Changing together

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Relationships should be about respect and compromise, not violence and abuse, writes MUKTESH CHIBBER

We meet, we agree to tie the knot and spend our life together with our partner and then we ask ourselves, what went wrong? Why are we not happy together?

As a couple we choose to be committed to each other and create a map of our life journey. We share our visions, thoughts, passions, beliefs, as well as support, trust, friendship, love and conflict with our life partner.

But you also have the right to feel safe, be safe from violence, and should reach out for professional support if necessary.

We want to relate to each other positively, however differences of opinions can give rise to issues, and at times, an accumulation of unresolved issues manifests into a distasteful incident and subsequently traumatic events in life.

I often hear from couples that Indian migrant newlyweds in Australia do not get an opportunity to understand or bond with each other due to the overwhelming pressures of being in a new land, or inappropriate interference from external sources such as extended family members from overseas.

This lack of opportunity may potentially create misunderstandings between a couple who have yet to get to know each other.

An understanding of the ‘self’ and taking responsibility for one’s behaviour enables a reflective approach as opposed to a reactive one that may be detrimental to the relationship.

The important question is, would difference of opinion or conflict between the couple manifest into an enormous issue if the couple had the ability or skills to resolve their differences?

Development of mutual understanding between a couple takes time and the intent to a committed relationship requiring nurturing and affection, free from any form of abuse or violence.

The need to want to establish a relationship, free of abuse and violence, requires a commitment from each individual.

There is always something about our thought process that may not be helpful and sometimes we need to ‘let go’ of something or make a compromise that would benefit the blossoming of our relationship.

As a community, we have evolved and adapted to embrace and recognise the ups and downs of life. At the same time, as individuals we are a product of our environment and the broad socio-political and economic trends that impinge on our family life.

We learn to cope with the daily stressors of life such as hectic routines, parenting styles, work pressures, financial issues and extended family matters.

This can be many times compounded in a foreign land by loss of networks or family support. However, abuse or violence is never the answer to resolving a conflict or difference of opinion. Violence within a relationship is a crime.

Change is inevitable. As we change as individuals, so does our relationship.

This change does not necessarily have to threaten our relationship, it simply requires us to be equipped with new strategies, skills and negotiation.

Seeking timely assistance and support from qualified professionals can help in preventing or escaping acts of abuse or violence and in the management of the breakdown of a relationship.

Muktesh Chibber is a couples and family therapist, and a family law mediator. She has 25 years of experience working in Australia.

If you need help or support:
Indian Family Relationship Services – Culturally sensitive services (Hindi, Punjabi) counsellingindians@gmail.com or 0425 367 617
Relationships Australia – 1300 735 030
National counselling helpline – 1800 RESPECT


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