Bursting Myths of Marriage
Marriage is an important occasion in a person’s life. Each one has their own reasons for getting married. Just as there are many reasons for getting married there are equal numbers of reasons for not getting married as well. Every marriage needs to be worked at daily by both the parties concerned and we need to understand that there are some problems a marriage does not solve, all we need to do is deal with them squarely.
There are some things to know before before getting married.
1) Myth: Things will change once he gets married.
Reality: Marriage is not a panacea for your current problems
Roshan is 26 years old, born to a middle class family of limited means, living in Patiala and searching for a job after completing his graduation. Roshan’s friends are financially well off. His frequent nights of partying, gifting and travels for adventure have dent a hole in the family’s pocket. Roshan comes home late, is often angry and misbehaves with his parents. Of late he seems has fallen pry to alcohol. His worried parents having tried to reason out with him are now thinking of marrying him off as soon as he finds a job. In the hope that marriage will make him more responsible, a young brides love will change his meandering ways, the new responsibility will make him give up his vices (excessive spending, alcohol, gambling, drugs and such others).
What is common in most cases is the tonality of the parents thinking. They think marriage will change their son. In their eagerness to find a solution they fail to take into account the possibility that their son may or may not be able to cope with the changed equations after marriage. If the reason for marrying is to expect a complete change in a person’s behaviour then this is a sure shot recipe of inviting trouble.
How can a person change overnight? Is it right to put a young girl in such a position and expect her to change the situation? Is it not possible that the girl entering a marriage may come with her own set of expectations and dreams? What would happen when her expectations and dreams run against reality? Is it not possible that the poor inexperienced girl faced with a difficult situation and the boy overwhelmed with the turn of events may react differently causing more problems?
Probable solution: Do not expect marriage to change everything and remember marriage will not solve a subsisting problem, it will only aggravate it. If there is a problem, acknowledging it is the first step and then taking professional help to solve it would be more sensible. Marrying him or her off is not the solution.
2) Myth: Marriage should change my financial standing in society
Reality: Not everyone gets married to a well settled person.
Current age for marriage in India is around 27 or 28 for men and 25 to 27 for women. Mind you at this age its more of men and women and not boys and girls.
Women and girls of marriageable age today have high expectations from their future life partners. Just yesterday one of my friends was worried about the lack of response from girls in her community for her son.
She rued “On getting a proposal the first thing a girl ask’s is a boy’s salary? Any figure below 70,000/- pm doesn’t impress them. On top of it they expect their future husband to own a house and a four wheeler! If he has family responsibilities to shoulder in future or is living with his parents then it’s a big No No!”
“They want a husband, his wealth, his earnings but want to have nothing to do with his parents and his family. It seems they want a man who has been manufactured in a factory or someone who has lost all his family before marriage?” added my friend.
It’s so sad we have come to this. Girls! Have some reality check.
Tell me how many women in this age group are earning Rs 70,000/- pm and above, have their own house, a four wheeler, belong to a small family and do not have parents at home?
Well not many. So girls get real!
Understand that every person starts small. The person you may marry is as inexperienced in the ways of the world as you probably are. He has just started his career, give him a break, keep your expectations real.
Before saying yes to a person, giving thought to his character, habits, his way of treating women, his education, family background, skill levels and of course how he handles money is more important.
Girls at what salary did you start your career? Earning 70 grands per month is not child’s play, but it is a distinct possibility some years down the line. Understand that the process of moving up the career ladder is slow and requires lot of efforts and hard work, it just doesn’t happen overnight.
Probable solution: A man is well placed in most respects usually by the age of 35. So if you can get hold of such a person then good for you or else learn to keep your expectations real.
3) Myth: He should understand. She should know.
Reality: Without expressing in right words, neither he understands nor is she likely to know.
Kumar was on seventh heaven on marrying his college sweetheart. Both of them looked forward to a life of marital bliss and shared pleasures. Every evening they would sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss the day’s happenings. Initially there were long discussions, they were happy to share the days experiences and were just happy to be in each other’s company. With time, Kumar started coming home a bit stressed. Mohini realized he had become irritable and kept to himself. Slowly their discussions came down to exchange of few words. The situation unnerved Mohini. She tried to talk to Kumar about this but Kumar would brush it off as nothing or would ask Mohini to stop nagging. This attitude of Kumar created a lot of tension between them and each tried to deal with the situation as per their understanding.
What was actually happening was Kumar was trying to fit into his company’s way of working. His job required a lot of networking, travelling, business meetings and involved office politics. This was stressing him up. Mohini on the other hand had her own set of problems at work, she was finding it difficult to manage the household responsibilities alone without much help from Kumar alongwith the usual problems of adjustment in a new life, in a new family and meeting her in laws expectations.
Arguments gave way to frequent fights leading to long periods of sulking. The common complaint heard between them was “You should understand?”
My dears in the initial huphulla of marriage all the stakeholders come up with their best sides and the newly married couple is in a pink cloud. They realize the need to communicate their feelings, needs and wants in an effort to know each other better. Initially among other things, there is good communication between them which brings them emotionally close. Armed with the initial exchange of information, the new closeness and the responsibilities to run a household, expectations slowly start to increase. Each somehow starts to expect more and communicates less.
Probable solution: Two bodies, One soul is good to the ears but not practically viable. Movies made on this theme are a good watch, go watch it in the theatres but do not bring them in your lives.
