At this time in my life there is only one thing that’s on my mind, and that is marriage. Not because I want to get married but because my family believe that now I’m out of education and on the cusp of finding work it is time. As far as I am aware they have been checking out potential ‘husbands’ for the past two years, maybe even three, but they have not approached me directly yet. They think I am getting too old and they’re worried I will turn into a spinster because no one wants an old bride now do they?
I’m in my early 20’s. Hardly ready to take up a walking stick!
What makes it a high pressure situation is that the majority of (South Asian) girls my age are either already married (some have been for several years and some even have children) or have already started the lengthy process of allowing their parents to find them a husband. Of course there are some who will get married to their other-halves, but I am pretty sure their family will be able to pass that off as an ‘arranged’ marriage, so no-one but the immediate family will know of the pairs ‘scandalous’ history. South Asian girls are brought up with the mentally that they need to be good daughters, study hard, get a job and get married, in that order. I ask myself ‘there must be more to life then marriage, settling down and having children’? And there is. But when you’ve been brought up in that sort of environment it’s hard to break free, family ties and expectations are deep and sometimes suffocating.
I deliberately took a year off after finishing my Bachelors degree and before going on to enroll for my Masters to throw my parents off the search for a husband. My parents were annoyed to say the least. They could not understand why I would choose to work a year and pay for my Masters, when they were more than willing to pay for it themselves (my parents are scarily education orientated as are a lot South Asian parents!). The year I took out represented a year of me ‘wasting’ my life when I could have been closer to finding a spouse. I am currently taking another year out (I only finished uni last week) to gain payed experience working at a school so I can apply for my teachers qualification teaching secondary and college students! Muhaha! My evil plan is in progress! Time to take possession of my life and fulfill it the way I see fit me thinks.
I know for South Asian girls our families expect us to get married in our early twenties (for some late teens even) but the thought just makes me feel depressed. I know a lot of girls grow up understanding that this is what they must do and it is a duty they must fulfill. Don’t get me wrong, there are also lots of girls who want to get married early and start a family, and if that is what they sincerely want then that’s great! I am not against this system of marriage but only if the person really wants it. I just don’t believe marriage should be a duty. Do it because you want to and because it feels right, regardless of whether its arranged or with someone of your choosing.
Ps. I am nowhere near ready to get married yet! I want to live some life before settling down, is that so bad? Rhetorical question. ‘Living life’ is the job, the marriage and honouring my duties and commitments to my family. My family are lovely really however old fashioned and traditional they may be, they only want what they believe is best for me! A good husband with an amazing educational background, high-flying career and a loving, decent, hardworking family who will welcome me with open arms! Now that’s not so bad is it…?