SONGSOPTOK: ‘Marriage is a lifelong symphony with one central theme but the music is played in anew everyday’ – this is a rough translation of a line from a short story by Rabindranath Tagore. Do you feel that this comment, made in a period dominated by Victorian romanticism, is true today? 

ELIZABETH: During the Victorian Romanticism Era, the way of thinking of people were too “idealistic” and ponders on the contextual definition of what marriage is – that it supposed to be a life-long commitment and not just any common contract to get involved with. Like music, too two people can sometimes experience marital disagreements and conflicts wherein the husband and the wife will not be in rhythm with each other’s emotions, creating bad music. These days, with our ideologies shifting to being “realistic”, the same quote by the Great Rabindranath Tagore is still deem fit with marriage remaining to be an institution though in this modern age, not all marriages last for a lifetime.

SONGSOPTOK: What, in your opinion, is the real chemistry of an intimate relationship? Do you think that the social institution of marriage is based on that chemistry? 

ELIZABETH: The real chemistry of an intimate relationship must not just be confined within the physical connection but as well as the mental connection between husband and wife. Real chemistry is beyond what the “pheromones” dictate us to feel for someone. For the wife and the husband are said to be as “one” after the wedding vows. In our modern times, I believe the social institution of marriage per se is still dependent on this kind of chemistry but has somewhat evolved and is now based on some other factors as dictated by modern society.

SONGSOPTOK: What according to you are the main factors for keeping marital relationship alive and healthy? 

ELIZABETH: In my own opinion, in order to keep the marital union alive and healthy, husband and wife should always be true to their vows and commitment no matter what hurdles they encounter along the way. Couples should be able to understand each other fully, though there could be disagreements at times. They should be able to make compromises, love each other unconditionally, be sensitive to each other’s needs. The husband and the wife should also be each other’s best friend. Most marriages fail because of irreconcilable differences which left them with no other options but to get separated. Sometimes even petty quarrels between them can bring about destruction of a once blissful marriage.

SONGSOPTOK: Very often we see that a happy marital relationship results when one of the partners surrender to the other’s ego. Do you think this is how it should be? Especially since it is most often the woman that surrenders to the man, or more generally to the patriarchal system? 

ELIZABETH: It is a cliché that the woman should always be the one to submit herself to the man. Such could be the case when we we’re still in a conservative system but these days with the rise of feminism, the woman is no longer regarded as the submissive one being the weaker sex. They now refuse to be coined as the “weaker sex”. It is egotistical in itself to state that when a woman surrenders herself to the man, we expect a happy and peaceful union. Women nowadays know how to defend and handle themselves well and are willing to stand up for their rights. How can you surrender to someone if at times he’s the one who committed a mistake? Physically, men are the stronger sex but the general ability or worth of a person is not limited to the physical only, it’s more than that. I believe it is better if both parties agree to disagree at times and to make compromises to build a better union. Listening and understanding each other is one of the key factors for marital bliss.

SONGSOPTOK: Tolstoy said in his story THE KREUTZER SONATA “... a marriage without love is no marriage at all, that only love sanctifies marriage, and that the only true marriage is that sanctified by love”. We all agree that this is how it should be. That there should not be a tragic end to any marriage. What is the reason then for the increasing number of divorces in all societies? 

ELIZABETH: I agree with what Leo Tolstoy stated that love should be the foundation of any marriage. These modern times, divorce rates increase and realization has dawned on us that love alone is not the only factor that can maintain relationships. Other factors such as irreconcilable differences, which I have mentioned in some of my other answers to the interview questions, become major concerns why couples resort to getting divorce. Incompatibilities, financial concerns, the ability to have children, etc. are some of the reasons marriages break up.

SONGSOPTOK: By the word ‘marriage’ we generally think of a well defined relationship built on the tenet of spending the entire life together. Do you think that this in itself creates a type of suffocation which leads to break-ups and divorces? 

ELIZABETH: I don’t believe that the idea of committing one’s self to another under the sanctity of marriage should create a type of suffocation to anyone which could lead to unexpected break-ups and divorces. In the first place, one must know and realize before he/she takes the plunge that it is not just a piece of paper you can get out of once you wake up one day and learn that you don’t want to stay in the relationship any longer because of certain reasons or that you just want to give up. Before committing ourselves to marriage, we must be ready physically, mentally, psychologically, financially, spiritually, etc.

SONGSOPTOK: In a very general way, marriage is understood as the cohabitation of man and woman with a view to reproduction. Can this narrow and very physical dimension be the essence of marriage? Doesn’t the success of marriage depends also on a communion between the personality, psychology and above all the soul of the married couple? What is your opinion? Do you think that in modern society such a definition of marriage is relevant and realistic? 

