In Part 8 of our series “Help! I’m 30, Tamil… and Not Married”, Meera shares her thoughts on the pressures Tamil women and men face when it comes to expectations about when they should marry.
Being a Canadian-born Tamil woman, approaching the age of 29, there is an immense amount of pressure from my family and relatives to get married ASAP!
Despite immigrating to new countries to give our families and children a better way of life, and embracing new ways of thinking and living, our elders still hold on strongly to certain traditional beliefs - that if we don’t marry by a certain age, we are destined to be alone and unfulfilled.
This way of thinking can really put a strain on children living in the western world. Being Tamil and adapting to the norms and values in the western culture is no easy task. Even though marriage might feel like the right thing to do in your mid 20s or early 30s, I am here to tell you the 5 reasons as to why you shouldn’t feel pressured to get married just because you're told that time is running out.
1. It Makes you Anxious and Desperate
By having a timeline to get married, your anxious mindset and behaviour can risk the chance of moving a potential relationship forward. This type of anxiety can create havoc over your emotions, making you act clingy and desperate without fully knowing if your partner is compatible for a life-long commitment with you. It is in these early stages of getting to know a partner where our insecurities get the best of us. Therefore it is important to keep our emotions in check and focus on really getting to know one another before idealizing him/her as a life partner.
2. You Settle For Less
They say “sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your Prince.” I couldn’t agree more with this idiom. Finding true love requires patience, and trial and error, to truly know what we deserve in a life partner. It is through our past experiences with exes where we realize what we are able to tolerate in one another and discover who we really are beyond the surface level. But hey, if you were lucky enough to stumble upon your true love the first time around, kudos to you. I believe, the key to having a healthy and lasting marriage, is to find a partner who shares the same values as you.
For me, it looks something like this: lives a similar lifestyle as you, is able to find common ground when managing finances together, is trustworthy and loyal, is family oriented and wants to have a family of their own, is able to compromise, is respectful to you, your family and friends, is supportive of your dreams and aspirations, is able to communicate clearly and effectively, is accepting of your religious/spiritual beliefs and finally is able to find a balance between work and life to make time for you and your relationship as a couple.
3. Good Relationships Take Time to Nurture
In a time where the hook-up culture seems to be the norm thanks to apps like Tinder, the notion of actually getting to know one another seems nearly impossible. With that being said, once you think you’ve found a suitable mate, take the time to get to know one another in the good times and the bad. To put things into perspective, let’s take buying a new car as an example. Our first approach is to research the specs, the cost, the style and how reliable the make of the model is. Then after we’ve narrowed down a few viable options, we may go for a test drive. After careful evaluation and opinions and recommendations from car enthusiasts and friends we finally buy the car. Once we buy the new car, a couple of months or years down the road, the car might be in need of some tuning and maintenance. As you can see from this example, the same goes with investing in a romantic relationship with your partner. The only difference is, after a few years you can replace your old car for a new one, but when it comes to a lifetime commitment such as marriage, you only have one chance…that is if you don’t believe in divorce. If you force things to happen or rush into it, I can assure you that your relationship will be heading down south before you know it. Take all the time you need to nurture your relationship because anything worth investing in takes time and patience.
4. You Actually Need to be Ready
Before you consider getting married, you need to ask yourself whether you are at a stage in your life where you can afford to live on your own or have enough money saved up for a wedding ceremony. Weddings in North America are not cheap. Especially in our Tamil community, where your family’s entire village is invited for formality and everyone wants to outshine the other with bigger and better venues, décor, entrees and more. In hard economic times like today, you really don’t want to incur any more debt or rely on your parents who are reaching their retirement to have to pay for your wedding. I am a strong believer on being on your own two feet first. Besides, when things are handed to you, you don’t see the value in it or work hard enough to achieve your own goals.
5. Have No Regrets In Life
Last but DEFINITELY not least, have no regrets in life before marriage. Ask yourself, have you had the time to reflect on yourself and know who you truly are? Is there something you need to work on in terms of personal or professional development? Have you lived life and traveled to see the wonders of the world? Have you experienced what you should have experienced in your teen or adolescent years? Basically what I’m trying to get at is, be your own self and have an identity. Don’t go making life decisions based on the pressure from your family members or friends who think they know what’s best for you. You are only given one life, so live life to the fullest and accomplish those goals and dreams you set out for yourself. Not only is this important for your own well-being, but this will also help you in your relationship with your S.O. Having regrets in life will affect your relationship and cause friction when times get tough, so make sure you are happy and whole before getting married.
To sum it up, marriage is a life-time commitment. My advice? Take the time to really get to know your partner and yourself. Make sure that you are financially stable, compatible in the good and bad times with your partner and eventually get approval from your family (I know this is a tough one -_-). Being ready to take on the responsibilities as a wife/husband and a mother/father is a sacrifice. It takes work, compromises and a lot of patience. And finally be 100% sure about your S.O., because I assure you, once you’ve done the work, taken the time to nurture your relationship, and lived your life with no regrets, your journey together will be a lot smoother and everlasting.
Looking to create your love story, your way? Join the other couples who have dated and married through myTamilDate.com!
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