Anatomy of broken marriages and increasing number of divorces

Write Comment     |     E-Mail To a Friend     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Print
Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network


According to a report published recently in one of the reputed national news papers, divorce cases have increased to a whopping 86 percent within the last ten years in the megacity of Mumbai. This indeed an alarming statistics that threatens the very foundation of the ‘sacred bond’ of marriage and weakens the fabric of the institution of family.


A lesson in the subject of sociology mentions that family is the most important primary group in society. As marriage is the very basis of the family, both marriage and family have been considered as the two important social institutions. Since ancient times marriage as been regarded as not only as sacrament but also as sacrosanct. Through the bond of marriage two individuals would enter into a relationship which would be perpetual till death does them apart. Marriage not only acted as the foundation of the family, but also ensured security with relevant checks and balances. 


Though marriages have had a stamp of permanency since ancient times, it did not mean that there were no instances of divorce in India. It did exist, but was resorted to only in extreme cases such as unbearable cruelty, desertion, mental illness, impotence or infertility and infidelity. In most of such cases too, though it was the women who suffered the most, due to  family and societal pressures and economic reasons women and in certain cases men too suffered quietly and apparently continued their marital bond though mentally and emotionally they were ‘divorced’  from each other.


However, with changing times and new challenges the institutions of marriage and family are under great stress and have been undergoing a new kind of transition. With increasing opportunities for young men and women to get the education of their choice, emphasis on gender equality, better job opportunities, increasing economic independence, changing roles of husbands and wives, changing attitude towards sex and pressure of career building, especially in megacities such as Mumbai, instances of divorces have been progressively on the increase especially during the last ten years.



According to a study of the working of family courts in urban India, in 1995 as many as 2055 couples filed for divorce in Mumbai. The number registered an upward swing in the successive years and in  2002, the number went up to 2,805 and in 2004 it was 3400. With the passage of time as  the stigma around divorce dissolves steadily and a divorced daughter was no longer looked down upon by the parents,  an increasing number of couples in the city have been choosing to end their marriage, sometimes soon after exchanging their wedding vows. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of divorces in Mumbai rose from 4,624 to 5,245. 


With the increasing number of divorces over the years, the reasons for breakdown of marriages have been assuming new dimensions. Incompatibility between the couple has been an often cited cause of disharmony and conflict in marriage. Such problems have been common among a number of  couples.   However, with many other allied reasons, the limit of tolerance and understanding has gradually slipped down whereas the sense of independence and egos of individuals has climbed up remarkably.


There are ample instances of young couples marrying impulsively and separating at the earliest when they find that they have had entered into a ‘bad’ marriage alliance which would bring them more misery and trouble if they continued living together  for the fear  of family or social pressure.  It has been found that more young people have been filing for divorce, some in the first year of their marriage. Most of these divorces are mutual consent petitions. According to one estimate, the amicable separation within the first year of marriage has increased by 30 per cent since 2000. Contrary to what prevailed earlier, more women are initiating divorce proceedings.


Divorce is no longer a taboo and a divorced daughter is not unwelcome in her parents’ home even in small towns. Social trends originating in metros slowly percolate down to smaller towns and from there to villages. In the new socio-economic environment, women in small towns do not feel shy of walking out of marriage.



In modern times, divorce has been viewed more as a corrective mechanism and a means to carry on in life rather than being condemned to live a life of misery and suffering in an incompatible marriage. The success or failure of marriage depends entirely on two individuals entering into the bond. 


According to psychiatrists, financial independence, multiplicity of relationships and ample career opportunities are some of the reasons that prompt unhappy couples to end their marriages. 


In many cases  both husband and wife have their own careers as a result of which they cannot devote enough quality time for each other and still find it difficult if one of them works  in a different city. Under these circumstances there is a possibility of developing relationships with colleagues  voluntarily or involuntarily which may eventually lead to emotional as well as physical involvement resulting in the breakdown of their  respective marriages and eventually leading to divorce.


