The Problem of Late Marriages
Under the family system there was a right age for marriage but today the educated and employed women are delaying their marriages either to help parents or for their own career ambitions or pleasure. Most educated girls and their parents feel that they must try to be financially independent.
Opportunities are now available to women to reshape their lives in many ways. A large number of vocations have opened up for women from the beauty parlour business to becoming air hostesses, pilots, drivers, call centre jobs, desk jobs, journalism, jobs in the corporate sector and the Armed Forces.
For today’s women, whether urban or those hailing from a rural background, career is given top priority both by her and her parents. The thinking is that, though marriage is important, it should not hinder careers.
Most of these working women like excitement, variety and freedom. Most working women are caught in the circle of high-performing, well- paying jobs for their choice of careers. Too many demands and multitasking do not leave time, energy and will to do personal jobs and consider marriage. Women are not dependent on men anymore and are busy in achieving their goals being more ambitious. First, they focus on their careers. Having a family and children has become a low priority.
Some women for some reason decide to remain single awaiting the Right Man or for helping their parents or siblings. Considering all aspects of life, marriage is a necessity as it ennobles the partners. If a woman stays single, she would never witness the all-round development of her personality. Motherhood is an inborn craving of a woman.
Changing perception of youths: Today’s modern, educated, and smart women are inclined to lead an independent hassle-free life. Due to loneliness, curiosity, the tendency to show off and imitate others, single persons become friendly with members of the opposite sex. Some of these working women become more friendly and intimate with their new friends. In the race for career excellence, marriage often takes a back seat. Little wonder that a few girls opt for live-in relationships. Friends and relatives will do well to make them realize what they are missing out in life when they shy away from marriage.
With their newly-found freedom with no check on their movements or their friends, the tendency to go beyond the limits of cultural permissiveness is increasing. This is mostly for enjoying the available freedom out of sheer curiosity, need or desire to experiment even if it is against their upbringing.
Right age for marriage: The age for marriage for Indian girls is 18 to 22 whereas others are of the opinion that keeping in view the education and career it should be between 22 to 27 which is the ideal age for marriage and child bearing, keeping three years as a cushion so that the woman must have a child before completion of 30 years of age. Any further delay creates problems which precipitate more after crossing 35 years.
Fear of marriage: Married life has its ups and downs. In love-marriages most girls often fail to know whether the partners are compatible with them or not despite long periods of dating. In arranged marriages it is left to the wisdom of elders. Both types of marriages sometime fail but in arranged marriages because of the protective role of elders of the family reconciliation is easy.
Some of these single working women are not willing to commit to their boyfriends for marriage. They have started feeling that they can look after themselves and live their own lives as free birds without being dominated by a man in a married relationship. For them marriage means getting into a trap where they are supposed to shed their male friends along with curtailment on their many other liberties. These career women often keep prolonging committing to a person for marriage due to many of their underlying fears which may be their own bad experiences or abusive marriages of parents, relatives and friends.
Disadvantages of Late Marriages
- Adjustment between the spouses becomes more difficult.
- Children will be borne late creating problems for baby and mother.
- Problems of getting conceived and may have to go for IVF and other techniques which are costly, not 100 per cent sure and carry the risk of twin and multiple pregnancy.
- Child may be born with congenital defects.
- There may be complications at the time of delivery.
- There are more chances of misunderstanding and emotional disconnect between the spouses and between the parents and the child.
- Breast cancer is on the rise especially among young girls remaining unmarried till late.
- Becoming a parent at a late middle age may create problems as giving birth to a child after 35 years is not acceptable as, except in a few cases, it is hazardous for the baby and mother during delivery.
- These girls miss the honorable companionship and sex of their husbands for many years.
Surely, when a girl reaches the age of maturity under the effect of hormones liberated in her body, she starts craving for a male companionship.
Parental control: Women no longer like to be controlled by parents and peers. There is now no pressure on girls to marry in their twenties mostly because of their own and their parent’s aspirations about her higher education and a job so that the girl is financially independent. Most parents, however, feel that the girls should not delay the marriage for too long. The ones who are under parent’s pressures for marriage are choosing to ignore it for a variety of reasons. The youths feel that what is followed and practiced in India is all old, outdated and hypocrisy, and have started taking sexual liberties by copying the West.
Most jobs with high salaries carry responsibilities which make girls work long hours. Strangely enough, when they take up a job, it is often not independent self-employment and they have to follow the rules of their employer and are compelled to remain subservient to their superiors and the bosses who are often men.
Many of the girls become workaholics for the sake of going up the ladder or for the security of their jobs. This compels them to change their priorities of life and the first casualty becomes their own marriage which is continually postponed and delayed. Looking around, some of the girls start feeling jaded on finding that most of their colleagues, friends and relatives of equal age and even younger have chosen to get married.
Men who came into her life and whom she considered as Mr. Wrong have become Mr. Right for someone else and she has missed the bus. Consoling themselves, the girls think that someday they too will get married but will not settle for the second best.
Till then, they do not mind-to being with someone who gives them butterflies. The hunger for sex is there but, for the time being, marriage is out of question due to career. This type of thinking results in further delays of their marriages.
Although India has been known for its tolerance to many diverse cultures, there is a strong and basic resistance to anything seen as unconventional, and this applies much more to public exhibitions of sexual activities, dating, divorce and live-in relationships. Repressed urges and copy responses in women are being replaced by total acceptance of one’s sexual feelings and open and bold expressions of the same.
Motherhood: Motherhood is the natural gift to women and the birth of a child not only gives happiness to them but to the husbands, and they whole families. They enjoy this joy and give special care and status to the wife because it is through her that the progeny will carry on. All men and women on this planet are here only because of women. How can a woman deny this role of nature allotted to her? It is the motherhood of woman which places her at the highest position where she gets the regard and respect of her children, husband and all others. All over the world, women are respected because of their role of motherhood.
Every woman when she gives birth to a baby feels that it is the best and most amazing thing that happened in her life which gives her great happiness. Despite her own discomfort, she feels happy and satisfied by nursing and looking after the baby. Most women feel incomplete till they become mothers.
A mother’s greatest virtue is the sacrifice she makes for her children. Motherhood is really something she really cherishes. Women who do not become pregnant for a few years after marriage feel depressed and incomplete and crave for a baby.
A negligible number of women go to extremes in not believing in the institution of marriage and feel happy even being single mothers or do not want to have a baby of their own. There may be some psychological reason behind it, creating a tendency to revolt against the existing norms.
Surprisingly, despite their education, enhanced general knowledge and hearing and seeing what is happening all round, many girls fail to save themselves from sexual exploitation. But it is a pity that a few of them are not able to recognize right from wrong as far as their personal lives is concerned finally landing in problems like unwanted pregnancies, getting ditched and dumped by their lovers or by making wrong choices in finding trustworthy husbands. A wrong interpretation of freedom for women is making them play once again into the hands of males by going for cyber chatting, dating, live-in relationships and indulging in premarital sex.
Freedom and empowerment of women does not mean freedom for sex or choosing one’s mate only. It means raising the status of women so that they are free from the bindings imposed on them and is not oppressed any more. It is imperative for girls to make a correct and timely choice out of the two — family or career. While career can wait and one can have a restart, starting a family cannot as there is a limited fertile period for a woman.