What is the true essence of a marriage?

I know that everyone thinks of marriages in a wide variety of ways, but all those opinions will boil down to common points.

Let me cut it down to two broad schools of thought.

#1. Marriages are a strong bond that ties two individuals and wraps them in the warmth of social, emotional, legal and even physical bonding.

#2. Marriages happen between two families, where its impacts (both good and bad) involves everyone in close association of the two families whether they agree to it or they don’t.

Which school of thought do you believe in?

Does a grey area exist where the two schools tend to blend into each other and cannot be defined individually?

What are your thoughts?

What is the true essence of a marriage? Does it involve the mutual love, respect and understanding of two individuals or does it go beyond that? Read on to be a part of the debate on this important topic. #theerailivedin #relationships #marriages #couples #love #trust #spouses

Let me begin by sharing my views.

In my growing up years, I nurtured the belief that marriages happen between two families and not just two individuals.

This idea had its roots in the fact that everywhere I looked (not limiting my belief to the joint families but definitely swayed by) the influence of the inlaws in a woman’s life and on the lives of the newly married couple was unmistakable.

Even in the nuclear family set-ups, taking care of elderly parents has been the sole duty of the daughter-in-law and how the presence of elderly parents-in-law affects the decisions and dynamics of the married life of the young couple is something that painted a picture in the favour of scenario #2 in my mind.

However, when I got married and settled in a faraway land with my husband, my thoughts were challenged by my husband’s beliefs. He strongly believed that marriages are the foundation of a family laid by two loving individuals with the blessings of the family but what they do after they’ve tied the knot is limited to the two of them alone.

All was clear and fine in the start when hypocrisy tip-toed in our lives.

My husband would act opportunistically to turn all decisions in his favour by arguing how his parents wouldn’t like their daughter-in-law doing the things I wanted to do.

On the other hand, when I’d bring the question of what I’d grown up doing or I how I was raised, he oppose saying my parents or their belief systems didn’t matter because a marriage was solely about the two people who are married to each other.

These conflicting ideas on what formed the basis of a marriage sowed seeds of the troubles my marriage suffered in the years to come.

Whenever finances and money matters were our point of worry, my husband never shied away in openly asking for the same from my parents. On the other hand, if I’d try to discuss these issues with his parents, I would be threatened that I was unduly taxing the minds of my in-laws with matters that needed to be resolved between the two of us.

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”  ~ Timothy Keller

I have always believed marriages for their success and long-lasting happiness need to be based on mutual trust, mutual respect and understanding and love. 

Reality proved to be quite a contrast for me.

From day one, I could feel the tremendous amount of labour and sacrifice I needed to invest in my relationship in the hope of making it sustainable.

But as all those efforts were one-sided my marriage failed.

Marriages are believed to be one of the strongest relationships that spin the web of our communities and the very fabric of our society.

A successful marriage is not only a boon for the couple but each and everyone related to them. However, if a marriage becomes unsuccessful for some reason or the other, it destroys everyone related to it or coming in its way. When you feel that your marriage is falling apart, it is high time to reflect back without wasting much time.

And when I sat down to mull over these thoughts, I couldn’t help but feel that my marriage could have been a success had my husband chosen me over his personal goals.

I wonder if couples can truly detach themselves from the influence of their extended families and the relationships they’ve built in their lifetimes?

Does the true essence of a marriage is becoming an island in the sea of the relationships or in thriving in the loving presence of our families?

“Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.”
C. JoyBell C.

The Song on my mind:

15 thoughts on “What is the true essence of a marriage?

  1. I am not sure what i belong to but i do think marriage is sacred and it needs to be respected .. it definitely brings in Two families together .. Two different set of people together ..

    to me there shud be no grey area .. treat eahc other as you want to be treated yourself Simple rule of life …

    and thats a beautiful song 🙂


  2. My Era,

    This topic is very close to my heart coz I am from the first school of thought and chose my own partner and eloped with him. I hail from a small town where society including my parents are from the second school of thought. As a result, I live isolated from my family and my town. I don’t think either of the schools are right or wrong, but if both blend into each other, that’s best of all.


  3. mmm from what I have seen so far (my cousins,relatives,friends) I think its
    #1 -60%
    while the husband and wife play the important roles, the families cannot be ignored.


  4. Hmm, I don’t think I REALLY believe in either, actually. If you pushed me, I’d lean towards the first.

    In my mind, I generally tend to see marriage as more of a legalistic concept than anything.
    I think it’s a bad idea to mix up the marriage with the actual relationship. They are two different things, quite independent of each other. You don’t need to get married to have a romantic relationship with someone. And marriage is no guarantee of romantic attraction.

