There is a saying or a proverb in the Tamil language that says, “One can say a thousand lies, but get the marriage done”. Actually small white lies were made to get the alliance fixed. The girl is beautiful, she is the adjusting type, she cooks very well, she is well versed in dancing/singing, etc. These lies were told in the hope that some boy’s family would accept her and the marriage could be solemnized. What happens to the girl after the marriage, when the small lies are caught out? The elders tell her to be patient, adjust and that things will be fine!
Similarly the boy’s attributes would be sung. He is an athlete, he has an engineering/mechanical bent of mind, he is very social, etc. After marriage the girl finds he cannot change a light bulb!
This proverb is now taken literally and many families hide enormous truths. One marital case that came to me had the woman say that her husband is totally bald. Before marriage it was said he visits Tirupathi temple every month and shaves his head. The girl was impressed, he seemed religious. But after marriage it was found he did not have hair, it had all shed years ago. This woman was shocked, but decided to accept this fact. After all, she said he could have lost his hair after marriage, what could she do then? Only there is a difference between a bald head and a shaved head, did she not know?
This may seem a small incident. A small truth that was hidden, because the boy’s people knew the truth wouldn’t get him a bride. But they were cheating the girl and her family, if the girl had taken offence and created a scene, what would have happened? Or were they confident that the girl will realize she has no choice, so she will not complain? Would they have accepted a similar boy for their daughters?
I get a lot of cases where the man or woman complains of how they were cheated. The fact that the boy is a diabetic, or does not have a degree in education, he does not earn a good salary, has smoking/alcohol/drug habits, etc get hidden. The boy’s family feel once he is married, he will change. It is his wife’s duty to change him. Or suffer, it is her fate. How callous can people get? Will they accept such a boy into their family? Are their daughters more precious than another’s?
A girl could be undergoing depression, or she is older, she could be the adamant type, someone who does not respect anyone, or has extravagant spending habits, these could be hidden. The family needs the girl married and out of their hands. They either hope she will change, or the boy has to put up with it. One gentleman had come saying he was married to a girl who suffered from clinical depression. It was proved so later, though the parents denied it and tried to intimidate him. He told me he was lucky to get a divorce. He wanted to get her treated, she did not co-operate nor did her family. He had no choice but apply for divorce.
Some girls are very possessive. The parents are aware of this, but nothing much is done. When she gets married, she refuses to share her husband with his family, does not want him to continue any friendship with his friends, especially girls, and makes his life miserable. She is unable to let go, she feels she is right, he is exclusively hers. Can you imagine his state of mind? Will he be able to accept such behavior?
Being up front can save a lot of problems. Yes, most alliances may withdraw, but is it not better to remain unmarried than make someone else miserable? After knowing the truth, many people are willing to accept. Especially if the truth is about not having hair, having a weight problem, etc. Even lack of employable skills gets accepted if the person is willing to improve him/herself. Skills can be acquired after marriage, the career prospects can be improved. But hiding truths of having a medical problem or addictions can play havoc on the incoming person. When the family is not able to manage, why should a third person be crucified? What gives one family the right to play with the emotions and dreams of another family’s offspring?
One case had come where the man was diagnosed as having zero sperm count. He had to undergo some treatment, and in the process it was found he had no sperm count. He would be incapable of siring an offspring. This severely affected his marriage prospects, and the family wondered if this aspect could be hidden. If the girl finds out after marriage, the family could feign ignorance. Because who tests for sperm count before marriage? This family hoped the girl would accept that no one knew and be open for adoption. Is this family doing the right thing or not?
How long can marriages continue with falsehood? Most men want a girl who is earning. And if he happens to earn less than her, he develops a complex and the marriage turns miserable. The strength of the marriage depends on the couple. When both accept each other as they are, and are willing to work on the differences, and both are willing to make the marriage work, then this marriage will weather well. But when it starts with a foundation of falsehood, the marriage edifice will be shaky. Not all will be willing to overlook the falsehood and move ahead in the relationship.
It is very simple, will you be happy marrying someone who has hidden a major truth from you? If not, then how can you expect your partner to put up with some hidden truth of yours? What makes you superior to another person? Any relationship that starts with falsehoods, will develop cracks when the truth emerges. It depends on the tolerance and acceptance levels of the person on the receiving end.
Many are able to over look certain falsehoods when the person is loving and understanding. Many even accept with the confidence that things can change. They are shocked at first, but accept and move on. But very few have this tolerance levels.
Some will openly opt out. The person with the flaw can be good, but the fact that a falsehood was used to get the marriage fixed, will be intolerable. Some will resent the whole thing, but will not have the courage to break free. They will suffer and the quality of the relationship will suffer. And many will be forced to put up with it, because they will be intimidated, or have no support system. These people too will be miserable and suffer psychosomatic illnesses.
A marriage is a holy union of two souls. Its foundation pillars are trust, respect, love and understanding, not falsehoods.