Marriage is no Fairytale!

‘Ab tou Pakistan mein bhi divorce rate zyada hogaya hai’ (Nowadays, the divorce rate in Pakistan has also risen). I heard two women talking about this and this was not the first time this subject had come up.  A lot of people have discussed the matter time and again as to why marriages are failing now more than ever. The older generation just lays the blame on the younger ones or upcoming generation, and says that’s their fault.

If you talk about it with a couple of ‘aunties’, you will most probably get to hear something along the lines of, ‘the young girls today lack tolerance’ or ‘girls have become too modern’, while some will just blame career oriented girls for being too invested in their jobs. It is still a controversial topic, particularly in our society where the D word is still taboo. Other than that, the subject is anyways not as black and white as one might think which is why you will rarely get any straight answers or explanations behind the sudden rise of the divorce rate in our country.

When it comes to that, we cannot single out or point towards one reason since everyone will give a different story.  Marriage is anyway very tricky and our society can make it more challenging. You might have heard people say that marriage is a risk or a gamble, and in a way this may be right, more so for desi communities where we have arranged marriages. Even those who know their partners for a long time before getting married to them can really say for sure that everything will work out. One can only hope and pray for the best.

Now, this is not meant to scare people away from marriage but it is the truth that divorce has become more common in the recent times. There are two ways to look at it, one that it has certainly helped women step out of abusive marriages and take control of their lives and the other is of disappointment. It’s quite disappointing that society on the whole has failed to protect the women and has not prepared them at all to deal with such situations.

When I say prepare, I mean that they have not been given the right guidance or idea of what could lie ahead in a marriage. One major reason why a lot of girls and women are unhappy in their marriages or opt for divorce is the harsh reality they have to face when their relationship does not meet their expectations.

It has happened with so many girls that they go into marriage with unrealistic expectations, thinking it would turn out to be all rainbows and roses but then are left majorly disappointed. This just doesn’t happen here but is a persistent problem with married couples across the world. However, in our country it’s a bigger deal because marriage and everything related to it is highly romanticized.

You might have come across this somewhere that the idea of marriage is better than marriage itself. In our part of the world, it could be applied. The celebration of marriage is so hyped up that one immediately starts to expect a fairytale out of it. Apart from this, it’s the idea of romance itself. I recently came across this discussion by Daniel Sloss and I think it’s what a lot of young girls and boys are going through or have experienced at some point in their lives.

“We have romanticized the idea of romance, and it is cancerous.

When you raise children in that world where everything points towards love, and everything’s perfect on the outside, when we become an adult for the first time in our late teens and early 20s, we’re so terrified.

We’re trying so hard to be an adult, that some of us will take the wrong person, the wrong jigsaw piece and just jam them into our jigsaws anyway, denying that they clearly don’t fit.

‘I’m going to force this person into my life; because I’d much rather have something than nothing.’

People are more in love with the idea of love than the person they are with.

55% marriages end in divorce. If those were the stats for surgery, none of us would risk it.

But because its love and we’re stupid we just lie on the operating table like, “Maybe this time I won’t die inside.”

There’s nothing wrong with being alone.

There’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself to work out who you are, because how can you offer who you are if you don’t know who you are?

There’s nothing wrong with being selfish for a bit, because you’ve got the rest of your life to be selfless. If you only love yourself about 20%, that means somebody can come along and love you like 30%, and you’re like “Wow that’s so much.” It’s literally less than half.

Whereas if you love yourself 100% a person that falls in love with you has to go above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel special.”

Where else, this is one side of the problem, the other lies within our mindset. While young girls today are getting more and more practical and real when it comes to their approach towards marriage, there is still a long way to go before the situation begins to improve. A lot of families keep their daughters and sisters sheltered from the harsh realities of life which in turn results in naive, young girls who suddenly have to take on the various challenges that married life throws at them.

You can argue that I am being negative about this and thinking the absolute worse, and maybe I am to some extent but isn’t it better to be prepared for the worst and have the right tools to fight it rather than not knowing what to do?

In our society, marriages are a family matter and most commonly arranged by the parents or elders of the potential bride and groom. Sometimes, they are not even allowed to meet each other before the Nikkah ceremony, let alone getting to know each other. In a few situations, the girl and the boy would be able to communicate but might be given very less time to figure each other out before their marriage. In both the cases, neither the man nor woman is fully aware of what they are about to step into. Each one only has a slight idea of what to expect.

Now, imagine, there is a young girl, her only knowledge of relationships comes from movies, romance novels and maybe her surrounding where everything might be seemingly perfect.  Her expectations out of marriage will be very different from a person’s who is more aware of failed relationships and broken marriages. You might think that in today’s day and age, with so much information available, social media and connectivity, it is impossible for the above scenario to exist.

Well, it’s really not. You see, even today, such societal norms exist and are followed which prevent women from openly talking about relationships and marriage. Mothers do not talk to their daughters about what to expect from their marriage and relationships are a strict no-no. This is turn restricts their thinking and gives them an unrealistic idea of romance as is portrayed in movies, on television and within books as well.

In reality, there is no handsome stranger who is going to climb a tower for her and no Shahrukh Khan who will make everything right in the end.  In a real life marriage, there may be a happily ever after but it requires a lot of work, patience and struggle. It all comes down to how quickly you are able to get over your expectations and adapt to new situations.

This also applies to those who ended up marrying the person they love. You have to realize that the feelings won’t always remain as intense as they do at the beginning, eventually, when day to day life begins and things settle down, you will face a few conflicts. Most things change after marriage, including the person you love so thinking that your partner isn’t the person you married will make things quite difficult if you aren’t open to accept change.

One most important aspect that everyone needs to know before going into marriage is that the partners are not entirely responsible for each other’s happiness. If you hold someone responsible for making you happy, it might end up leaving you disappointed and miserable.

Otherwise, it’s not wrong to expect the best out of life or have big dreams but it’s always better to be prepared for any challenge that lies ahead.

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