No one has asked me or pressurised me to get married in my family. I am lucky that way. I have said this before elsewhere, marriage isn’t one of my goals. It’s not my ambition. But lately, I have been thinking about it… do I want to get married? Am I ready for marriage? Is marriage important?
The question of “marriage”
For starters, I have trust issues. How do people know whom to trust? How do people know what someone can do for you? How do you know, for sure, this is the one? How do you know for sure they aren’t doing it for their own amusement? For the thrill of the chase. I have heard and seen enough men be complete jackasses. Husbands, in general, are creatures of comfort who don’t give a fuck about their wives, as long as their needs are met, they are fine. Of course, a piece of advice one of my friends has to give everyone is: ignore everything a person *says* (people can really up their word game) and to focus instead on their actions (actions do speak louder than words). What they do do for you can tell you better about their feelings than their words and promises (often empty).
But the real question is if I want to get married, for all my feministing, am I radical enough?
As a feminist I don’t really think the system of marriage is equitable or fair. It’s a patriarchal institution (refer to a previous post on why this is so). I don’t need a partner (partner, not husband— to be partners is to share, to be a husband is to be a prick), I want a partner. I am happy with not getting married at all also.
I don’t think my partner must belong to my caste, should be as educated as I am etc etc. As a feminist, all of that goes against my value system. But there must be a hook, you know? Something to connect people— ideology, spiritual goals, shared moral landscape. About finances—I don’t think my partner must earn more than I do, but you see, we must earn a hell lot of money to live in this world. Is money important? Well, yes. If I earn one or two lakhs a month, I wouldn’t care if my partner didn’t earn so much, we can afford luxuries. He could even stay at home if he wants to. But since I don’t earn so much at the moment, is it wrong to hope that both of us earn enough money to raise a family?
But the question is of choice, right? How do you know? Loving someone is a choice you make. It doesn’t happen in a moment. I am discovering that as a feminist, I must think about these things. I must make choices, take decisions. Is similarity of ideology more important than a person’s socio-economic-cultural background? Can you compromise on a person’s mentality for security (financial and otherwise)? Is it so impossible to find someone who fulfills all the requirements? But isn’t that thought unfair?
This is precisely the problem I have with arranged marriages, that the concept is based on finding the ‘best of all’. I find it inhuman that anyone would do that, as in, weigh in and settle for the best of all. I am not saying it is not practical, it is, but there is a deep sense of unease when I think about it. I cannot ignore that material wealth plays a huge role, especially if a commitment to raise a family is involved. And I also know it doesn’t do well to ignore it, it is a huge part of one’s life, but isn’t it inhuman to have a weighing scale and compare people? It’s just unfair, rejection is unfair, comparing people feels just wrong. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself with such nonsense, and perhaps this is why I would prefer to leave it to my family to do the screening. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did that to another human being. I am a terrible judge of character anyway, and I have said this before as well. I must not be allowed to choose a partner for myself. My taste sucks. I am sure they wouldn’t mind if I choose one for myself, but I have seen the guys I like, the pattern has been God-awful.
Someone asked me about my expectations, well, I think that expectations change as I grow as an individual. But I have always imagined the guy I would end up with would be someone who does not belong to my caste or region or race. Someone from a different place (in fact, I wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t an Indian. Indian men can be very privileged and more often than not, expect their partners to take on the role of their mother). Someone who would be an authority in his own right, knowledge wise, you know? Someone who is damn good at what they do, whatever it is that they do, a self-made man. Someone I could have a meaningful conversation with, someone who really is a partner, partner in truest sense. Someone to grow old with and read books with. For me a partnership like that would mean respect and loyalty, sharing duties and responsibilities and interests. Someone with whom I can sit in the front yard of our home (filled with trees, obviously) and read a book, solve a puzzle… sit in companionable silence… attend cultural events… and travel, travel a lot, because after the nest is empty, you will hopefully have each other and your conversations of a life well lived. Someone who is decisive and assertive. Some one who knows exactly what they want out of their life.
Quite honestly, I am a scaredy cat. I don’t want to commit mistakes in life. I don’t want to see my parents put in a position where they’ve to explain themselves or me/my behaviour to another person. Small mistakes I don’t mind, but big ones, no way (I don’t think marriage should be anyone’s goal in life, but you and I both know that it is a huge part of your life, you are deciding to share a lifetime (hopefully) with someone). So I am not going to take that decision so lightly. The decision to marry someone should happen organically, when both the parties have stopped trying to impress each other. You are not going to live with the best version of someone, you know?
Thankfully, my mother agrees with me that marriage shouldn’t be anyone’s ambition in life— we have both seen too many women and their problems to last us a lifetime. And I think both of us would be happy even if I didn’t get married, like I said, I don’t need a partner. I want one. But I don’t need one to live my life. I am pretty good on my own. My dad also shares the same sentiment, actually my dad would pretty much do anything for me. My brother thinks no one is worthy of me. He is funny like that. And I love him to bits. I’d really hate to disappoint my family, they have been through thick and thin with me, and it would be a poor repayment if I disappointed them.
I think I now know what I want in my life.