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Phases of married life
The common trajectory of family life is described here among different age groups. The age groups are approximate and representative.
Ages 20 - 28: Hormones working. Trying to find a partner.
Healthy Situation: Open mind. Sincerity. Sensible. Realistic. Involve parents and loved ones. Respect for the other gender. Positive outlook about life.
Unhealthy Situation: Greedy, cheating, insecure, vagueness, domination, possessiveness, differences of opinion with parents, using others, unable to commit, bad company or no company, too idealistic, negative outlook of life.
Happy outcome: Marrying a compatible person. Families on both sides develop normal, healthy relationships.
Unhappy outcome: Not getting married. Problems arising during wedding celebrations. Husband and wife finding faults and complaining about each other. Families on both sides at loggerheads with each other.
Ages 25 - 33: Into marriage, honeymooning and kids
Healthy Situation: Enjoying conjugal life. Good relationships with in-laws. Each mixing well with the people of the spouse. Planning for the future. Over with the youthful exuberance and plan for real life. Each respecting and trusting the other.
Unhealthy Situation: Harassing and controlling the spouse. Problems with or from in-laws. Differences about career plans, and when to or whether to have kids. Too much or too little involvement of other family members and friends. Continue to behave like a child even after marriage. Sex life issues. Hidden issues surfacing.
Happy outcome: Strong emotional bonding between wife and husband. Both sides of the family liking each other. Having a child or two. Both wife and husband are realistic about their financial and social status.
Unhappy outcome: Either cold war or open fights between the wife and husband or their families. Marriage in strain. Both sides of the family pulling them apart rather than pushing them together.
Ages 30 - 45: Growing children, settling in life socially and financially
Healthy Situation: Responsibly raising the children, feeling joyful about it, support each other, and make necessary compromises regarding career and financial goals, good health, and food habits, joyful attitude.
Unhealthy Situation: Apathy and callousness towards responsibilities, too much dependency on family or social support systems, messed up finances, and messed up health, career over family, spirituality over the family. Each finding faults with the other's mannerisms, and way of thinking.
Happy outcome: Children grow up well. Wife and husband learned to share responsibilities. Mutual trust, respect, and support evolves. Family becomes a strong and independent unit, standing on its own. Husband and wife get seasoned in supporting each others Dharma, Artha, and Kaama. Children and parents love each other and happy with each other.
Unhappy outcome: Wedge between children and parents. Husband, wife, and children do not communicate with each other. Social support systems and family support systems step in to rescue the family. The spouses as well as people in the ecosystem become doubtful about the survival of the marriage.
Ages 45 - 60: Children grow up and leave, Sense of reality kicks in
Healthy Situation: Accept the independence of the grown-up children and support them to ease into their adult life. Compromise with the ups and downs of life and realize its potential and limitations. Wife and husband acting like one. Comfortable in making fun of each other. Supporting aging parents. Support and get support from siblings.
Unhealthy Situation: Children messed up. Losing hope about children and marriage. Bitter and resentment about marriage and life. Fall victim to financial, social, and spiritual predators. Avoiding or abandoning the aged parents. Rift among siblings.
Happy outcome: Children grow up to be independent and emotionally strong. Husband and wife work towards a financial and social plan for the later years of retirement. Both help each other by taking care of aging parents. Support each other's spiritual paths.
Unhappy outcome: Children remaining as dependents, becoming antagonistic, involved in risky or bad activities. Serious health problems because of not doing the right thing in the previous phases of life. Extended family and friends distance themselves.