While marriage is an opportunity to bond with one person for life, as well as for companionship, it's important to have clarity before embarking on this important life decision. Once you learn to look past mushy romantic dreams that usually involve expensive gifts, exotic holidays, beautiful clothes, wedding parties, religious ceremonies and important guest-lists, you'll realise that marriage is a far more nuanced life project that no school or life experience prepares you for.
In this ongoing life project that goes on for as long as your body and mind can keep going, here are 5 healthy reasons that are worth considering if you're looking to tie the knot.
1) Mutual support and acceptance
If you are both getting married to enjoy and offer steady support and warmth to another person for whom you deeply care, you're getting hitched for the right reason. It's important to remember that the person you are getting married to has come from a different world than yours. He or she has expectations, weaknesses, habits, strengths and quirks that you're going to have to learn to deal with. You and your partner are going to have to learn to navigate through and negotiate through life's many unexpected unpleasant moments. Marriage stands for that kind of resilience, acceptance and support. Conjugal partners must learn to discover and decipher life as they look out for each other without trying to necessarily 'overly rescue' or 'obsessively control' each other.
2) A shared passion or mission
Human beings live in a state of constant pursuit. Sometimes it's a search for meaning and sometimes for something specific in the material world. Whatever the mission, marriage makes it a shared one! Partners must learn to nurture a project, a dream and/or a child together as a culmination of their efforts to stay together and figure out 'what's the best way to live' and 'what's the best way to be authentic in this world'. Partners who find a common purpose in life such as - personal growth, a pursuit of adventure and knowledge, a penchant for helping others or developing a talent, will find themselves in fulfilling relationships that aren't merely a reflection of the 'cosmetic stuff'. Such a collaborative and synergistic effect can serve to benefit the individuals in the relationship and all the people who come in contact with such people. If your relationship is steeped in a larger vision for betterment and growth, your marriage will have a solid foundation.
3) When the chemistry is just right
If you're able to chat candidly, yet with empathy and honesty with your partner, your marriage will feel fulfilling and warm. Chemistry between two people may be decidedly intangible but it's a largely instinctual understanding that 'one will be accepted, nurtured and respected to live out an independent life and find one's dreams'. Marriage is an extension and in many ways a culmination of such a collaborative friendship. It's the most profound and honest of friendships that puts a great deal of faith in the individual's ability to adapt and even to protect a relationship for what it represents. While physical attraction is definitely important in a relationship, it is when a meeting of minds and sharing of ideas takes place that the most amazing surprises await! It's important to think about the 'conversational chemistry' and the 'emotional intimacy' that you and you partner share before tying the knot.
4) Evolving and growing together
When two people want to continue to discover themselves and each other, and are excited with the thought of going through different 'seasons' of life and finding different 'reasons' to stay passionate in the relationship, they have the right ingredient of 'commitment through evolution' and growth. Such a couple continues to sustain the right balance of 'shared' space and interests and 'individual' space and interests with neither one negating the other. Supporting each other's growth and aspirations while growing as a couple is the recipe for a deeply fulfilling and long lasting relationship. It's important to know whether both have the desire to leave the stagnant and stale behind, and keep discovering the new and fresh with each other throughout life. If both aspire to evolve as individuals and as a couple, it can be a very exciting journey as a couple.
5) The joy of parenting and shared values
When two people from two different backgrounds partake in a relationship and marriage, it is as much a fusion of unique perspectives to solve problems and discover new things, as much as it's a social stamp of what it means to be a family unit. Parenting is a shared responsibility as it is an ongoing orientation and preparation process that helps another human being realise his/her own strengths and purpose in the world. Parenting due to the social pressures of producing children can contaminate the wonder and joy of bringing a child into the world. Parenting is a responsible choice that helps us give the world an additional 'contributor' who will help make the world a little more fun and pleasant in his/her own way.
The limited time we have on this planet is a gift that we can use to contribute to the lives of others since everyone needs a way forward through life's many confusing chapters. Living and operating as a cohesive and coherent unit would mean getting married only after checking if there is a genuine compatibility of 'core values' such as - sharing, growth, kindness, empathy and learning that can keep the relationship alive through every season of life. So if you're looking to get married, consider the above factors as a healthy selection criteria if you want your marriage to prosper and perform well through the wonders and blunders of life and all the chaos and opportunity that it brings with it.
Aman Bhonsle is a Psychosocial Analyst and Youth Mentor at the Heart to Heart Counselling Centre, Mumbai , and has been working with the youth for eight years.