To Marry or Not to Marry
by Nisha Chathoth
(Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
When you are living in an Indian society, and when you are almost about to reach the most critical age of your life (Well, that’s 30, if you don’t know) – Marriage becomes the most favorite topic of everyone surrounding you. It doesn’t matter, whether you are settled at 30 or not but if you are not married, then it’s a thing which they say, you will regret your entire life. But on a whole, what is the correct age for marriage? Or is it even necessary to get married?
When you are in your late 20s, there are many things which are constantly running in your brain. Which city do you want to settle in? Whether to stay in the current city or move back to your hometown? How to optimistically settle down so that one can stay away from home but at the same time build career too? Whether to continue with the same career or go for further studies? Or to switch jobs for financial growth? How to take care of your parents who are also growing old and alone? If your city and job is sorted then you think about moving ahead in life, building home for yourself which is a dream house but comes with liabilities for the other half that you are going to be alive. With all these things going on, which are crucial to decide at this point, the big burden of marriage also comes up. Each person at this age is facing the same issue. I think this is what Mid-life crisis is. Everyone is struggling on deciding how to proceed ahead in their career and where to settle down and most importantly if you are with someone, then how to make the relationship work keeping the job and city in mind. While if you don’t have a partner, then the anxiety of how to find one and then how to settle down and where always keeps on triggering you. At this point the whole question and concept of Marriage keeps me wondering whether what we should do. On one side we do want to get married. On the other as a women, I am not ready to handle the package of family which comes along with Marriage. This may sound mean but this is true. We are not ready to take care of the other family. We are not ready to do chores/things for someone else’s family. We are not ready to have kids and sacrifice our careers. We are not ready to have those sleepless nights to give them a peaceful sleep.
Marriage, what I understood was a process of finding a companion for yourself. A partner – life partner – who stays with you your entire life. Marriage is to find one person for yourself, so that together you both can accompany each other in this drama of life. You are supposed to get married for yourself, not for others. But this modern or in fact a traditional terminology of getting married and then doing all the things to satisfy the societal norms and satisfying relatives and being a perfect “Bahu” is not what I believe in. This process scares me.
We would love to find someone, who is solely committed for us and we would happily accept to stay with that person our entire life. Isn’t this also a definition of life partner? What if it’s not registered on paper? But the basic definition of Marriage is fulfilled. Ultimately finding the person is important ... not doing the rituals. So again the question comes whether to marry or not to marry.
When I think about this rituals and expectations of everyone I don’t feel like getting married. I have lived a life in my own house without performing any rituals/or never done anything just for the sake of doing it. But this was my own house, so I always had the option of saying NO. When you are married, however frank the parents are, and they do say consider them like your parents, but deep down we know, we won’t be able to say NO. And this is exactly where we know they are not our parents. They must be very nice/very understanding yet they are not our parents. There is always a burden of “What will they think?” and hence we don’t do a lot of things, which otherwise we would have done if it was our own home. These are common questions which do cross our paths every now and then and the ones who are married have definitely crossed them. But this is what scares us.
On the other end, the fear of loneliness hits hard. We don’t want to end up being alone. The need of a partner in bad times is important. With the age increasing in number every year, and the bitter truth of close friends moving on with their life and getting married, it does feel like, we do need someone who is always there with us. At one point everyone will be busy in their own lives and you will be alone. It will definitely be a life of freedom, with no one to answer to. Enjoying alone is much easier than being in sorrow alone. When a bad instance happens, you need someone to be on your side. The one who is committed to you. The one who is only there for you and no one else. You do want someone to go to when you have had a bad day at office. I live in Mumbai and they say In Mumbai you never feel alone. This is true. But the bitter truth is - the others are mere strangers. You will get the crowd but you won’t get the one.
Then comes the question, whether we want to stay alone or be with a total stranger whom we don’t know well (in case of arrange marriage). When we say life partner, it has to be someone with whom we can say , “ Yes, I can be with this person my entire life”. How can we meet someone and know that we can spend our entire life with that person. We need time. We need time to figure out the person. We need time to be mentally prepared to accept the person. Every person who is in our life currently, has spent ample of time with us and hence has stayed in our life, because they are worth it.
As per society, the perfect age to get married is before 30. And just because of this norm, I have seen majority of them getting married before 30 and the ones who are left, are completely stressed as they are unable to find perfect match. But do you think this age limit is what matters? Is it more important to get married or is it more important to be married by 30? I never believed age is the limit. When you find a perfect partner that is the perfect time to get married, if you fall under the category of one who wants to get married.
Well, amongst all these thoughts of age, career, fear of being alone, fear of taking responsibilities, fear of being left out, question still stays, whether to marry or not to marry! All I can say is, it’s the age which is making us think all of this, and hopefully everyone will find their answer once this age is passed.*****