Man is essentially a social animal. Life for us is a long journey full of challenges and problems. We do not want to wade through it alone, but crave for company and loyalty of another individual who will provide a shoulder to lean on and share some of our responsibilities. Thus, the institution of marriage was created in which two adults of opposite sex formally tie the knot in a socially and legally accepted and enduring bond that is meant to last an entire lifetime.
However in the last few decades of globalization, this time-tested arrangement has come under threat. Unbelievable as it may sound, marriage has begun to lose its importance and sanctity. People today express openly,” Do we need to get married at all when we can have everything that marriage offers without formally tying the knot? The Secular education and scientific temperament of people which make them question everything and women have become independent socially and financially and see no problem in living alone. As a result, live-in relationships have become quite common.
The legalization of ‘live-in’ relationships in Maharashtra has raised a great controversy all over India. But then the question that arises here is, why is it that more and more people prefer to have a temporary live-in than to have the permanent baggage to a marriage? How come a society as conservative and as traditional as the Indian society has given place to an idea as modern as ‘live-in’? Marriage is considered to be the sacred bond between a man and a woman. So is the concept of ‘live-in’ immoral? When the government is ready to acknowledge the existence of live-in relationship in India and is making legal arrangements, why has it become a social issue? Marriage or a live-in relationship is a concern of two individuals and the role of society has to be the least in a democratic set up of India where we guarantee certain freedoms to individuals and one such freedom is to choose your life partner. Whether you choose a marriage or a live- in kind of arrangement, it should not lead to one as ethical and moral and the other as unethical and immoral. I think this is and should be more logical way of thinking.
These dynamics reveal the whole range of changes in the family system- its structure, functions, core values and regulative norms. This has resulted into a substitute for the deep routed family and marriage system called as a “Live-in Relationship” The legal definition of live in relationship is “an arrangement of living under which the couples which are unmarried live together to conduct a long-going relationship similarly as in marriage.”
In present time more and more couples choose not to marry, but they desire to have long-term relationships without marriage. Thus they live together without being married, just like spouses. This arrangement is termed as ‘Live-in Relationship’. Live-in relationships among urban, educated, upper-middle class young people began as a declaration of independence, as a way of keeping away from the ‘shackles’ of institutionalized marriages. In fact, it’s a willful rejection of the institution of marriage, and of the restrictions and inequalities it has come to stand for. Live-in relationships, pre-marital sex, divorces, words that were taboo just five years ago, define the changing face of relationships in India today. Live-in relationship is a very progressive concept that gives couples the time to find out if they are compatible.