Off lately, my social circle has seen an increase in the number of marriages.
I keep getting news of new marriages with increasing frequency through gossips as well as social media updates.
For the record, most of my friend circle comprises of people in their mid 20s, which is the age that most Indians usually get married. While it might be a little too early for the rest of the world, it’s quite common for a conservative country like India.
When the first few marriage updates came to me, I didn’t know how to react.
It seems only yesterday that we were all students living our lives without a care in the world. With the exception of exams, all of our worries had been outsourced to our parents. In fact, we didn’t even know the real meaning of stress, worry, responsibility or anything else. Those things were alien concepts to most of us.
But alas, I slowly began to accept the changing times and understood that a whole new era had begun.
However, these recent events got me thinking about the concept of marriage.
While I am all for early marriages (meaning getting hitched by the mid 20s), I hadn’t given much thought to this in general. The closest I ever came to this was when my mom or some relatives wanted to talk about it.
When it came to the issue of my future wife, I didn’t even know where to begin. It was certainly fun to fantasize that I would marry my best friend of many years. But that’s exactly what it was, a fantasy; I was never serious about it. Of course, she later on got married and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted her to be my life partner, so that’s a whole different story unto itself.
What I’ve realized is that marriage is something that most of us get confused about, especially considering it’s permanent nature.
Besides, it’s not like you can get rid of your wife in an instant; i.e. unless you live in the west where getting rid of your spouse is as easy as changing your clothes.
After a long bout of pondering, I think I’ve come to a general idea regarding marriage and the person that I want to spend my life with.
Now comes the million dollar question.
“When is the right time to marry?”
It is an often asked question by a lot of single people, who aren’t sure on where to begin.
As a result, they just go for it as one of the things most people do in life, without actually giving much thought to it.
So what’s the answer to this dilemma?
The answer to this is that there isn’t a definite answer.
Since our life is a free for all where we can do as we please, there isn’t any compulsion to get married at all, if you are wondering.
When it comes to the concept of marriage itself, it is a social institution created to ensure the survival of civilization. It serves as a stable and secure social institution for children to grow up in. Therefore, unless you are thinking of starting a family, there is no reason to get married at all.
Having said that, I still advocate marriage at an early age and I’m not against it as such.
However, there are several factors that should be considered before taking this life changing decision.
I’ll give you a list of reasons to consider before going in for marriage. While this isn’t exhaustive, it will give you a rough idea on how to approach the issue.
I’ll first let you in on the wrong reasons and then the right ones…
THE WRONG REASONS TO GET MARRIED
1.) Peer Pressure:
There will always be peer pressure for everything.
This may not be explicit in the sense that your peers are pressurizing you to get married. You might just pressurize yourself into getting married because you don’t want to be the ‘odd one out’ from the lot.
2.) Familial Pressure:
Families often pressurize you into get married, especially in the case of conservative households.
But just because they expect you to get married doesn’t mean that you should go for it. I’m not asking you to rebel against your family but understand that even you have a say in this decision.
3.) Societal Pressure:
Conservative societies often expect you to get married by a certain age. This may not always be in your best interest simply because you aren’t ready for marriage, for whatever reason.
My take on this is that while society is important, it doesn’t mean that you have to lose out on your individuality.
4.) Competition With Rivals:
There is always a competition going on with one’s rival regarding everything in life.
When it comes to marriage, know that just because someone you are competing with in life has got married doesn’t mean that you have to.
5.) Competition With Exes:
A compelling reason to get married is a case of love competition.
Just because your ex is getting married doesn’t mean that you have to.
6.) Infatuation & Lust:
Infatuation and lust wears off over time.
Make sure to remember that the person you are obsessed with, will probably lose their charm once the novelty and the animal inside you fades away.
Furthermore, the person you are infatuated with and lusting for, may not be compatible for you.
If you marry for the sake of money, know that the relationship will last as long as the money exists.
If or when the money runs out, the marriage will also come to an end.
Marriage is not necessary to have sex.
Marriage is more than just about carnal pleasures.
For your information, this isn’t a recommendation or a green signal for reckless promiscuity. But if you get married for the sake of sex, you’ll just be married physically and not mentally or emotionally.
THE RIGHT REASONS TO GET MARRIED
1.) Legal Age To Marry:
This one is obvious.
You’ll need to be of the legal marriageable age to get married.
This age of course isn’t fixed and varies depending on jurisdiction. There are backward places on earth which even allow for child marriage, so moral issues certainly do exist here.
