Why Do Some Indian Marriages Fail?

Photo of scissors cutting up marriage certificate and rose.

One of the most common themes with Indian marriages is that they are arranged marriages. For those in the western world, this might seem like a big mistake and that can set up a marriage to fail.

Why do some Indian marriages fail? Some Indian marriages fail for the same reasons marriages around the world fail, down to communication problems between the husband and wife, adultery to either party feeling they are not getting what they expected from the marriage.

With most Indian marriages being arranged marriages, this may seem like a recipe for disaster when it comes to keeping the marriage going and will only lead to failure. However, surprisingly it’s not one of the main reasons why some Indian marriages fail.

So why is it that some of the marriages between two Indian partners fail, whether they are in India or they are living in another country? Well, let’s look at some of the reasons.

  • Independence – A lot of Indian women are becoming more independent than they have been in the past. They have better education and more freedom. This allows them to have more control over their lives. This also means that they don’t have to rely on their husbands for their financial security. They also have become more independent socially, physically, and mentally.
  • Communication – In any relationship, communication is important. But it’s even more so in a marriage. That’s why it’s essential for marriage partners to communicate with one another. A big problem is not talking about concerns, asking what the person meant, or asking the correct questions. This talk can lead to mistrust, arguments and suspicion. A lot of times it’s the small things which can trigger larger issues. Arguments aren’t bad in relationships and they can be healthy. But if the arguments happen often because the people don’t understand one another or they aren’t tolerating one another, it means the marriage’s in trouble.
  • Affairs & Cheating – This is something that causes a lot of problems in marriages around the world, and it’s grown thanks to many people having smartphones with apps. These apps make it easy to contact anyone with just a swipe. This used to be done by men mostly, but these days women in India also engage in affairs. Even though it’s done secretly, it’s happening. Sometimes it happens with single people, and sometimes with another married partner.

What is the Major Problem for Marriage in India?

It’s hard to say what the major problem is for the marriages in India, because like many marriages there isn’t just one. There are a few, and we’ll look at them below.

These are some of the main problems that Indian marriages face.

Irritating Habits – It isn’t uncommon for women who are newly married to complain about the irritating habits their partner has. This could be spending time with his friends or leaving a wet towel on the floor or bed. For men, it could be things like unjust expectations and overspending. If these aren’t addressed and adjusted early in the marriage, the annoyance can build. It’s important for the people in the marriage to let their partner know and give them some time to change harmful or irritable habits.

Inequality with Chores – Since a lot of Indian couples are both working, this is something that has come up more recently. Many times, the wife’s the one who is expected to do the chores. One of the best ways that this can be tackled is to directly address it. If both partners are working, the chores should be divided.

In-laws Trouble –In Indian families, this problem is one of the most common once faced by the couples. This is especially true when it comes to mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. There are a lot of reasons, like unjust expectations, cultural differences, problems with adjustment, and others. Patience is one of the best ways to overcome these issues.

Financial Issues – Even though a lot of the issues are able to be tackled when they are faced, problems with finances are able to be completely avoided when the correct steps get taken ahead of time. Before getting married, not everybody knows about the challenges they’ll face financially. These kinds of challenges often become more serious once children come along. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a financial plan and a contingency fund early on. This way, if problems come along you are ready.

Is It Hard to Divorce in India?

Divorce in India is not as cut and dry as divorces in other countries. There are different acts based on the faith that the wife and husband follow. Each of India’s major religions has a statute associated with it that covers marriages and divorces.

If you were married under a certain act, the procedures of the act have to be followed to file for divorce. There’s also a statute that covers interfaith, inter-caste and civil marriages.

It’s possible to file for divorce if both of the partners agree to divorce and they’re able to agree mutually on child custody, property division, and alimony. Six months from the time of the filing will be required by the court before the second motion can be filed.

This will be what leads to the court’s final hearing. This period is sometimes waived, however. One spouse is able to petition to contest the divorce based on the marriage act’s grounds under which they were married.

In addition:

  • All of the marriage acts require a separation period for a minimum of a year during which the couple doesn’t live together. There needs to be proof provided of the separation.
  • Some of the marriage acts have provisions for spouses to petition for the period to be shorter if she or he can furnish proof of severe hardship.
  • When the divorce is contested, the individuals will have to appear in a trial before a judge to give evidence against and for their divorce petition. The court then will pass the final judgement
  • When the final judgement’s passed, the parties can contest it and take it to one of the higher level courts.

So, in conclusion, yes, it can be very hard to get a divorce in India. It’s a long process and can be very arduous.

India’s Divorce Rate

Even though the global divorce rate has risen, the divorce rate in India ha remained remarkably low. In 2018, its divorce rate was below 1%, and only 13/1,000 marriages ending in divorce. However, the rate’s doubled over the prior decade. Let’s look at why it’s lower than most of the world.

Societal Pressures

India’s women and men have a lot of societal pressures put on them to stay married. Even though it’s difficult for women in India to petition for a divorce in a very patriarchal society, men have much pressure on them to preserve the reputation of the family and stay married.

Long Divorce Process

As mentioned above, the process to get a divorce when you live in India’s very lengthy. Even when both partners in a marriage agree to divorce, they have to take a lot of steps, which includes counseling, in order to have the petition granted.

The data shows there are triple the number of people who are separated than those who are divorced. This is due to difficulties that those who are going through the process are facing.

Regional Differences

The rates of divorce also vary according to the region, with higher separations and divorce in the country’s northeastern parts. The reason for this is the culture is more matrilineal compared with the northern areas that are much more patriarchal.

Indian Divorce

Even though divorce’s rare in India, it’s still possible for Indian women and men to ask a court to legally dissolve their marriage. It can be a very arduous and long process, particularly if the couple doesn’t mutually agree to divorce. The couple also will have to deal with the religious, cultural and social stigma in regard to Indian divorce and separation.

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