The other day, a relative of mine phoned me to share his joy with me in getting his daughter engaged. I used all words I knew to appreciate and congratulate him. But I had to try hard that he should not know the air of apprehensions that leaped over my mind while I talked with him. A marriage in the family should have enthralled me, even if I could not attend it. Since it is happening very soon; I cannot avail leave to attend it. However, I cannot attend the wedding is not from where the apprehensions have leaped up.
They have leaped up from my despair, that marriage these days are becoming traps for many. The anxiety, apprehensions and the pressure that most parents suffer since the day a girl is born, to get her educated and married away are enormous. So when a go ahead is obtained in the form of her engagement to indicate that she is getting married, it is a life-time achievement. A joyful moment indeed; the joy also comes from their notion that a lot of calculations have come right; the social, economical and astrological; social means, religion, caste, and family; economical means dowry and gold and astrological means the star-combination Since all those calculations have come right her marriage life is going to be a perfect one is a great relief for the parents.
I could feel that heave of relief from my relative while he spoke with me.
But what could be the reality awaiting, after the engagement, as she gets married. There are chances that she and he live together happily till the end of their lives, if so that is great.
On the other hand if things happen different; in the heat of initial emotions, she may not notice anything. Shortly after, her doubts would take over hopes, and questions like, 'what was the relevance of all those calculations which predicted that my marriage is going to be a perfect one?' may come out of her.
Anybody who happens to hear her question will then remind her that she needs to have the right feminine skills to enjoy a successful second life (marriage for females is a second life). But what are those feminine skills? So to speak they are different to different females; for some, they are the opposite of masculinity; that is, flexibility, pliability and conformity. For some they are the scheming and the crafting techniques. Those who belong to the first group often find their second life very miserable, they loose their own self identity very soon and in the end become unknown to themselves; the second kind perhaps leads a very successful life but not always; there will be a time when their scheming and crafting start backfiring and then on it would be hard to pull on. Then there is a third category who wishes to maintain their ambition and interests untainted. They are the ones who clamor for equal treatment with men and are hence not taken kindly by others. They are sometimes termed non-feminine, masculine, arrogant and all those nasty names. Chances are that they face all kinds of calamities in the beginning but in the end they are the ones who have better chances to find sustainable happiness and peace in life.
I have no doubt that the girl in my family belongs to the third category and hence she is not going to find in her second life everything hunky dory especially in the beginning.
And it you fast forward a few years; probably they may have a few needy children by then. Most people think children can sustain a marriage and that is why they are keen on couples to have children. But in reality it is the opposite, especially these days. Children can turn even a crack in their parent's relationship to a gaping hole; the problem is not actually children; neither of the couple has any skills to bring up a child. In traditional norms men are not supposed to bear any responsibility in the upbringing of a child but only the women. So where traditional norms are maintained a man is free to do whatever he wants to do during his free time; that is he can sit in front of the TV, waiting for food to be served, spend time with his friends inside or outside the house, choose to entertain himself in whatever manner he thinks appropriate. While he does all those things his children clamor inside the house to get attention and care and his wife struggles with many things; cooking, taking care of the children, helping them do homework, discipline them and even to be an economic supporter.
Females in the three categories, I have mentioned earlier, react at this stage in different ways; the first category females know that there is a huge problem at hand but have no clue as to how to solve them. So they often blame themselves for everything and make maximum effort to accommodate others by becoming flexible and pliable and will reach a stage in the end form where she cannot do anything more. At that time her self esteem plunges low and she can only regrets for everything. The second category females, by that time might have taught their men that they have no chance of survival in this world without them and hence they have to totally and completely surrender before them.
The third category are reactionaries; they question their men whenever they behave in inappropriate manners; they may also educate them on relationship, behaviour formation, value system, the need for having a caring and supportive family atmosphere and on the constructive role parents are supposed to play in the upbringing of children. They may also argue for transparency in all dealings especially in economy. So it is possible that their men may get tired of them and at one point when they feel that it is enough they seek for legal help to divorce them. It is also possible that their men choose to listen to them and show willingness for change and that there is a good prospect for their marrige.
I already told that the girl in my family belongs to the third category so in my view, her marriage may end up either in a divorce or in a happy meaningful relationship depending on what kind of a man her husband is. And how is it possible for me to share all those apprehensions with my relative. If I try to let him know them, I am sure he will start doubting my intentions; he may even dislike me saying I wish only bad things for his daughter. So what can I do other than hiding them from him?