Wednesday, October 8, 2008

To Marry Or Not To Marry, Is That The Question?

Several years ago, I was sitting with a cousin in his family home in India, talking about marriage. I was expecting him to lecture me on the importance of getting married and having children as soon as possible: I am not getting any younger, it would make my parents happy, and being content as a single woman is not "normal." While I was preparing myself for the insults, I was blindsided when he told me not to rush into anything. "I HAD to get married, and now I am stuck! I can't get out," he said under his breath to me. I became very uncomfortable when his wife tried to get his attention during this unhappy confession, and he impolitely ignored her. It was the first time I realized that they were unhappily married, and it made me feel sad for them both.

This incident didn't sour me on the institution of marriage; rather, it reinforced in my mind how important the decision to marry truly is. Like it says in the traditional marriage ceremony, matrimony “is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly." I sometimes wonder if my hapless cousin was paying attention to these or any other words uttered during his ceremony, or if he was just waiting for it be over.

I know I am luckier than my cousin is. I live in a country and at a time when single citizens are not seen as the pitiable social outcasts they were once perceived to be. Still, I know many family members and some friends talk about me behind my back because I am single. Some of them may even mean well, but none of them can understand why I am not interested in getting "hitched" anytime soon.

I enjoy a good love story with a happy ending as much as the next person. It's wonderful when two great people decide to make their union permanent and legal. I may even consider it for myself in the future, if I meet the right person. But if it doesn’t happen, I won’t consider that a tragedy. I just feel that there are many different kinds of happy endings possible for single and married people alike.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel pressured to get married or stay single?


Escotravelsandeats said...

i never felt pressure to get married...and blessed as i am my parents were never the type either to pressure you to find a mate. being that i dated my husband for 8 years before we got married...i completely agree that marriage should be walked in with both your eyes open (love is not that blind) and your feet stably on the ground (dont be swept off your feet when you make the decision). it is serious business and hopefully for a lifetime. what misery it would be to be stuck with the wrong person for a lifetime. it is a wonderful thing, but i believe it is better to be single and happy than married and unhappy. so yes gone are the days of feeling that you have to be married to be accepted in society...atleast for the most part in this society. take your time and find the right one...think about it, when you buy a pair of shoes, you dont just pick the first one, u ensure it fits right, looks right, is comfortable, so why settle...???

Pauline Karakat said...

You played it smart AND you followed your heart...hey that rhymes! All of us should do that, whether we stay single, live with someone, or get married.

Original Designer Woman said...

Pauline... I never had the pressure to get married from my family, I guess because not too many members of my fam is married or doesn't think it's important. But after dealing with two interesting relationships I think I will follow the Single Manifesta! I like the freedom of answering to no one but myself. I like to have control over me as a person, because often times when you share yourself you forget about you as an individual. And personally I don't think or rather I don't see it fair to the other person that I am NEVER home lol
I am running around working and it just wouldn't be fair to my partner... So it's single-ville for Zanade

love ya!


sally said...

The pressure from my family was always to stay single for as long as possible. There was no way I could become a success if I became the barefoot & pregnant stereotype that's so prevalent in Latino culture (among 1st generation anyway).

Apparently, we can't win either way.

Anonymous said...

I think that marriage is something that was expected of me. I chose to remain technically single and be in a long term relationship with my partner who I have nicknamed my unhusband. In the end I think that people need to do what is best for them.

Kekla Magoon said...

I agree with Zanade - I enjoy my freedom! My life is very much about ME right now, and that's okay. But I don't think I'll always feel that way, and then I will contemplate marriage.

I don't experience too much external pressure about it. In NYC, at least, it's socially acceptable to be single at any age, but there are social awkwardnesses that come with singlehood. It would be nice someday to automatically be a party of two.

Within myself, I do aspire to find such a relationship and make the commitment. has to be with the right person or else it's not a step up.

Pauline Karakat said...

I loved all of your comments, ladies! However we decide to live our lives, we should always be as true to ourselves as possible. Rock on, chicks!

Anonymous said...

marriage to me is a ladder to reach my dream.When I started my married life it was purely and position did not matter.As I moved on children added the beauty of life.We care for eachother,but never in the way ofour partners growth.I was able to reach my dream because he was with me in my happiness and sufferings.I think in my life my husband no way was a hindrence,infact he helped me to grow.Pauline,my feelings are like this.Sometimes when you see the right person,you feel that you could think and feel kind of same.Make sure,You build your trust on the goodness.Face life with the curiosity of a child,you may find it beautiful.elsa aunt..

Anonymous said...

"Totally agree with you. My Filipino side of the family most definitely thinks I'm "crazy" for not marrying and quite possibly my Irish side of the family does as well. Sometimes I wonder why I'm still single and anxiety starts to set in but then I think of some of the married relationships I know of (family and friends alike) and it is then that I realize that they are not necessarily "happily ever after". Like yourself, if I find someone to marry, then that would be great but if not, that would be great as well. I firmly believe individuals create their own happiness regardless of their situations. I am my own "happily ever after" :)"

Anonymous said...

wow, what awesome comments. zanade, you are wild at heart and wonderful for it. aunt elsa, you speak wise and beautiful words. again, i value the abundance of opinions and perspectives on the concept of marriage and single-hood.

single and free - at this time, your mind expands, you learn to know yourself and what your likes and dislikes are, learn what your baggage is and what your strengths are when you do enter relationships, and is the phase which you can soar to great heights without worrying about the needs of anyone else.

but while enjoying my single years, i don't see myself single and on my own at 60 for the following reasons:
- i can't deny that i, as a strong female, value and grow from the dynamic of being in the company of a trusted man that deserves my time
- excel in duets as a karaoke partner and generally get more accomplished in group activities
- yearn to play with babies (though i must admit, i also enjoy returning it back to the parents)
- look forward to having a partner to share a family with

i say that because the truth is that as we age, we develop a circle of family that will ride out the wave with you until you meet the shore.

marriage is for life and you want to make it count with commitment - that is the truth. however, many people do not share this ideal or can commit to the words "til death do you part" even though they swear by it with family and friends as witness. some marry as impulsively as they shop for the latest fad in shoes (see esohe's comment) unless your spouse is abusive in any manner is there excuse to break the union. Choosing a spouse should be choosing a life-long partner that will be your ultimate battle buddy and will be your better half when you can't be and will make you better, and vice versa.

Life is hard and it will knock you around. as we age and lose the strength to weather out all the blows - it seems that marriage ultimately becomes a survival tool in its union of two, that can turn into a small army of wonderful and varying versions of you and your spouse.

ideally, marriage should be a union where you and your battle buddy take on the problems and obstacles that life serves you - working them out out, growing from them and becoming stronger by experiencing them together, and never giving up on each other.

personally, that is my goal. until my battle buddy proves to me he's got what it takes and more, i'll be soaring the skies solo ;)

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