Expecting your partner to understand your emotions and feelings without expressing them in right words will take your marriage nowhere. Communication is the key to a successful marriage. The sooner you understand the better.
4) Myth: My children and my family need me
Reality: Girls your children and your family do need you. But building a support system beyond immediate family is just as important. Get a life and connect with friends.
Vira was nearing 48, worked for the government and was well settled in her job. She had everything going for her, her two grown up children were doing well in studies, her husband was happy and busy in his job and career.
Why then was Vira not happy? What was missing in her life? Let’s look at her life’s happenings to find out.
Vira got married at the age of 25. With marriage came responsibilities and commitments. In the 90’s when she had married, things were different, technology had not arrived, so there were no mobiles and very few land line phones. Keeping in touch with friends and relatives was difficult. Once out of school and college, friends usually lost touch. The problem with girls was more acute as most of them moved to different cities, taking up different names after marriage.
Before marriage Vira would often meet up with friends, go for movies and led a carefree life. But marriage made her move to a different city. Adjusting to a new life was difficult but Vira wanted to give her best shot and whole heartedly devoted herself to her new family.
As days and years passed, Vira so got busy in taking care of her children, husband, in laws, household and her responsibilities at work that she forgot all about her friends and the fact that she has a life of her own. She suffered pangs of guilt when her work kept her away from home for long hours. To overcome the guilt she would try to compensate by devoting as much time for her children and family as possible. She generally preferred being around the house when not working.
Every aspect of Vira’s life demanded her time and attention and she willingly gave all of herself to nurture her family. Then came the difficult teen years of her children. These were truly testing times for the whole family, especially Vira. Being a mother and the one closest to the children, she had a difficult time handling the teenage tantrums.
Her carefully built life took a huge hit when her children started misbehaving with her. Throwing tantrums, chiding and blaming her for not being a good mother, not paying enough attention in their growing up years and many other accusations came her way. Vira knew teenage is a difficult time for all parents and she reminded herself to keep calm, have patience and wait for the time to pass. She assured herself that things would come back to normal once the children grew older.
One day in course a tantrum, Vira’s son berated her shouting “You are a lonely lady, you have no friends, you sit at home all alone and make us miserable. We are not like you, we have friends and this is what you hate. You are jealous of our life.” The words hit Vira like a bolt, she was speechless and broken. Suddenly she realised how lonely she had become. In her quest to give the best to her family, she had literally forgotten about taking care of herself, forgotten that she was a human being with a life of her own and an identity beyond being a wife and a mother.
Today she was financially strong but emotionally weak and this time round it was she who needed an emotional support. Her parents and in laws were old and weak, she could not bother them with her problems. Her husband was busy and had very little time for her and she could not share her problems with her children. Moreover they were busy in their studies and had a life which revolved around friends. Vira had no one. Over the years she had never found enough time to keep in touch with her old friends nor did she make new ones.
Her husband on the other hand had kept in touch with his old friends and colleagues. With the result that today he had lots a friends to talk to, meet and enjoy an evening away from the daily grind. While Vira was left with a home she loved dearly but where she found herself alone, she was the primary care giver to her old in laws, was saddled with day to day household responsibilities which nobody wanted to share and a husband and kids who had a life of their own.
Tears of sorrow and regret flowed as Vira came to terms with reality. It would do no good to sulk and pity. She decided to collect herself and start picking up the lost threads. Having worked very hard all her life, by grace of god her family today was healthy and quite capable of taking care of themselves. She had nurtured her garden well and had watered it all these years but know felt the need to let go and live for herself.
Vira decided to reconnect with the people she had lost touch with. She didn’t know how they were, or if they would even remember her. She only hoped that they would take her back into their lives.
Vira realised, she should have done this long ago, rather she should never have allowed the people who mattered to her to ever go away from her life. How much Vira missed her friends and their loving presence. She reminisced the fact that actually nobody had stopped her from keeping in touch with her friends or relatives, had she expressed a desire to meet them and enjoy a day out, probably nobody would have even objected. She finally realised the importance of unwinding, relaxing and enjoying with her group of friends.
By isolating herself she had become grumpy, edgy and emotionally dependent on her husband and kids.
Vira tossed and turned the whole night trying to come to terms with her new understanding. Even though her son’s outburst had left her bruised and sad, there was truth in it and it had opened her eyes.
At the crack of dawn Vira got up, brushed away the tears and made a decision. She was no longer angry with her son.
At the breakfast table the next morning, Vira surprised everyone with a cheerful and energetic disposition. She made no mention of last night’s ugly episode which surprised her family. The skeptical family left for the day and Vira left for her job with a resolve to pick up the threads of lost time.
In the evening Vira sat down with a hot cup of coffee and made a list of all the people she wanted to reconnect.
“Hello is this Radhika?” Life had come to a full circle and Vira smiled.
Probable solution: Keep in touch with your friends and the people who matter to you. These people are the support system who enrich our life with their love and presence. A good social circle ensures that you do not become an emotional drag on your husband and children. It is proved that having fun with peers and with people of similar sensibilities keep’s one happy. Occasional time spent away from home, children and responsibilities is actually good for all concerned.
A guest Blog by Vandana Muley. You can connect her on firstname.lastname@example.org
pic by pixabay.com