While the traditional marriage and familes in India re under attack by the emerging consumeriwstic value system, Shobhaa De in her latest work, Spouse presents the ways of staying in love in marriage. She reinvents traditional values of marriage and family. And at the same time challenges the stereotypes. The book through its twenty-five chapters spread out in 287 pages addresses most of the problems such as that Indian men and women, at least the urban ones, face in their marriage.Her themes include romantic love in marriage, communication, sex, relationship within-laws, faithfulness etc. The book is a practical guide for the couples who value marriage and family. Marriage, according to the author is entirely based on love expressed in companionship, affection and sharing. Not to mention the delicate balancing act between parents, children, friends and career. She suggests practical ways to get out of therut of stereotypes and enjoy each other's company. The book has great insights intot he institution of marriage. However, mostly the author, like a teacher of religion instructing his students sts of do-s and don't-s in marital relationships.
In alnmost every page, the "I" stands out. She makes her marital experience, which she has lived through more than two decades, and has six children, an absolute and geralises them for everybody.
One hardly finds a conclusion based on scientific study. The book primarily addresses the English speaking rich middle class and their problems. It has hardly time for the eighty per cent of the Indians who live in povery in the rural and urban India. Nevertheless, the book is a critical appraisal and reassertion of the traditional values of marriage and family, in which lies the future of the society of tomorrow.
The author whilereasserting the traditonal values, acknowldeges the fact theat the marriage and family is a feflection of the values society holds or does not hold. In India, it is a fact that the status of women is lover than that of men. The social change has brought about increasing domestic violence against woemn, even among the educated rich middle class. The tendency has led to increasing divorces and family problems. The author's work can inspire the youth who are entering marriages examine their beliefs and ideals and attempt to rectify them to live a more happy conjugal life.