(a) One life! It is to be appreciated that you are lucky to have been gifted with life as a human being, the most intelligent mammal of this planet, only once. In the next life, no one knows or can predict what form of life you will get … a dog, a tiger or an insect! So why not live this one properly and happily?
(b) The Choice for Sex. You have got the full right to decide with whom you wish to sleep on your wedding night. It’s your body and you shouldn’t have to get naked in front of a person you don’t love with your whole heart.
(c) Right to Choose. A person of marriageable age has the full right to look for his or her choice of a life partner. Once a match is fixed, a partner had chosen (or arranged) and one realizes after the marriage that they have made a mistake and decides to correct it, both the families start behaving as if the world is coming to an end!
(d) Unjustified Social Pressures. We are still a developing society. If someone decides to quit a marriage, an invisible tattoo gets imprinted on the divorcee’s head. Unhappy couples are supposed to fake a happy relationship in front of society. No one will ever try to help you solve your marital issues (in fact, no one can), but if you declare your decision of a getting a divorce, the whole society will turn to make an example out of you. In case one wishes to go for a second attempt, the marriage market for divorcees is altogether a different world!
(e) Impact on the Next Generation. In case one decides to carry on with the marriage, surely the couple will have kids too (perhaps at a later stage). The life of that kid or kids may never be normal, but sad and full of unwanted experiences. Meet any child with unhappy parents or those who have an unsatisfactory married life, and you will always see fear, doubt, personality defects, and other psychological complications in the kid, as compared to a child brought up by a happy couple.
(f) Tossed Finance. Finance will always be an issue in case of a marital dispute. Irrespective of whether both the partners are staying together or separately, the money will always remain a major issue. Insecurity will always remain, not only in the minds of the parents but also in the minds of the next generation. Many people have lost a fortune due to the impact of their divorce.
(g) Lifestyle Diseases. Unhappy or unsatisfied marriages result in an everlasting emotional and physical stress, which leads to overeating (it’s a known fact that overeating, especially sweets, is a major symptom of dealing with stress) and results in further health complications. Both stress and overeating lead to lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc. These diseases catch hold of your life like a second spouse. With lifestyle diseases added to an unhappy marriage, God only knows the future consequences! When dealing with lifestyle diseases, every soul knows that medical expenses happen to spiral out of control.
(h) Even though the parents on both sides have passed through the marital road for at least 25 years and know the importance of sex and personal compatibility, when it comes to the marriage of their sons and daughters, all their experience evaporates into nothing. It is assumed that the kids will handle all the complicated situations after marriage well. How? No one is bothered! Everything (we repeat “Everything”) regarding their marriage is decided on the assumption that “ALL IS WELL!”
Lastly, we can conclude that a mentally and emotionally separated couple is a burden for everyone related to them. It’s like a Tsunami, where everyone gets affected, only the impact may vary.
Only Two-Life Choices
Education and marriage are the two major life decisions that hold the power to direct one’s entire life. If anyone or both of the decisions turn out to be disastrous, may God save that soul.
Arranged Education. In India, the course of one’s education is generally decided by the parents, mostly because they are the ones paying for it and it is assumed that the kid is too young to decide anything. More often than not, parents choose that path of life for their kids that they themselves dreamt of having, without bringing into consideration the choice and capability of their child! Also, in the case of middle-class families, if the child doesn’t opt for engineering or medicine, the parents feel convinced that he or she will beg on the streets. If the kid questions their decision, it is considered a full-fledged revolt! (Issues related to education will be taken up in another article.)
And Marriages too! In the case of marriages, where a man and a woman of ages ranging from 22 to 40 years (sometimes even more!) have to set an important life-milestone, the most important marital decisions, such as choosing the spouse, is again decided by the parents!
Why Expect to be Spoon-Fed? Girls and boys! You are qualified, working in an office, dealing with all sorts of crooks in your daily lives, financially independent, involved with the opposite sex, undertaking millions of digital promises on various social media platforms, then why do you need your parents to spoon-feed you the choice of a life partner?
Rules of a Happy Marriage
The basic ingredients of a happy married life are:-
Trust. Both partners should have blind trust in each other.
Understanding. No one is perfect. Both partners should have a clear idea of each other’s limitations.
Sharing of Responsibilities. With the desire for a rise in the quality of life, it’s important for the wife to work and share the finances. Also, the husband needs to help the wife with the chores around the house.
Finance. In most of the marital discords, finance is the main reason and needs no further explanation.
Sexual Capability. Now, this is a dark area. Even though the parents of both the girl and the boy are aware of the importance of sex in married life, both prefer to remain silent on this issue.
We can throw a challenge to anyone on this planet to come forward and claim that he or she is happy with his or her spouse, even with zero sexual intimacy!
What to do?
First, we should clarify that despite the above-mentioned facts, we are not advocating love marriage blindly. Even love marriages fail. We are only trying to bring to the fore the loopholes in the existing concept of an arranged marriage, which need to be plugged beforehand. Following are some recommendations:
(a) Ask for More Time. Before even the parents meet and finalize anything, insist on meeting the spouse-to-be. Ask for some time to understand the other person. There is no expiry date on being allowed to get married. Most people get married in their late twenties. Use your education, your job experience, family, and friends to analyze the proposal. If the girl or the boy tries to hurry up, go ahead and show them the middle finger.
