Monday, May 31, 2010

To Marry or Not to Marry?

To Marry or Not to Marry?

I thought I got a happy news when my 30 something friend Shalini told me that she had finally decided to marry. “It’s going to happen at the end of the year.” She told me excitedly. A Hindu, she was excited about the fact that she would have both Hindu and Christian; her boyfriend being Christian. It’s been two years since; and when I last spoke to her she told me, “Definitely this year.” I sat her down and asked her what was holding her back. “It’s the commitment issue, yaar. It’s not that I have doubts about him. I have my doubts about marriage itself. It’s quite scary actually.”

Youngsters are increasingly postponing marriage, which is often dumped as a constriction and are enjoying their new-found singlehood – working hard, partying harder --- and financial independence and are busy chasing their dreams. In many instances parents have either given up putting pressure on their children to hitch up or want their children to make their own choices, be it for their careers or marriage.

Earlier people obeyed parental wishes to get married and entered into wedlock out of societal pressures, and when encountered with troubled times, they just roughed it out. But with a generation that wants instant gratification and instant cures to relationship problems, which typically take years and years of empathetic understanding, it comes as no surprise that marriage is increasingly being pushed. And with society accepting and even hailing singletons, the pressures of marriage either from parents or society is waning.

For someone like Shalini, I could quite understand how the prospect of getting married and “settling down”, adjusting to relatives and making the hazaar compromises that come with marriage could be quite unnerving. She’s the classic ‘new generation’ type – independent, living with friends, working, earning and partying. It’s not easy for people of this generation, who are pretty much independent in most ways to be summoned to get coffee for the other half first thing in the morning or make sure his / her clothes are pressed, as the other half likes it, for instance. At first these small chores, done out of “love”, are a joy; a few weeks down the line, they become a burden and after a few months later you are ready to scream “Go figure!” Sustaining the relationship in good times and bad, discovering each other over the years and supporting each other over these years, through all personality and character flaws does not come easy. I guess that’s where her hesitation comes from, that’s what she subconsciously classifies as ‘commitment issues’.

I hope Shalini finally gets married this year. At least one half of the problem is resolved – she’s certain of her man, it’s the second half – or getting over her fear of marriage and commitment she has to work on. Shalini, if you are reading this, I would like to tell you that commitment is not about fear or all the negativity, it’s about change and change is not necessarily painful, it can be joyous and rewarding.