As human beings evolve they learn to adapt to their surroundings in an optimal manner, ensuring their survival, happiness and well-being. Humans perhaps found it easier to live in groups earlier, it ensured their survival, they could defend themselves better, work probably became easier as there were more hands to work and life was good as they reaped the benefits of social interactions which eventually gave rise to different cultures, all of which interestingly evolved with the view that a man and woman must live together if they were married.
Though the notion of family has evolved in many forms over the years, the entire concept of marriage more or less remained the same. The changes began happening a few years back when there were discussions about having separate bedrooms for each of the partners because some of them either could not stand the loud snores of the other or else they had hectic work schedules which interfered with the sleep time of the other partner. Having different bedrooms was fine, having separate cars was also fine as much as having independent bank accounts was, but now the debate has moved on to the next level – should couples have a separate home after marriage?
In favour are those who, citing divorce statistics all over the world (USA leading yet again), reason that it is only sensible for a woman and a man to have back up means in case the marriage fails. It is also believed that people like their own personal space and would like to spend some time just with themselves probably trying to cultivate certain habits or hobbits which might probably annoy the other partner and therefore to have a separate home is good idea. But the former reason – the one in case the marriage fails – having a separate home guarantees a certain sense of independence to the woman, who can if she wishes move in along with her kids. Also there are cases of abusive partners where an independent home with a restraining order might come in handy.
Those against this radical change in the set structure of an age-old tradition say that having pre-nuptials is fine but if couples start to have separate homes after marriage then they are basically entering the institution of marriage with a mind-set that the marriage actually might not work. This spells to having back up plans ready, well, just in case. Therefore they will be willing to put in fewer efforts to make the marriage work and perhaps at the slightest provocation and argument will be tempted to end it all.
The former group will argue that sometimes distance helps a relationship to grow. There is an on-going fad of taking some time off for yourself for self-discovery which they say helps you understand your relationship better. Distance does help in a relationship, on the assumption that the two people will miss each other, more so the time they spent with each other. But with separate homes how much time will you be really spending with your spouse if you end up spending every second night in your independent condo after a stupid fight?
Marriages are supposedly made in heaven and tested here on earth; the institution of marriage is supposedly very sacred. It is indeed not a joke at least that’s what our ancestors and grandparents thought. No matter what difficulties they faced, and despite of the silly and serious fights they had, they worked hard in keeping their family together under the same roof. It is this effort that has ensured most of our parents a normal and productive childhood.
But with separate homes how much time will you be really spending with your spouse if you end up spending every second night in your independent condo after a stupid fight?
There have been all sorts of studies on the trauma faced by kids with divorced parents, kids from broken homes and kids with unstable parents. Their childhood is scarred and robbed of its innocence, no matter how normal the parents try to make it.
The arguments for a separate bank account or even separate bedrooms are understandable to the level of independence a person desires in a commitment with another person. But the incredible notion of having a separate home, just in case, is truly ridiculous and a mockery of the holy vows that the bride and groom take till death does them apart.
So while from a practical point of view people might say it is better safe than to be sorry, they actually overlook the cause of concern. Instead of coming up with quick fix solutions, as a society we should address the root cause of so many divorces.
What is breaking families apart? Why are more and more people cheating on their spouses? Has love really lost its meaning? What about the children who grow up in such environments of instability and why is everyone okay with it? Has money really changed the traditional and long lasting concept of a family? Where are we headed as a species with such unstable dynamics? We must find credible solutions to these questions rather than looking for meaningless options.