There are a number of factors that exert pressure on marriage and family life. Assertion of freedom, ambition, fast pace of life, intolerance and a need for space are some are some of the common factors that shake the foundation of marriage. Many women have become ambitious and career oriented. Hence, they give greater priority to success in their career, freedom and money over family and marriage. As the gap between their likes and dislikes increases one hears phrases such as “I hate you”, “I can’t stand you”, “I curse my stars for marrying you”, etc.  Exclusive words such as ‘me’ and ‘you’ are now increasingly replacing inclusive words such as  ‘we’ and ‘us’. 



In a number of cases of divorce,  avoidable factors such as ego clashes, lack of adjustment, disagreement on trivial issues, arguments, etc. play their own role and do not fall in the age-old but still common factors like dowry harassment, impotence and the mother-in-law factor. According to an estimate around sixty per cent divorce cases relate to trivial issues.


Women have been gaining increasing economic independence as job opportunities for women have multiplied. Hence, they find it easier to opt out of a bad marriage especially when they do not have children. The working environment in modern offices provides ample opportunities for young people to interact with each other.  With liberal views of the new generation, extra-marital relationship, including sexual relationship have become quite common.


With better education and being working women, female spouses have become quite conscious of their rights and self esteem. As they also contribute financially to the family fund, they expect cooperation and adjustment from their husbands. As women have tended to become assertive, many of the men, with patriarchal tendencies, have not learnt to adapt themselves to the new situation. In certain cases, if the husband is less educated than the wife, he feels inferior and his male ego takes over and he would not mind to belittle his educated wife at slightest opportunity.


The institutions of marriage and family in particular and the society in general, especially in urban centres are in a state of transition. While old values are getting uprooted, the new value system has not got sufficiently entrenched. 


The joint family system which had been providing a kind of security to individual members and stability of the young couple’s marriage has practically become defunct. Such families do exist in the virtual world of  popular Hindi serials. The nuclear families are also being threatened by increasing instances of divorce. Unless the individuals entering into the bond of marriage have a deep introspection and clear understanding of their commitment to each other and unless they respect each other’s feelings, desires, hopes and aspirations, the divorce statistics in India, especially in urban centres and megacities my witness an upward spiral.  





Comments on this Article
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Mon, August-1-2011, 6:21
Dr Eugene must be awared P.hd in social scince I feel after reading this article. One can come to udupi courts and watch the number of youngsters sitting in queue for divorce cases. Simillarly statistics are available at the mangalore diocesean matrimonial courts. What a tragedy!? this is because of lackings of understanding and As Dr Eugene has said , such as I hate you, I can't stand you, I curse my stars for marrying you, etc. Exclusive words such as and you are now increasingly replacing inclusive words such as "we" and "us", ego clashes, lack of adjustment, disagreement on trivial issues, arguments, etc. The present media is also responsible for the thinking of separation as there is no time for being together and serials give the hints for the separations thoughts.Propepr religious education and counselling can only be panacea for this evil. But philanthropists say God's plans. Swallow the guilt,learn to bear with the situation.
Write your Comments on this Article
Your Name
Native Place / Place of Residence
Your E-mail
Your Comment   You have characters left.
Security Validation
Enter the characters in the image above
Disclaimer: Kindly do not post any abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful material or SPAM. reserves the right to block/ remove without notice any content received from users.
GTI MarigoldGTI Marigold
Anil Studio
Milarchim LharamMilarchim Lharam
Badminton Sports AcademyBadminton Sports Academy

Now open at Al Qusais

Veez Konkani IllustratedVEEZ Konkani

Weekly e-Magazine

New State Bank of India, Customer Service Point
Cool House ConstructionCool House Construction
Uzvaad FortnightlyUzvaad Fortnightly

Call : 91 9482810148

Your ad Here
Power Care
Ryan Intl Mangaluru
pearl printing

Konkani Literature World