Marriage: Getting ready.
Isn’t marriage an end of independence? What about my career, my individuality? Isn’t marriage also a start of dependency? From the partner to the life after marriage, so much uncertainty. So many ‘what if’s. And indeed most of them are justifiable. Isn’t the idea of marriage itself so scary? So it is for me too. And then as I normally do, I started looking for my contribution to the fears, my contribution to what would make my fears come true. That’s when I realized something.
Everyone is afraid. Everyone is holding on to themselves, afraid to let go.
Isn’t it surprising that so many people believe that marriage is an ending but nobody thinks of it as a beginning? So many of us are immersed in what we want but don’t spare any thought to what we can and should do to the other person, in what we should be letting go in order to get what we want. We want this perfect relationship which gives us everything we want without making any compromises. We forget that relationship, in its core, is always give and take, though many times it is at subconscious level and isn’t in material sense. Just like we have our wants, the other people also have theirs. Why this fixation on the ‘I’ part without respecting the other’s ‘I’ part? How many of us are ready to give? If everybody just want to get something but nobody is willing to give, how does anyone get anything? Why the rigidity in a relationship when it is the source of problems?
I accepted that I need to learn to let go. I accepted that I need to learn to make space. But that doesn’t mean we should lose our own identity, right? Then I realized this relationship should be something that lets me preserve my own identity, and even empower me further. So I worked on myself and understood where I am willing to compromise and where I don’t want to. And through this process I also looked for what I can give the other person. I truly understood what I am looking for mutual compatibility. Mutuality and equality-those are key. It is surprising how much clarity and confidence this process offers. It doesn’t stop all the fears but it calms many of them, with the acceptance to make space, with letting go the illusion of perfection and by making way to the imperfections. And through this I even started seeing marriage as a new beginning.
There are two primitive ways we react to challenges, fight or flight.
We can run away because of the uncertainty or do what we can in each scenario. Growing individualism, fear of commitment and responsibilities, and associating with societal trend is indeed pushing today’s generation towards flight in the context of marriage. While many say this is good for self, for career, it completely depends on our priorities. The second approach is putting in a fight. Unless you are determined to never marry, it is best to see how we can get the best out of it. Why let our fears limit us?
It is completely true that we should marry only when we feel ready, when we are able to integrate marriage into our life. But it is as true that we are never going to be completely ready. My major concern with delaying marriage because of the fear of losing independence or of not fitting in or of responsibilities is that we are feeding them. For example, we are feeding our individuality which in turn reduces our flexibility, which is key in relationships. There are many aspects like our physical and emotional health now and in future which are to be considered.
The fear of marriage largely comes with the mindset that the two people in relationship are more of two individuals sharing a few things and being with each other. I am of the mindset that in marriage, the two people come together as one to build a life. That coming together as one makes a lot of difference. (Well, I am seen as an idealist by many for such ideologies. But maybe I am practical idealist :D). A necessity of this relationship is to maintain their individuality and it demands mutual effort and compromise. And it does give something much more beautiful in return, a bond to cherish for life.
Being ready to marry is a choice we have to make and this is not a bridge to cross but one of those jumps we need to make to reach the other side. The time when we magically feel ready for marriage in a moment would never come.
Getting best out of marriage starts with working on self and even our family.
Marriage is as much about family as it is about the couple. The parents who dictate whom to choose, who aren’t able adapt with time to present culture and who fail to acknowledge that they don’t know their kids very well do pose an additional challenge in the process of choosing the partner. They need to learn to accept. On the youngsters’ end many are short-sighted and rebellious. We need to listen, see and accept. A balance has to be made between the two. And here it is the youngsters who need to work a lot. Because, sorry to say this, it is harder for elder people to change. We need to patiently discuss with family to bring everyone to align on our and their expectations. We need to tune them into our plans of life.
On the working-on-self part, we need to learn to make space for and respect the other person. We need to learn to work on the delicate balance between compromise and being self. We need to learn to love. This is true for any relationship but is much more critical for the relationship of marriage.
First of all, we need to stop giving into our fears and get out of our comfort zone. If you are all-in-the mind person like me, you can talk yourself to this. But I believe the best way to do this, especially if you are staying away from your parents is, by spending more time with them. For many it is true that we enjoy our personal space and we tend to take our family for granted at some level. We fail to see beyond our “needs”. Who else is more effected by this than our family? So talk with them more often, visit them once in a while. The only way to fight fears are going against them. If you feel anything which you believe will hold you back, go against that drive, react opposite to your impulses.
We also need to learn to let ourselves free. It is inarguable that all of us have fears of relationships and hold back our ability to love. To some extent it does protect us. But we should also understand that our own fear and holding it back is actually preventing us from loving and being loved. As I wrote in my book, The Pursuit, “We shouldn’t let our fears hold us back from loving”.
Some people go to the other extent of impressing the other person to make them fall in love. I don’t understand the concept. If we project anything other than what we are in the start of relationship, especially in a lifelong relationship like marriage, it is bound to create problems since the other person would see and like only that mask but not real us. How do many miss this simple point? This is true in any relationship, except at times (and only at times) in a professional one. Being ourselves from the start is the only way a strong bond can be forged.
Live beyond your fears. Love beyond your fears.
P.S. I am not getting married any soon. :D I write about marriage because it is one of the multitude of topics I ponder about.