Is marriage really necessary? Here’s what real people say
There’s a saying that goes “Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.” I remember a gaggle of aunts and uncles burst out in appreciative laughter when someone quoted it at a family wedding. It made me think – for a society obsessed with weddings, we sure love jokes about the pointlessness of marriage. That’s the Great Indian Paradox.
According to a 2017 KPMJ report, Indian wedding industry is estimated to be around $40-50 billion. We also have the lowest divorce rates in the world. From the looks of it, India sure loves marriages.
And yet, we love to give the groom a good old ribbing about how the “Shaadi” is the start of “barbaadi.”
This cynicism is also evident in the movies. Very few Bollywood movies have the nerve to depict marriages for what they really are. But the ones that do, paint a sorry picture of conjugal lives.
In India, marriage is pretty much a compulsion if you have crossed a certain age. These days, however, people have started questioning the practice and whether it is getting obsolete.
We asked a few people about their thoughts about marriage and this is what they had to say.
“Marriage is a sham”
How exactly does marriage provide security? The question befuddles Sneha B, a marriage hater by her own admission. “Whenever someone announces that they are getting married, I try to talk them out of it,” she admits. “There’s no justification. How is one legal piece of paper going to protect you from loneliness? So many people leave their spouses, cheat on them or abuse them. Marriage is a sham!”
“Married people live longer”
“Say what you want to say about married people, but they tend to live longer,” says 49-year-old Mumbaikar Mangesh Sawant. “Marriage means there’s an extra set of family to look out for you. They can give you emotional, physical and financial safety. There’s also a study that says happily married people live longer,” he adds.
“Marriage forces men to go against evolutionary instincts”
A 27-year-old, who didn’t wish to be named, says that marriage is simply doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary perspective. “Men are wired to seek out different mates and impregnate as many women as they can. That’s how they ensure their genes are spread out. Staying with one woman is not in our DNA. It goes against our evolutionary instincts, and marriage forces us to do that,” he asserts.
“What’s the point?”
If the whole point of marriage is to provide emotional and economic security with a side of sex, why make a commitment for life? “I am financially independent. So I get economic security. I have friends and family for emotional support. Every time I need some company, I go on dating apps. Where does marriage figure in all of this?” asks 34-year-old Brenda Gomes.
“Marriage saved my life”
Niraj remembers a time when he had no aim in life. “I was working 9 to 5 mechanically with no real purpose in life. It changed after I got married. Mom and dad found a girl for me. I agreed to get married because I was a dutiful son. I plunged into it without thinking much. But it changed my life for the better. I became more focused in life and climbed the ladder of professional success. I looked forward to coming home and having someone to watch TV with. It changed my life,” he recounts.
“Don’t listen to what society says”
A 42-year-old who didn’t wish to be named said. “I got married at 30 because my parents worried about displeasing our relatives and friends. ‘What will everyone think?’ is what they would tell me every time. Within four months of getting married, I realised I was in an abusive marriage. It took me several years to finally break free. At that time, no one – neither the relatives nor the friends whose opinions my dad worried about – came to my aid. I was all alone in my battle,” he recalls.
“I said it back then and I say it now – marry only if you want to. Don’t succumb to what society says. Because when things go wrong, the society won’t come to your rescue,” he reiterates.