My 25year old niece Suma is in a fix. Her mother wants her to marry and ‘settle down’ but Suma wants to work. “I want to be financially independent for some time and save up enough to buy things for my new home and then marry,’ says she. But her mother feels that an early marriage is better than a late one. “The couple can adjust faster”, is her argument. Suma wants me to be her advocate while her mother is counting on my support. How can I take up for either of them when each has a point?
What Suma wants to do is save her parents the expense of buying her a trousseau and other paraphernalia that go into a daughter’s marriage. She also feels that a woman should have her own source of income before plunging into the responsible position of housewife.
A late marriage means a mature and adult approach to problems. It also gives the girl and boy a chance to ‘live it up’ before getting bogged down by domestic hassles. The man would have reached a certain peak in his career, thus giving him enough time to devote to his new wife and home. The girl, having appeased her desire for clothes, jewellery and other luxuries, is better prepared to put home and hearth above self.
She would have also gone through the gestation period in her work, without the diversion of in-laws and other related adjustments.
Let’s look at Suma’s mother’s point of view. She fears that Suma’s newly acquired independence might make her very aggressive. This would come in the way of her need to compromise. Once a workingwoman, Suma might not like to give up her career in the interest of her family. This would affect her home life as marriage in the initial stages would require a lot more time and commitment.Again, a late marriage would mean late motherhood. A young mother would be more energetic and enthusiastic to cope with a child than an older one.
Having heard both sides of the argument, I’ve come to my own conclusion about this issue. A girl should first equip herself with a career-oriented qualification. This will perhaps be when she is around 23 years. She should get married at that age and not think of working for at least five years.
During this period, she could perhaps have two children and get busy with her duties as mother and wife. Once the children are old enough to go to a day care centre, she should pickup a part time job or take to some lucrative hobby which gives her enough time to devote to her home.
By the time she is 30, her children would be in school, well adjusted and emotionally and physically ready to accept their mother’s absence. The children would have also done with the usual chickenpox/fever/tummy ache stage. Meanwhile, she would have acquired poise and maturity and a relaxed attitude- all very good for a career woman.
The best part of it all is that the children grow up while the mother is still young and there is a better rapport due to this. I think marriage is like measles. The earlier you are exposed to it, the lesser the intensity!