Marriages Are Not Sacred, They Are Complex Relationships That Can Fail

Is it right to think that just because a marriage is sacred, a person must adjust through it even though they are in an unhealthy alliance?

Rudrani Gupta
Sep 05, 2022 11:50 IST
career or marriage, questions about divorce, marriages are sacred, Indian women and divorce
Marriage in our society is considered a sacred bond forged by God. Once married, a couple is expected to sustain the relationship throughout life, no matter the issues and differences that crop up. But if marriages are so sacred then why do some of them involve evils like domestic violence, abuse for dowry or marital rape? Why is the notion of sanctity used to gloss over abuse and disputes in marriage, forcing men and women to make it work despite having to endure lifelong trauma?

Recently, the Kerala High Court denied granting divorce to a couple and said that the use-and-throw culture of consumerism has affected marriages too. Couples are now increasingly seeking a divorce for ‘flimsy’ reasons. Calling marriage a sacred bond, the high court judge said “Marriage is not a mere ritual or an empty ceremony for licencing the sexual urge of the parties.” He also added, “Law and religion consider marriage as an institution by itself, and parties to the marriage are not permitted to walk away from that relationship unilaterally, unless and until they satisfy the legal requirements to dissolve their marriage through a court of law or in accordance with the personal law which governs them,"

The court’s emphasis on the sanctity of &t=3s">marriage reverberates with society’s insistence that marriage is an unbreakable bond lasting for a lifetime. It tries to normalise the fact that marriages are sacred, related to religion and a ritual which cannot be undone.

But is it right to impose sanctity on marriage and ignore the fact that sometimes the institution deteriorates? Is it right to think that just because a marriage is sacred, a person must adjust through it even though they are in an unhealthy alliance?


Marriages are sacred, or is that what society wants us to believe?

The idea of sacredness is not enough to sustain a marriage or spark lifelong dedication in a husband or wife. We have seen a steep rise in the cases of housewives dying by suicide over the last few years. because of marital issues like domestic violence, dowry harassment and more. Rather than addressing these issues and taking them seriously, women are being forced to fulfil the responsibilities of a marriage because a wife must always adjust and preserve the sanctity of her matrimony, even at the cost of her wellbeing.

For example, let us take the condition of Kamla’s* parents. They don’t have a healthy relationship. Each partner in marriage is dissatisfied with themselves and argues and fights often. But when it comes to divorce and living separately, they back down. Not because they still love each other but because society won’t accept the failure of a bond created by God.


Similarly, a friend of mine named Vandana, who has often opened up about facing domestic violence at the hands of her husband and in-laws, doesn't even think of divorce, because she believes that a legal process can't undo a bond forged by rituals.

Suggested Reading: Does Hiding Past Relationships Affect A Marriage? It Does, Especially In Case Of Women


Use and throw culture is good or bad?

As far as the use-and-throw culture is concerned, I think it could be better rephrased as the freedom to enter and walk out of relationships. We need to understand that any relationship, be it marriage or live-in, shouldn't be dragged despite being abusive or toxic. It is unfair that the court has various laws to address issues in marriage, but still looks down upon divorce.


If marriage is really sacred, shouldn’t it reflect undisputed relationships? Shouldn’t we condemn evils of domestic abuse as it tarnishes the so called sanctity of marriage, instead of brushing it under the carpet as per our convenience?

I do not oppose the institution of marriage as a whole. But I am questioning exaggeration and sanctification of this institution and prioritising its preservation over people's well-being.

*Name has been changed at the person's request.

Views expressed are the author's own. 

#Indian marriage #Indian women and Marriage