When the spouse is neither a louse nor a mouse 

Perfection is not something most husbands suffer from, especially as it can lead to divorce, as a woman in Uttar Pradesh demonstrated recently 

Updated - February 03, 2024 09:50 pm IST

Published - February 03, 2024 07:42 pm IST - Bengaluru

There are two types of spouses – the arguing, unhelpful type and the other one and it is best if the air is cleared in advance.

There are two types of spouses – the arguing, unhelpful type and the other one and it is best if the air is cleared in advance. | Photo Credit: rvimages

Perfection is achieved, wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the French pilot and author, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. It is absurd to look for perfection, said the artist Camille Pissaro. D.H. Lawrence said, “The cruellest thing a man can do to a woman is to portray her as perfection.” It is also the cruellest thing a woman can do to a man. 

Why are we talking about perfection, which most human beings think is unattainable anyway? Hang on for a bit. 

There is much to be said for forgetting to take the garbage out. Or for lazing on the sofa when the spouse is busy. Or for going to a party on the wrong day. Such activities keep one from being perfect.  And that, apparently ought to be our aim in life. Perfection is not something most husbands suffer from, especially as it can lead to divorce, as a woman in Uttar Pradesh demonstrated recently. 

She wanted the divorce because her husband was “too perfect.” There is, of course, no such thing as being ‘too perfect’; there cannot be degrees of perfection. You are either perfect or you are not. But legally perhaps it is another matter. On the sliding scale of perfection, her husband sat at the top, and the wife was clearly irritated, angry, frustrated,  annoyed, cross, exasperated, vexed, peeved, infuriated, hurt…. you can add your own legal terms here. It seems almost selfish to be so perfect, and cause such misery. 

A statement from the wife claimed that her husband “never shouted at her”, and that he always forgave her for “all her mistakes”, a newspaper report said. How terrible! And if that wasn’t bad enough, her husband was always ready to help her out with chores around the house. Naturally, the wife found all this suffocating. Who wouldn’t? There is nothing more irritating than a husband who helps around the house. What she wanted, one assumes, was the garbage-ignoring, sofa-filling, television-watching, waist-expanding type that was the ideal husband in her mind. 

She wanted someone who would argue with her, and not agree with her every time, she told the court. All one can say is that the greatest tragedy in life is to have your spouse agree with everything you say. 

Clearly, there are two types of spouses – the arguing, unhelpful type and the other one and it is best if the air is cleared in advance. The couple in the newspaper story had been married 18 months before the wife could take it no more. Perhaps that is the outer limit for tolerance in such cases. Perhaps she is slow on the uptake, the kind usually compared – unfavourably – with a tubelight. 

Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, even George Orwell are among those who are said to have ill-treated their wives. Our lady in UP might disagree. As Groucho Marx said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” 

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.