But in general, if you are around or above 18-21 years of age, you should do just fine. Most countries allow for people to legally get married at around this age.
2.) Financial Stability:
Marriage entails a whole lot of financial burdens.
Unless you are financially stable, you shouldn’t even think about marriage.
You don’t have to become a millionaire but you should be in a position to afford basic necessities.
3.) Emotional Stability:
Marriage isn’t all fun and games. It happens to be an emotional roller coaster ride.
You need to be psychologically ready to deal with the emotional mess, inherent in all marriages.
4.) A Sound Education:
Get a good education before you get married.
Doing it after marriage becomes difficult for a lot of people.
While it’s certainly possible to study after marriage, it’s a lot less stressful when you don’t have to worry about marital issues.
5,) It isn’t A Love Marriage:
Love marriages are garbage. You can read more about them in these two posts:
- Arranged Marriages Are Better Than Love Marriages – Part I
- Arranged Marriages Are Better Than Love Marriages – Part II
You can probably skip this step if you are living in the west. After all, arranged marriages only exist in conservative and traditional societies.
However, you could still emulate the system of arranged marriages and apply it in your own life. In simple terms, it means that you find someone who shares the same characteristics that you do. In addition to this, you rely on compromise and understanding to make the marriage work, instead of relying on ‘love’ to keep things running.
6.) There Is Sufficient Age Difference Between You And Your Spouse:
Age difference is an important issue that is often overlooked, mostly in the name of ‘love’.
While all sorts of weird age combinations exist, there are some ‘golden rules’ regarding age difference:
- The girl must be 4 years and 4 months younger than the guy.
- The girl must be 5 years younger than the guy.
- The girl must be half the age of the guy plus 7.
While I am skeptical of these rules, I am of the opinion that the girl should always be younger than the guy by a few years.
7.) Similar Characteristics:
I have discussed these things when I explained the issues with arranged marriages (See point #5).
However, I’ll explain it in brief here, in case you don’t want to go through those two posts. The person you marry should be of the same background that you are; lifestyle, interests, religion, language, community, race, ethnic group, financial standing, etc.
The reason for this is because most divorces occur due to differences of opinion regarding these things. While it’s not an effective way to rule out divorce, it certainly reduces the chance of the marriage falling apart.
8.) Readiness To Commit To Each Other:
There should be a readiness to commit to each other when getting married.
What I mean by this is that when you get married, you should forget about having adventures with other people. You are no longer single. The only person you should have adventures with should be your spouse.
If you think that you can’t keep your hands off others, first get that curiosity and urge out of your system. Go nuts and fool around for a while if it helps.
Just remember that marriage is about loyalty, not cheating on your spouse.
9.) Readiness To Compromise:
You’ll have to compromise a lot when you get married.
Unless you are able to be diplomatic in handling conflicts and compromise, don’t bother getting married.
10.) Readiness To Commit To Parenthood:
The main reason for people to get married is to become parents. In other words, there is no reason to get married if you don’t want to start a family.
So if you are getting married, know that it’s because you want to have kids.
You don’t have to become parents the first few years, if you desire some romantic time with your spouse. But do note that you shouldn’t put of parenthood. It’s the reason you got married in the first place.
11.) Biological Factors:
This has everything to do with fertility. While you can always wait to get married, know that your body isn’t exactly so patient.
This problem is especially of importance in the case of women, whose fertility begins to drop sometime in their early 30s.
On the other hand, it isn’t much of a problem for men when compared to women.
12.) You’ve Met The Right Person:
When I say ‘the right person’, I don’t imply soulmates.
Soulmates are a myth created by the media. I am merely implying here that you are happy and able to get along with the person you are about to marry.
Nobody is perfect but at the same time, there are plenty of people out there who are suitable partners, in the sense that you can get along with them fairly well.
Having said all of the above, you can check out the below link for some additional information if you are a guy.
Do note that the above link is mostly for western men and isn’t applicable everywhere. Here in India, for example, some of the tips given in the article are irrelevant.
While the information here isn’t exhaustive, it does give you an interesting perspective on how to get started on your marital adventure.
Furthermore, it’s important to add that things don’t always go according to plan. This is especially true in the case of love and marriage, since the behavior of people is highly unstable and difficult to predict.
Therefore, in addition to keeping these points in mind, it’s also important to include your own personal judgements and guesswork.
Beyond this, all one can do is hope for the best, pray for some luck and leave everything to God.