Hurrying up with a matter like marriage is like drunken driving, where not only can you get killed, but will also harm those around you! Not to mention the deadly hangover, if you survive that accident.
(b) Spending Habits. Both partners should understand each others’ spending habits, which may involve going shopping together or paying attention to the other’s preferences.
(c) Savings. At least one of you should have the habit of saving money for the future. There is nothing wrong in knowing each other’s bank balance records.
(d) Cyber Stalking. Try to understand the online habits of the other person. No harm in cyberstalking, if required. But still, some privacy issues are also to be kept in mind. Both the partners will eventually be members of a common group such as on Whatsapp, Facebook, etc. Use this to try and learn the other person’s mindset. It’s very difficult to fake one’s personality for too long. Try to find out via the social media platforms if your would-be partner is emotionally (or maybe physically) involved with someone else without the knowledge of their parents.
Be honest. You both need to understand that by keeping secrets from each other you will only be making a fool out of yourself, your spouse, your parents, and his parents, as well as the generations to come.
(e) Bond 007. Try to extract as much information from your future partner as possible. This will surely give you the confidence to go ahead with the marriage. If required (if the partner is very secretive about his or her life), there is no harm in hiring a private detective!
(f) Explicit Truth. Both partners need to bare their lives’ details to the other, down to the very basic points (excluding the details of potty perhaps). This will help the couple have a better understanding of each other. More clarity means more trust. More trust means more satisfaction, which may eventually lead to a happy married life.
(g) The First Night Test. If, in spite of all your efforts and resistance, you are married off to some unknown stranger, how do you find out more about him/her before revealing all your cards in front of him/her?? Just tell them that you need a minimum of 30 days to open up with them before you have sex for the first time. (neither of you is going anywhere and have waited this long for your wedding night anyway, what’s 30 more days?) If he agrees, you have married a ‘lion’. If he makes excuses or pounces on you with his pants down, either be ready to live a life of no consent or start finding ways to exit the relationship.
This next set of points is for the parents to ponder upon:-
(a) Trust your girl or boy. Today, most girls and boys are well educated. With the internet being used in its best form today, they are well informed. With a graduation degree and a job in hand, they know how to deal with life and the people around them. Let them differentiate right from wrong using their own wits. If you, as parents, don’t want to bother yourself with the explicit facts of their lives, like at what age your girl or boy started masturbating or how many times they do it every day, you should also NOT worry about or decide with whom they should enjoy their wedding night. It is as simple as that.
(b) Live and Let Live. You, as a couple (and as parents), have lived your life. Now let your girl or boy also live their life peacefully. Let them take the major decisions of their life themselves. No one wants to spoil their life by getting married to the wrong person.
(c) Marriage Happens Only Once. It is assumed that one gets married only once. We are sure that even your kids feel the same way. So, let them decide who their life partner should be. Don’t force your choices on them and don’t snatch their life’s only opportunity from them to decide something important.
(d) History Shall Not be Repeated. Just because you were forced by your parents, decades back, to marry your present partner, it does not imply that your own girl or boy shall follow in your footsteps. Just take a cursory look at the life your kids lead and compare it with your own. You will surely get the message LOUD AND CLEAR. In the world of social media where millions of people connect online, talking about an arranged marriage is like fighting with bows and arrows in a 21st-century war!
Bottom line. You can force your daughter or son to get married to a partner of your choice, but you cannot force them to be happy, living through a dissatisfying and confused marriage. If you know that a couple needs to manage their marriage on their own, why not let them choose their life partner too. You have lived past the best years of your life, but your kids still have it all ahead of them. Don’t let their lives be ruined by your hasty misinformed decisions.
You have been gifted with this life. Congratulations! But now, how do you best use it?
First, accept the fact that getting married is a major decision of your life that informs who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. DO NOT make that decision with a blindfold over your eyes.
Be the Devil’s Advocate. Put your foot down if you are not comfortable with the proposed partner, even if both the families are convinced in favor of it. It’s better to be a devil before marriage than to cry for the rest of your life. No one will give you a certificate for being a lamb during the discussion of your marital alliance. Clarify all your queries and understand all the terms and conditions, both written and unwritten.
It’s Your Life. It’s your life and you have the full right to decide ‘Who’s Who’ in your life. If your parents have sponsored your studies and other facilities, they were sponsored by their parents in their turn too. Also, while they enjoyed the sex when you were conceived, they were aware of the consequences of having a child too. No need to feel even 1% guilty for refusing a marriage proposal if you are not comfortable.
A Ruined Future. One wrong decision in the selection of your life partner will not only ruin your own life but also have an adverse impact on the next generation. So, if not for yourself, at least for the sake of your kids, be wise with respect to your marriage. The next generation has the full right to have a normal and happy childhood and adulthood, which will only be possible if you yourself are leading an emotionally and physically satisfied life. Also, your kids will thank you till your death if you can manage to be a happy and inspiring parent. For that, you need to love your partner as much as you love yourself.
Prediction. Use your head before you get married and take your time to decide the type of partner you wish to spend the rest of your life with, or else you might end up wondering forever (like the man shown below) the good life you could have enjoyed had you chosen wisely.
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