Though marital ties can be severed by way of divorce, a huge number of marriages in India survive till the end. Can we therefore draw the inference that the couples are happily married? The answer is “no” if we go by the witticism that the status of most of the couples is not “married” but “undivorced”.
Durability in marriage is borne out of compulsion to camouflage conflict by veneer of compromise. Couples are deterred because divorce is legally cumbersome and socially stigmatic, besides being traumatic for children.
A reasonable degree of compatibility between husband and wife is an imperative for a happy marriage. As men and women are different biologically, emotionally and psychologically, the probability of 100% compatibility is very low. Once the euphoria of honeymoon dissipates, fissures start appearing in the relationship bringing differences to the fore. For managing the deficit in “compatibility”, couples fall back upon “compromise” to keep the marriage going.
Let us interpolate the amalgamation of three quotients — compatibility, compromise and conflict — on a weighted scale of 0-10 for getting an insight into the conundrum of marital durability. A full score of 10, comprising combined weightage of compatibility and compromise quotients, would imply both durability and happiness in marriage. Suppose compatibility has a weightage of six and compromise four, the total of 10 makes it 100%. Compatibility below five is a risk for the relationship because lower compatibility cannot sustain higher compromise. A compatibility score of six may sustain a compromise score of four, but a compatibility score of four cannot sustain a compromise score of six. What happens if the score is less than 10? By default “conflict”, the third factor, fills the empty zone. If the scores for compatibility and compromise quotients are five and three, respectively, then score for conflict will be two to add up to 10. The most ideal component of the 0-10 scale is compatibility. The more the compatibility, the happier the couples will be in the wedlock. Compromise quotient facilitates survival of even those marriages which are devoid of love and friendship.
It is ironical that compatibility, which underpins the health of a happy marriage, is not matched in a professional manner while fixing alliances. Trapped couples have to take recourse to compromise to meet the compatibility shortfall to the extent possible. But if the compatibility quotient is too low, how much “compromise” can any couple muster to achieve the score of 10. Any vacuum in the scale is filled by conflict. The more space conflict factor occupies on the marriage scale, the more vulnerable the relationship becomes. A healthy compatibility score will be six and above. A conflict score of above three may lead to frequent quarrels and probable divorce.
The less the compatibility, the more the dependence on compromise. Matching of horoscope, status, and caste in matrimony is futile, if traits are not in consonance. To sum up, couples lean on the crutches of “compromise” as legs of compatibility are often infirm. Marriages owe durability mainly to the compromise formula.