Two posts so close together, you guys must be lucky! (Jk I’m like super duper stressed out right now and need to distract myself today. I have to work on my CV/resume and my final presentation for rotation, but LOL). Today’s topic will be (NEW FLASH, nothing new there) marriage. This is kind of an update, or at least I hope, from my last post(s) on marriage and love and all that fun stuff. The last time I tried to write this post I was full of sass, but I’m feeling very down and in another low point of my depression today so it’ll probably be less sassy and more serious.
So I’ve mentioned many times on here before, but as a Desi girl, 23 is apparently the magical age where you need to get married and settle down. It doesn’t matter that I want to focus on my career and become a successful pharmacist. In society’s eyes, I’m not successful if I’m not married yet. That is a pressure that is very heavily felt by my father and to a lesser extent, my mother.
So to begin with, let’s go over my father and mother’s ideas of marriage. My dad sees marriage as a union, not between two people, but rather between two families. Weddings are not supposed to be simple affairs, but rather extravagant affairs where the entire world can see how happy he is that his daughter is getting married. The guy his daughter is getting married to must like her, but love may not necessarily be a requirement for the marriage itself. Said guy must never hurt his daughter and must treat her with respect, but he also must be from a good family because after all, this marriage is uniting two families. He wants me to desire the idea of marriage– his idea of marriage– and we often get into arguments about this.
My mother, on the contrary, just desires happiness for her children. She does also see marriage as a union between two families, but to a much lesser extent. She doesn’t care if the guy’s family is rich or poor, they just need to be decent people with caring, loving hearts. She doesn’t care what the guy does; he must be a good Muslim, pure at heart, and must treat her daughter with love and respect. Respect for women is very important to my mother, and if a guy is not able to treat women with respect and disregards women’s rights, then the guy is nothing to my mother. She doesn’t care how the wedding is–the simpler, the better. She wants me to wait until I’m ready for marriage, but not too long. In fact, just a few days ago she told me that I’ll be married in 2 years, so she’s slightly more liberal, but still very conservative.
A few weeks ago we attended the wedding festivities of a close family friend of ours. His son was getting married. It was your typical arranged marriage and typical huge Desi wedding with dollars upon dollars just being spent on things that people would later talk shit about anyway. Marriage is a very large part of Desi culture. Essentially, everything you do in life must lead to one final goal– marriage. That weekend, Bob and Molly* had fulfilled their goal. Their life had now begun.
As Muslims, marriage is an important part of life. The Prophet (SAW) has said that the best amongst Muslims are those who are married. Marriage helps fulfill the internal desires essentially preventing Muslims from committing sin. But Islam also says that marriage should never be forced upon someone. Additionally, if a guy or a girl likes someone, then they can bring that forward to their parents. Interestingly, even during the actual signing of the marriage contract, the woman must agree prior to signing her name– even if she has already consented to the marriage. (This was something interesting I learned during the wedding)
So since Bob and Molly got married, and Bob is only a year older than I am, everyone has now been saying that it’s time for me to get married. The one good thing that came out of the wedding was no rishtas, so score one for Komal against Desi aunties. And so comes the real reason for writing this post? Do I feel pressurized to get married? In all honesty, no, but…
I have this idea of marriage and love and all that cutesy stuff that is probably so delusional and not reality. When you’re in a romantic relationship, you’re able to fully be yourself with that one person. They know you inside and out, and you know them inside and out. You get intimate, obviously physically, but I’m talking about the emotional intimacy. They’ll know your deepest, darkest fears. They’ll know your deepest, darkest thoughts. They’ll sense your anger, your sorrow, and your happiness. Every emotion will be laid out in the open, and if you both truly care for each other, you’ll try your hardest to keep the good emotions afloat and drown the bad emotions. You’ll both be each other’s shoulder to cry on. To me, that is what a relationship is between two people.
It was the craving for this that drove me to say yes to a total of two rishtas that came forward. Looking back, I probably agreed to them for all the wrong reasons, and I was naive at the time. The first one was this guy who I actually really liked. Med student, super attractive, beard on point, Pakistani, well-dressed, seemed well-mannered upon first impression. Basically, he was the perfect guy, or at least he fit the idea of ideal man, but it didn’t work out and I was devastated for silly reasons.
Then more recently, I said yes to a rishta that was bought forward around January of this year. There was nothing about the guy I liked (and this based on the superficial looking at his pictures and based on his career), but I still said yes. You know why? Because I was tired– tired of being alone, tired of everyone asking me if I had someone in my life, tired of getting these rishtas, just tired. This one was also a no because apparently they had found someone else. That’s cool.
So do you know what that did to me? I kept thinking, and still do sometimes, that there is something wrong with me. Something is wrong with me that prevents people from ever being able to consider me a romantic counterpart. I mean all this would have been so much easier if someone had just liked me and wanted to go out with me. If I think logically, there’s nothing wrong with me. I care for those around me, I go out of my way to do things for people who mean a lot to me. But you know, it’s those dark whispers that tell me there’s something wrong with me.
I want this post to be all encompassing, so apologies for how long it is and how unorganized it seems. I don’t mean for things to take on a dark turn, but it’s something that haunts me from time to time. One of my biggest fears is not finding love and being alone in the world. I know 23 is a young age to be worried about this. But after 23 comes 24 after comes 25 and so on.
I feel like there’s so much more I have to say regarding this topic. But it’s just gonna be even more unorganized if I continue writing. So far, at 23, these are my thoughts.