Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why is marriage intricate and an extra marital/after committed affair a sin?

** The whole idea of this "note" is not to take sides to anything but to make a sincere effort to put forth the ideologies. Please refrain from getting personal and debate with an open mind.

I have been thinking about this strange topic for a while now. I have had debated hard and long with a few loyal, outspoken friends and colleagues of mine on why or what is marriage to them and if a breach in the relationship, say, an affair or an one night stand would hurt his/her relationship. A few people said "Oh yea! It does and I would say all quit". I thought. My pedigree friends thought.

We closed the conversation there and opened it up on a Friday night in an 'accepting' environ. The question that came to my mind was - In an extra marital who is responsible? Everyone has had gone through this 'intriguing' phase and not many have come out unscathed. I don't blame them. It is hopes bellied. But a finer thought, my brain figment always wants to this analysis, will not really hurt anyone.

To start with lemme give you a very contrasting debatable point: We live in a family and like normal, the food is made and all that. One day some one breaks the sequence and has the food outside the house. But the following day the sequence again continues from where it was left. Would that be unpardonable or something that should be like a heart burn? And when on the same line, if there is a sequence deviation say an affair, particularly extra marital affair, we immediately think this happened because the "Man" wanted to have Sex. Is'nt extra marital affair also related to both the sexes of human species? Why is it that we attach too much sentiments to the privates of our body and it's function. Why is SEX the delimiter? I mean should'nt it be normal like urinating or eating or walking or anything. Why have me made it into a situation and why have we classified it as a "bonus round" which you can get when you get married and that you cross "boundaries", it hurts the other person. Who is responsible for this? The man or the wife.

Now, this would not have gone well with anyone.

To add more, let's say, The topic needs a correction. It is not who is "responsible" for the extra marital affair that matters.It is who is "irresposible" that needs to be found out.If you are a responsible person, it means you value the relationship. If one is responsible, it means he/she is committed.If one is committed,you work to fulfil the obligations arising out of marriage.When there is lack of commitment, the deviation occurs.Lack of commitment is lack of responsibility.
Irresponsible in other words mean that both the MAN and the WOMAN are collectively responsible for an event like this. Remember, it takes two to tango?

That takes me off to a joke that I heard recently which I can relate much to the situation,
"A wife walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a fly swatter.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Hunting flies" he responded.
"Oh! Killing any?" she asked.
"Yep, 3 males and 2 females" he replied.
Intrigued, she asked "How can you tell?"
"3 were on a beer can, 2 were on the phone" he responded.

That should be more like it. We got both to blame for what they have been doing.

The end result of an event defined by the society as Extra Marital is that the people in this era would feel pained and would feel betrayed. My friend got a bit worked by now and said "You can try to trivialize the whole thing with religion and any other philosophy you may want to use. Some of you may marry for sex only, but there are people who marry for love. If you can not distinguish between love and sex, you are missing out a lot in life!!! If you are married just for sex, you can become a swinger and change your partner every night. Who cares? If you are married because you love someone, even emotional affair of spouse can be extremely hurtful, let alone physical one!" and walked out creating a silence in the group. Thinking I was advocating the extra marital affair anyway!

We started again this discussion. I quipped and as I gulped another shooter, I said "On an unbiased note - without taking sides, what goes on between a man and a woman should not be the business of any other person unless the man and woman are doing anything in any way in breach of THE LAW of the Land.

As you know, the Law of the Land is not the same all over the world. Eskimos,I believe consider it their duty to offer their wives to their guests (This practice is called mehmanawazi in Urdu, milmastia in Pashtu, puranadari in Punjabi).Would this be an "Extra marital affair"? Would this mean that the relationship outside the marriage is acceptable and it is a subjective thing in which culture we end up using.

