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To Be Or Not To Be

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The word marriage invites many emotions in different people. For some it is a scary nightmare while for others it means love and security. So how should one think of something which invites so many different feelings and emotions, depending on their personalities? Today we will try to understand marriage itself and whether it has to be a part of our lives or whether can we live without it.

What is Marriage?

Marriage itself is not something that is emotional. In fact, marriage is a completely thought out process and action which two people who like / love each other take (probably after thoughtful consideration). Many a times marriage is misinterpreted, misrepresented, and misunderstood either as a job that’s necessary or as the next necessary step after falling in love. Unfortunately, and for your disappointment, both are false notions pretty popular in this day and age.

With changes in the lifestyle of generations, it is important that marriage and the feelings or actions surrounding it be understood from a new perspective. It also requires both the parents and the children to have open conversations about such topics and educate the children. This will not only create healthy understanding of marriage and love, but will also give the parents an understanding of what is going on in their kids’ lives. Many parents today forget to play their role as a guide or mentor and realize its need, only when it’s too late. Then they run around to scholars and lawyers to either get their kids to understand marriage or to stop them from marrying someone they do not agree of. Also, there is the never ending debate about arranged and love marriages. Most parents are biased towards arranged marriages – “He / She should ONLY marry the spouse I have selected” while many youngsters are inclined towards love marriages, which are highly romanticized by Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Unfortunately what we miss out on is the simple fact that how we get married is irrelevant and more important is how we maintain or keep it intact after getting married. That!!! my dearest reader, require lots of hard work, sacrifice and strength.

To reiterate in a concise manner – marriage is a logical and thoughtful action, taken by two individuals who were either introduced by their parents or by some other means (college, community, social etc.). This action requires and demands active participation by both of them to keep it united.

Why and when should someone get married?

Now that we’ve understood what marriage is, the next question that pops up is “WHY” anyone should be married in first place. There are many reasons why people are skeptical about marriage – increased divorce rates, maltreatment of spouses, Dowry issues etc. But all of these issues (or at least a majority of them) stem from a common misconception that marriage is a task or a necessity. We will discuss about necessity as we go further. For now let’s understand what can be the reasons for some to get married.

Many of us have found their dear ones treated badly in a marriage, or some have seen their parents themselves going through difficulties. I do not deny the fact that, yes, there are indeed bad marriages and there are people who mistreat their spouses. I condemn such people in the strongest of terms, but then again let’s understand why they do it, or why does anyone for that matter get agitated or impulsive to mistreat. The first point to understand is that marriage is “NOT” for everyone. There is no age bar, but there definitely has to be a maturity level. Some mature at a tender age of 18 while many others take as long as 30 years to become mature. Without a maturity of understanding, of thoughts, of expression there is bound to be chaos. It’s like you are eating a chilly and expecting not to feel your mouth burn. Then there is the fear of marriage which roots from the examples people see around them. What we see majorly affects what we do and how we experience anything in our lives. So, if someone has grown up around bad relations, they tend to be fearful of marriage. On the other hand if someone has grown up around a stable marriage, they tend to like the concept of marriage.

Secondly there is no set timeline or deadline for marriage. One can marry as early as 18 years (in some countries even at 16) to as late as over 100 years of age. What matters is each individual’s self-plan. As mentioned before, marriage should be understood as a part of life, something that enhances our life and brings happiness. We should understand that every person might have a different set of priorities. Hence, some may want to achieve a few milestones before marriage. ‘When’ someone wants to get married, is clearly his / her decision, but parents have a pivotal role in making them understand the importance and meaning of marriage. Once someone understands these two points, and inculcates it as a milestone in his/her plan of life, he/she is bound to see it as a success and as a positive step towards wellbeing.

In conclusion – marriage is not something evil or degrading or a hindrance to one’s life. It should be planned as a stepping stone in one’s life. Your decision about marriage shouldn’t be affected by the examples you see around, but should be taken after careful analysis of your own individuality and planning.

Is Marriage a necessity?

This is a very debatable question. Many parents insist on marriage being a necessary part of life. Though they may be true for a couple of reasons, but it isn’t a necessary requirement. It’s often a societal pressure or a norm that no one genuinely questions. For me it was a necessity and I had a plan to get married and settle down at 25 years of age (luckily that did happen). On the other hand, I have a very dear and elderly friend of mine who doesn’t feel necessary to get married. Often we hear lots of youngsters avoiding marriage, mostly for reasons like independence and to avoid shackles. The reality lies somewhere in between the two. Though it’s not a necessity, it does enhance one’s life and makes it more meaningful.

The point that everyone should consider before getting married is how marriage will affect his output, his contribution to society, and his current situation. A very good friend of mine iterated this in a beautiful manner – “If you feel you will contribute more to the society by getting married then get married, but If you feel you are already contributing to the society and can do more by remaining single, then simply remain so”. I was at first skeptical of these lines but later I understood how true he was when I remembered the saying of Ibn Taimiyah (a renowned and reputed scholar and writer of Islamic literature). When he was asked why he doesn’t get married, his reply was – “I fear that my love for writing will not allow me to fulfil the rights of my wife”.

So in conclusion – marriage is not a necessity. Once we understand why we should get married, we must look into whether we will contribute more to the community by remaining single or by getting married.

Getting married for the wrong reasons 

Often the main reason for break ups, divorces and the fear of getting married is due to the extremes portrayed by the media. Hollywood and Bollywood movies portray marriage as a romantic bed of roses which is a cake walk, easy and simple. On the other hand, people who feel that marriage is a hindrance, or have gone through a bad one themselves, try to stop others from getting married. The truth, my friend, lies in between. Marriage is neither a bed of roses nor is it a relationship with thorns. It’s actually a mixture of both good and happy times mixed with difficult ones.

To prevent an unsuccessful marriage, a few wrong reasons to get married would be:

1) Marrying just because it’s a task on your checklist.

2) Marrying because your parents have found someone and insist on it.

3) Marrying because you have fallen in love (actually it’s infatuation) and have never really given it a proper thought.

4)  Marrying because everyone you know is getting married.

5)  Marrying because you don’t know anything better.

6)  Getting your son/daughter married with the assumption that the spouse will make him/her a better person.

7)   Marrying ONLY to satisfy your urges of pleasure.

Though some of these can be a valid reason for marriage, one should not make it THE ONLY reason to get married. You can get married for many reasons but before that, you should understand the many aspects of it and how it will affect your individual life. You must also understand that marriage is not a shallow activity and must treat this bond with respect and affection.

To summarize – marriage is an action that should be given enough thought and should be done for specific and beneficial reasons which take into account the other person and their dreams and aspirations.

Final pointers and call for action!!!

Dearest reader, as a knife in itself is not bad or evil, what you do with it defines whether it’s for good or for bad. Similarly, love and marriage aren’t something bad or evil or something to be afraid of. It’s actually the most natural action and should be seen from a positive lens.

By now you might have understood many aspects of marriage and why one should perform it, and why some of us should abstain from it. Also you have understood why and when one should get married. Also most importantly you have some idea of what are the NO NO in thinking about marriages. Marriage my friend is a commitment. It is the best way you can tell someone you love and trust that you will be there. Marriage is not a bed of roses, neither is it the all romantic movie style story. Marriage is a thoughtful process, taken by two individuals who have deeply understood it and are willing to stand up for the sacrifices and hard work. It is an act that should be promoted, applauded, and above all respected.

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