Is marriage a partnership? From the ages we have come to understand that it is a partnership because the couples are called life partners. Two equally competent adults come together and form a bond and take an oath to continue the life journey, with respect and trust and love for each other. This process happens in a marriage registrar’s office and a duly signed marriage certificate by registrar is received, thus giving this partnership a legal binding. When two consenting adults form this partnership it obviously becomes 50/50 partnership. It sounds nice in theory but what about reality?
Post globalisation we have seen men helping their wives in domestic work in any which way they can, in the form of lifting grocery bags, visiting market and negotiating for vegetables, bringing milk, boiling it, running washing machines and even doing dishes. This brings a feeling of psychological well-being and a feel-good atmosphere around the home when men are at work in the house.
The fact is, this division of work is not enough by any standard. This arrangement doesn’t fit right into the idea of partnership of 50/50. A working wife on an average is doing 40 hours of work in a week as compared to 7 hours work by the husband. Invariably the woman wakes up earlier than her husband and is the last one to hit the bed. And whose domain is the kitchen? You guessed it right because her mother (and her mother’s mother and her maternal great grandmother) had taught her that the way to her husband’s heart is through his stomach. Then what the women are required to do? Just forget about this 50/50 idea and let their husbands watch TV rolling on the sofa or snoring in the bed when she is cleaning the kitchen platform? Or just strive to achieve the balance and become miserable when it fails?
The truth is, this assumption of 50/50 partnership in marriage works out is hypothesized. The marriage life is not constant and it changes with time like the landscape. It changes like the phases of moon. Today the partnership may be of 90-10 but a time comes when it may become 10-90. Women shouldn’t fall in this trap of 50/50 and become miserable, disillusioned and defeated but surely they can hope for the best. They are required to acknowledge that It is a basic difference in biology which makes household work boring for men as their brains are wired differently. The peripheral vision of men is way different than the opposite sex. As the saying goes, “Men Are From Mars And Women From Venus”.
Coming back to marriage partnership a survey will tell you that the most happy couple is a myth. The most liberal, or equal marriage, the correct word would be egalitarian, fails after some time, and cracks in the relationship appear.
There are three types of models of marriages namely communion, mutual work, and sentimental equilibrium. In a communion marriage every activity is joint activity. The partners are almost with each other every time they do any work. They wake up together, take shower together and rub the soap on each other to save time. He puts on the shirt and she buttons it up while he fixes her bra hook. She arranges his necktie while he zips up her sheath or tunic. They eat together and go to office together while he drops her on the way and pick her up while driving home. Well, in this set up the biggest flop is there is no room for individual choice. For example in one case husband was a trekker and insisted on his wife to accompany him on one of his expeditions. Wife was interested in painting nature. He was not interested in colours and she in climbing the hills. Well, in that adventure of him, she slipped and fell in the gorge and broke her ankle in a bad way. Togetherness is romantic but practicality would advise to do some activities solo.
Mutual work marriage model is the one which is “de rigueur” now. Husband and wife draw out a plan of division of labour. She will do some tasks while he does some. Well, this model suffers from rigidity. There is no scope for flexibility and resilience. In one case the wife flatly refused to learn car driving because then she would have lost him being her chauffeur. This arrangement fails miserably and is a ground for skirmishes and quarrels.
Sentimental equilibrium model is based on an assumption of laissez faire that is both the partners are free to do whatever they decide without poking nose in one another’s affair, so long they loved each other. In one case wife saw her husband entering McDonald’s with a petite brunette and well, she thought she wasn’t being loved anymore. She took a snapshot of both of them with her cell phone. She had a recipe for battle. She asked him in the evening how was his day and he said that he was busy whole day and had an argument with his boss. Wife drew out her cellphone and asked him how was the burger in the McDonald’s. The subsequent battle turned into full-scale war when he asked her who the f… she was to question him and he said that he was the boss in the house and final authority. Sentimental equilibrium was broken into pieces.
Come to think of it. 50/50 idea just doesn’t work in a marriage because marriage is not a loaf of bread which can be split in half. It is a false sense because no two human beings are emotionally, psychologically and mentally equal. What is required is a 50/50 essence, soul and heart. The love for each other, their feeling being loved and a sense of belongingness in raising a family is more than enough to keep the marriage happy and excited.