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Family is not for breaking but for being one

All in a family must accept the fact that they are destined to be one in heart and mind irrespective of all other differences.

Family is not for breaking but for being one

By Joe Palathunkal
Marriages are made in heaven! The state of the broken families today forces one to reverse this conventional saying and now we cannot say it is even made on earth because earth is symbolic of a strong foundation but now to be true to the present day situation we have to say – marriages are made in air.

Like a straw that falls apart and fly away in the air, today husband and wife break away and fly away from each other so suddenly and fast. According to one survey by the time a Maldivian woman reaches 30, she has been divorced three times. With 87% Luxemburg beats all other nations in divorce.

At the time of marriage all must make a conscious effort to remember what Jesus said – man and woman will become one in mind and heart. This oneness is not a private affair between the two but it must extent to the whole family. All in a family must accept the fact that they are destined to be one in heart and mind irrespective of all other differences.

One wonders why at the drop of a hat human relationships break today beyond any repair making it very difficult to find non-strained and not estranged families. Beliefs and customs may give a semblance of united family but even there strain is very much evident. In India where patriarchal norms are brutally upheld and enforced, there divorce rate is lower comparing to other regions of India but this is not a desirable situation in these days of human rights and human dignity.

From this perspective divorce rates are higher in the south and north-east of India where women are more educated and employed while in the north, they are mainly confined to the kitchen except for a couple of freak and fluke cases where women outshine in some fields. But this type of family coherence is not based on human freedom and human dignity.

If people can make a discreet distinction between the romantic and the real, then they will be able to stick together after marriage because as we see in so-called love-marriages, a disillusionment sets in after sometime and the intensity with which they showed love before marriage turns into bitter hostility of more intensity after the marriage. The romantic and the real are poles apart, and this realization can do a lot of good.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that even though matrimony is a union as Jesus envisaged, that does not mean the other is not different but matrimony is a sacrament that can befriend the different provided those who get married realize that though we are one yet my partner has a mind and heart of her own or his own.

This is a very difficult difference to reconcile and that is why Sartre called the other as hell but to make a heaven out of this hell is the ultimate goal of marriage and family where a lot of mutual adjustment is a situational imperative. If all can understand this well in the light of what Jesus said of becoming one heart and one body and he who termed divorce as the result of a stony heart, then they will say family is not for breaking but is for being one.

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)

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