Marriage. It’s sort of like entering a swimming pool. Some jump straight in, showing little concern about the temperature of the water, or how deep the pool actually is. Others timidly dip their baby toe in – cautious and timid. Shivani Jaswal asks the question is, who ends up drowning?
…I know that this must sound ridiculously dramatic, but I can only image that being in an unhappy marriage denotes the experience of helplessly treading water to try and keep your head above the surface, but to no avail. Marriage is tough and the prospect of marriage, with all the horror stories out there, is putting many 21st century modern women off. And why wouldn’t it? Living in a post-feminist world, women are always encouraged to be fierce, independent and driven. “Single Ladies”, “Run the World” and all that jazz. Women want their own career, and want to lead their own lives. Wanting to be in a relationship is often seen as a weakness by many.
This attitude is reflected in both western and eastern cultures. Perhaps it is this change in society’s attitude that is making women feel as though marriage is something they don’t want to enter into. A husband will inevitably bring family, children and a sense of duty, but for the strong, independent, solo woman of today, that package deal may not be something she feels like signing up for. As Simon Rogers, The Guardian explained, “there was a time when 50 out of every 1,000 women in the UK got married each year. Now, according to the Office for National Statistics, marriages are at the lowest rate ever.”
Women with careers today can sometimes be seen as selfish, undesirable and difficult creatures. Take the example from Forbes writer Micheal Noer, “Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.” It’s clear to see that there is a problem here. Women with careers are more reluctant to marry and men are more reluctant to marry women with careers, and more women today have careers than ever before! Well, that explains things!
However, I think there is one other factor that is putting the modern woman off marriage today and in particular the modern Asian woman off. It’s the mother-in-law. The “extended family”. The countless aunts and uncles that a husband brings is a whole lot of baggage. An online survey by Yahoo showed that there were three main factors that caused a marriage to breakdown. “In-Law, Out-Laws and third parties” made the cut, with the survey commenting, “outsiders can kill a marriage”.
Dr Geetanjali Sharma, a marriage counselor from Delhi told the BBC: “There’s been a 100% increase in divorce rates in the past five years alone.” With all this negativity surrounding marriage, it seems like it could be doomed from the start.
So I’ll put the question to you, are we set up to fail and will we ever be able to make marriage work today? With a changing attitude towards women in society, pressure to stay faithful and all that financial pressure that seems to be coming by the bucket load, it seems that nowadays the world needs a superwoman to walk down the aisle and say I do.
Or perhaps I’m just being too cynical? Psychologist Ally Davies thinks otherwise, “Cheating or adultery is about insecurity and learned behaviour. It is possible to be with just one partner. Some people can’t imagine themselves to do so, but again it is because they don’t have a role model to teach them family values and satisfaction with those values.” Well, I’ll let you out there make up your own minds, but for me it seems marriage is not a word. It is a sentence – a life sentence.