A man, fed up with his routine life, decides to go on a long religious retreat. His spiritual Master teaches him that human desires and attachments are the main causes of suffering in the world and that he should learn to detach himself from the luxury and comfort of the materialistic world in order to discover more about himself and achieve inner happiness. He is taught that life itself is one big illusion and everything he sees around him is nothing more than a dream. But despite all the efforts of his mentor to convince him that nothing is permanent in this world, he badly misses his wife and parents at home and requests if he could be relieved to go to see them at least once. His Guru finally consents to his request but offers to accompany him.
In life, everything happens for a reason and divorce is one of the events that does not happen by accident. In a marriage, problems can build up overtime if the spouses do not know how to respect each other’s boundaries. No matter what, having an open communication is key to sustaining a happy relationship. If the spouses choose not to share their feelings with each other, it can build a wall between them that can gradually push them apart. Interacting with those people who have divorced, I have come to understand that the lack of open communication between the spouses, lack of commitment and infidelity are some of the most common causes of divorce in Bhutan.
Many people say that the nature of a man is often defined by the attitude and behavior of his wife at home. Although this theory is often debatable, some women might agree that the happiness and wellbeing of the family depends significantly on how they behave with their husbands. Women are the main source of comfort and warmth in the family. Their attitude and behavior can certainly influence the way their husbands behave at home. The following two scenarios will demonstrate how men can define their way of life according to how their wives behave with them.
My wife is illiterate and looks innocent but sometimes she can really think out of the box and tiptoe far into the future. Realizing how disability can create barriers even within the family, she always tries to keep our children closer with me with the hope that they would grow up learning to accept me as their disabled father. Ever since my eldest son and my adopted daughter were 6 or 7 years old, she would let them guide me whenever we went out into the town or other places and every time I refused to walk with them not being able to trust them, she would always warn me they would hesitate to walk with me when they grow up if we don’t let them do it right now. Yes, after all, she was right. I realized that we should never let such a wall form between me and my kids right from the beginning. Hence, I always started walking with my kids whenever I went out and today, my eldest son always comes to my office after his school hours to fetch me home. As of now, both my adopted daughter and eldest son do not seem to hesitate to walk with me and this is what my wife wants to see in all the times to come.
Both my wife and I love to live in harmony with everybody in the neighborhood. We know what does it feel like to be seen as a bad neighbor and hence, we don’t want to be quietly scorned at by people whenever we walk in and out of our house. This is the main reason why we don’t show any sign of frustration to anybody else even when we sometimes feel we are being taken advantage of. This does not mean that we are the enlightened beings, but we are trying our best to accommodate everybody into our life. But sadly we have realized that not everybody shares the same feeling like we do. It’s said that wherever there is God, there is always a devil, and I think this is often true. I have realized that every community has at least one or two ill-natured people who stir up and spoil the whole social atmosphere in the neighborhood. This often makes me wonder why we the human beings, so-called social animals, are not equally blest with the ability to empathize and understand each other. It’s really sad that not all of us have the same heart to accommodate each other although we share the same human realm on this planet.
I have no idea whether this same practice exists in other cultures around the world but in Bhutan, it’s generally acceptable to have an affair with or even marry the sisters of our spouse. We call them Mathangs (sisters-in-law) and we don’t share ethical boundaries with them. We can freely joke with them, tease them and even marry them if deemed necessary and appropriate. Since we are related only through marriage, we don’t hesitate to open up ourselves to each other and the society accepts it. But in Lhotsham culture where I come from, there is a slight distinction between the spouse’s younger sisters and elder sisters and there is a strong logic behind this distinction.
I and my wife have been married for over twelve years now, and we have never gone through any major conflict of interest till date. Despite occasional arguments over trivial matters, our children have never seen any violence in the house. I feel this has been possible because both my wife and I know our boundaries well and respect each other’s views. We never take unilateral decisions when it comes to family matters and we always consult each other and because of this, I feel our married life has been going on smoothly so far. We got engaged in May 2003 when I was still in the university, yet we have managed to walk together the unexplored path of life sharing happiness and sadness, successes and failures, and problems and solutions. Today, we have been blest with two sons and one adopted daughter all of whom have made our life extraordinarily beautiful and lovely.
The 1998 academic sessions had just begun and the classes were going in full swing. There was a glow of excitement on everybody’s face as we sat in new classrooms with new syllabus to study. I was in 10th grade and as usual, everything was moving on smoothly for me. We the visually impaired students of grade 9 and above were studying in Khaling Jigme Sherubling Higher Secondary School as day-scholars and we had to walk about a kilometer or so from Muenselling Institute to attend classes everyday. We used to walk in groups to and from our school often teasing and greeting the students of Khaling Primary School as we passed through their campus on the way.