    I guess a relationship is like a pizza. Compatibility is the crust. Physical attraction and romance is the cheese. Personal quirks are the topping. And marriage is the box that helps coocoon your Pizza from the cold and the rain.

    The box can be helpful, but a well-balanced Pizza still tastes completely awesome without it.


    1. to some extent I agree with Cynically Engineered…in fact I liked your idea of boxed pizza 🙂

      but you know what marriage,especially in our societal context,gives a legal name to the relationship-as you’ve mentioned..moreover it also define some boundaries which helps the two individuals to stick to each other and dwell into a relationship which is for keeps…

      having said that I don’t mean to say that it is necessary / compulsory for two individuals,who are in love,to get married…it’s certainly their own choice !

      all I’m saying,of my experience,that having a partner of my choice,marrying him and making a home with him,with his family,making babies and sticking to him through the thick and thin of life is making me the happiest person,trust me! also there are tiny things that come with the box aka marriage…the rituals,the ceremonies [not only at the time of wedding but post that too],the bond which strengthens which each passing day,the maturity that dawns upon the couple,the bliss of living together under one roof having two set of parents and extend family….comes with marriages,no?

      Please note that I’m not against living-in relationship OR a person to chose to remain single..I’m absolutely fine by that and I respect individual decisions…all I’m saying is marriage brings in lot of surprises and coziness with it with the strength of people packaged!

      Just my experience 🙂


  5. Mostly one..but in India, marriages happen between families too. As long as the families know their boundaries and do not interfere much with the couple, its fine. The couple are the main protagonists in a marriage and well, since the story will end without them, their role is of prime importance.


  6. Scribby,

    You may be right.

    I personally have neither expertise nor experience when it comes to marriage, but on a rational level, I guess what you said makes sense (at least if you’re in a good marriage with a person who you love and are compatible with).

    Maybe, in a good marriage, the “box” IS much more than a box!

    On the other hand, I also suspect that these things vary, depending on individual temprament and social contexts, as you hinted. Not everyone necessarily savors the idea of a lifelong commitment to a single person. This is not so common in India yet (at least, it’s not expressed freely) but with rising incomes and personal freedom, there are bound to be more and more career-oriented men and women who want the warmth of a relationship but not the lifetime commitment and associated baggage of a marriage. I am not one of those people, but I’ve known many who are.
    Similarly, the concept of family bonding varies drastically across individuals and societies. If the families are not very conservative or sticky about such things, there’s no reason why one must miss out on family time if one is in a relationship but not married. As long as the families are accepting, this bonding may even be better than the bonding in a marriage, since the formality of tradition doesn’t come in the way.

    The bottom line is that there’s no one-size-fits-all to this. Getting married has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and it’s really upto the individual to decide what outweighs what. Once again, I have a food example (yes, this is becoming a pattern :D) – tea v/s iced tea. Some people enjoy the richly traditional, soothing flavors of a well-brewed cup of chai. Others lap up the zing, energy and informality of a tall glass of iced tea. One is free to choose either and one is also, of course, free to dislike the other.


    1. exactly CE,I agree to what you have jotted down plus the food example yet again 😉 [you’re good at it,I’m telling you :)]

      all I mean to put it that marriage is bliss but like everything it comes with conditions and ifs and buts 🙂 and if one is lucky enough to chose their partner and stick to each other,by each other,then there is nothing like getting bonded in the nuptial knot 🙂

      I see that you and me and pretty much saying the same thing..if not we’re not arguing from different sides 🙂 Good to hear such perspectives and I must tell you that you are very clear in your thoughts as well as the presentation 🙂


  7. locutus83

    I believe in #1. I think #1 should be the main criterion for marriages. Marriages is between INDIVIDUALS. The married person need not bind like glue to his/her partner’s family. There should be a “laissez faire” attitude between married couples and their respective in-laws. #2 is somewhat inevitable in traditional, collectivist, conformist societies like India. But interference from both well-meaning and ill-meaning family members and relatives has resulted in the death-knell for many a marriage.

    The most important thing in a marriage, for me, is that each party treat the other like INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUALS.

    And, for a successful, happy marriage, I propose the I-4 formula — Independence, Intimacy, Integrity and Inspiration.

    I guess it is universally accepted that no marriage can happily thrive without deep mutual intimacy, and integrity is key component to enhance mutual trust and respect amongst a married couple. Independence is more of a personal guideline; I believe that people are truly happy when they are independent and free to lead their own lives, careers, hobbies, dreams, aspirations. Sadly I find this missing in many married individuals in India. (Imposition, sacrifice, adjustment et al)

    Inspiration is more of an optional component and very rate, but a marriage can be wonderful if the partners can inspire each other to become better human beings.


  8. Pingback: Facts about marriages with no demand for dowry #2 | The Era I lived in…

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