Marriage, Age, Childen, Commitment...what does marriage mean?

October 5, 2006


was told that once she crossed 30, no one would touch her with a ten-foot pole (marriage-wise). She was advised to marry someone who shared her religion and ethnicity. Which brought on this rant...probably a little incoherent, but this is on-the-spur-of-the-moment writing, and no post-processing done! I agree that  if a woman marries, the first childbirth is probably easier for her before she crosses 30. But what about all the other factors that marriage entails? Commitment, long-term if not life-time? The ability to juggle career with home and the family (because in India, the bride still marries into the family, like it or not.)? The ability to like, and respect, and love one's husband ( and this factor to me, doesn't apply to  marriage only; it could be any relationship, with a person of either gender.) For a woman, isn't the personality of the spouse very, very important. apart from, or including, his potential as a good father? So when so many important things are to be considered, why must age add to the complication? If the marriage happens before 30, well and good...but if not...who you spend your life with it is far more important than when you get married, and when  you have your first child. Having a stable relationship to bring the child into is FAR more are bringing  a human being into the world and will be responsible for that being, as a mother, ALL your life. (My child is 28 and I just have to hear that she is running a fever for the umbilical cord to feel a mighty intended!.) I have always believed, also, that if the relationship is stable and good, the marriage certificate doesn't make much of a difference. I think  a marriage can be broken, just like an engagement or a relationship can. Perhaps marriage confers some legal protection on the woman...though even this is debatable, I feel. And most important--to me-- is whether the partners really want to marry, or are content to leave the relationship where it is. Surely, this choice should be left to them? Why is it that gay couples who want to marry are prevented from doing so, and straight couples who may not wish to, are subtly forced to marry? I have heard smirks and hidden remarks (no open criticism, oh, what hypocrisy) from some of my own friends when I strongly supported the fact that someone close to me was in a live-in relationship. I still wonder what would have been said if that relationship had not progressed into marriage. Have these people never seen marriages breaking up? I also believe that those in a stable, loving relationship should be allowed to have, or adopt, babies if they wish to....but I do realize the difficulties of assessing the stability of a relationship, before entrusting little children into it.... and this is more in the realm of the abstract right now... But I know of at least one married couple, who adopted two children, and then broke up.... Views on marriage amongst my circle range from "It's a legal validation of sex" to "It is socially meaningful, and participants in the wedding ritual should be invested in the health of the marriage."...a range of viewpoints that I think about and enjoy, even if I don't share them. In the relationship that I spoke of, the couple worked their way, in a mature manner, from relationship, to engagement, to marriage, at their own pace, and with (I like to think) little family or outside pressure. That's, ideally, what I would like to see will make for happier and long-lived marriages, I  think. I met a young man from Sweden who said that marriage is an option, not a mandate, in his society. That is the way I would like our society to be...but then, I realize that others have a right to their opinion, too, and that what I visualize may never happen in Indian society. ...let these doomsday prophets look for a nice "suitable" groom for you, before you get left behind on the marriage shelf, and have to invest in long poles for that purpose! It will be such a diversion to see what they can come up with....