Marriage vs. Live-In Relationship

“Dearly beloved we have gathered here to witness the unison of this man and woman in Holy Matrimony ”…a familiar statement/dialogue( Heard it almost a 100 times in myriad Hollywood flicks and tele- series)…the bride looks beautiful and the groom generally appears happy, the setting is enchanting…But the question that prominently persists is whether our life is as enchanting a setting??…Is matrimony as holy and as respected?

Marriage-a word despised by many amongst us, a word that makes some jittery and yet there are others who still believe in the sanctity of such a union and respect it. It’s been a while since the concept of ‘Live-In’ got introduced in our society and even though the Supreme Court may have granted the relationship all legalities equivalent to that of a marriage; Is our society ready to welcome it with open arms?

All parents feel their children should live comfortable lives, they provide them with best possible resources, education and then wish to see them ‘get settled’; in more simple terms see them get married, have a family and live happily ever after.

The institution of marriage is a very old concept. If we were to go back in time; we would not only find matrimony but even polygamy; a practice that thankfully is no more a part of our culture. It is hard to deny a fact that in a country like ours, family plays a huge role and marriage seemingly is the stepping stone or rather the foundation of nurturing this concept. The reason why marriage has been and still is(to a certain extent) a very popular institution is because it provides an individual with companionship, security and stability in life. Marriage, as argued lends a sense of responsibility in life; even though the person may or may not be ready to take this responsibility. But the traditional arguments and beliefs have not been able to restrain the current fast paced generation from finding a convenient solution. ‘Live-in’, a concept initially viewed as one of the adverse affects of westernization has now carved a niche in some strata of the society. It is no more a mere rebellious statement made by young adults but a mature decision. Anubha, an engineering student feels there is no harm in a live-in relationship if it is a prelude to marriage as it helps one to know the better half better. While there are those who second her and reason out the benefits of a live-in relationship; space, choice and just personal responsibility; a few like Ipsha feel, “It is just a matter of perception, one can take a marriage as a live-in arrangement or have a live-in like marriage”.

Though such a relationship or an arrangement has always been under the ethical radar and vigil of moral police, these days it is just a matter of saving money for many. Sharing a room with a girl/boy nowadays doesn’t necessarily mean one involving a sexual, emotional connection but it just might be more on a platonic level that helps a working professional increase his savings.

It might offer one space, help us understand our companion more but at the end of the day, many who are not against the idea of live-in still feel marriage is their first or rather only preference. “Since the court has given it a status at par with marriage, there hardly exists any difference for me, I might as well go in for matrimony as my parents believe in that”, says Pranjal. Lokesh and Harshvardhan strengthen the pro-marriage case and say, “Even though such practices are not alien to our history and our present, the fact remains, that as a society for the general middle class population, living without a customary authorization isn’t and wouldn’t be acceptable for a long time to come.So marriage is a must.” “Besides”, they add, “Some one who opts for a live-in might get bored/satisfied and leave you for no concrete reason. However in case of marriage people at least try to work it out.” An optimistic Gaurav feels otherwise, “Live-in is my preference because it is time to change and evolve, though it might seem socially incorrect, but someday a change is bound to take place.”

A young woman just out of school trying to adjust in college says, “It is a very practical arrangement since pre-marital sex doesn’t remain an issue with the youth today and such an arrangement doesn’t tie you up like in the case of marriage.”

The pros and cons of both arrangements have always been before us, it is just that we do not fear the consequences any more. For those who believe it’s a cultural violation it would never gain respect and for those who are moving with the times, “It is part of life and it’s ever changing face!!”

Either ways the choice is yours and yours alone. Like it’s said, “Nothing is right or wrong: Thinking makes it so”, if you feel you can’t handle the responsibility, the apparent monotonous tone of married life and you need space, freedom, you may live-in; you might not be welcome but you won’t be renounced either. And the debate of which is a better deal, still continues.

Meghna Baveja

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