#Mentalhealth - Rising above difficult circumstances in a marital relationship By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Rakhi is married to Abhi for almost two years. Friends who knew them and connected them remarked them as a touchy-feely couple. They were an intimate couple and would try to link hands and sit side side by side where ever possible. They always remembered to gift and please each other. It was an expression of love and a gesture of intimacy. They found their mutual friend a trustworthy connector. The in-laws found that Abhi and Rakhi shared similar interests and cultural values. They also spoke the same language. They were raised in the same city. They were both pious. Their conversations with the family were pretty lucid and all of them seemed to share the same sense of humour. All this added to a wonderful experience of getting to know someone and courting someone and the families. So the chances for a relationship and maintaining it in the long run became the common ground for each and everyone. Both Abhi and Rakhi were financially very well off. Rakhi was also well established in her career, knowledgeable about the outside world. Everything was good. The couple were blessed with a baby girl. Mother-in-law became nanny to the grand child. The baby for sure was in the most loving and safe  hands. However, one evening the very logical Rakhi was found weeping. She told her husband that his mother would spoil her baby to death. Abhi was shocked on hearing this. She further said that his mother was helpful to the point of being intrusive and opinionated. This sounds crazy shouted Abhi. Rakhi continued saying that she was worried about being steam-rolled as a parent as his mother would become too possessive about her child. The mother-in-law too heard Rakhi accusing her of getting too close with her baby. "You should see how she is with my baby. I don’t want her tendencies to rub off on my baby as she gets older, Abhi...... yelled Rakhi.  I do not want to braod cast any further details, Rakhi concluded. I just don't want her to nanny my child! "You are not talking about infirm elders who have to stay with their children due to ill health. They are financially well off and healthy in mind and body and capable of living by themselves" said Abhi to his wife. Everyday became a struggle. Parents guided Abhi to find happiness. "What is wrong if she wants to move out with you so that she gets the much needed personal space?" asked parents.  "I fail to understand how an independent and caring woman in her professional life can manage the contradictions in her personal life?" replied Abhi. The family arrangement came to an end. Like many mothers of her  time, Rakhi felt she is a good and bad mother. She will not abandon her child whatever the circumstance. Abhi shuts down emotionally and is predominantly negative, and lives with excessive fears and worries. He isolates himself from Rakhi. Rakhi reminded him that she loved him deeply recommending self-giving in the trustworthy marital relationship. She came back to her in-laws for help. Parents supported Rakhi. Abhi refused to seek help and take advice. Finally Rakhi encouraged treatment with counselling and medication for severe depression ....... "Abhi has been like this for some time. He is withdrawn from everything. There is no intimacy in the marriage. I tried explaining to him about spending some quality time together and stay connected in the marriage and he says he understands but refuses to get close with me. He keeps saying that the marriage is a failure." she told the counsellor.    

Therapist : So what can Rakhi and Abhi do? They should pursue the ideal. The ideal depends on how both include open communication and friendly feelings by being firm and direct and not ruin the opportunity and ability to remain in a loving relationship. In this case Abhi's persistence could kill off any hope in the marriage. It is important to tread the fine line -- to be firm, kind, willing to listen about the needs of spouse, child and parents..... Abhi is struggling with this new "challenge" while coping with the separation from parents. If the friendship grows stronger in years to come based on this ideal both won't regret and children and parents will thank the couple for the same.  Feeling trapped on the mind about caring for mother and father is like feeling the sharp bars of a prison. Abhi is trapped in his mind.