I cannot help but wonder — why is marriage considered to be such an essential step in life? During my recent trip to India, I did get asked the question… so when am I planning on settling down? I did answer to a couple of people that I am settled down — I have a house, a job, good friends, a content life. But apparently that wasn’t what they meant by “settling down”. And they said so. I told them I didn’t need a man to settle down [even though I have one] and that I wasn’t interested in getting married at the moment. And of course, I got responses like “how can you say that?” and “you need to let your parents complete their duties and be happy” and the like. [I’ll write a whole other post on the parental duties thing later!]
And it’s not just the elders. People my age too think marriage is an essential step. A married friend asked me if I was planning on getting married at least by 30-32 years. I said I had no such plans and would take life as it comes. She was shocked. Another friend told me he was being pressured by his parents now that he is 28 and since he doesn’t have a girlfriend, he has given them the nod to find someone. He also said that other friends are being pressured in the same way and some are in the process of going through the step. Yet another friend is surprised when I tell her I’m perfectly happy to be in a defacto relationship as against getting married. Or when I say that marriage is just signing a piece of paper.
Once again, it’s not just in India where marriage is considered oh-so-important. True, the age of marriage is a lot earlier (and I am way over the hill there!) But my friends here too (all Australian of different ethnicities) want to get married some day. It doesn’t matter if they are single now or seeing someone…marriage is the ultimate thing. An article in the paper last month shows that more and more young Australians are thinking of marriage as something they must do by 40 and have a back-up plan as well.
What is it about marriage? It can’t just be the companionship of another person because you can get that with a defacto relationship. Yet, it is marriage that is sold. Not defacto relationships. It can’t be about having children because you can have children out of wedlock and in a defacto relationship. And come to think of it, here at least the legalities around both relationships are pretty similar. Yet, the wedding industry in Australia makes big bucks…people spend at least a whole year’s income on a wedding [For what, I ask? One day?]. All the American TV shows that I can remember have a marriage to depict a ‘happily ever after’ scenario. Why can’t they depict happy unmarried people? Or even a happy defacto couple?
I remember reading some interesting posts some months ago by IHM, Richa, Shail and others on marriage being sold to women in India in glossy covers and nodding my head in agreement. Personally, I think it is sold world over in that manner. Wedding magazines. Blissful married lives (apparently). Big suburban houses. All honey-coated for men and women to get sucked in. It’s almost amusing it’s sold in this manner when divorce rates are so high! And yet, people are buying it.
So do you have an answer? Why is marriage such a big deal?
Until next time,