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! 🙂