End of the day after my routine chores – finished office work, made dinner, cleaned up, checked up on my in-laws, done discussing the day with my husband – I sat down on the couch to quickly catch a glimpse of my favourite TV series. The phone rang and it was my mother on the line. The day had been so hectic, that I didn’t even have the energy to talk to her, even though it had been a few days. Nevertheless, after we exchanged pleasantries, she just asked me why I seemed so stressed and I blurted out – “I just wish I wasn’t married”. The moment the words came out of my mouth, I regretted it, not because I felt guilty about what I said, but for the fear of being judged. I thought of all the things that I could now say to cover up what I had said. But all the excuses went futile, when I heard the voice from the other side saying – “I have thought about that myself on several occasions too”.
By now you may have created a picture of me in your mind of this very unhappy woman struggling with family and work stuck in a loveless marriage. But that’s not true. I have a wonderful, loving husband and a very supportive (most of the time) extended family. But yet, sometimes I still wish I was not married.
Those days when I was dating my future husband-to-be were so carefree. We were both working professionals earning quite decently. There was no pressure of saving up. We used to just live it up for a few days after we received our paychecks – be it on expensive dinners, gifts or shopping. Even though we always ended up short of money by the end of the month, we did not have to explain to anyone why instant noodles were a good dinner option. But that’s no longer possible. Nutritious dinner for the family is of course my responsibility and so is planning and saving for the future.
Our plans and trips used to be so impromptu then. I remember we even went for a hiking trip on a day’s notice. And today, even going for a dinner or a movie has to be planned well in advance. I wonder what has changed. It’s the same him and it’s the same me. But has marriage just added this sense of responsibility of having to plan anything and everything.
Even back then, we used to plan and mark our calendars at the start of the year to highlight the festivals. The reason then used to be to club those holidays with weekends and take off to somewhere – sometime to explore new places or sometimes to just have a relaxing holiday away from the routine. We still look at the dates of the festivals, but now the reason is to plan for the rituals associated with it or to plan for family celebrations, and not to forget to buy another set of traditional attire that I will wear only once, but will take up space in my cupboard forever. All these festivals which really didn’t matter a little while back have become so important.
I was a very out-going person in the pre-marriage days. I used to hang out a lot with my friends, including male friends – to whom I swore to never let go of, to remain connected all the time, for whom I will never change. When I started to date things did change a little, but still not to the extent of disappointing my friends. My partner was even cool with our annual getaways and in fact encouraged it. And then marriage happened. I don’t know why, but there is now this inherent pressure to now go everywhere with your husband. The society now expected us to make friends with more settled couples, whether we were having fun was secondary. And hate to admit it, but I really do have few very male friends now and I miss them – they were my buddies with whom I could chill for long hours.
The list of things that have changed are endless – ranging from details like monthly grocery, investment and savings plan, my dressing style, making sure all your relatives are happy with you, remembering to call all family members on their birthdays and anniversaries, cleaning up so that house is presentable any time some relative comes in without notice, holiday planning to make sure the visits of both set of parents don’t clash and the list goes on… Our priorities have suddenly changed. It’s now just not about us, but so much more about others.
Marriage is a big and long commitment and it does change you, whether you admit that or not. You can imagine marriage as a dating or a live-in relationship with loads and loads of additional baggage. “Are you ready for this change?” – is something that you should give a good thought to before taking the plunge. Given a chance, will I undo my decision to get married? Probably not. I love the love, support and care I get from my husband and the sense of security I feel is unmatched. But do I miss those times when we spoke for hours together, did crazy things together without the fear of being judged, when love seemed to be the only food we needed when binge-watching shows (hunger did not even cross our minds). Yes, I do. And those are the days, when I wish that I wasn’t married.
Image Source: Tu Dosis Diaria