Everyone is doing it, so I guess I should?

In Indonesian society (or other Asian societies too, perhaps), getting married is sort of mandatory. I put an emphasis on the word “mandatory” based on my observation – it seems to me that a person, especially when he/she reaches a certain age and still single, is often viewed as “incomplete”.

As if there’s a part of you that’s missing. A husband/wife status.

You see, with that kind of society, a lot of us are (perhaps) forced to make getting married such a big deal. It is such a big deal to some, until it made me feel that there’s nothing else that they want to achieve except getting the wifey/hubby status. Whether they are successful in their education or career, whether they are a good friend and a loving child, they would still think that they are incomplete, because they are still single! Suddenly all the good qualities that define them seems irrelevant only because they don’t have that husband/wife status. Some would be constantly anxious and complains all the time because they haven’t found the one but really what defines the one?

Yesterday I had a funny encounter with an old friend. I don’t consider myself as her best friend nor I think she does, I even forget when was the last time I saw her. But suddenly we had something to discuss so we exchanged Whatsapp messages. The conversation was purely business, and I ended it with “Thank you! :)”. Simple. To my surprise, she replied with “Your welcome, hopefully we both can get married as soon as possible in 2015”.

I froze. I felt… awkward. We were not discussing anything related to marriage and I never told her anything about my relationship, but obviously she knows I’m still single. I did not know what to reply, really. How did she get the impression that I want to get married as soon as possible (like her)?

After a night of overthinking.. I came into a conclusion that she is just being purely Indonesian. We’re both almost 30. We have finished our school and (I think) are building a nice career. OF COURSE she would then think we both are incomplete because we’re not married (yet)!! According to this lovely Indonesian society that we both live in, what else that is to achieve besides getting married?

Once I came into that conclusion, I can’t blame her for mentioning that wish to me. The society (perhaps) forced her to think that way. But surely she can’t think that everybody has the desire to get married as much as she does?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to get married. But to me, getting married is SURELY not a competition. It does not make me any less if I’m not married (yet), or if somehow someday I decided that I don’t want to get married. To me, marriage is building a life with a partner, someone you love and you trust. To me, getting married is not mandatory, it’s not that I need to get married as soon as possible because I’m almost 30 and I have my biological clock ticking.. It’s not that I HAVE to get married because everybody else is doing it… I want to get married because I think I have found my partner and I want to build a life with him, why I’m still single is just a matter of time and I’m not rushing. I’m fully aware that there are others who don’t think like me and I totally respect that.

When I posted this thought (in a much simplified way) on my social media account yesterday, some of my friends responded in the comments. While one got my idea wrong and told me to be patient and pray so that I can get married quickly… some friends shared some nice thoughts. One told me that marriage is an option and it does not determine happiness, which I totally agree. One also told me that we have to accept the fact that some of us are free to feel that marriage is not in our priority and some of us are also free to crave the society approval of being married. Both are cool and people are allowed to feel whatever they feel. I also can’t agree more with this! 🙂

Please don’t force yourself into anything. Feel free to wait for your time to get married, but please don’t think less of yourself in the meantime. Feel free to postpone it, feel free to not want it. Whichever you choose, be happy, stay happy! 🙂

Image from : http://www.lovethispic.com/
Image from : http://www.lovethispic.com/
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26 thoughts on “Everyone is doing it, so I guess I should?”

  1. Wah.. Spt yang diingatkan temenku, menikahlah pada saat butuh, bukan saat ingin.. Which is harus dr keinginan diri sendiri, bukan krn dorongan orang lain, atau tekanan sosial..
    Setuju banget deh sama post ini..
    😀

  2. Gw selalu bilang kepada mereka yang belum kawin, enjoy life nanti kalau di tengah perjalanan ketemu pria, ya itu bonus. Jam biologi boleh ticking, tapi, jangan sampai maksa bikin anak. Kasian anaknya.

