Over the last few weeks, I have noticed a pattern regarding conversations with my male friends on the overly articulated subject of ‘marriage’. With most approaching an age where it is either the family wanting them to get married or their own desire to enter the said institution – it is certainly on the priority list. What I find high on their priority is – how caring and supportive their future wife should be towards the family.
Now these are men who are quiet liberal in their world view, non judgmental and unpretentious, prefer working and independent women and appreciate what life has to offer, all the while keeping up their vested interests and hobbies and encouraging their partner to do the same. I find my male friends with a heightened sense of sanity and clarity, regarding how to maintain a relationship – mainly focused on love, trust and stability.
So why is it that despite their modern and contemporary lifestyle and views, they still hold traditional views regarding marriage? Is it conditioning? Yes. Indeed it is. It is how men in India are raised – to believe that a woman’s duty is to hold a family together and maintain relationships. But I suspect their own experiences play a major role too. These are men who have had the good fortune of being raised by strong willed women who stressed the importance of family while maintaining their own sense of identity and individuality. I have had the honor of meeting these women and they command a great deal of respect and responsibility from their sons. They are in no way meek or give their sons a free pass for bad behavior. They constantly will their sons to treat woman with respect and appreciation.
And thankfully, as I look around at the young women, we have mothers who constantly encourage us to grow and flourish and believe in the value of family too.
These are men who have been around the block and have come to realize the value of a good woman. Why do we need to demean men and say that they like modern women but want the traditional simpleton for marriage? I don’t think that it’s one or the other for men today. Don’t we as women want a man who is an amalgamation of the modern yet traditional outlook?
Thanks to the men having feminist female friends (pun intended!), they do understand the importance of combining and seeking positive qualities when it comes to the woman they wish to share their life with. They do not wish to be with a woman whose sole interest is in her appearance or material items. As much as they might love to look at a beautiful woman, they realize that it’s her inner beauty which lasts and would add to their life as well. Nor do they wish to be with the intellectual who might be wise beyond her years but forgets to let go and experience things around and simply enjoy life.
Regardless of whether she is an introvert or an extrovert, enjoys sports or books; it is the woman who knows how to love him and is willing to extend her love to both families equally – would thus be considered his ideal partner.
The good news for us women is that we do not need to change ourselves to have a man value us. But it would be nice to remember that it is love which is the basis of marriage. Loving the man and extending the same to his dear ones would undoubtedly ensure the woman being placed on a pedestal by him.
A man secure and confident in himself and his choices would be able to appreciate a woman in all her splendor. So the next time you hear a man talk about his family while on the subject of marriage take a deeper look into his views on the woman, which (according to them) ought to be centered on her as – the homemaker, his wife, his partner. And the men should on their part wish to be invested in the marriage equally and extend the same respect towards her parents and family.
And to young women everywhere – let these ideas in, perhaps then the idea of marriage, in-laws and family wouldn’t seem so scary. I’m no better, though am trying to wrap my head around it too now.
After all, it takes a special woman to head and nurture a marriage and family.