Breaking a “sacred” contract

June 30, 2009

I’m  not a big proponent of marriage (before you pass judgment on this seemingly-hypocrite statement, read on), so when I read Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off by Sandra Tsing Loh, I found myself nodding, chuckling and pondering.

Growing up, I had these elaborate big fat Indian wedding fantasies (at one point in seventh grade, I remember making a scrapbook of Neeta Lulla’s bridal collection) and had even picked out the probable names of my unborn children.

But as I grew older and started noticing the loveless marriages that abounded everywhere, it made me question why people chose to stay in a social contract that was more of a burden than a beneficial, emotionally rewarding, heart warming relationship.

The answer, more often than not, was children.

Couples had become a family and it was important to stay together for “the sake of the kids.”

Forgive me, but I think that is the weakest argument to present.

Children are no fools. They can sense the tension between their parents.

They don’t turn deaf when their folks are yelling at each other. They know. They understand. And, they remember.

More emotional scarring happens in this situation than when couples decide to mutually separate and come up with a reasonable way to ensure a stable environment for the kids. Easier said than done, right?

“So why don’t we accept marriage as a splitting-the-mortgage arrangement?” asks Loh.

The laws of the land and society dictate marriage as a useful enterprise to engage in. But conforming to societal pressures makes it a rather painful arrangement. In some cultures more than in others.

If you weren’t married, for example, you wouldn’t have to spend Thanksgiving with your husband’s family and buy tons of presents for your wife’s cousins. Of course, you could choose to, but my point is, you wouldn’t have to.

I think for the most part, a marriage for a woman only serves to offer protection from wandering males (not adequately either sometimes) and loads of social norms to ascribe to in return. You become a wife, a caretaker, a cook.

And I would have resisted being stereotyped this way had my Indian parents not thrown a tantrum about their only child crushing their lifelong dreams (yes, that’s the kind of stuff parents dream about!).

It would have been a miserable situation had my “husband” and I not entered into a secret agreement of treating this relationship not as a marriage, but rather as a friendship.

He is no husband, and I am no wife. Our marriage could be called a sham…for after all, all it is is a combination of hormones that clicked. He having a good amount of testosterone (the “director”) and I being ruled by estrogen and oxytocin (the “negotiator”).

And I think, for us, this “marriage” works only because we don’t treat it like one — it’s not a “sacred” contract bound by social dictats, it’s simply a desire to be with each other, to share, to laugh, to love.

We are, in many ways, like that “long-married husband and wife” who have “pleasantly agreed to be friends, to set the bedroom aglow at night by the mute opening of separate laptops.” But, no — we’re not “done with it.”

I highly recommend reading the article and posting your thoughts.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Breaking a “sacred” contract

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3 Responses to Breaking a “sacred” contract

  1. EstherNo Gravatar on June 30, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    You are succeeded in thoroughly confusing me.

    Either you succumb to pressure of the parents to marry or by thoughts of well being of children to stay married, for me its the same. It serves self interest somewhere.

  2. The hoopla of marriage | First Impressions on June 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    […] Even though we are married, our friends will vouch that ours is not the traditional husband-wife arrangement. […]

  3. deeptiNo Gravatar on April 15, 2012 at 3:26 am


    It was just by chance that i came across this website of yours today.And it so happened that i went on reading it…guess almost for 2 hours…scrolling all through. Mostly the personal blog track.

    I generally never post comments on any it blogs or reviews…(just out of purpose intended)..but today i just felt like stopping by and express how much your writeup’s stirred my thought process.

    Though i have been able to go through only a small fraction of this huge base..i certainly wish to read through the whole of it ..dropping by regularly.

    Refraining myself from writing a puddle of irrelevant reasons to post here…i would just say that i somehow could relate myself to your sense of judgement of the way things are around. Your
    thoughts and perspective.
    I am 24 now, i feel have been wandering aimlessly in the past couple of years…in the quest of the unknown,and got carried away by the materialistic and superficial societal norms.
    I got pulled into a phase of introspection as i went on reading..and i felt it rekindled the passion i too had for jotting down the revolutionary thoughts that used to spring up in my mind..ever since i was a teen…I had just forgot this aspect of me…being so busy struggling to find myself a place in this futile worldly chase.

    U might find my way of writing weird and full of many incoherent sentences/ideas flocked together..i request you to bear with my expression has become quite lame..ever since i left school…

    I guess u will be bothered if i write longer than this…so i would just conclude to say that i aspire to have an expression somewhere close to what you have. I have decided to work on it from today onwards..long way to go..Thanks for inspiring me!!



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