Emotional dependence and Singledom
Marriage is a man-made institution to legitimise two people living together as romantic partners, engaging in procreation and so on. But at a very carnal level, there is no need for it and we can very well do away with it. So, if any one of you believes that you “have” to get married for your parents’ sake, we have a problem because you’ve probably surrendered to the society much more than you should have (okay, that’s a judgement alright).
While our parents would love to see us get married and “settled” (an unattainable state of stability that parents dream of for their children), it’s okay if we don’t. A lot of parents’ hopes/ dreams for us, get shattered at various points in their lives and so one more won’t make so much of a difference. Trying to get us married is their desperate attempt to find us a “purpose (read distraction)” in life, so we don’t die of loneliness/depression as we age. So, if your parents are breathing down your neck constantly, either you need to convince them that you already have a purpose in life (if you do) or go find that purpose asap before their concern breaks you to pieces.
Some one or two generations ago, parents bulldozed their choices on children in terms of when, whom and how they must marry. To some extent, I can understand this because people were fairly young when they married, and they may not have really had the time to develop a full personality by then.
But of late, I’ve been meeting more and more fully grown adults (in 30s) with mostly sorted professional lives still waiting for their parents to find them partners or play the primary role in deciding who they should marry, which makes me wonder if our parents were too focussed on keeping the family close-knit and in the process missed raising independent decision makers.
Now, I don’t blame our parents because their generation was fighting the transition from joint families to nuclear families and hence, resorted to emotional blackmail (not consciously of course) to retain family bonding. Naturally our generation values emotional independence having gotten very little of it growing up and so, we might be headed towards raising more nuclear lives.
As we raise more independent thinkers, our children might get very little of the warmth and closeness of a huge close knit family resulting in them making up for it in their own ways as they raise their following generation and so on. But that’s not for me to worry about.
As far as my generation is concerned, we might probably focus on raising strong independent decision makers because it is scary to see the number of people who remain unmarried because they haven’t found a partner that their parents approve of. It scares me to see that lack of parental concurrence is an acceptable excuse for someone even in their 30s. If you’d found your life’s greatest passion, would you let someone else (even if its your own parents) tell you what to do with it?
My partner often said he wanted to marry someone who’s lived in a hostel (I’d spent 22years of my life living with my parents at the point when I met him), but I never really understood what he meant until recently. Living in a hostel away from home allows us to “grow up” in so many ways that staying home with parents doesn’t. We learn to take control of our day-to-day lives, make independent decisions and uproot a few roots that have grown deep into our families over the years.
While this might recalibrate our bond with our families, it is an important step towards being marriage-ready since the recalibration facilitates welcoming a new bond into our lives. Some of us get confused by this recalibration as having to choose between the family and a partner. It is not one or the other, instead it is making way for both in the long-term while giving the partner short-term benefit of being new in our lives.
And there is no way you can strike this balance gracefully if you haven’t learnt to make your own choices.