Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Yet another friend of mine has succumbed to family/societal pressure and agreed for an arranged marriage. The wedding has been fixed a few months from now & she’s just getting to know the guy! Her family managed to convince her that if she doesn’t get married now (she’s 29 and single), she won’t be able to get married ever - which is one of the most ridiculous marriage-propagating arguments I keep hearing all around me. I know plenty of women who got married post-30 and are having the time of their lives.

This post isn’t going to be about arranged marriages vs. marriages of choice but about why women succumb to pressure from their families, relatives, neighbors & society as a whole and get married at a time they don’t wish to get married at or to someone they hardly know/care about.

I’ve known quite a few women - including highly educated, financially independent, successful career women - who have agreed to an arranged marriage, knowing fully well that that isn’t what they’d ideally want. Yet they have gone ahead and made a compromise – probably the biggest of their lives! I have also known women who have decided - in their early-mid 20s - to marry the person they might have been seeing at that point in time, even gone to the extent of getting engaged, only to call the wedding off later! A couple even called their wedding off one day before the wedding itself!!

All this makes me wonder…why this desperation to get married? Why make such a big compromise to settle for an arranged marriage when you know that’s not what you want? Why agree to get married to someone you’re seeing at that point in time just because you’re of “marriageable age”? Why this mad rush to get married??

I agree that marriage is a natural progression in life. Most of us want to get married for companionship and for the stability, security etc. that marriage is supposed to bring to our lives. Personally for me, the right time to get married is when you meet someone you want to spend each day of your life with and not when you’ve reached a particular age. Can you be truly happy if you got married just because you thought you should at a particular time? Compromises, broken engagements and bitter memories is what I think you get if you do.

Most women give in to the pressure to get married because they want to have kids by a particular age. The biological clock at work argument. Again, I personally don’t get the big deal about wanting to have children. If anything, it’s a painful experience. But even for those who believe that a woman is not complete until she becomes a mother and blah blah (which needless to say I think is a load of crap) do you want to make such a big compromise and risk being unhappy for as long as you live, just so you can have kids by 30??

It baffles me, this eagerness to get married. Funny thing is that marriages these days don’t even come with a guarantee of their basic promise - that you’ll get companionship, stability, security etc. for the rest of your life! Divorce rates are soaring. Couples are getting divorced within 2-3 years of getting married. Cheating & unfaithfulness are rampant. Honestly, I don’t think any of us can bet our lives on our spouse being faithful to us all our lives. Sure, go on and expect it...after all that is one of the USPs of marriage...pray with all your might that they are never unfaithful to you...but don’t count on it.

My sister got married to her boyfriend of five years when she was only 24, and right until the day of the wedding I was anxious for her. Will they make it to the wedding? Will they be able to sustain their marriage? After all, we don’t know jack s**t about what we want out of life in our early twenties, irrespective of how mature we might think we are. And even if we think we know what we want from life, there is a very high chance that that is likely to change a few years down the line.

So where do I see myself standing in this mad rush to get married? Well...I’m 29, unmarried and don't see any marital clouds looming on the horizon yet. I've been facing parental pressure since the last 3-4 years just like anyone else my age I know. But if I’ve made it without a compromise till this point, my guess is I’ll manage to pull through till I find someone I genuinely truly want to spend my life with. But that's just me and as they say, it takes all kinds :)


Moonshine said...

You know that parental pressure / reltaive pressure is huge... i am sure you must be facing it... its totally easy to succumb to the pressure and get married to get people off your back... i faced it.. before i met "the" guy!!! I mean, i almost said yes to someone.. because of family pressure!!!! Not easy to hold your own everytime..

Scarlett said...

I completely understand how strong & oppressing parental/family pressure to get married by a particular age can be & how difficult it can be to withstand the pressure. But then if you think about it, it's your entire life you're talking about. It's not a matter of just a few months or even a few years. And let's face it...if we don't stand up for ourselves, no one else will and we'll be the one who'll have to live with our decision for the rest of our lives.

Moonshine said...

I know what you are saying is true... the amount of tension thats there is like you carrying the weight of the world!!! But you are right.. its a question of an entire lifetime!!!