Let’s learn to respond to relationship issues with maturity

Loving someone or having sex is not a sin. It is just a natural way for us, humans, to express ourselves.  
I recently read in the papers that the Indian Navy had sacked an officer of the rank of Commodore for having an affair with the wife of a fellow officer, also a Commodore. Both officers were at that time based in the Southern Naval Command in Kochi. And both had college-going kids. “Stealing the affection of his brother officer’s wife is simply unacceptable and the Navy has a clear zero tolerance policy towards the same,” a Ministry of Defence official was quoted by one of the papers I read.
Now, I have nothing to say about the Indian Navy’s protocols, rules and regulations. But conceptually I have a problem with the phrase “stealing the affection of someone”. How do anyone steal anyone’s affection? Yes, poets and lyricists have for the longest time romanticized the concept of “stealing someone’s heart”. But in reality affection and love are given – wilfully. They can never be stolen or forcibly taken away. So, if someone, as in this case, is married and is drawn to someone else outside the marriage, it really means the marriage, the relationship, did not fulfil that person’s emotional or physical needs. It means that there was no more relating in the relationship. And that this person related to another one, and not to his or her spouse. There’s nothing sinful, nothing wrong if such a situation arises. If anyone has a problem in a marriage, the best way to deal with it, after making sufficient attempts to resolve the issues, is to move on. There’s no point feeling suffocated, vegetated and listless in a relationship where there’s no more relating between the two parties.
However, the way people discover that their relationship with someone is over is through the way they start relating to someone else. Either they are drawn to someone because this new person is fulfilling an emotional need. Or maybe this person is fulfilling a physical need – which is about simply having sex. Or maybe there’s a strong bond, a special friendship that draws someone to another person. All these or more are indicative of the fact whatever one does not get in a relationship, one seeks in another. And there’s nothing wrong with this. As humans, we need affection, we need to be cared for, we need physical intimacy – and if we can’t get these with one person, we will naturally be drawn to someone who has these to offer us.
I believe that as individuals, and as a society, we must learn to respond to relationship issues with maturity. We cannot continue to dub a human need as a sin. Of course, people who seek love, affection and sex, outside of a relationship, must also be responsible about how they communicate their choices to their families. Especially when children are involved – the communication must be timed well and must be honest. There’s no point fearing social stigma or family pressure and therefore continue to keep the choice under wraps. When something natural is pursued clandestinely, it will be viewed scandalously. And that can hurt everyone involved. However, if the same choice is made openly, while it may shock and surprise initially, over time, everyone impacted by the choice will feel liberated. After all, who wants to be stuck in a relationship which had been dead for a long, long time!?

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An inspiration to make your Monday memorable

When Life seems a maze, when too many things are happening, when you feel overwhelmed with too much to do, too many people to please, when you just feel like wanting all that you are going through to end, or want to run away from it all….PAUSE, take a deep breath….and look for an inspiration that will put things back, and definitely your Life’s context, in perspective!

Anand and Ivy: A beautiful companionship
I found my inspiration this Monday morning in a recent issue of Open magazine. There’s a very moving story in it of a former Indian Navy officer Anand Singh, 59, and his wife Ivy. After a motorbike accident 23 years ago, Anand has been rendered completely special and has become immobile and is confined to his bed. Ivy, who had been married to him barely three years when the accident took place, has been caring for him all these years. She brushes his teeth and bathes him daily. What I could make out from the story is that Anand is unable to move his limbs or his body and is not even able to speak. Yet whenever he is asked who he loves most, he looks at Ivy. Ivy runs a school in Meerut where the couple live. Ivy confesses that she does feel despondent sometimes, especially when the thought of Anand not being with her for too long strikes her. Two months ago, Anand had to be on ventilator support for a few days. Although their home looks like an ICU, says Ivy to Open, she feels her Life would be incomplete without Anand.

The beautiful story of their companionship shook me awake! When I placed my Life and its challenges in the context of Ivy’s and Anand’s I actually felt guilty and sheepish. Often times we do get consumed by our problems that we obsess about them all the time. We pity ourselves and quickly plunge into depression. Or we take our angst out on people and things around us, forever being grumpy and angry with our worlds. Looking around and pausing to reflect on the lives of other people is the perfect antidote to self-pity and frustration. Each of our stories is unique. Each of us has problems. And the true nature of our lives is that they will go on despite our problems. Intelligent living is about us too going on with our lives, as they are, choosing to be happy, despite our circumstances!

Whatever it be that you are facing just now, pause, smile, and think of Anand and Ivy, and celebrate your Life, your love and theirs! That’s a sure way to make this Monday morning memorable!