Marriage is a choice, and not an obligation.
Do I really want to get married? It’s a question that I’ve asked myself many a times and I’ve always come back with the same answer “I don’t really know, and frankly, I don’t care.” I know, it sounds flippant, but this is how I feel.
Is it wrong? In the society that I live in, where getting married is embedded into your brain from a very early age, it may be looked down upon, and this sort of thought towards the M-word may be greeted with disbelief, shock and sometimes disappointment. However, I always point out – getting married shouldn’t be forced upon any individual, and if you don’t want to take that step, then, it is bloody well your choice, and no one elses.
Growing up, most of my classmates and friends knew that after they reached 21, they’d start ‘looking’ for potential partners to settle down with. I found it a bit strange no doubt, but thought it was the ‘right’ thing to do as everyone else was doing it. Reaching my early 20’s my first thought was, “Shit, I think I have to get married.” and it filled me with a sense of dread. To a point that I was terrified, every time my family said that they had someone they’d ‘like’ me to meet. As you know, arranged marriages are the norm here, so it’s not uncommon for parents to introduce you to someone they think would be a good ‘partner’. I don’t mean to sound like a prick, but the arranged marriage notion is one that makes me cringe and sometimes, it makes me laugh. So, I try and avoid those situations as much as I can – sometimes successfully, and sometimes just to appease the family, I just go ahead with meeting the guy and then brush it off.
Coming back to the original question – I am quite okay with not getting married, and no one should make me question my thought process. It shouldn’t be made into such a big deal. More than that, no one should be made to feel bad about the choice they’ve made. No one should feel that it is such a life-altering decision that it affects everyone around them. Marriage is between 2 people and not between the rest of the world and their uncle. So why should everyone make you feel so horrid about the choice you’ve made? Why should they be so overly concerned about YOUR decisions? Statements like, “You’re not getting any younger and your biological clock is ticking, don’t you want to settle down?” or “There won’t be any good guys left, why are you not getting married?” or “You know, the older you get, no one will want to marry you.” or “You’ve been dating so-and-so for a year now, shouldn’t you think of settling down?” Seriously? Are you trying lower someone’s self-esteem by making these thoughtless statements? It shouldn’t bother ANYONE what you decide to do. I don’t think that getting married defines you – and certainly should not be an obligation.
If you feel that you ‘need’ to get married because you’re being pressured by family – take a moment to assess the situation and ask yourself if you want to get married. There’s a major difference between need and want, so if you’re telling yourself that you need to get married because it would keep your family happy – you’re getting into it for the wrong reasons. Do it because you’re ready for it, and you want to take the plunge with, someone that you’re happy with and can see yourself growing old with.
I’m not trying to discourage you from the notion of marriage, but all I’m saying is – don’t ever think that it is an obligation. You have a choice – if you choose to not get married, but be in a long-term relationship with someone, that’s YOUR choice. And there’s nothing wrong with it, so no one should ever make you feel that it is, or make you question what you’re doing. Don’t ever feel obliged to get married because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. Society has dictated that this is what we are supposed to do, but eventually, you have a CHOICE. If marriage isn’t for you, don’t force yourself to do it. I haven’t, and it really doesn’t bother me, because although it’s not a notion I dismiss, it isn’t my top priority and honestly, I’m doing just fine.