Divorce is not a bad word: A word that scandalises society, parents and relatives as it empowers women. Before you raise eyebrows and ask how divorce can be empowerment let me tell you that the decision to end a marriage that is either toxic or loveless is huge in our society that believes in the longevity of marriage.
And when women take this step to value personal happiness and peace against society, divorce becomes one of the (not only) mediums of empowerment.
But, in our society, desi parents consider divorce as a bad word. It is seen as a deliberate attempt to break a family and invite negative gossips on the ruins of family reputation. Mind you that divorce is a scandal mainly when it is sought by women because they are supposed to carry the responsibility of keeping the marriage intact. But why is divorce seen as a bad word? Why don’t desi moms tell their daughters about divorce too when they discuss the colour of lehenga for marriage? Why can’t divorce be normalised in our society?
Why is divorce never an option for Indian couples, including my parents?
Like the famous quote, “do or die”, marriages in our society work on the idea of either surviving in an unhappy marriage or choosing to die but a divorce is never an option. Women who choose divorce are villainised by society for prioritising their welfare over marital family’s. But why does society scandalise women who value themselves? Do we shame men when they choose their pleasure or happiness over their partners?
This is probably the best time to discuss the importance of divorce as Bill Gates and Melinda have called quits after a 27-year-long marriage. “Loveless marriage” and “not able to grow together as a couple” is the reason that Gates put forth for mutually choosing divorce. After reading this news, a question raised in my mind that would my parents, who are going to complete 26years of marriage, ever go for a divorce?
My parents do not share a healthy relationship which is marred by ample differences, domestic violence and instance of adultery. But even then, the two never chose divorce and decided to survive in the marriage however difficult it might be. Some may say that couples who are parents are reluctant to seek divorce because they are worried about their kids. But then, being one of those offsprings, I can say that it is not easy either to stay with parents who fight and share unequal dynamics. This brings us to the next most important factor for normalising divorce- upbringing.
How mothers perpetuate the taboo around divorce
The taboo around divorce is further perpetuated by parents, especially moms, because it is not normal in our society for a daughter and a father to have conversations around marriage, sex and other topics. Desi moms never introduce the idea of divorce to their daughters. They either treat it as non-existent or see it as something that a “bad woman” will do. There could be numerous reasons why desi moms perpetuate the taboo around divorce like the generation gap, to save family reputation, to save the daughter from being labelled as “bad” and for getting rid of the “burden” of bringing up a daughter or fending for a divorced woman. But the question that we need to ask is that why mothers and daughters need to talk about divorce? And how can divorce be introduced to women as a positive term?
When daughters see their mothers trying to survive in unequal marriage rather than choosing divorce, they are bound to inherit the ideas of sacredness and imperative longevity of marriages. They might also build up an image of how marriage looks and the image is not a happy one. And that is why mothers need to normalise divorce in their minds and for their daughters. Because, dear mothers, is it not painful for you to see your daughters suffering each day in a bad, loveless and unhappy marriage? When you know how difficult it is to survive in a bad marriage, why would you push your daughter into the same hell?
It is popularly believed that a divorced mother’s daughter will also end up being a divorcee and hence she should not be trusted. And this sometimes becomes a reason why mothers do not educate their daughters about divorce. But dear society, this is an issue stemming from the taboo around divorce and not about parenting. Every mother should normalise the conversation on divorce with their daughters, irrespective of the fact whether daughters/mothers are happily married or not. Because divorce is as much important as is marriage.
Dear ma, divorce is not a bad word
In conversations about marriage between mothers and daughters, ideas like serving in-laws and husband throughout life need to be replaced with happiness, equality and divorce. This will help daughters to understand that marriages can be bad and they should walk out of it to value their welfare. They will also understand the importance of empowerment so that if at all they seek a divorce, they can pay their bills. Moreover, it will also help the mothers to normalise divorce in their marriages or others’.
If every mother raises a daughter who values herself, the taboo around divorce will be lifted and it will no longer invite raised eyebrows and scandals. So dear ma, would you normalise divorce and support me?