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Getting married; counselling kiya kya?
Madhuri Sehgal in New Delhi | April 07, 2004 10:54 IST
It is no more the stars and planetary configurations in your horoscope alone which make or break a marriage. Pre-marital counsellors and their tips also play a key role in ensuring a successful married life.
In fact, they are slowly taking over from matchmakers and astrologers, and both parents and bride and groom feel understanding each other and matching likes and dislikes are more important than the position of stars in the horoscope.
"All over the world, divorce rates are on the rise. These days, almost 20 per cent of all marriages are ending up in separation. Studies have shown that in India, the percentage of divorce has increased from about five per cent in 1974 to nearly 15 per cent in 1998 and this rate is increasing steadily," says Dr Rajan B Bhonsle, a leading marriage counsellor in Mumbai.
"Invariably the cause is found to be either physical incompatibility or emotional incongruity between the partners. Observations have shown that in 90 per cent cases, the trauma of divorce can be avoided if the couple undergoes counselling just before they tie the knot," says Dr Bhonsle.
"People are realising that it is high time they ascertain the compatibility of the couple on more practical and realistic grounds by undergoing counselling and certain medical check-ups," he adds.
It has been established that couples exposed to pre-marital counselling have a better chance of coping successfully with their marriage, than those who have not. "This is evident from the fact that in the early 80s the divorce rate in the US touched nearly 60 per cent. However, with the growing popularity of pre-marital counseling, the situation has been brought under control to some extent," Dr Bhonsle says.
About the possible reasons for the increasing divorce rate in India, Dr Jitendra Nagpal, Consultant Psychiatrist, Vidyasagar Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences (VIMHANS) in Delhi, says, "Today, life is hectic. People experience tremendous pressure on all fronts.
"Families are fractured and there is no bond created by religion or tradition leaving most young people in an atmosphere in which they do not know what to expect from their partners when they get married.
"Also, phenomenal change has taken place in the status of women. Strangely enough, men and women accept each other as equal at workplaces but the equation at home is entirely different.
"Women are rebelling against automatic role allocation and less willing to accept injustice or second class treatment within a family. Thus, there is need for proper guidance to both partners to make them understand role-sharing in married life," Dr Nagpal adds.
Pre-marital counselling tackles concerns relating to the impending marriage, clears up misconceptions about sex, talks about issues like interpersonal relationships and family planning.
"Parents may, at times, be unaware of certain conflicts and concerns that their child has with regard to marriage. This is where pre-marital counselling helps bridge the gap. People are taught problem solving skills and the art of healthy communication," says Dr Nagpal.
Besides helping the couple discuss crucial issues like family planning, religious practices and customs, beliefs, habits, financial and social values, role of in-laws, duties and responsibilities, which could become contaminants in their married life, pre-marriage counselling also includes certain physical tests.
"People are fast becoming aware of sexually transmitted diseases and they want to be sure about the physical well-being of both partners before they marry. During counseling, blood group matching is also conducted to diagnose physical incompatibility," says Dr Bhonsle.
About the response of families towards pre-marital counselling, Dr Bhonsle says, "In India, as of now, only five per cent of couples getting married opt for pre-marital counselling, but out of this small percentage almost 70 per cent of the cases are brought to us by parents or family members alone.
"Parents are realising that instead of pandits or astrologers, their child can get better solutions from a marriage counsellor.
"However, a lot more still needs to be done as to popularise this new mantra for successful marriages. Right now, it is more of an urban phenomenon. Young people in small cities and towns are not aware that such facilities are also available," says Dr Nagpal.Pre-marital counselling has a long to go before it can make a substantial contribution to checking the soaring divorce rate.
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