Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
With pressures of modern lifestyle and demanding careers, marriage is often kept in the back burners for the urban families. Marriages do not crumble overnight. Neither do we get married with an idea of dissolving it in a few years. Marriages slowly crumble over a period of time due to steady neglect.
I have identified ten slow killers of marriages today. Unless we consider our marriages a priority and willing to work on it, we are bound to fall victim to the growing trends of divorce in our society. Even in moments of great conflict and discouragement, divorce is no solution. It merely substitutes a new set of miseries for the ones left behind.
Guard our relationship against erosion as though we were defending our very lives. Yes, you can make it together. Not only can you survive, but you can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values. Any one of the following evils can rip your relationship to shreds if given a place in your lives (not in any order):
This is especially true of young couples who have just graduated from college, got married, moved into a city for the new job with no family or community support. They try to build a career in a MNC, travel extensively, do part-time studies, have a baby, buy an apartment, and work on a new business opportunity all at the same time.
It sounds ridiculous, but many young couples do just that and then are surprised when their marriage falls apart. Not to mention the urban commute, pollution, corruption etc. marriages get only left over energy, which actually amounts to nothing. We must reserve time for one another if we want to keep our love alive.
Our selfishness can destroy our marriages. When we only think of ourselves and how our marriage should meet our needs, marriage begins to corrode from within. Marriage is call to being other-centered, instead of a me, me, me self centered attitude. We must become students of our spouses and look for ways to out-serve each other. Our relationship should be higher on the priority than each of our individual needs.
This could be substance abuse like alcohol or drugs. These not only kill marriages, but can ruin our lives. These habits from college or singlehood gets carried into our married lives. Sometimes we continue without the knowledge of our spouses or get her/him dragged into these habitual indulgences. More recently pornography has crept into Indian families and creating a havoc. These destructive behaviors are causing much pain and tear the fabric of all family relationships.
In-laws play a crucial role in Indian marriages. However, parents continue to think and run the affairs of our lives. That's how thing always been! This often turns out to be destructive for our marriages. Although they mean well, they often fail to understand the mindset of the new generation and their expectations for life and marriage.
To avoid this killer, husband and wife should treat their relationship as priority and it should take precedence over every past human relationships, including parents. They should discuss and come to consensus on issues concerning their lives, marriage, careers etc. We can seek their counsel but not let them make ultimate decisions.
5. Money Matters
Another marriage killer is money with husbands and wives differing in their styles, attitudes and usage of money. The growing credit card culture and easy access to loans of everything under the sun, many couples start their married life with a tremendous amount of debt. Before marriage, couples reason that the additional income of their future spouse would help them to pay of their debts! Unfortunately they continue to borrow and grow deeper into their financial crisis.
6. Changing Roles
More women have gone into the work world in the last few years in India than any time in the past. The changing roles (particularly women) in society is creating significant impact on the marriage. Today's husbands and wives have to come together in agreement of how they plan to balance home and career and how they could support each other. Work (for both men and women) cannot replace the priority of home.
7. Poor Communication
Our inability to clearly communicate with our spouses can be killer to our marriage. Some are naturally gifted communicators, while others are not. Some have a good sense of what they think or how they feel and can articulate them very well. Good communication skill is key to health of the marriage. Communication break down can drive the couple apart from each other and could also hamper the couple ability to resolve differences/ conflicts.
8. Sexual frustration
Sex is a divine gift to be enjoyed within the marriage. The faulty understanding of sex and our past conditioning of sexuality can cause frustrations in marriage. Sometime past sexual experiences and fantasies can keep us from enjoying it to the fullest. Extra marital sexual involvement can only add to this frustration.
9. Careerism/ Unemployment
An extreme sense of careerism (or business acumen) or loss of job can be a definite killer of marriages. We need to be committed to our jobs and business, but not at the cost of our marriages. Sudden financial reverses or even success can cause strange behaviors within the family. With both men and women pursuing careers these days and spending long hours at the office, they are at a danger of emotional relationships which can surely be very hurtful for the marriage.
10. Early Marriage
Studies have shown that getting married too early are destructive for fulfilling marriages. This is true of some communities where girls are married off early. The pressures of adolescence and the stresses of early-married life do not mix well. In early adolescence, young people are not ready mentally, emotionally or spiritually for marital commitments.
These are the marriage killers I have written, but in truth, this list is virtually limitless. All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in your sidewalk. If you are going to beat the odds and maintain an intimate long-term marriage, you must take the task seriously. The natural order of things will carry you away from one another, not bring you together.
Marriage is a divine institution. We must seek God's help and guidance in making it work. I am amazed at how much Bible speaks about marriage - the way it is intended to be in the first place. Even as we avoid these marriage killers, let us commit ourselves to building strong and stable marriages that will last a lifetime leaving a legacy of godly families in the generations to come.