“Your life is over…how you know it”, said a friend. It made me crumble. Why was it that despite being with someone and loving him for so many years, once I got engaged, I freaked out? “You must be over the moon, cloud nine, etc etc”. The reality was that none of that happened. I was shit scared! Despite the fact that he was not a stranger and the fact that I knew he was my choice and the right choice and despite the fact I theoretically knew what I should feel, all I could feel was nerves. What was it?
Slowly, people started opening up to me. One of my best friends who recently got engaged as well, said “It is completely normal. You are overwhelmed.” My sister said, “We all feel it, you are just more vocal about it.” Phew, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Why were there various cultural and social references and jokes tending towards, “the end of your life, fun, glamor” associated with marriage. Why did we think that single people are the only attractive species and that after getting married, one was to never even look at someone from the opposite sex? Was it religion, tradition? Whatever it was, I felt it was completely unnatural to the human soul.
What changes once you are married? Your physique shouldn’t, your desire to live and have fun shouldn’t, your playfulness shouldn’t. What does change is that you promise someone to be loyal and committed to them physically and emotionally but I made those promises once I got into this relationship anyway. So why does everyone want things to change so badly? Why are they bent upon making me feel that my life will change?
I have always thought and still think that marriage should just be another step in your life, not THE step. If things have worked thus far in your relationship, why change things drastically? Keep it fresh, be each other’s best friends, share, communicate.
I think it also comes from my community where most girls dream of their wedding and that is sadly the only big event in their lives, not because that could be the only big event but because they accepted it to be. People want them to be just about marriage starting sometimes even at 18 and nothing else, which mind you, is not at all an Islamic concept which is mistaken by many. (As an aside: Islamically, women can have a career and have a right to the money they earn and are NOT really supposed to spend that in the household as it is the man’s duty to bring in the livelihood) Of course, like any other culture and just by the laws of nature, women are responsible for nurturing the children but it ends there. Patriarchal cultures have evolved into making the woman serve the entire household and sacrifice any ambitions she might have so as a result, marriage is it. It is the one thing she should look forward to and after that, no need to look “hot”, no need to dream of anything but having kids. You just don’t matter anymore. You are a Mrs. You are a mother. You are a daughter-in-law. You get attention only up to the time that you are single because you are perceived to be attractive and glamorous as you are still in the “market”. Once you are married, your attractiveness is irrelevant, and what is more is that overnight you are considered to be a grown up. Boring, old, done. Also, this is suspiciously more the case with women than with men. Somehow men are still in the “market” or “unspoiled”.
I think that might be the baggage that was freaking me out. But the reality is, I didn’t need to take any of it.
I might be over-reacting but this is exactly the vibe I have always gotten regarding marriage. Most extended family doesn’t really care about my career which to me is the most exciting part of life, which is my passion and my child, it is all about getting married. Any achievements after I got my Masters are overlooked or luke-warmly received but now that I am getting married, that’s just super great. That’s it! That is what life was all about. I achieved it! I guess it isn’t their fault, this is all they are used to. Bachelors, masters, marriage, kids…
It is this attitude that I resist. Marriage is one of many steps, it will come and go and my life will not change overnight, it will improve but I will be me, my attitude will remain the same and life will go on. So let’s not make it a big deal. Let me enjoy it and carry on living.