This is a very sensitive topic. To me. To many people I know. Heck, to most people I know! - Marriage. And what we expect out of it.
I've wondered for almost 2 weeks now if I can write about the topic with enough sensitivity and objectivity. If putting it up here is a huge violation of my own privacy in some way. If airing my views on the topic makes me vulnerable to unnecessary judgment by readers, known and unknown. And then I realized, despite everything I potray about how much I care about the opinions and feelings of other people, there still rests inside me a person who doesn't hesitate once in a rare while to emphatically state "I don't care!!". And apart from making me somewhat proud, it also lets me write the kind of things I'm about to. On my public blog.
Btw, why marriage?
Coz its that life stage. Coz its that age. Coz most people in that lifestage at that age are around me and talking about it. Coz their momentary discussions trigger off in my head a series of long arguments with the self on the issue, making it much more complex than when it started out.
And what about it?
I've come to wonder. Don't we place too much pressure on the concept? As a result of having evolved to where we are now, to the point where so many of us can claim to be 'discovering' ourselves, our passions and views, somewhere we've begun to expect that a marriage will bring the fulfilment that our multiple activities and relationships do. Is that fair?
To expect that a spouse will be as good a listener as your best friend?
To expect that they would be great at advice on work related issues as colleagues and bosses?
To expect that they can support you with maturity and grace like your parents did?
To expect that they can find time for you, like your friends lucky enough to not be I bankers?
To expect that they can hold your interest through endless conversations, much akin to those few friends you have great conversational chemistry with?
To expect that they'd be cool enough to take out and socialize with your current circle?
To expect that they'd chip in with their share of housework like your best flatmate?
To expect all that and a little more.
Is it fair? Is it normal? I'm sure most people find a way to love/ find happiness/ both with a person even without ticks on all of the above. I'm sure that even if its not easy, people don't walk out on marriages. They try. And they learn.
But the para before last IS the aspirational list right? How terribly impossible esp for people who have trouble reconciling their expectations with reality! And hence how unfair for a potential partner to have to live up to! How unfair an expectation to peg onto an institution.
Coz that's what marriage is at the end of the day right? An institution. After all, marriages aren't supposed to replace everything and everyone else in your life. They're supposed to enhance the value of most people and things that already exist. They're supposed to (look there I go again ... making a list of obligations for marriage to fulfill!) be a simple uncomplicated way to ensure we don't live our lives alone. They're just a way of ensuring that we have someone to count on as we grow old.
But with lives like ours, in times like today, it's tough to just be content with that much, innit? Think about it. When you have a fabulous life as a single person, unless marrying someone makes a phenomenal positive difference to your life, why would you? And why should you? When you find everything within yourself to give you your happiness, why should you have to 'settle' for something just to ensure you have someone to come home to?
I think the argument is that you might have all of this today, but as time goes by, and more people around you either 'find love' or 'settle' for something close to it, you'll no longer have friends and peers to enjoy that fab single life with. And as many many wise elders have tried to persuade us into believing, you'll be too old to 'find love' or even 'settle' for something close :-)
Which is why so many people my age are struggling to find the middle ground between perfection and reality. Coz none of us know the answer. And despite all our so called self discovery, we don't really know ourselves well enough to know what we really want to make of our lives. OR marriage.
Its my most confusing, unstructured post so far. Simply because I'm unable to find a way to logically figure out this issue in my own head. A tiny voice says that with the right person, all of the above, all the random ranting and questioning goes out the window. But the booming voice (the one that rules for now anyway) says analyse, analyse!!! And so I do.
If u feel tempted to rip apart the style (which admittedly sucks) then pls don't give in to it. I'm not looking for comments on how badly written this is. I know already. If you have clear rational answers to my questions, now THAT's something I'd appreciate :)