No matter how progressive a family you come from, it’s almost entirely certain that the ‘M’ word will be dropped on you at some point, starting from your 20s. And why not?
There’s certainly nothing wrong with getting married, as long as it’s by choice and not because the whole world wants you to. I’ve been to enough weddings and seen even more of them via Facebook photos to know that for many people, marriage is the ultimate culmination of a romantic relationship. And I respect that.
For me, however, a love affair is deeply personal and pertains only to those actually in the relationship. My partner and I have been together for five years and we’re both in our early 30s. Both these give people good reason to suggest, recommend and coax us to take that final step and get married. While I don’t cringe and look away at the mention of marriage anymore, I am fairly firm in my stand.
To me, marriage is a legal/social/religious sanctioning of your commitment to each other. As though, without marriage, it’s not quite there. Once you’re married, you’ve actually moved in the ‘right’ direction, one that makes everybody happy. There are just too many other people getting involved in your relationship at that point. From a priest or a registrar at the wedding, to your great-aunt who is mournfully proclaiming that your hips are too narrow to bear children. And I am very possessive about my relationship!
Only we matter
I confess a lot of my mistrust comes from the way marriage is often seen as the end of the line. A ‘this is it, you have entered the big league’ moment. I resent the manner in which a relationship is looked upon as less sacred because the right people didn’t sanction it. As far as I’m concerned, the only people who need to sanction our relationship are us.
Related reading: Has the definition of marriage changed over the years?
My partner and I are both ‘job’ rather than ‘career’ people, which means we’re not looking at a career graph that will peak by a certain age and time. Similarly, we are both committed and monogamous, without feeling the need to get married. We’re willing to be with each other by sheer choice. We know each other’s everyday habits. And we occasionally share living space. We get along well with each other’s family. He frequently goes partying with my family, and without me. Maybe none of this would change if we did get married, but it’s not as though all of this doesn’t happen outside of marriage either.
A balanced view
I’ve seen very many happy marriages and some terrible ones, so my perspective is fairly balanced. I’m a closet romantic and I know every wedding song in every Yashraj Films movie there is. But I’ve also figured I can be all of that and not be married. I can just be madly in love.
Sometimes, I think maybe we’ll get married just so we can put each other on our health insurance plans. Or maybe at 50 or later, just to see the looks on people’s faces. Or maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll just be together forever, knowing we’re bonded by everything a marriage could be, without anybody’s approval. After all, a love affair that people disapprove of is always the most fun kind!