Marriage - My Views.
Almost every time, I meet a new person or get into a gathering of whatever type – one question is very common – why didn’t you marry. Any fresh introduction calls for where is your family… I had to replay the CD which auto-starts. So I thought it worth to pen down the philosophy of marriage as I understood it. Individually I have taken a decision and feel it worth that everyone takes a decision based on one’s own situation and not influenced by other person’s decision. There may be thousand and odd differences in circumstances, reasons responsibilities and conditions. So don’t replicate. Every case must be decided on its own merits.
I was advised to make the essay short and crisp. But I felt it is worth being lengthy so that only those have patience and need it to such an extent will only go thru completely. This is not fun-sake writing. Many youngsters who questioned me of my decision may get influences wrongly and take a wrong decision if detailing is not done.
In this essay I have only put the facts known to me. No decision is made, so that one can judge ones condition and decide without any external influence.
To be exact I can’t say for sure when this institution has stared. From the time mankind has evolved the institution of marriage in principle might have been there but not in a systematic way and in the name we know it today. There could have been haphazard way of regeneration and a society might have formed where in all might have been part of a group. But a fair guess would be to say that this stared when kings had vast kingdom to rule and less numbers of dependents to take charge of managing the kingdom. Having done with the known people, who for selfish interest ditched the king, the king must have needed some faithful ones for the work. This must have turned him towards more closer ones may be brothers and cousins (not sure whether such names to relations were there by then) and other close relatives including the dearest friends – when insufficiency in number or quality was noted - one must have thought of marriage in a better organized way (may be called a different name), as a way to generate manpower in anticipation that the newcomer (Son in particular) will serve the purpose (as females didn’t have freedom during those days).
Later on formation of the institution called marriage the king, having married brought in a queen from some of the neighboring estates with all due respect - and expected her to bear fruit for helping him rule his kingdom during the life time and taking care thereafter. There were cases wherein the queen could not bless the king with the children which resulted in king marrying again and again for want of a child prince. For quite some time it was only Prince who had the authority to the heir the throne. It was quite late in the history and that too mostly under compulsion that the heir to the throne was a princess.
It went on fine so far the vastness of the kings was maintained and he could develop his boundaries. But there were kings who couldn’t develop boundaries and the kingdom was lost in battle to others. These kings had less or nothing to offer to their children / wards. The shares in such cases started diminishing / reducing and requirement of manpower gradually diminished. For those who enjoyed the large size of kingdom, things persisted for some more time. For kings who could manage too big a kingdom by becoming Maharaja / Samrat – they even tried more than one marriage for manpower.
But the land on the earth has a limited area because earth size is practically not changing. Therefore it was eminent that there will be a day when the land in possession of each of the king in control will reduce as the population started increasing everywhere with increase in kingdom but the population could not be reduced with reduction of kingdom. It was a one way phenomenon. Gradually the kingdoms were replaced by countries and governments.
Nevertheless the day came and individuals had very limited resources to manage an agricultural output from fields. It was just sufficient enough to manage the family including visitors and relatives in general. This is where government / rulers noted the requirement of population control. Almost all the governments failed miserably in controlling the population. May be because, the control was not uniformly exercised all over the world. While some communities were targeted for controlling the population, but others were left free to increase the population. Those free contributed immensely and the overall population of the countries and the world increased tremendously. Even today there are communities (in India itself) wherein high value movable and immovable assets are gifted by communities for producing a child.
On the other hand a class, didn’t agree that this was the just and sufficient cause for the institution called marriage as the liability of family of deceased kings, were to fall back on nears and dears, if anything un-towards happened. There were cases in the history wherein the women in the deceased kings’ families were owned willingly or forcefully by the ones on whom the kings family depended later - neither the married nor the grown up unmarried females were spared but for exceptions.
Looking at the good and bad of the institution called marriage different groups of persons called religions have made their own rules for marriage in the society, where in interests of the group leaders have also played a significant role. Organisations argued differently in favour of marriages. Only a few are discussed here
Some said it is pitru-wrin (पितृ – ऋण) - which explained that because your father has played a role in your birth, you must repay the debt of his role by playing a similar role to give birth to someone else into this world. Practically it is a chain for dependency. This was a case of support to elders, disabled for any eventuality or unforeseen circumstances in the family. The principle says – I have you for me and you should also have someone for yourself. Till quite late a male child was only accepted for support but with the change in social condition now the gender does not matter for the purpose. Even for the final rites of a person male child was acceptable till late but now there are evidences that even female child has carried out all that needed in the funerals and the last rites.
