Nota Bene

What’s important to you?

So many people settle. There used to be a time when mostly arranged marriages were acceptable in India. In some cases, the boy and girl didn’t even meet. The parents got together, matched their children’s horoscopes, the compatibility of the families, set the date and then spread the news. It was considered their responsibility, getting the kids married. They can be imagined heaving a sigh of relief when it was over, picking up their to-do-list and checking another item off it. The man and woman spending their lives together based on their parents’ decision had little say in the matter. Maybe they got to see pictures of each other before the big day to know what their spouse was going to look like, maybe they got a chance to veto based on that. How many of these marriages were actually happy? Your guess is as good as mine, although I can give you an exact percentage of the arranged marriages I have grown up with that weren’t good marriages. But they didn’t have a choice. They simply had to make the best of their lot, they accepted it as being pre-destined and did their best to cope.

Things appear to be a little different in the new millennium. Arranged marriages still abound and I have personally seen people get very, very lucky. They didn’t settle. They found love, real true love. Some of us have fought against that very idea, favouring love marriages and freedom of choice. Love marriages are on the rise and I have personally seen people be miserable in them. They got too comfortable in an imperfect relationship. What might that lead to? There is so much literature in books and on the web about what makes a good relationship and, eventually, a good marriage. I can’t say I can corroborate any of it. What I can say is check your reasons. Why do you want to get married? Are you simply trying to fill some gaping void in your life? Are you just looking for someone to be with? Do you just want a partner you can go to parties and social outings with? Is it because you see all your friends settling down, you see them with their partners and you feel left out? Are you doing it just to be part of some élite club that only accepts couples as its members? Is it just because the time is right? If you’re a woman are you perhaps worried about your biological clock? Do you want to have kids with just about anyone and not the person of your dreams? What is simple companionship worth to you?

A person cannot be forced to love and you cannot be forced to be happy. Perhaps you’re stuck in a comfort zone that has lasted many years. Perhaps you’re too used to each other. Perhaps you’re too dependent on each other emotionally, financially, physically. Perhaps too many factors prevent you from chasing happiness. But if you can find your way out of a toxic relationship, maybe you should. It isn’t easy to say which is a more courageous move–getting out and moving on or staying and trying to make it work. Sometimes it may depend on how invested you are in it. But if you know what makes you unhappy, why wouldn’t you choose a different road? Maybe you’re afraid of what lies down that path. It’ll be a new adventure. What could be more important than being happy? If the person you’re with loves you with the greatest love would he or she want to see you unhappy? Would a despondent you be able to bring them joy? Exactly whose happiness are you staying for? Why? You are given the right to choose. You have the freedom to make your own decisions! No one’s twisting your arm and there isn’t a gun to your head! (And if there was, would you prefer death or a lifetime of misery?) Make free will work for you, do things that satisfy you, fulfill your life, make you smile. I implore you: Don’t settle.

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