A child’s first knowing of marriage is that of its parents’. Unless circumstances of the world or that of fate interfere, the child’s close proximity to its parents grants an education of high esteem about marriage. It learns from its parents not just lessons of practical use (including tricks and manoeuvres) but too emotions concerning marriage. Along with the quick learning supplemented by modern media, what the child learns, retains and practices when it becomes an adult, is an enigma that I am trying to learn from my experience of my parents’ marriage.
Although, I have not formed my opinion on whether it was unfortunate or fortunate, I grew up in a dysfunctional family. Only one of the causes of dysfunction was my parents’ marriage. Having difficulty to come to terms with most of the unfair realities in the world, I however, regard this as part of my reality.
The First Fear
Before I learned about “the ideal marriage” from the American media (and, empowered indigenous sources), I believed that marriage was defined by qualms, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, a feeling of one’s life reaching its premature end, bondage, and a wanting to get out of this bondage. Some other realities included violence, threats of abandonment, usurpation of one’s power, and rabid inequality. The funny thing about life (and media) is that you experience before you know what to call it and you don’t take it too seriously until it has a name.
The ideal marriage, I now hear is “nothing”. And, the too many versions of marriage render one with multiple interpretations, absurd updates that never cease, and worse, the mixed messages, leave one with little hope.
If not this, I hear, “your marriage is what you make out of it” but that great sex, a home within your budget, raising creative, confident children, and bountiful dishes cooked under twenty minutes form part of it.
The Second Fear
Marriage is still a true magnanimous event – whether you marry the first time or the second. The magnanimity of this event is such that it has been extrapolated as a median line – “the life before [my] marriage” and “the life after [my] marriage”.
There is also a misattribution of one’s entire life’s miseries with marriage. I have only heard too often my mother’s cries of angst “My whole life is ruined” advertently singling out the causal factor as her marriage.
With such grand consequences, I see the decision to marry and the marriage itself not as a romantic leap of faith, but as another competitive performance. It appears that I would have to assess well who I marry and not make a mistake, consider all possible outcomes (good, if any and bad), update my thoughts and opinions about a “successful marriage”, cultivate tricks, memorise tips, and look good while doing all this.
The magnanimity of this event that forms part of life exaggerates failure, sadly not of the institution, but of the individuals. The question remains, how could an event that is only a part of life become grand enough to encompass life itself?
The Third Fear
Each one of us carries a karmic drag. The karmic drag is invariably composed of one’s past and present with its definite movement into one’s future. This cosmic force constantly challenges all forms of power that rests in an individual and renders them almost powerless. What with the traditional interpretations of “what you shall sow, you shall reap” as a penalty, the fear of this nature is severe and quite drilling into the consciousness.
I carry a very heavy karmic drag. As much as I have tried to severe myself from it, it is relentless that I would have to realise the effects of my personal choices today or tomorrow and that all events in the future will also flow from this karmic energy. Hence an event like marriage would perhaps be the revision of the same – an event that would go terribly wrong.
The Fourth Fear
Marriage is often portrayed as a stray box in the attic, which holds all items once dear to us – wishes, fancies, and fantasies.
Combined with the scarcity of luck and serendipitous events that my life is, the chances are that marriage would actuate this fear. That my particular rotten luck that has ensured tremendous struggles for even the simplest would make marriage take a similar course; that the fancies and wishes would end up as one lone box in the attic.
The other scope is that marriage would pronounce the end of the earlier misconceptions that I have held. But, it is also probable that it doesn’t happen that way.
The Fifth Fear
I have heard others speak less of me from a very young age. Growing up such, I afforded little worthiness to myself. I did not dedicate decent approval to my skin colour, my parents’ poverty, my limited cerebral capacity, and my faulty stars.
Despite the peripheral lack of regard, on the ground, I did believe that I am worthy of everything that the Providence has to offer (and, because Oprah Winfrey said so). Just as the peers around me find themselves blessed, gifted, in celebratory jubilance of luck and divine intervention, I too believe for myself all. The question remains, “How could anyone else know what I am truly worthy of except myself?” especially in the case of marriage that is arranged.
Only I can speak of my worth in truth.
In the ancient Roman myth and religion, there is a god for beginnings and endings. He is called Janus. He possesses two faces with the mythical power to look at the past and the future at the same time. Ironically, the same god controlled war and peace. It is believed that the gates of his temple would remain open in the times of war and closed when peace ensued.
Marriage, for me, would continue to be this – a simultaneous seeing of the past (my parents’ marriage) and the future. It would always be the open gates that announced a war but too the gates that closed when there was peace.