My mother often says, “Get married beta. Your husband will take care of you.” I have been suffering from depression for more than two years now. I have been popping pills and taking therapy sessions continuously. But rather than asking me to be happy with what I have, my mother insists that I am depressed because I lack something- a person who will take care of me. But should I marry just because I need someone in my life who will care for me? Should I marry because I am not well and unable to keep myself fit? Would it be fare to burden another person with a responsibility that I am not able to fulfil on my own?
It is just so weird that my mother, and many others like her, see marriage as a remedy for health issues. And I am not alone in being surrounded by the belief that marriage is a way to get a person to take care of me. Today I came across a tweet which states a similar problem as mine. The tweet from a woman who is unwell stated that her distant relative too asked her to get married so that her husband can take care of her. The tweet posted by the user name Drink water read, “My distant relative came to visit me today as I’m unwell. she advised me to get married because the other day I had to get myself admitted to hospital alone. After 5 mins she complains to my mum that she’s severe back pain & her husband doesn’t even help her to apply spray”
The tweet clearly points out two situations. Former is about how society continuously coerces women into getting married to have a happy life. It goes on to justify marriage as the ultimate life decision without recognising the choice of a woman. While the latter part of the tweet elaborates how marriages actually unfold. Having a life partner doesn’t guarantee love and care. Besides, why can’t we learn to take care of ourselves?
Reason to get married needs to be better
As far as reasons are concerned, marrying just because we need a person to take care of is just not right. In our society, often men marry because their parents fail to care of the house and their son because of their frail age. So men get this idea of marrying a woman and bringing her home as a caretaker. While women are asked to marry a man because it is assumed that it is practically impossible for a woman to take care of herself on her own or be dependent on their parents. Women as an individual are considered weak and so incapable of taking care of their needs on their own. And parents see their daughters as paraya dhan that have to be transferred to daughters’ own homes where they are properly taken care of.
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Just read the last line of the previous paragraph again and tell me how much you were hurt. If parents of women are not ready to take care of their daughters, then who will? Parents who gave birth to women step back from taking care of their daughters, then what is the guarantee that husbands would fill-in? Do we not know that husbands expect women to take care of them? Do we not know that after marriage, women are expected to put their own life and well-being on the back burner and devote themselves in taking care of their marital family?
So how is the idea of marrying a person just to have someone to look after you a good one? Furthermore, marrying someone just to have them around the bed when you are sick or helpless is just selfish. I am not saying that in marriage, partners don’t take care of each other. But there is more to a marriage than caregiving. A marriage is based on love, mutual understanding and faith. Caregiving is just a part of it and not the definition of it.
So please stop asking men or women to marry just to have a person to take care of them. Marriage happens between two independent people who love each other. If a person can’t even take care of themselves then how can they handle a marriage?
Views expressed are the author’s own.