I was a divorcee, a single parent and a working woman. When I decided to get married again, I surprised myself. But what amazed me was how people looked at me and talked about how I had been saved.
It was almost like Lord’s second coming!
This got me wondering on when marriage became the be-all and end-all of our lives. And as I was writing, I received a call from a bright, beautiful, young designer friend. Everything was going well in her life but she was distraught — “Time was flying by. Everyone was worried about her single status and the pressure seemed to be too much to handle. Studies were sorted, she was gonna land a dream job but…she needed to get married and could not find herself anyone suitable”.
I have experienced first-hand how a bad marriage can damage us. I know how much of our time, energy and resources in life gets wasted trying to undo those effects and I know friends who are struggling with the same. You would imagine that this would be reason enough to be wary of such an institution.
No, instead we choose to weigh our youngsters with emotional baggage. We shove crazy reasons down their throat and throw them on to this “who knows what’s gonna come your way” path.
I had been there and now there she was listening to these age-old adages on why she should choose marriage over everything else and why her life was incomplete.
“You need a companion”
Honestly, if one is unhappy with the idea of being alone, there is absolutely no choice but getting used to it. Work may take your spouse away. Unfortunate situations could do the same. There is no way marriage can guarantee you a constant companion. I would recommend a pet instead.
“You need some security in life.”
A distant cousin is a well-to-do doctor, single and in her late-thirties. I am an independent woman who raised my child on my own for 6 odd years. Clearly it counts for nothing in the absence of the male species.
“Aren’t you bored of being alone?”
Seriously, that’s what we have hobbies for. Go dancing, watch movies, throw some paint on a canvas, read, plant, whatever! Keep in mind, lawyers are expensive and courts suffocating when you get bored of the marriage.
“Marriage will complete you!”
Really, what does that mean? My pieces are missing? Even if they were, would I find them anywhere but within myself? How can we believe that any one individual can define us? Are we not the sum total off all the experiences and the people we engage with and endure? No one but I can complete my story.
“You have to. Everyone does.”
There is no have to in life. No, your grandma is not going to have a heart attack and no one in your family is going to die. You are simply not as important as your head and the world wants you to believe.
“But it is time…”
I did the first time and I was divorced in time too. I am not being a cynic but the fact that it is time simply does not make sense. Life does not work on deadlines and schedules. We as parents can understand that milestones vary for children. Growth charts and needs differ for every child, then why the universal deadline on marriage? Marry if and only when you are ready, be it 25, 40 or 65!
“But your child needs a parent!”
This happens to be the key reasons why most people stay in bad marriages. Remember, your child has a parent —you! We don’t need to marry to help our kids find a decent role model — male or female. That’s what friends and family are for. Your child will definitely find someone to dote on them and share well needed life-lessons. Sliding a ring on someone you don’t love can only add to their woes.
Having said that, I did get married AGAIN. Thomas and I often laugh about how we ‘apparently’ saved each other — me, the forsaken single mother and he, the lone wanderer.
And a year later, we are glad we did because we found each other for the right reasons. Two people who can respect each other and make space for each other’s peculiarities. Not to be saved or completed but simply enjoyed and accepted.