Why are we talking about marriage myths?
Because marriage is over speculated and because before we enter matrimony, most of us hold romanticized version of wedlock in our minds. All credits to the movies, we tend to believe that marriages are happily-ever-after. That they are free of conflicts and are easy.
The sooner we realize that marriage is not just what is shown in most of the movies, the better prepared we are for a peaceful married life.
I have compiled a list of top 10 marriage myths that pertain to Indian context as even though the concept of marriage is universal, Indian culture puts marriage on a very different pedestal. For Indians, marriage is much more than ‘living-together’ of two individuals. So, while many of the myths below may seem to apply for all cultures, few of them are specific to Indian arranged marriage set up.
Top 10 Indian Marriage Myths One Must Not Believe
1. Marriage means happily-ever-after. To many, marriage symbolizes a happy place. Due to the over romanticization of love, we are made to believe marriage means every day roses without realizing how detrimental this can be.
Marriage is not a fairy tale where two people stay together peacefully and never argue and are always in love. But marriage, like I said above, is as real as anything can get. There are happy moments, cherish-able memories, companionship and commitment. But there are also the fights, slamming of doors, pangs of guilt, heated arguments and moments of loneliness. There is no happily-ever-after in the real world.
2. Marriage is all we need (to fix anything that’s wrong). Tying the knot with the assertion that marriage will fix everything is nothing than utter foolishness but not in our Indian culture. Our elderlies believe marriage to be the perfect antidote to anything that’s not going as per the conventions.
Girl had an affair with someone who ditched her, get her married to another man. A young man behaves irresponsibly, get him married. The mom is getting older and there is no woman in the house, bring a daughter-in-law!
This tendency to get young people married with wrong goals further extends to having grandchildren. A couple fights a lot – have a baby!
Mother-in-law is too nagging, give her a grand child to keep her occupied.
Husband spends a lot? Hand him over a baby.
Wife seems to be depressed? Baby is the solution!
But as you can see, it is only plain absurdity to bring a baby or to get married to solve one’s personal issues.
3. Happy couples do not argue. This goes more on the lines of marriage means happily-ever-after. In the initial years of marriage, we all make the mistake of taking any small argument seriously. Since we got married believing our husband is the angel and our marriage is the biggest blessing we have received, any minor argument is seen as a big blow to it.
While the truth is arguments between two people who live under the same roof are as natural as catching cold and cough! We are humans and not robots. Emotions are an integral part of our personality and how can we make them hurt proof? We simply can’t.
4. Marriage means no freedom. Many young men and women run away from marriage because they find it trapping. I was one of them!
Until I turned 26, I thought marriage would limit my personal space and I would be caged inside. While this is partly true that marriage does limit our liberty – we can’t come and go at our will, we can’t stay at friends’ place overnight, late night parties get restricted – but with mutual understanding, both the partners can continue to have their individual spaces even after marriage.
Marriage does not mean no freedom. It means re-arranging your priorities and keeping family life on top. Marriages can be liberating.
5. Good Job, Good Family means a good match. This applies so well to Indian parents. For them, any boy having a good job and belonging to a good family makes a perfect match for their daughter. In case of girls, Indian parents still want to go the traditional way – beautiful, slim, educated and homely.
But this is simply ridiculous. Just because a man has a good job and a good family does not mean he is the perfect match for any girl.
6. His family is your family. Probably the biggest farce out there. How am I supposed to treat his parents the way (or maybe more than) I treat my parents? You must respect them to maintain harmony in the family but embracing the new family while leaving behind yours is asking for too much and is also highly impractical.
7. As an ideal spouse, you must support him always. Marriage means giving rock solid support to each other -in tough and trying times too – but this shouldn’t mean that you support him in everything he does. You do not become a bad wife if you stop him from doing things that will harm him and your family.
Do not worship him and cover all his faults by defending him. If he is wrong, confront him.
8. Marriage means husband and kids. We girls have grown up listening to this advice that seems to be a gospel – after marriage, it is all about your husband and kids.
Ofcourse marriage gives rise to a husband and kids (how is one supposed to get a husband without marrying) but this does not mean that our lives have to revolve around them.
We women often make the mistake of centering all our attention to our families, especially the husband and the kids, and this is one of the biggest harms we do to ourselves. Ofcourse, our family should be our priority but it shouldn’t be everything.
9. He will change. Like I said, we believe marriage is the solution to any kind of personality defect, we also easily convince ourselves that he (or she) will change after marriage and this is not only untrue but also stupid to think so.
If he or she has to change, they will change right away. What is the point in waiting for them to be married to change their habits?
10. A marriage is about two people. In my side of the world, there is a saying that ‘var se ghar banta hai‘ which means a good husband makes a good home.
Going by the above, should we infer that every divorce involves a bad husband (or a bad wife)? No.
Just because one has got a good husband doesn’t guarantee a good home. Two good people may not necessarily make a good couple. A good home is made of mutual understanding, mutual respect, trust, honesty and love.
Is there anything you want to add to the list? Let me know.