L I F E S T Y L E
Jannatul Ferdous Tulona, Sanjida Tamanna, Faija Tasfia
If every day did not bring a new disaster this year, perhaps the spike in Bengali weddings amidst the pandemic would’ve earned a bit more speculation and analysis. I mean, every time you click the refresh button on your newsfeed to waste a little more time, there it is — another one of your friends has just got hitched!
If you did not think marriage was a monumental change in one’s lifestyle before, you certainly will, for once at least, after being bombarded with a thousand “happily ever after”-themed photos every once in a while by newly-weds on your friend-list. While it is people’s democratic right to post whatever they want (yes, that includes their ring-clad hands from a hundred angles), many unmarried women may be subjected to a feeling of alienation as a result of the indirect impact of what social media represents as, and what a regressive society has conditioned them to believe to be “a well settled life”.
Marriage is a significant part of life, no doubt, but it certainly does not equate to the idea of everlasting happiness and contentment, as it is often made to superficially appear in society, social media, and various other media. Remember when we were told to struggle till school, and university would just be fun and games? The idea of a rosy “happy ending” can be just as big a scam as that is.
Marriage comes with the responsibility of building a family while maintaining the balance between two families, as well as committing to sacrifice space from your personal responsibilities and freedom, though to a certain extent. Truth to be told, balancing the associated responsibilities and roles, and also facing the challenges that come with a marriage, are concerns more worrisome than the idea that haunts many single women, too often, of not getting married, ever at all.
Nevertheless, in our society, weddings, and more precisely marriage itself, carry immense importance. Women are expected to plan their whole lives in accordance to it. In our country, even in the 21st century, a large part of our society still associates a woman’s success with her marriage. This type of attitude towards marriage affects girls from a young age and conditions them to think of marriage as a factor that “completes” them.
Though a shocking but not rare factor, many women and girls are forced to get married in our country. Sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. Factors influencing this, for instance, people getting married in the surroundings, relatives incessantly talking about marriage, subtly hinting at when “your number” is coming up, etc. A lot of women feel left out or unfulfilled. But these feelings are not always felt by the woman herself. Society and surroundings force them to think that way. We are brought up in a way so we think that marriage is the ultimate goal of life. Women and girls thinking otherwise are considered odd or defiant.
There is nothing wrong with marriage. Many if not most of us want to lead our lives with someone. We want someone to share our happiness with, to share laughter with, to cry on someone’s shoulder, to tell our exciting and sad news to, and just to live with. But to associate our whole lives with it is wrong.
We shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves because our friends are getting married. There is no time limit to get married. We shouldn’t get married because our friend is getting married. We shouldn’t get married because we are 25, or “God forbid” more. We shouldn’t get married because we are having issues at work. We shouldn’t get married because our relatives are talking. Get married because you want to. Get married because you found someone special. Getting married at 35 is much better than getting married at 25 and subsequently regretting it.
There is a quote, “Being single means you are strong enough to wait for what you deserve”, which I truly believe in. However, in other’s eyes, my life is going in an entirely opposite direction from this notion. Even when hanging out with old friends I face a common question, “Still single?” Sometimes I wonder whether my relationship status is “single” or “still single”. It pressures me to feel like jumping on to somebody just to change that accusatory relationship status.
To be honest, I feel pressurised by those so-called friends who urge and mock me to get a “man” in my life. According to me, at this age, getting a man means marrying or accepting someone as a life-long partner. I am supposed to make room for someone, where I will be committed emotionally, physically, and economically. If I am not ready to do that right now, then postponing it is simply the pragmatic choice.
The thirty-eight year old American actress Sophia Bush once wisely said, “Marriage is not about age; it’s about finding the right person.”
Now, as difficult as it may be to just brush off a feeling because we know it is technically not justified, it is our responsibility to control and steer our minds from the pressures we are subjected to by society by telling ourselves how self-sufficient we are — this coming from someone who cannot afford a therapist, so you might as well take the handy advice.
Faija considers herself a sleeping freak who likes to write when she’s awake. Jannatul Ferdous is a procrastinator by day, and a poet by night. Sanjida Tamanna is struggling to be a perfectionist like Monica Geller with her OCD symptoms. Send her cures at [email protected]