Wallflower

What is the point of marriage when divorce rates are on an increase and the palaver of a wedding seems to be nothing more than some sort of a expensive relic imposed by our ancestors? We spend our entire life grinding to be socially accepted and follow these traditional patterns without realising that we are vigorously moving away from the virtues of marriage. Most people wed for the wrong reasons, whether it be in the name of love, honour or for the sake of society - we fail to understand that promising our entire lives to one particular person without rationally thinking about the consequences is as bad as walking into an open fire. Sorry to say, most of us go into marriage blind, without understanding the responsibilities or are just winging it because it is the next thing on the bucket list.

Unfortunately the epitome of success is measured by marriage and how worthy you are for a potential suitor. We are all confused puppets of a disease called patriarchy. Going onto university or getting a good job has somehow become a recognition for your marriage resume and a girl is never encouraged to spread her wings as far as she is able to. In lieu she is taught: no matter what the end goal is to be a homemaker - as a result most girls manifest this concept deep into their minds and ultimately believe that there is no life without companionship.

With all due respect we set ourselves up for failure because the majority of the time we have no idea what we are actually looking for and all we want is a little bit of attention. For centuries we have been bought up to believe that the biggest aspiration in life is ‘marriage’, thus we rush into things or scare people away because all we are doing is tick-boxing. The invisible checklist however, is somewhat visible especially if you are asian because this hot topic is the discussion at every dinner table - if you’re not talking about it, your mother is and if your lucky enough to have a liberal mother, the aunties next door are definitely talking which means double the pressure.

Sadly if you’re a 25(or above) and unmarried you have passed your sell by date. Furthermore if you are divorced, let’s just say you are second hand good and no one will marry you. In short being single is hypothetically speaking killing you softly and slowly. Meeting a spouse is strenuous and definitely a first world problem but ultimately who doesn’t want to be loved? There is a constant need to have validation from the opposite sex, so in the name of the ‘American Dream’ we turn from one path to another in order to somehow ‘make it’.

Along the way the common dilemmas one usually comes across are these:

Meeting the right person at the wrong time

Getting into a relationship far too quickly after a breakup or not soon enough

Being superficial or just being ‘too choosy’

Being attracted to someone who is already taken

Not being attracted by someone who is attracted to you or vice versa

Let’s face it, these are all problems because we are just forcing it. I settled for my ex because he was the first person that came into my life and seemed to fit the status quo. I was attracted and he was Bengali so he fit the bill. Yes I may have been young but honestly speaking I settled because I did not expect any better nor did I value myself enough to see past my lack of ignorance.

I understand no one enjoys being alone and meeting people is not easy especially because we live in an era where speaking to someone has been replaced with swiping right/left, not to forget the constant pressures from our friends and family, ultimately leading to people selling themselves short.

However, being married does not necessarily mean that you will be happy. Nowadays we fail to appreciate the little things and the core root of the problem stems from our lack of self belief and not being taught how to appreciate ourselves. We don’t understand that we must be happy with ourselves and live our lives on our own terms. For centuries us South Asian women have followed the customs of culture and placed ourselves second, whether we live by our parents rules or our husbands rules. We fail to understand that we are actually entitled to live the way we please without any constraints.

The essence of marriage is to tie wills but why are the principles of marriage so shallow? In most cases men need to be successful providers and being married or in ‘control’ demonstrates masculinity and women should not dream of a life beyond four walls as it is not the norm. In my humble opinion whatever sex you are, you should have the right to choose your own lifestyle. Some women enjoy looking after their husbands, they take pride in ironing shirts and cooking dinner which is fine, but the same way women should be given equal opportunities and be able to live their lives as they please: men should be taught how to become homemakers. Marriages are meant to be a joint effort, this doesn’t mean we should stick our men in the kitchen but there should be a level of understanding where couples have the freedom to chose their way of life.

On the other hand, finding the right match can be a challenge especially when you have a particular specification in mind. There seems to be a constant struggle to remain positive because we spend most of our lives trying to break stereotypes. If women choose challenging careers they are criticised and attacked, if they are not dressed ‘modestly’ enough then they are again not worthy of marriage. A girl that is domestic, quiet/easy to mould and attractive is more reputable and a better ‘catch’ in our community. This culture has played a huge part in disintegrating our society and made marriage so much more difficult than it actually should be.

As a divorcee I get asked from time to time if I would ever consider marriage again?

The simple answer to that is YES (now you may be wondering how?)

Firstly my past is nothing more than an experience that has shaped me. I am proud that I endured months of turmoil in the hands of someone I loved and trusted because it makes me believe that I have the ability to do anything. Truth be told, if I was a soldier then my scars from battle would be appropriate, so why are the scars on my heart any different? I was at war and that to become a better version of myself, I had to go through everything that was written for me so that my future self and partner would appreciate the women that I am today and will become tomorrow.

I do have major trust issues but that doesn’t mean I will not be open minded because I have met some amazing people along the way. The most important thing that we need to remember is to be true to ourselves. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t feel right, and the moment you have a doubt - trust your instincts and walk in the opposite direction.

Everyone has a different interpretation to what kind of partner they are looking for, and it is perfectly acceptable to have a criteria and nobody has a right to tell you any different. If you want transparency from someone else, you too must be open and honest with what you are looking for and not give in because someone else thinks you are being too demanding. We have always been taught to compromise but the compromise should come after marriage on things like what your are having for dinner, not they type of person you wish to spend the rest of your life with.

Personally I need a man that stimulates my brain, someone who I can have deep conversations with and would compliment my lifestyle. That might not make sense to you but it does to me and I know it will to the right person. The point is, what you want is out there but you won’t find them if you yourself are broken, confused or with the wrong person - so let fate happen.

Good things happen if you are physically and psychologically in the right place but that doesn’t mean that meeting people along the way is a necessarily a bad thing either. Your journey will teach you lessons that you will have never learnt otherwise. Most people ask how I remain so positive about my past and why I do not wish bad upon the man that hurt me in such a cruel fashion. I can’t wish bad upon him because I love the person I have become and he had a huge role in that. Good or bad, you should be grateful for the trails and tribulations that you have faced because it is those moments that were hand picked for us in order for us to go on and create positive changes for ourselves and hopefully for others.

I’m at that point in life were I truly believe in myself and my abilities. I am not afraid of being a divorcee and I am certainly not afraid of being single because there is peace and content in the lifestyle I live. Honestly speaking, I am happier sleeping on my own knowing that I have no restrictions and I’m the Queen of my own castle.

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My past has made me wiser,

and to the right man - I will be worthy.

Marzana Rahman