My friend came up with this fantastic explanation on what he felt. It was out of the box the way he related it and it made me feel he was making a compelling point hard to ignore. He said "For many of us, extra-marital affair is more than just relationship outside of marriage - it is betrayal of love, trust, and faith. I would relate an extra relationship to be like a natural phenomena say volcanoes, earthquakes, supernovas and even nuclear fission (atomic bombs). They are dramatic cases of dynamic equilibrium lost to "unbalanced forces". Loss of equilibrium (dynamic or static) leads to disintegration or catastrophe. An Extra Martial Affair(EMA) has such an effect on the dynamic equilibrium of a social system. So though EMA falls in the personal domain of the individuals involved, they are breaking a promise they have made to others which is an "unbalanced force". Since i'm presently part of the system, for my own self-preservation i cannot encourage/accept/tolerate anything which has the potential to disintegrate our social system"

Just when I thought this topic was dying down to an unanimous feeling, my friend made another startling point :

"If really a wife is unfit for sex due to some medical reasons or whatever it is, the man can always got to a prostitute for that purpose and forget her after half an hour act OR vice versa. This is happening for several ages in our history. This happens and happened in India.This will not spoil the married life. Here the person is not getting attachment with the call gal, he more often change the call gals in order not to face any fuss. His love towards his wife and persons related to his family remains the same. Also, a close look at the history of human evolution to date, we can realize that human was never hard-core monogamous even when he was a monkey. As he started becoming civilized he started making his own rules and laws. And what was against the liking of the head of the group never became a law. Slowly so it became a custom and the longer people followed it the more the believed in it to classify the laws and rules as beliefs and customs. And it is totally acceptable to express who you are and even if that meant an affair or an one night stand it is considered alright. But in some conservative set up, talk about sex is a taboo and sin. In India we prolong everything under the pretext of Marriage and if there is an emotional fall off between partners and if there is an another person who can substitute that feeling, then we feel antagonized. Perhaps let down because we feel that we have to start over again in life. Unlike the past this time there is a stigma attached by the same society that married you off. They classify you as a "Divorcee", "Separated" and many more forms of "status". Why is the feeling of importance given to some arbitrary people that form the society? As long as the partners are loyal to each other and express to each other their intent I think an one night stand is all OK. However it is a shock and a hurtful procedure when people don't get open about anything. That is when they start bashing one of the two sexes, claiming them to be responsible for this escapade."

I, personally, was quite satisfied in what he said finally. The main point of contention to me all along was the society set up is in India. I mean the whole marriage point is a butt of ridicule. I mean both in Christian or Hindu form of society, the marriage that happens in India is not valid because unlike priests in the west who have the power to be the "Registrar of Marriages" under civil law has the right to issue the marriage as legal and the Church is authorized to give "Certificates of Marriage". As far as I know neither Christian nor Hindu priests have any such authority in India and the "sacramental marriage" is legally void if not registered in the courts. Once registered all "marriage vows and deities invoked" cease to have any meaning. Yet, we follow the die hard custom there by making marriage more intangible and cryptic. May be more intricate. But do we get married only because the Church in west have more "legal" power than the east? This makes marriage intricate to me and puts me at lurch wondering what is the expectation. Being husband and wife is one thing, but being pronounced by a system that is not legally bounded appalls me.

When it comes to relationships before marriage it does not matter much coz you are not really stalking without that someone else noticing and getting hurt. To me it does not matter even if we end up expressing ourselves by having a few sexual exploits too but what becomes more important to a man and a woman is to know who can take the role of the partner and from there on be more communicative, express to each other and be open. It does not make more sense if one gets interested in another person after the marriage reason to me is not what my friend said. I don't attribute it to natural calamities like effect but rather it is the trust and belief that goes for a toss. May be most of whom I spoke with also said the same in the end. Debating why it is not bad is one thing but when it happens to one's life then it is an another 'sad' story to deal with a lot of introspection to do. In the end it is strictly how one wants to live his or her life. But how without hurting the partner physically and emotionally is one thing that everyone should be considerate about. In the end I give a "Thumbs down" to the extra marital relationship - physical form, as a substitute to the bride or vice versa.

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