On Valentine’s Day PRIYADERSHINI S. finds that love reunites many estranged couples amidst rising divorce cases in the city

In the Family Court in Ernakulam Love sits invisible, crammed in a corner, watching the proceedings. But on Valentine’s Day Love can stand up and strut boldly in the premises.

The reason is simple. Amidst the rising divorce cases, where love is heartlessly thrown out of the window, there are many instances of reconciliation and reunion. Cases where love triumphs, where love becomes the reason in bringing estranged couples back together.

“Though reunion happens in only 10 to 15 per cent of the number of cases filed it is enough reason for optimism,” says G.S. Pradeep, Principal Counsellor at the Family Court. “The motivation behind my job as a counsellor is to seek reconciliation between the parties,” he says. He does not see his job merely as a profession but a service to a society riddled by emotional trauma.

Effective counselling

N. Leela Mani, Judge at the Family Court, cites several examples where broken marriages have been salvaged by effective counselling. “There are many happy endings,” she says with a big smile.

Pradeep reels off examples where his sensitive approach towards warring couples has resulted in a patch-up. “Love is the main ingredient for a good family life. Its absence is the reason for a relationship to fail,” he says.

Many a time love has been sacrificed at the altar of “external factors” as in a case that he recalls. A young couple who had filed for divorce through a mutual consent petition sat fidgeting in his chamber. “They came for exemption from such a petition because it could be filed only after a year. They were married for a month; they looked compatible and well-matched. Both had good jobs but in different countries.” After talking to the two parties Pradeep sensed niggling interference from the girl’s father, even a hidden ploy to separate the two, and keep his “dollar” girl at home. Pradeep says that the couple too realised this after they discussed their problems with him. “Within a fortnight the couple was back together,” he says.

Shedding egos

Ayesha P., who after two years of separation from her companion decided to reunite, says breathlessly, “I don’t know what I was fighting for. There were differences, but life on the other side was worse. I resolved to give up my ego. When we took the decision to get back together I felt it was the best decision I had taken.” Her husband too vouches for love and believes it to be the reason for their reunion.

There was another couple who was seeking divorce after 15 years of marriage. Quite obviously love had dissipated over the years. Alcoholism leading to irresponsible behaviour was the issue. Pradeep recounts how during counselling they still addressed each other in endearing terms. “He called her ‘my chakkara’ and she would address him as ‘my chettan’. I knew that love still existed between them.” They were told about the need to raise children in a harmonious ambience. “The man was in deep distress over his behaviour. He would openly weep. But he was amenable to change and his wife was supportive. They are now reunited and live a happy life together.”

Leela Mani too recounts a similar incident. The reunited couple, she says, have found a new meaning in their co-existence.

Anil Xavier, a mediator and president of IIAM (International Institute of Arbitration and Mediation) equates love with communication. He says that when communication ceases a relationship suffers. His main aim while mediating is to open and encourage a conversation between couples, which rekindles love. “Even in divorced couples we can say that the element of love is not always lost. Many divorcees continue to love their former spouses. Love is THE factor in a marriage.”

Reasons for break up

Pradeep reasons the rise in marital discords in Kerala. He says it is due to the break up of the traditional family system, the increase in the number of financially independent women, and also due to the advancement in technology. “The mobile phone is a bane,” says Leela Mani. She gives many examples of its misuse especially in extra-marital affairs.

Dr. Chalam Das, psychiatrist, puts it simply. He says love in a relationship is equivalent to respect for your spouse. He gives a practical list of things-to-do that will sustain love - don’t ever criticise your spouse, love your spouse as yourself, sharing and caring, and he winds off with laughter in his voice- when you buy an outfit for yourself, buy one for your spouse too!