“Does getting married really equate to settling down in life?”
If you are a woman, this question would have posed itself to you at some point or other in life, irrespective of what age you are at. A few of us would have found a concrete answer to this by now, whether in affirmation or negation. But I am sure most of us are still dwindling our way through this puzzle.
Women in India, since their formative years, have always been taught that a career may happen, and you might touch great heights in your professional hemisphere. But it is only when you get married into a decent family and to a compatible, nice man, is when your life is truly settled in the real sense. And not just is your life settled, but you as an individual are also settled. Now, whatever that means in hindsight it then intends to mean that an unmarried girl is all unsettled and flickering, till the time she finds her partner. However, no one really looks at the other side of the consequence. What if there is a twist in the tale? What if the man, she believes is destined to bring stability and final settlement in her life, unveils to be an absolute contradiction? What if he befouls and derails her life completely? Doesn’t her life become unsettled forever again? Where does the whole idea of perennial stability and sense of security that a woman is taught to associate with her husband vanish out of thin air? Doesn’t the whole ground under her feet shift from its center?
It is an unfortunate reality of our society that a woman’s priorities just keep oscillating between her personal and professional commitments throughout her life. If she is married and not doing much professionally, she isn’t really touted as a successful and accomplished woman. Because God knows how much dignity we give to someone managing the household chores and raising children. At the end of the day, they do say that ‘One who makes money, sets the rules at home’. Hence, this somewhat, makes it imperative for women to be financially independent. But if she has risen to high ranks in her professional life, but is somewhat not married or say to say, ‘not settled in her personal life’, she is again looked at with contempt and speculation. So, what defines ’settling down in life for a woman?
Looking at how our society is progressing, and how the values associated with a marital setup have undergone a sea change in the last few years, getting married can no more be equated with ‘settling down’ in life. The bitter-sweet truth is that life changes, individuals grow, situations change, and people outgrow each other. So, it makes a prudent choice to adopt a more holistic and wholesome approach to settling down in life. Rather, this just doesn’t hold true for men, but for men as well. But since women in our society are still not as aggressively encouraged to stand on their own feet and cultivate their own identity regardless of the presence of a man in their life, this approach becomes more indispensable for them to consciously adopt.
Secure yourself by securing your finances. There is no forehand assurance of settlement or stability in life. Yet, if you are financially independent and have built upon your own skill set, you are still quite close to being ‘settled’ in life. What we all need to understand is that ‘’Marriage is a milestone in one’s life, it is not an achievement.’ A person’s worth or dignity should not be aligned with his or her marital status. Being single or married or in a relationship is as much a lifestyle choice as going carnivore or being a vegan. Our society has this inexplicable conditioning of associating some sort of instant emotion respect and acknowledgement towards people as soon as they get married. As if, marriage is some sort of stamping or engravement of chastity and holiness. We need to stop this sort of stereotyping.
In times as transient as this, wherein the use of terms like ghosting and gaslighting is quite common in relationships, we cannot blindly trust the longevity of any situation in life. People change, equations change, and unforeseen incidents happen at the drop of the hat. Hence, there cannot be any singularly defined parameter of being wholly settled in life. We do need to get rid of the biased prejudice and bigotry that has been associated with getting married equating to settling down in life.
Getting married does ensure a support system and a sense of belonging in your personal space. But if the other aspects of your life are cluttered and messed up, you are still as unsettled mentally as otherwise. Married or not, you are just as settled or unsettled in life as you believe yourself to be. And this holds true for both genders. So, rather than believing holy matrimony to be the start and end of it all, look for a compatible, understanding partner who empowers and complements you in a way that you have never experienced before.