I am a 28-year-old happily unmarried Indian woman. Well, the "happily" part, of course, is conditional here because I can't tell you how much it kills my vibe each and every time I am quizzed with the "settling down" question. Just the other day, I was discussing my job profile with an old school friend when she cut me mid-sentence only to say, "achcha wo toh theek hai, par ab settle-vettle hone ka kya scene hai." Well, easy for her given that she is getting married next month. As for me, the question irks my very soul.
And while I have found a way of dealing with random people who think it is okay to ask a question by giving them the coldest look ever (bless my resting bitch face), it's not really easy to dodge it when the assailants happen to be my parents. Actually not anymore. That said, for two-three years throwing an angry fit was the only response that I used to have for the question. However, as time passed and our mutual irritation levels peeked, I realised that I need to come up with a fool-proof strategy.
And as I speak of strategies, it is important to understand that there doesn't exist an instant fix. That's not how it works with Indian parents. Nope. But then what is it that actually works? A multi-step plan to strategically get inside their minds and change them! Now, how to do that you ask? Read on:
Okay, this might sound counterproductive but this is exactly where you need to start. To make your parents understand and to counter their arguments for marriage, it is important that you first understand their perspective. Begin by understanding why they are so hell-bent on getting you married. Ask what they would actually gain by getting you married.
For you to convince them, it is important that you first have a clear understanding of why you don’t want to get married. You should be clear in your own head first. If need be, take out some time and jot it down on a paper. Start by writing why you don’t want to get married. Then based on that, create arguments that you would be pitching to your parents.
Think of it as step one because more often than not Indian parents aren’t receptive to the idea of their children not getting married 'on time' or at all. Share your concerns with them. Tell them why you think that it’s not the right time for you to get married. This is the time to raise all the arguments that you previously wrote down as part of the ideation process.
Now, it is important to understand that while you are very clear on not getting married right now (or ever), your parents are equally attached to the idea of getting you hitched. Thus, it is very important for you to be patient throughout the process. They might appear very hostile, unreasonable, and illogical to you at times. Understand, that’s exactly how you might be appearing to them as well and that is why all of this is going to take time, lots of it.
While it is of course easier to have the conversation once and then hope for the best, if you have to read this article then chances are that it’s not really going to work. Also, chances are that your parents might end up adopting a similar approach and expecting that you’ll eventually get ready. Keep raising the topic. For every, “dekh, uski toh shaadi bhi ho gayi,” be prepared with a “Dekha, isliye mujhe abhi shaadi nahi karni.” Simply put, if they find it okay to inundate you with examples on a daily basis, feel free to do the same. In fact, make sure that you do the same.
Don’t stop at just convincing them. To make them understand, it is also important to educate them. Tell them that it is bonkers to get married simply 'coz the society thinks (or they do) that you have some “reproductive responsibilities” to fulfill. Tell them that it is all the more ludicrous to get married because “the clock is ticking.” Tell them why all of these excuses are archaic AF and don’t really work for you.
In all honesty, this is a very subtle form of emotional blackmail that thankfully causes no harm to anyone whatsoever. All you have to do is make a list of all the things you want to do, give them the puppy eyes and say something on the lines of how all you have got is one life and you really, really need some time to explore all that it has to offer and achieve all that you dream of.
However, if your parents don’t easily succumb to emotional blackmail then might we suggest some tough love? Every time they force you into marriage tell them that if you end up getting into a bad marriage then onus will lie on them. Of course, this too is manipulative but then my friend you know what’s at stake, right?
This truly is the most boss move of them all. Get control of your life, show them that you can make your own living, take very good care of yourself, and have all the emotional support that you’d ever need. Explain to them that you have your life is in control and can very manage all the benefits that they believe that marriage will get you.
Lastly, don't forget to remind them that the same society that's pestering them with "iski shaadi kab hogi question" won't even give a f**k after hogging on the reception dinner. Fact!
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