There are better things in life than being married – is it?
The other day, an article was doing the rounds of the social networking site Facebook, titled something along the lines of ‘Things to do other than get married.’ Young women went wild, reposting this on their walls, exhorting their friends to agree. ‘Yes!’ they said, ‘we are independent women who don’t need men, wanting get married and/or be in a relationship is passé! Our strong feminist selves are better off without the trappings and endings a marriage brings!’ This was the prevalent sentiment. The article that started such a strong outpouring of ‘feminist’ feelings was actually quite silly and probably written in jest. It listed alternatives to marriage as childish as watching Disney movies in chronological order, dating various people at one go, being promiscuous, having dinner parties with white wine and for some strange reason – starting to read. What, pray tell, does reading have to do with marital status?
Granted, that the attitude that women have not amounted to anything if they aren’t married is an annoying social mentality. However, that does not mean that relationships are passé or a bore! What young women (and young men) need to understand is that harmony is the key word. If they are at peace with themselves and the surrounding world, relationships with everyone become that much simpler. Let’s ask ourselves why it is suddenly fashionable to denounce marriage as an institution. The majority of youngsters would probably say that there are no examples of happily married lives in front of them. That is absolute nonsense. For every broken marriage or relationship you see around you, you will find a happy couple. And every relationship, be it parents, siblings or spouses are guaranteed to go through rough patches sometimes. So should we allow the fear of problems rob us of a relationship?
Getting married does not mean the end of life as you know it. Yes, getting married signifies adulthood. You are no longer a child, you are most definitely a grown up with responsibilities. What rankles is the attitude that while growing up is indeed fine and most definitely happening; marriage seems to be touted as a step that doormats take. Why is that? Why has the legal binding of two people into a hopefully lifelong relationship become a topic to receive much flak? This is unfortunately, indicative of the value system of this generation. They don’t want to grow up and take legal responsibility of another human being – something that they can be held accountable for. They worry that their freedom will be restricted by marriage that they might get bored of the other person. They worry that they will want different things and then have to compromise and adjust. Also, they are just plain selfish sometimes and revel in a life of instant gratification where if one thing is not suiting the purpose the option is to run out and replace it. That goes for everything – toys, gadgets, clothes and people.
So what needs to be fixed here? The people who get married and then bail on it because they want something else and they are bored, or the institution of marriage itself? The thought process, that marriage sounds a death knell for all things fun needs to go. The majority of the people who commented on this article – all young and yuppie – lauded it for its humour and veracity. However, there was one very strong naysayer who articulated her opinion very well. She politely begged to differ and said she can do everything on the list – save for the promiscuity and various dating – while being happily married. When did promiscuity and dating multiple people become something to be applauded anyway?
To answer the cynics who said marriage brings with it certain ‘ends’ because it meant keeping another person in mind while making decisions, she said adulthood, not marriage, implies ‘ends’ for her. This is very true. When you grow older you wear new hats, you carry new responsibilities. You cannot decide to go off on a vacation because you will have to answer to your boss – that is irrespective of whether you are married or not. And as for keeping another human being’s feelings and thoughts in mind, wouldn’t you do the same for your parents and siblings? If marriage brings with it ‘ends’ then don’t be in a relationship either – isn’t that the logical course of action? Because being in a committed relationship also means taking another human being into consideration.
Another unfortunate logic that plagues marriage is that making something binding and legal will kill the love and affection and make you responsible for your actions. Does that mean that when you are in a relationship, be it boyfriend or girlfriend, partners, siblings or parent and child, you are not responsible for your actions because there is no legal paper that says so? This is warped thinking, if nothing else. So is blaming failed relationships of the past. Many youngsters claim that their broken hearts have made them weary of marriage. Yet these same people will have no problems dating people or showing off new partners. Ask them to get married and you will hear – “No I am commitment phobic because my boyfriend cheated on me!” Beg pardon, but has that stopped you from living a life? Why should it – failed relationships of the past failed for reasons. Identify the reason and if it is a fault which lies with you, try and ensure it doesn’t repeat itself. There are many kinds of people in this world – good and bad. If you had the misfortune of being with someone who wasn’t a good person according to you then there is no reason to believe that you will never find happiness with someone else. A pessimistic outlook will not get you anywhere.
Another reason people give for not being believers of marriage is that they have seen their parents live an unhappy life together. Be that as it may, there is such a thing as learning from the mistakes of others. It is up to you to deal with issues of ego and anger and selfish behaviour – and not let them creep into and destroy your own life. Just because others could not sustain a relationship, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to either.
We are not advocating marriage as the be-all and end-all of life. Yes it is necessary to get a career, necessary to stand on your own two feet. It is necessary to be independent and responsible. But being all these things doesn’t equate to not getting married. If you don’t want to get married – don’t. Don’t go about town declaring it to be the wrong thing to do either. If you have a partner and are in love and you want to get married, then do it! Marriage means growing up, sharing responsibilities and being part of someone else’s life. All these play a role in every relationship; we don’t see people denouncing their siblings or parents, do we?