A woman I know allowed herself to get abused by her husband, only so that she could prove to her parents that she was an abiding daughter who knew how to ‘compromise’ and ‘sacrifice’. Another man I know has been accepting being controlled and dominated by his wife, only because if he doesn’t put up with her way of doing things, she starts to shout and scream at not only him but also his old parents who live with him. Another couple I witnessed, who are in marital disharmony for a long time and they spend more time being depressed about their life or fighting with each other, than they do with their children and yet they think they are doing this for their children.
We have been brought up in a society which sees stability, happiness and bliss in marriage or rather marriage as the basis of these experiences. If one goes back in the evolutionary process, it becomes evident that marriage is a concept that evolved with time, mostly to ensure that women do not become prey to several men due to the higher sexual needs of the masculine and hence one man can take ownership of the woman where he is allowed to satisfy his needs through her, she can also experience herself through him and they both form a unit that another third person cannot permeate. Another purpose this concept served was procreation which was natural and yet there was a need for someone to take the responsibility of the infant, so it was best left to every unit to have their own infants, protect them, nourish them and then allow them to become ready for procreation.
Looking at from a third person perspective, what was the unit getting by taking care of the infants that were born to them? They demanded time, money, attention and a lot of effort. They even many times became an interference in the personal space of the couple. Yet, people went on pro-creating for two reasons. The first was there was identity that got attached to who I am, and that identification as DNA was passed over to the next generation so they further strengthened the identity by extending the name, identity, legacy, whatever one might choose to believe. Coming from a world of no order, Identity served as a great identifier of one’s uniqueness, making them something from nothing.
This identity was that of the couple but since the man was the stronger one, and the woman needed the man to protect her and take care of her whilst she took care of her womb and nurturing the younger ones, it was easy for the man to claim the identity as his own. Since the woman was physically weak and needed her man to be strong, she unknowingly contributed to allowing him to believe in him being more even at the cost of her own self being perceived as less. This perceived weakness gave the woman the right to cry on the shoulders of her man. He, however, was to protect himself from others and protect his family too. He couldn’t cry, even if he was scared, he couldn’t accept his fear because he was expected to be strong. He was meant to succeed since now his failure would also ruin so many other lives. Hence, he slipped into denial. He started to convince himself that he is strong, that weakness is not his thing, that he cannot cry, that he can deal with anything and everything. Herds of men started to reiterate this to each other since internally all of them were struggling with their inherent fears of survival and yet they had to project strength. Emotions signified weakness and vulnerability. Thus, the one who could deny his emotions the most became the strongest man.
Emotions cannot be suppressed and if they are, eventually they do reveal themselves as diseases and other physical issues. Both genders have suffered in this evolutionary process because both carried an emotional body within them that was either suppressed or overloaded.
Our education system teaches us everything but nothing about emotional well-being. Each new generation to an extent gets trapped in the fears and expectations of the previous, because whilst we were all growing and prospering physically and mentally, our emotional side was considered a lack that was dealt with mostly with the intent to get rid of the emotions as fast as possible. Our inherent definition of ‘Happiness’ is lack of unhappiness, sadness and misery. We never learned to develop the ability to be happy in whatever we have. We instead decided that we can create happiness by eradicating sadness and misery, even if it means cutting off from people, relationships, situations, places and maybe ourselves.
We are so involved in teaching our children about their strengths and enhancing them that we forgot to help them identify and gracefully accept their weaknesses. We instead condemned them, compared them and whipped them for anything that was less than perfect for that reminded us of our own imperfections that we have so skillfully suppressed and denied.
Marriage or Pro-creation both are ways for us to understand our inherent power to love and create more love. They are beautiful expressions of our limitless being which experiences its limitlessness through the infinite emotions that we go through. It is more a need than ever that we develop emotional intelligence, which isn’t about “managing” emotions but rather about plain simple acceptance of them. We need to learn and teach that it’s ok to fail, it’s ok if a relationship isn’t working out, it’s ok if your child isn’t perfect, it’s ok if your parenting isn’t perfect, it’s ok if you don’t love your partner, it’s ok if you feel vulnerable and fragile. Putting the burden of our denial of emotions and need to project strength is taking a toll on the marriage, on our children, on the society and hence there is a growing projection of fakeness where on social media everything looks hunky-dory, but the reality is grim and painful.
Let’s allow ourselves unconditional acceptance of ourselves. Most things that are bothering us constantly in our minds are things that just need us to say “What if this is so…what if I have failed…what if it didn’t work out how I thought it would…what if I didn’t get it today…what if I will have to walk on a different path…what if I am sad…what if I feel lonely today…”