When it comes to marriage, there is no reason considered valid enough for a woman to avoid or stall it, especially if she is of what society refers to as the right age. A woman must marry despite all odds because matrimony is touted to be the purpose of her life. This is the reason why many parents force their daughters to prioritise marriage over everything else. So when a daughter says no, parents just don’t get it. They immediately counter back by asking why? If a woman doesn’t marry, then what else is she born for?
Many parents see marriage as a safety net for their daughters that will provide them with social and economic stability. Gaining a husband alongside his surname and companionship is deemed necessary for a woman to lead a respectful life. If a woman doesn’t marry, who will pay her bills? If a woman doesn’t marry, how will she fulfil the purpose of being a wife, bahu and mother? Who is accountable for the safety and character of a spinster? Questions like these make a woman’s denial to marry come across as a hollow argument to parents.
Marrying just for the sake of stability and economic safety often leaves women feeling weak, ashamed and helpless.
Moreover, saying yes to marriage without any hesitation is a sign of a woman’s good character. Why? Because if a woman is ready for marriage, it means she is not having an affair, she is obedient and submissive and understands the meaning and significance of being a ‘good’ woman. These conceptions automatically make marriage an affair that cannot be avoided without shaming a woman. As in if a woman doesn’t want to marry, it is assumed that there is definitely something wrong with her or her character.
Suggested Reading: No. Arranged Marriages Are Not Always About Woman’s Submission
Say No To Marriage- When the reason is not right
No one is asking, must marriage be the only purpose of every woman’s life? Can’t some women have different aims to achieve as men do? Aren’t men allowed to focus on other things in life rather than marriage? Why should a woman depend on a man to pay bills and gain a name and fame? In fact, is it even fair to men, if they get an alliance just because they can provide social status and financial stability? Why should a woman marry if she doesn’t need anyone’s support to survive alone in society? Moreover, does marriage guarantee a respite from loneliness?
It is high time we understand that ‘no’ is a valid answer to the questions of marriage. Whether a woman wants to marry or not has to be a choice. Rather than making marriage a safety net for women, or an obligation towards parents, why not empower daughters so that they can fend for themselves. Provide them education and encourage them to gain their dream jobs. Then, women won’t have to marry just because they are unable to handle their lives.
An independent woman will marry for love, support and companionship- all the right reasons to commit to a lifelong bond. Gaining stability in life and making life purposeful is a goal a woman can achieve on her own, her marital status shouldn’t be a deciding factor for that to happen. What parents need to do is to reach out to their daughter, listen to their opinions and understand their goals. If they have to turn a deaf ear, then it should be to the social pressure to get their daughter married as soon as they can.
Views expressed are the author’s own.