A similar statement goes for Matru-wrin (मातृ – ऋण), (धरित्रि –ऋण) Dharati-wrin, Akash-wrin (आकाश – ऋण) and so many all concisely spelling that you owed so much from so many and the repayment can only be by marrying and participating in giving birth to a child. Further elaboration and explanations on these can only be provided by an elite & erudite on the subject.
It is also argued that marriages are made in heaven and by avoiding marriage, one is depriving the, would have been spouse the happy married life. On the other hand they only say that, it is destiny, which no one can change. What a contradiction….
Many have even the arguments – such that, your Grand Parents have married, your parents have married , their parents are married , your brothers are married, your sisters are married and you are now against the institution … are you more intelligent them all of them ???
I don’t see this as a relevant argument as there is no consistency. They took a decision as of their times and it is our time to think and decide now. Mahatma guided, if someone slaps you, provide other cheek for slapping and shame will force the one who slapped to withdraw… do you think this hold good today…? So not withstanding who said what, you have to think of your times and decide … keeping the principles provided in mind for guidance.
The attraction to opposite gender starts from the time one starts knowing one self. In different forms the attraction goes to mother / father (and their siblings), brothers / sisters / cousins / classmates / neighbours, friends – in elderly and contemporary levels at the first phase. At a later phase come there will be spouse (with siblings), neighbours, children (own and their cousins), and lastly grandchildren and their spouses. The total chain of attractions serves towards physical, emotional, physiological, security and financial needs.
The physiological need starts from adolescence and keeps on for some time. This stage teaches one to control emotions on the issue and by the time one reaches marriageable age one has good experience of it. Those who fail in controlling these emotions go astray and fall prey to red light area or some to scrupulous elements supplementing illegal activities. This at time damages the character and may lead to sufferings of different types including imprisonment or medical issues.
It is better for those weak in controlling emotions, to approach their parents / guardians and get married at the earliest to lead a satisfied life. Those strong in emotional controls should only think of leading a single life. But this is not the only quality. One has to consider all round impacts of being single and resolve the issues one by one to conclude the issue.
When one considers the issues with this perspective one will come to know that physiological need does not become a resounding issue in the matter and there are many other larger issues.
Mostly females are forced even against their will to get married. May be things are changing now but I still find such situation in the society. I am enumerating the issues with a male being alone – the same may be considered for other gender as well.
Parents will show their concern of your being alone, without a spouse and also that they have been deprived of playing with the grand children. The next one is your sister / brother -in – law complains of being left alone by your not bringing another daughter / son in law in the family. Then your sisters will complain regarding missing bhabhiji. Then elders in the family show their concern – why are you depriving a God sent spouse from living a happy married life? Then another serious concern is shown by someone who respects your parents – you are depriving yourself of your last rites, who will perform them? (These days you can go for Total body donation to any of the hospitals for educational and research purposes).
The issues get multiplied if you are the only child / son. Because your being lone and deciding to be single may change the whole world of your parents. In our culture daughter in law is supposed to assist the parents, which they will be deprived of. There will be no grand children. So many other issues it keeps on going to infinity.
Then one serious issue which is experienced by many is that friends and relatives feel that being alone you don’t have expenses and hence have accumulated enough wealth and certainly something can be spared for them. This tends them to be closer till they are in need and feel something still can be spared. Same personalities will get distanced soon you marry or entrust the wealth to a trust in the will made public. Society at large is always there to drain you if you are not cautious.
The need of marriage is considered for the following issues:-
- · Sooner after employment, staying alone and not getting desired type of food.
- · Company when employed and staying alone in particular.
- · If you are the last one in the family left out for marriage.
- · Physiological needs.
- · Help to old parents or any disabled member in the family.
- · Mutual help in case of health issues, disability or at the old age – all
Going one by one for food Market is a good response these days. Some may develop cooking habit to manage the time as well. Points 2, 3 and 4 are for limited time and can be handled in different ways. Points 5 and 6 weigh heavily but under present social system number of parent living with children is reducing thereby reducing the impact of point 5. The only point Number 6 needs to be considered seriously.
One may have to take excellent care of the health if decided to live single.
