After romantic dates, love affairs, and being in a loving relationship, a question starts to run through the mind of the unmarried: To marry or not to marry? Deciding on marriage is really a tough job, and it can be even more difficult in Nepal.
It is still unknown how humans make marriage decisions. We can find thousands of contextual socio-cultural factors and personal reasons everywhere.
Let’s take the example of the South Asian socio-cultural context, including Nepal, where marriage is considered a kind of coming-of-age experience or rite of passage, in which a ceremony of metamorphosis turns a boy and a girl into a man and a woman, respectively.
Moreover, so much of our cultural ethos and social values revolve around the institution of marriage. Without being married and living in society, much of adulthood would in a sense become culturally meaningless in Nepal.
The majority of Nepalis would say that even if marriage is disliked, distasted, or regretted as a personal decision, it would still be embraced, enjoyed, and celebrated as part of a sociocultural institution. Whatever decision you take on marriage, it is always an advantage to understand how you can better handle the process of deciding on marriage. Let’s have a look.
The process of deciding on marriage
Indeed, many people go through different phases of deciding on marriage. Mostly, it can be due to the reason that marriage provides them with a safe framework to fulfil their sexual needs. However, marriage cannot be reduced to only natural inclinations. Even in these times of quick gratification, monogamous marriage still finds its significance due to reasons such as family love, togetherness, friendships, opportunities for support and the sense of comfort and care it provides.
Deciding on marriage, just like any other important decision in life, depends on individual thinking, evaluation, and judgment. It can be a highly mechanistic and rational process when an individual goes through the steps of identifying a purpose for marriage desire, establishing criteria, evaluating alternatives, and selecting the best possible option.
Similarly, marriage decisions can also be a matter of psychology and biology, depending on the subtle genetic signals your subconscious mind picks up from the other person for procreation and how much your choice resembles your father and mother.
Hence, always return to your initial criteria for getting married when evaluating the effectiveness of your marriage decisions—gap analysis of your marriage expectations versus reality.
For example, if you married someone for their possessions because of what the individual has–a bank balance, a green card, a visa, social status, and a handsome face, you cannot put your expectations so much on human qualities such as honesty, integrity, commitment, and care. Your expectations will only disappoint you.
Sometimes, unnecessary urgency to arrive at a quick marriage decision may also leave you with long-term bitterness, regret, loss, and stress. And, we also need to acknowledge that it is not overly rational.
Deciding on marriage generally falls under the realm of bounded rationality, where decisions are taken under the conditions of sufficient yet incomplete information about the other person. These decisions are also influenced by preferential bias and momentary emotional conditions like excitement and peer pressure.
In other words, marriage decisions are taken under the condition of risk because, based on what we know about the other person, we can never exactly know how things will unfold. Hence, we can only make satisfactory marriage decisions, not perfect ones.
More importantly, whatever reason you decide to marry (money, residence, a great escape, economic advantage, a dependent visa, or that beautiful face), be satisfied if it works out well. However, if marriage makes you feel disappointed and more importantly if you cannot make your own decision due to deciding on marriage, you must be strong enough to challenge yourself and should be able to leave.
Love vs marriage
Interestingly, George Bernard Shaw argued that it is most unwise for people in love to get married. And, the more we linger on deciding on marriage, the more we realise that marriage is not about love.
Love has never been a part of marriage; marriage is an arrangement for fulfilling our social, cultural, economic and family obligations.
Hence, we find all sorts of depression, disappointments and regrets in marriage when we confuse it with love. Leave love behind for the lovers if you are deciding on marriage. Marriage makes you realise that you need other inspirations, motivations, objectives and challenges than love.
Love is not enough as it is just a feeling that fades. Then, what shall we do with expectations when people change? From a loving person to a monster and back to normal again…
Hence, marriage is about realising the importance of togetherness for all those things we struggle for, overcome and achieve.
Deciding on marriage works if we can remain interested in each other even when we are not attracted anymore. When it comes to marriage, the most important things are talking and listening.
Again, as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stated, “When marrying, one should ask oneself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this woman into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory…”
Therefore, do not get into marriage without a vision, strategy and action plan. Be rather supportive and blunt, even if marriage appears like a business deal. Discuss and decide on roles, skills, expectations, and responsibilities in clear terms without being defensive and deceptive.
Never promise a word that cannot be translated into action. Get into a marriage if both of you know how to make it work.