Let me be honest- the idea of marriage petrifies me and as I sit here typing these words out, my folks are probably busy sending my marriage-worthy-profile-photo to someone else, whose son, I believe would also be as jittery of this development as I am. (For those of you who are curious, I am talking about arranged marriages). This is funny given the fact that we, as girls, have been raised since the beginning of our childhood in a very prepare-your-daughter-for-marriage environment. I bet almost all of you ladies would have heard the sentence ”If you do this, who is going to marry you!”. The only difference is these words actually instilled fear in me back then and these same words evoke a response of “so what” now. So how did a child who wanted to grow up and get married ended up repelling the idea of marriage, HOW?
Well , the very first answer I can think of is this: At a guy’s bachelor’s party why does the conversation with the groom-to-be almost always end up like this- ”you guys are lucky that you are still single”; or at a bachelorette why do we hear words of advice and regret coming from married ladies? Whatever happened to the beautiful, happily-ever-after, inspiring love stories we grew up watching and believing in? Where are such couples and why don’t they speak up at evening discussion outside work wherein people are busy talking about the cons of married life over drinks.
Image Source- Google.
We grew up with certain expectations about love and marriages but we were hit by the sick reality of them as we watch in dismay people cheating in marriages and the concept of infidelity being ubiquitous and taken for granted.
In the world full of Charlie Sheens we struggle to find a Chandler Bing. Happy endings have become a myth and forever has become a long time.We have heard and seen all kind of weird stuff- spouse swaps and trashy rebounds. We watch our friends put in their all to avoid their marriages from crumbling to pieces and married people staying back at work to avoid being home with their spouse. There has been an ever increasing number of divorces, because this generation is far more independent and in-charge of their lives compared to the previous one and they will not settle for anything less. On a regular basis we encounter more of people who are unhappy for some set of reasons in their marriage and we wish we could encounter more of the genuinely happy kind! Whatever happened to the righteousness and sanctitude of the word marriage! We struggled to keep our beliefs alive in a world that is anything but hostile for the growth of love.
A lot of how we let all of this freak us out also depends on our emotional baggage. All of us come with a baggage- whether you accept it or not and our fear of settling down with someone is a result of this very baggage.
You would be lying if you say that as a child watching your parents argue did not make you think of how you are never going to marry into something like that. You would be lying if you say that the history of your past relationships isn’t a major contributing factor in your trust/commitment issues.
The sooner we acknowledge that our baggage- insecurities, lack of confidence, trust/commitment issues, family/ex/temper issues- is our responsibility and the intricacies of our personalities, the sooner we would be able to stop imposing them onto our partner and look beyond our mountain of expectations- expectations that are somehow a manifestation of our baggage. Nothing kills a relationship more than burden of expectations and almost all of us have had enough of such set backs to scare us away from dealing with a lifetime of expectations.
As if marriages do not come with enough inbuilt expectations already! What do people ever mean when they say “you are not a marriage material”! Is there some secret school we need to go and graduate from to be marriage material? Please tell me if there is and I will definitely stay away from that school. Last I checked every human being is equally capable of loving and being loved back and if that is not enough to make a marriage work, hire a cook, and a maid and you are set!
I come from the part of world where, sadly enough, the expectation from a girl in a marriage is way beyond what can be comprehended . This situation is definitely improving but we still have a long way to go. Arranged marriages are a norm here and believe me, that alone is an adequate reason to be a runaway bride! We as gen Y have a lot of dreams and aspirations for ourselves and settling down with someone whom we barely know, just for the reason that our parents approved of the boy’s family and background can never be anything short of a nightmare. What if he has a different lifestyle? What if he doesn’t love doing what I do. What if he is not a loving and caring human? What if he doesn’t love dogs? What if he doesn’t love me! Well, the series of what-ifs is never ending and the concept of compromising for someone we barely know, to make a marriage work, is very selfless, demanding and arduous for us. Basically we struggle to balance ourselves in a conflict of traditional and progressive outlook.
So you feel me yet? This generation is scared of falling in love and also scared of arranged marriages.
We are part of a generation for whom career, fun, and independence come the foremost, we are part of a culture where we do not let anything compromise with our priorities and anything that hampers our mental peace is shunned out(remember all the positive vibe quotes from Insta), we are trying to find love in era of left and right swipes, easy make-up and break-up and trial live-ins! Ideal wife/mother or a husband material yet?- Oh, I am flawsome, accept me as I come or watch me go is our motto.
Somehow we ended up making love and commitment the phobia that it is today. Making a relationship work is a ton of effort from both sides and nobody is really willing to put into that work- somehow sulking that relationships are hard and finding fault with the partner are easier than making one work because hey, we all think we have a pool of options. Hence we are scared of marriages- the fear of losing one’s independence, the fear of an uncertain future, the fear of making it work with somebody- forever!
Now let us not get carried away, as much as I pretend not to be, I am a hopeless romantic at heart and will always try to find the beauties of this magical word love. I have friends from the less-talked about ‘happily married’ category and if anything else, they inspire me to respect marriage and believe in its sanctity. These are the kinds we grew up watching- the ones who can not wait to get back home to their spouses, the ones who do not give up on one another, the ones who stick by in the good and the bad times. Watching them always helps me answer the question of how can I ever be sure about who the right person is to settle down with.
In case you are curious, your right person is not the most beautiful, the smartest, the kindest, the funniest or the richest person, your right person is someone whom you would choose despite being surrounded by these people and it is as simple and as complicated as that.
Let Nora Ephron’s quote from the classic When Harry met Sally convince you into this “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” And probably this would be our cue to take the big plunge!