  3. menikah itu memang udah kayak prestasi sendiri ya christa, padahal balik lagi ke pribadi masing-masing mau menikah atau engga, mau nikah kapan, dan sama siapa

  4. I often wonder why people set getting married as a goal. Some even strive to get married at certain age. Although I got married young, I know the latter could be a burden. A heavy one.

    I agree with your post Christa. It comes partly from what society tells us to do. This is very tricky because what the society defines is not always good for everyone. However if you don’t follow this unwritten rule, you would be seen as misfit.

    1. That’s the problem for some people now.. they are forced to follow the unwritten rule to avoid being seen as misfit, which is too bad. It is getting better nowadays I think, but still far from ideal. I think ideally people should be free to choose what’s good for them.

  5. I agree Christa. I personally marriage is just a matter of having it on a piece of a paper. Maybe for people in Indonesia I am too westernized :p But if you found someone and love each other unconditionally, you are in a relationship and that what counts. I cannot imagine how high the peer pressure is there, to be married in a certain age. But I can imagine it is unpleasant and awkward when they generalize the rule. Some people feel different, and forget to just enjoy life!

    1. Yes agree with you.. what I still fail to understand is why people here tend to generalize! everyone should just enjoy life according to what’s best to their own opinion, married/not married 🙂

  6. Buatku, Menginginkan pernikahan, iya. Tapi ga ngoyo juga. Dijalani saja. Tidak menjadikan sebuah pernikahan adalah tujuan utama dan tujuan akhir. Ketemu pria yang menyenangkan, kemudian menikah. Anak adalah bonus bagi kami. Karena tujuan menikah juga bukan sekedar mencetak anak. Aku ini dicap sebagai wanita yang (sangat) telat nikah oleh lingkungan lho Christa. Tapi benar adanya, menikah kan bukan sebuah pertandingan. Jadi, kenapa harus ada kata telat? 🙂

    1. Betul.. lingkungan sering bersikap seakan akan menikah itu pertandingan, padahal sama sekali bukan kan? banyak yang aku lihat merasa terbebani karena belum nikah, jadi lupa enjoy life 🙂

  7. Tooootaaalllllyyy Aaagrreeeeee. Marriage is not competition and we are happy if we decide to be happy. I will answer “amen” to your friend’s wish. Its a good wishing though, at least for her. Hehehehe. Strange that people thinking marriage will guarantee happiness with so many cases out there. It just gives them comfort from being asked when will you get married or even only a strange stare from people around.

    1. Mungkin karena media selalu menggambarkan hal yang indah – indah nya saja soal pernikahan. Yang digambarin cinta2an, romantis2an, tapi ngga digambarin bagian berantem, bagian bayar tagihan, bagian kompromi, bagian ngadepin masalahnya.. hihihihi

  8. Well written, Christa.. Been there, done that.. I got married because I found a man that I believe will help me bring out the best in me..:-) Not because of other nonsense excuses (many of good friends of mine did, some of them confessed to me)

  9. Great post! Getting married just for the sake of being married doesn’t help in the long run. If this is the reason why you marry, things might not work out.

    My husband and I married quite soon after meeting each other, but that wasn’t because of the pressure we got from others, but rather because we had found the person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. In my circle of friends in Austria, where I’m from, getting married in your mid-twenties (like I did) is actually rather early, so for me it was the other way around. Society is putting pressure on you not to get married too soon. Oh, and shotgun weddings are almost unheard of in Austria. It works for me and my husband, but marriage clearly shouldn’t be forced.

  10. Indonesia banget, gw sudah di tahap gak berasa lagi kalo di tanya “kapan menikah?”, sudah dari sekitar 5 tahun lalu saat usia menginjak 25 atau bahkan mulai terdengar gaungnya saat sudah setahun kerja setelah graduated. 😀 😀 Sekarang suka gw jawab dengan becandaan macam-macam 😀 😀
    Bear with it.

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