Monday, February 6, 2012
"Where's That Ring?!"
“…..First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage”
- Children’s playground song
Society plays a huge role. For some reason we are fascinated with other people’s lives; who they married, what do they do, where they’re from, family name, where they got married, how much they spent, where they spent their honeymoon, where they’re living, what they’re driving, what they’re wearing, etc. Somehow all this becomes a measure of a good match, completely neglecting the compatibility between husband and wife. If they ‘appear’ to be a good match from the outside, that’s enough for marriage. Whether directly or indirectly, there is always that social pressure to get married. Directly, the pressure can be in the form of constant questions from family and friends about getting married, parents constantly bringing up the topic, making suggestions of this person from the lovely family or so-and-so’s child followed by their curriculum vitae. If you’re lucky you can even get pictures to sweeten the deal!
Society dictates our lives indirectly with the common pattern in which we have been conditioned to believe should be followed. It kind of goes like this:
School – Higher education – Work(men)/Marriage(women) – Marriage(men)/Work(optional – women) – Children (yes, multiple) – Repeat cycle with next generation
So for those who don’t have nagging parents, being part of the society we are in automatically puts pressure on us. Some people may refuse to acknowledge such pressures and choose to live their life the way they see fit. But all it takes is that one moment of weakness; that one moment when the solitude becomes loneliness, when the void inside is screaming out for a partner, when the need to share life’s simple pleasures with another grows, that one moment that could possibly turn that carefree life around forever. Before you know it, this eternal bachelor/bachelorette has succumbed to social expectation of marriage. In that weak state, one could feel desperate, rushed, and not having given marriage much thought in the past, settle for the wrong partner. You can see how this sort of scenario can easily lead to marital problems, possibly leaving either party or both to turn to infidelity, because just like marriage is a huge social pressure, we are pressured into staying married.
Any sort of pressure to marry could lead to very similar scenarios. The minute we cave to the pressures around us, and feel rushed to marry, it stops becoming about you and becomes about pleasing others, worst of all when these ‘others’ are people we don’t even really know, just faceless, nameless members of society. And one side effect of this is infidelity. Being unfaithful becomes a way to cope with an unhappy marriage. Before you know it, this becomes a common way of life and people feel that in their situation, it’s ok to cheat. I know it may be a bit blunt to say it that way, and not all roads lead to infidelity. But with high divorce rates these days coupled with widespread infidelity - which has almost become a standard - it’s clear that there’s something wrong in the way we go around choosing our partners. Different people have different views on the matter, as to why it is how it is, and this is my view.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of compromising on how I want to live my life simply for the sake of being a stranger’s potential wife. Yet my sentiments aren’t shared by many, especially the older generation. In their minds’ eye, if they put up with it, so should we. But the way I see it, why continue with this silly charade which leaves us stuck in this cycle, generation after generation. When did appearing to be happy become more important than actually being happy?