In Indian context, for a woman, one of the biggest milestones of her life is marriage. It is important for women all over the world, but more so in the Indian subcontinent. The thought of being tied in wedlock by a certain age is so innate, that all our actions revolve around it. I have met women from different walks of life, and come 20s, all their relatives and friends, neighbours and parents begin to worry about her “future” and her “biological clock”. The fact that our society has always been so pushy and screwed-up in its approach to marriage, a lot of women never even begin to realize what they are as a person, what their dreams are, what their potential is, and what they even seek from the partnership of marriage. Here are some of the things a woman must be before she decides to be with a person for the rest of her life. These things are true for men as well. In fact they hold for every adult. But today, let’s focus on women.
- Be self-aware: Be aware of what you are. What makes you, you? Is it your profession you identify yourself with? Your love for animals? Your passion for reading or playing a sport? Be aware of your being and try to discover yourself. It is true that this is a lifelong process and you keep discovering facets of your personality as you have more experiences in your life. However, what are you as of now? And what would you like to become? What are your deepest values? On which of these values would you never compromise? How important is honesty to you? How important is fidelity? What are your deepest desires from life? These are some questions you should know answers to.
- Be open-minded: Become more open minded than you already are. Know about the worldly things. Read and understand that there are different types of people with different opinions. Develop your own opinions on important matters. Become more tolerant as a person. Yes, this may come handy in understanding the views and opinions of your in-laws, but this tolerance will make you a better person, in general.
- Be confident: Have confidence in your capabilities. Know your worth as a person. It is important for you to realize that you are unique and beautiful, and even if a person or a companion is not by your side to verify the fact for you, you should remain just as confident and self-assured.
- Be level headed: Be well balanced in your thoughts and actions. If you think you are an over-spender, consciously try to reduce that. If you think you take rash decisions, be more thoughtful while doing so. Don’t wait for marriage to drill sense into that head of yours. Because no, it won’t.
- Be independent: Earn your own money. However little you may consider it to be, but never depend on another person financially. Even if you end up marrying a millionaire, any self-respecting person would never ask for a husband’s credit card to buy that fancy bag or branded sunglasses. Also, learn to save money and invest some too for the grey days of life. It should not be your dad or your husband taking care of your finances. Though it is good to take advice, but you should have a fair idea about saving schemes and benefits available through each. Also, you will learn to value money and then not end up spending your/your partner’s or your parents’ savings stupidly on the wedding and that designer lehenga.
- Be responsible for your happiness and know what makes you happy: If you don’t know it already, it is better that you know how to deal with a bad bout of anger or sadness instead of expecting your partner to cheer you up. Yes, he should also help you overcome those days, but not every time. Be responsible for your feelings and learn how to cheer yourself up. It could be as simple as realizing that you need to go take a walk in the park or shut the world out with a book to cheer you up, but you should be consciously aware of these methods.
- Be demanding/ know what you what from your partner: It does not matter what kind of marriage you opt for (knowing that we live in the times of love as well as arranged marriages). You must know what kind of support you seek from a partner. Apart from emotional support in difficult times, you must know if you want him (I wish to write him/her, but alas, section 377) to push you in certain areas to bring out the best in you. You should know if you want him to help you hone certain aspects of your personality, making you more confident in certain matters, or making you financially more independent.
- Know why you want to get married: Societal pressure should never coax you into taking this crucial step in your life. You should have a good reason to get married. Is it because you love a person and want to begin living with him? Is it because you are seeking emotional support? Or is it only to make your parents shut up or have an early retirement from your job? If your answers don’t sound good enough to you, it is not the time to get married but take a hard look at your life.
A woman, before she ties the knot, must be one thing: a whole person. We as women should never think of ourselves as halves, searching for the “better-half” to come and complete our world and life. We are remarkable women, each in our own right, not seeking a man’s validation or presence to fulfill our lives. There is no right age to tie the knot. But there is a right moment to be a person you are proud of being, and that is right now. Once you become that person, life would be more enriching and meaningful, with marriage or without.