- Simply put, best abstain!
Somebody once remarked that no woman was good enough for a man, but that no man was good enough for a good woman. Please solve the riddle yourself. (I believe it was Shaw. Or was it Thackeray? Come to think of it, it could even have been Conrad. Well, it doesn’t really matter who said it.) My point in reproducing it here is this: it has long been recognised in the West that the question of who to get married to – and indeed why – is one of vital importance. Alas, most people in the subcontinent hardly give it anywhere near the kind of consideration it warrants.
The unfortunate, although by no means surprising, result of which is that people keep getting married for all sorts of silly reasons. This is not to say that you can’t go wrong if you marry for the right reasons (you certainly can), but in that case at least you have the consolation that you weren’t a complete ass. Here are a few of the most brainless reasons people get married for:
1. For the heck of it. You just don’t get married for the heck of it – it’s as simple as that. And yet, more than ninety percent of marriages taking place these days fall in this category. So next time you have an uncontrollable urge to do something for the heck of it, go and order yourself a Matcha ice cream or a Mint Margarita or some such atrosity. You can thank me later.
2. To please the parents. Your mother convinces you to marry her niece on ‘grounds’ that she will easily do the adapting and adopting in her new household. Or your father persuades you to wed his niece arguing that she is already familiar with the right customs, norms, etc. Bad idea, either one! Be warned that nothing of the sort is ever going to happen.
3. Peer’s advice. This whole peer business is dicey if you ask me. But it assumes whole new levels of precariousness when it comes to matrimonial issues. I don’t care how elevated a spiritual station your peer may have achieved; take it from me: he doesn’t have the foggiest idea about what will happen when a man and a woman suddenly decide to live together till death do them part.
Well, there comes a time in the life of elderly gentlemen (and ladies) when almost all their friends are dead
4. The sister’s best friend. Marrying the little sister’s best friend can be a great idea. If the goal is to get the little sis to be declared persona non grata before anybody else in your household, that is. If that’s not the case, resist the temptation.
5. You’re totally smitten. We all occasionally fall in love – that’s quite all right. But it pays to remember what that great sage and philosopher, the inimitable Shafiq-ur-Rehman, said on the issue: ‘Any man who marries only for love is a very weak man indeed.’ (As for women, they are usually too smart to marry only for love.) The sage removes any remnants of possible doubt on the matter with this comprehensive one-liner: ‘If love is blind, marriage is an eye-specialist.’ For it is well established that nothing cures love faster than marriage, especially if you get married to the loved one.
6. For security. This may have been a valid reason for girls living in the cave, but there isn’t a fricking war going on out there. This can go wrong in several different ways, the most notable of which is the girl getting married to the wrong guy. Because it so happens that suitors who appear to be most well-equipped to deal with external ‘threats’ are often especially ill-equipped to be husbands.
7. To reform the spouse. There’s an irrepressible urge on the part of some women to reform the errant husband. Way too many marriages have roots in this sort of thing. Here’s a little statistic that ought to open a few pairs of eyes: The grand total of reformed husbands in the entire history of the world stands at zero. This used to be solely a ‘woman’ thing, although lately some men too have started exhibiting such motherly instincts. Abstain!
8. You are lonely/You need a soul-mate. You want to share your finer thoughts, your feelings. You need a patient listener – a sounding board for your brilliant ideas. Acquiring a soul-mate looks like the perfect solution. Halt! – for reasoning can seldom get any lousier than this. There’s no such thing as a patient listener among fair ladies. Some men (read husbands) do appear to be listening patiently to what the wife is saying, but they are probably thinking about the Test match, or secretly wishing they were rather at Timbuktu. Also, nobody’s interested in your ideas. And they are not brilliant either.
9. All your friends are married. Well, there comes a time in the life of elderly gentlemen (and ladies) when almost all their friends are dead. That hardly means they should go ahead and die as well, does it? Think!
10.To have a ‘dream’ wedding. The thing about dreams is that they inevitably come to an end. No matter how wonderful your dream wedding is – the dresses, the ceremony, the photographs, the gifts – it’s only going to last so many hours. A not-so-dream lifetime of marriage in exchange for a dream wedding – not very smart!
PS: This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with marriage per se. Only that the above reasons to get married are no good.