There are sections in the society who look the singleton with different sight. They argue:
· May be one had a shock of life in the love affair.
· May be there are some physical issues.
· No one feels, that may be one has family responsibilities – like marriage
of younger siblings and by the time responsibilities are taken care. One
self is beyond marriageable age or proper alliance is not available in society.
Genuinely there are cases where in one has responsibility of taking care of widowed sister’s family or brother’s family when brother is no more alive. But such cases are quite few compared to others. NO one is able to understand that someone has willingly and with a conscious mind decided to be alone. That is the present society.
During the earlier decades, spouses are taken for the granted to be the immediate source and sink for draining emotions mutually. All around tensions can freely be shared and discussed. Spouses are the best for sharing joy for multiplication and sorrow for fragmentation. The matters remain in house also. But with the sense of equality and in the contest of superiority the confidence has turned out to be an illusion. Now it depends of individual personalities and the mutual relationships.
In the present generation, there is a huge competition between spouses for superiority. This race is leading to frequent arguments (not discussions) and ultimately many couples are facing divorce petitions. This is sometimes calling one to be alone and getting away from marriages. This had led to dinks groups ( Double income no kids), live in relationships etc.
In a (married) family, if either of the partners deceases – the spouse (widow or widower) is expected to re-marry or spend the life, alone with the support of children or grandchildren. Originally there was satipratha, which has been done away with considering it to be a social evil - in which living widow is deprived of Right to the life. Re-marrying is not possible in many cases as because of being married for such a longtime and having a full-fledged family – it may not emotionally and psychologically possible to adopt another lady / man in place as wife / husband. In many a cases children are not accepted buy the new incumbent and that leads to an issue very tough to resolve. These things spoil the peace of mind and one decides not to remarry under the circumstances.
Staying with children and grand children was a possibility when there was cohesiveness in the family. Now that the generations have out grown the relations and emotions, they leave the parents for fending for themselves at old age and get settled at anywhere in the universe with the spouse and children for their happy living and earning. If this be the case with the children, what is there to think about grand children? The proportion of deserted parents is increasing day by day.
Old age homes are flourishing now which was the case of orphanages a hundred years before. Now there are cases wherein the parent(s) is / are set to old age homes within the same city, wherein the children live with their family and visit them periodically to see and provide some pocket money. There are cases where in oldies are taken home during some festivities but all this care to elders is diminishing day by day. With the speed and force western culture is overshadowing the Indian culture; the day is not far when oldies shall be left to fend for themselves. We are willingly damaging emotional relations and bodings - to the extant we can. One day it will be eradicated.
Considering all this the married couple has to live on their own after the children are married. Moreover, if one of the parents deceases for some reason or the other, the living spouse has to manage on one’s own. This turns out to be horrible because of the habit of staying together for the entire past life. It hurts badly and end comes faster for surviving spouse also. The other option is to live with the children under prevailing situations. Quite many times staying alone or staying in old age homes proves better than being with children.
The void of spouse remains un-filed ever because of longstanding married life. This pinches at every instant where in spouse was a part. The void kills emotionally and at times – if life thereafter is unpleasant and beyond care, leads to a lonely situation wherein life turns out to the HELL. Of course there are a few who manage to mix up with children and grandchildren and manage their life satisfactorily – but the number is diminishing steeply.
In case one is single by planning, one must have considered all the events, possibilities at all the ages and incumbent issues and problems that can arise and how to resolve the same or get ready to suffer to the extant it is a must. Therefore one knows to a large extant (if everything goes as per plan then destiny will be questioned) what is in offing and is prepared to handle them or face them or suffer. This hurts less.
Going by general trend where everything goes smooth , the need of spouse arises only at an old age may be few years post retirement when one is not in a position to complete all the necessary works by oneself.
The need of a person to share your good / bad, happy and sorrow feelings is another prime point to be considered at all ages and primarily at the old age (retired life) Except spouse, siblings and off-springs – very few ( may be close to zero) people in this world are so much valuable and believable with whom everything can be shared. Though the physical assistance is available from so many corners like old age homes and employed (paid) assistants, the service spouse, siblings and off-springs can render can’t be compared to the paid assistants
The services from spouse etc are certainly much superior and comparing them with others is an insult to them. Obviously you can’t and rather shouldn’t expect to have the cake and eat it too.