a new and great family, they believe on unbiased approach, love for all and hate for none, power of initiatives to make strong relations with others and vision-based family life. They try to live and create such a harmless culture that they can able to practice an ideal life. This type of creative family is believe on empathic listening and also mission oriented life like a professional team and believes on synergy such as one plus one is eleven or even more. Husband and wife should celebrate their different thoughts, by mixing them and practicing them as creative and new things. They get beyond-expectation results in short time, huge lovely passion and also creative children. This is a success and voice of real family of this modern age.
In many of case ego does play a negative role in separation. Ego increases when trust decreases. Since husband and wife have the problem of low-trust than their inner pull let other spouse stay far away. At this position, not-sharing, dis-empowering, domestic violence and reckless behaviors are the results. Both wait to see each other to be initiative to shake hand and say sorry. If this sorry takes longer time then clashes get severe and more complex. I believe on stay ahead and take initiative to make high needs, only vision with less power. We create, mostly of quarrels due to ego and not to say sorry first. There should not be any harm or feeling inferior in accepting mistake first. This is dignity of man to show humility and down-to-earth.
In many societies, on account of gender race husbands and wives make clashes and show their superior gender differences. Superior or strong male and inferior or weak female are the continue fight and rigid paradigm in every society. I cannot say those women are like this. I admit woman are more emotional , sensitive, materialistic and in less-technical how know, beauty conscious, talkative, get jealous quickly, do comparison people and situations more frequently than that of men. Yet they are very fragile, agile, kind-hearted, beautiful, organizers, caring, and polite, great caring in hospitality at home than men. I feel that these characteristics should not only associate with men in generally rather than both man and woman are human beings, is the right paradigm and both are superior and have equal rights. Only wrong or bad doings and positive thoughts should make them superior or greater to each other. When husband and wife quarrels each other than their point of taunts and clashes are the gender prejudices also. We also need to see each other, beyond gender descriptions and see only as unique humans as wives do. As we are experiencing that woman are playing and show equal level of professionalism as men in every walk of life around the world today.
Low trust and distrust nature of spouses are bigger problems of marriage life. They find illegal and unfair social relation with opposite sex. Sharing bed, privacy and bad characteristics compel them to get either enmity and ask them for divorce. Extra marital relations based stories and media movies are products of this aspect of life. A true husband or loyal wife both can be betrayed, nevertheless, whole-hearted couple and ideal spouse die on each other at any time.
Conditional love is also source of dispute between husband wives. In this world, generally all wives love their husband because husbands love their wives and vice-versa. Because wives care children and their parental family therefore I love my wife. Because my husband love my parents and siblings and belonging that’s why I love my husband and because both have mutual conditional benefits that’s why both loves each other. This conditional love never lasted for long. Because true love always without conditions. Unconditional love of a father and mother towards his or her child is a bright example. Reality of this world shows that no wife and husband can fulfill expectations of each other. Hence love decreases. And it can lead a relation into parts.
Financial insecurity has been proved so far an increase of 4.5% divorces in UK year 2010. Psychologists observed that most of the root causes of quarrels between husband and wife due to low financial status. That’s why to live peaceful marriage life, career settlement and regular sources of income are words of mouth. Some people think that conflicts among couple belonging to elite and aristocratic social classes are very less. I believe that it should not a standard but only one of good reason to live peaceful married life. It is because of global financial stress is affecting almost every country and their social rest are getting at high risk. Rate of unemployment, robberies and corruption are their upshots. Therefore high rate of divorces are happening.
Big differences between families’ norms and customs commonly cause unrest for couples and also in-laws. Every established family may have different set of believes and way of understandings about role of husband and wives. When couple get marriage in out-of- family, chances of conflicts and low-trust are more than marriages in same-families, because people are very stick to their set-criterion, conservative and fix terms. Today, people have low temperament, aggression and high intolerance. People do not respect other differences and perceive as threats to their own self-made principles and social mirrors, hence, Parents-in-laws try to mold their wives mostly according to their own ways. Mostly self-esteem and sensitive wives refuse to live under pressure of in-laws and resistance rises. Rather than wives feel proud of their own parental family’s life styles, affiliation and good or bad traditions and they also want to continue it even in their joint in-laws home and it is taken as threat. Results sometimes are very negative in most of the cases. Again due to spirit of respect and lack of democratic approach, these situations make a married woman in very pathetic state. Family norms of both sides collide with each other and disturb so badly the relation of husband and wife. Wise husbands can be proved very resourceful in saving relationships and both families. Sometimes husband is able to evaluate his parental family and himself and his wife & her parental family without any prejudice. He handles the issues one by one and systematically like a goal. He talks to his wife and her parental family with care, love, compassion, logic and problems are patched-up.