ELIZABETH: As what is stated in the Holy Bible, marriage should just be a sacred union between a man and a woman. They marry and stand by their vow and commitment to be with each other and to pro-create. I believe that is the real essence of getting married. The success of a married life relies on a multitude of other factors though like compatibility – physically, intellectually, etc. In our modern times, some are embracing a new era of this union which does not just warrant a relationship between a man and a woman but also involves the third sex, many others follow what made them to believe since they were born. Because of these factors, man is now divided into conservative beliefs, conforming to the norms and the modern beliefs that all are to be given the rights to express their feelings and be open to who they truly are. But all I can say is that I am just a believer of respecting individual rights to live and be heard. One thing is for sure, we cannot alter the natural order of things.

SONGSOPTOK: It seems that in today’s society the clash of personalities, especially within marriage, is an unpleasant reality. Almost 100 years back, D.H.Lawrence said in Lady Chatterley's Lover “The modern cult of personality is excellent for friendship between sexes, and fatal for marriage”. In other words, he thought that the development of woman’s personality is actually a hindrance to successful marriage. What is your opinion? Do you think that it is the inability of the patriarchal society to tolerate the independence of women the main reason for the marital conflicts in today’s society? 

ELIZABETH: I believe that there could exist a clash of personalities if couples don’t know how to truly listen to each other. In other words, lack of proper open communication is a key factor in break-ups of relationships and is not about a woman’s personality alone. To say such is to be sexist and to emphasize that women are always the sources of troubled unions. The separation of couples should not just be blamed to one party. A relationship will not work out if both parties do not know how to compromise and embrace each other’s frailties and flaws. While it is true that the modern women intimidate men, it’s not the women’s fault if they are independent and can be achievers more than men in some cases which hurt their egos. The couple should be supportive of each other and influences each other to create better versions of themselves.

SONGSOPTOKDo you think that society perceives a divorced man and woman in the same way? Most of the time we see that the woman is blamed for not making the necessary compromises. So the implicit assumption is that the success of a marriage is directly related to the woman’s capacity to compromise. What is you view? 

ELIZABETH: Many believe that the woman is the one who handles a relationship. So it is expected that she must handle the affairs of their relationship well in order for it to work out. For me, that should not be the case. For a union to work out, both parties should exert their own efforts into the relationship, make sacrifices if it’s deemed necessary, make pertinent adjustments, to make it lasts. Both men and women who enter into serious relationships should make compromises not just women. When the issue of a divorced woman surfaces, most often than not, she is misjudged, ridiculed, and scorned by one-track minded people only because of her gender. I strongly believe that the gender of someone should not have anything to do with the choice to get divorced. Both partners might have had their own personal reasons as to why they both consented to get separated in the first place.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that divorce affects the conscious and the subconscious of the children? What, according to you, could be the effect of a divorce in their adult lives, positive or negative? 

ELIZABETH: Divorced parents really affect the conscious and the subconscious of their own children. While the divorced couple could get into depression because of a failed relationship, the children can also get affected psychologically and the impact of the trauma in their adult lives could be so great that it also causes them to develop a phobia of entering into relationships or to harbor ill feelings towards their parents. There could be more negative effects divorce can bring about to children than positive effects. This heartbreaking separation leading to a broken family can also make them to emerge as stronger individuals and would not want the situation to happen to them once they become adults while some can develop fears of experiencing the same trauma when their relationships fail, too.

SONGSOPTOK: Generally it is the mother who takes care of the children following a divorce. Although children need their mother more while growing up, what kind of impact can the absence of a father figure have on a growing child? So what according to you should be the role of the mother? 

ELIZABETH: After a divorce, children feel devastated and may blame either parents for bringing them up in a broken family after the separation. When the children are still young, their mother should always be there to take care of them and guide them but they need also their father and may always look for him. The absence of a father figure in the household can have adverse effects on the personality and upbringing of a growing child. A father is the one who teaches his children how to be strong and there are instances wherein the mother cannot be a substitute to a father’s main responsibilities. These modern times, we may always see and hear of mothers who also act as fathers to their children – who play a dual role in the lives of their children. A mother’s real and devoted love to her children cannot be equaled.

SONGSOPTOK: What according to you could be the impact of the growing number of divorces on the next generations? Or do you think this is the way tomorrow’s society will evolve? 

ELIZABETH: With the rising percentage of divorce rates these days, it can have a rather big impact on the next generations to come. There could come a time wherein people would not believe that a marriage should lasts and that it is a life-long commitment and that they can give up on the relationship at any time convenient to them. Divorce laws allow them to think like this. Although there is still hope for those who still strongly believe in the sanctity of marriage – that it is a sacred covenant for the couples vow before the altar and they must stand together because of their commitment towards each other.




  1. What a great interview straight from the wordsmith's mouth :) Keep it up!

  2. Elizabeth is a brilliant writer and poetess and her words always inspire her readers.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful comments! I am honored to be featured in this special interview. Thanks for reading!

  4. Answers from a modern woman and an inspiration to many!

  5. Great observations of what's actually happening these modern times. Brilliant interview, Author/Poetess Elizabeth!


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