High percentages of couple want to live in their own home separately and not with parents. Same like, gap between old parents and young couple increases and also wall rises throughout rest of life. This irony is biggest tragedy of last twentieth century, in my views. Clashes and generation gap cause psychological and social anxiety. When parents are separated from their married children, it is really emotional and sensitive on-going reality all the time in every corner of the world.
I have observed many couple taking their spouses as ‘thing’, not ‘mind’. Basically a human intellect is the function of mind. When opposite spouse start to treat you like he or she does not either trust on your thinking capacity and wants to only order and control the spouse, then a heavy resistance is seen in form of abusive and violent behavior. A person always wants to be understood because of that he or she considers himself or herself as mind whatever mental capacity or level is. This ‘thing’ paradigm is often seen not only in home life but also on work places. Basically in assessment of Dr. R. Covey ‘thing paradigm’ was an old approach, adopted in Industrial age. When a boss controls his employees like things that’s why negative culture is formed in office. On the other hand, ‘mind’ paradigm is more advanced and need of current information/knowledge worker age, in which a boss see his employee as mind and proactive and love culture are built. Similarly, a couple should respect each other in such a way that both admit their potential and always expect a creative and different and unique responses because creativity invites a mind to think out of the box and creative solution is the feature of people having unique intellect especially who believe to be different because of the 3rd alternative approach and four intelligences of body, mind, heart and spirit, as Dr. R. Covey let others to focus on it in his many books. As Drucker compares both ages like this:
The most valuable assets of a 20th-century company were its production equipment. The most valuable asset of a 21st– institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity[vi].
When girl and boy friends are succeeded in making marriages, a set of expectations after marriage and before is very different and unmanageable sometimes. Because of affiliated with different in-laws, financial needs, sexual balancing and children creation, marriage life have been proved very different experience for many married people. Love-marriages are commonly perceived as ‘fail marriages’ as compared to ‘arranged-marriages’. Because in love-marriage both husband and wife are willingly involved by heart unlike in arranged-marriage parents and siblings from both sides choose to bring bride and groom into their families. In trouble times, both type of marriage, solutions may be different. Because in arranged-marriage, severe quarrels between couple are resolved by involvement of both parental families successfully, unlike in love-marriage, no positive involvement from families is commonly seen for patch-up the relations. This is also tragedy because couples need to counsel themselves. Therefore love-marriages do fail due to societal attitude and also weak characters of husband and wife. In any case solution lies in the 3rd alternative and creative way of thinking for husband and wife to get a creative solution which was never existed before. Believe on one plus one is equal to eleven leads a unique couple into world of all possibilities as author Dr. R. Covey suggests best solution of most difficult problems of family life in his fresh book the 3rd alternative, Sept 2011. He forward a quote “where there is joy, there is creation” (_The Upanishads)[vii].
My source of inspiration in solving conflict management is also 3rd alternative. Because every person is unique and important, they should be respected and their different opinions and differences are sources to practice positive synergy. I strong suggest the reader to read new book of Dr. Stephen R. Covey: ‘The 3rd Alternative Solution’ for understanding problems and solutions of family life. Combination of different minds in creative ways of husbands, wives, in-laws and sibling can bring amazing and influential peaceful results in the families and hence whole society will be blessed and get influenced gradually. I inspire by God’s one of saying to mankind, ‘They (wives) are clothing (covering) for you and you for them….”[viii].
[ii] P-6, The 3rd Alternative, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, 2011
[iii] Alison Clarke-Stewart and Cornelia Brentano, Divorce: Causes and Consequences (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 108.
[v] The 3rd alternative, solving life’s most difficult problems p-155
[vi] Drucker, Peter F., Management Challenges for the 21st Century (New York: Harper
Business, 1999), p. 135.
[vii] The 3rd Alternative, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, 2011
[viii] Quran Chapter 2, Verse 187