Hands up my lovely Asian friends and family if you have felt pressured to be wed at any point in your life? Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a wonderful thing, it’s beautiful and it’s something many people want to experience in their lifetime.
But when you are not feeling “ready” and are expected to get married for cultural reasons then a lot of things come into play. Guilt or living up to expectations may be a thing that some of us feel, the older we get.
I think that being Asian, you realise that the view in the community is that marriage is a vital part of life – which I agree with, but they feel that this should occur at a certain age, or by a certain time for it to be seen as acceptable behaviour.
Generally speaking, I think that they see anyone over the age of 30 that is not married as either – 1. Something wrong with them, or, 2. They have passed their sell by date and left on the shelf.
My own experience of pressure to getting married
I, myself have felt pressure as the larger community questions my parents constantly about whether their kids are married. The people questioning my parents are fully aware that we are in our 30’s but leave my parents feeling embarrassed as they have let their children live a life of choice, to build a career and actually focus on a stable future before they commit to anyone out of our free will. I respect that a lot and love my parents for it even more. But I feel bad for them because they get questioned.
This distaste that is left on my parents is then forced as pressure on me and my unmarried siblings to get married. All my parents want is for us to be happy but for them to feel embarrassed for allowing their kids to be individuals is so wrong and it’s down to the concept of what people think is important. My parents say constantly you can do what you want but you can’t stop people talking and what do you respond to them? A way of emotional blackmail to start the process of looking for a potential partner that may not necessarily be the right one.
I believe in marriage – but not by a certain age.
I truly believe that you must be happy within yourself to be able to make someone else happy.
This could be a steady career, financially stable or feel happy and have a self-love and value about yourself that you can reflect that on someone you spend the rest of your life with.
I truly believe that it will happen when it’s meant, everything in life has the right time and moment.
From my experience, being male or female doesn’t make a difference to what Asians think about getting married – it’s expected from both…
From my personal experience I feel that the pressures are on par but are for very different reasons.
For me I was engaged to get married and two weeks before the date of the wedding, the whole thing was called off by my then fiancé. The guilt I felt as my parents had put so much into it… they had to face the backlash of questions from the larger community even when we were devastated as a family (This was in the May of 2014).
I later agreed for my parents to start looking for someone suitable and little did I know by August of 2014 that they would have found a well-matched partner.
I felt so guilty of what my parents had to face from my previous relationship that failed that I just went with the motions. Before I knew it, come December, I was engaged again. I knew deep down this was not right for me, but I felt I could not get out of it, the fear was what would people say? My parents had already faced enough could I put them through another scenario? Would I let my family down?
The pressure I felt even left me considering the worst, perhaps sometimes I even thought about ending my life. Or maybe running away from home would solve my problems? But I felt like I was trapped and at a complete loss as my life was in the hands of others.
I decided to stand up for myself and eventually say no!! I faced many negatives, but I stood tall and strong and let everyone know that my happiness comes first.
This was an experience I came across as being an Asian male. I truly feel that a female in the Asian community would face the same type of pressure, such as getting married by a certain age, but a label of shame would be placed on the family and the girl if the same scenario happened… but really, for what reason? Only because of the face that she stood up for what her life stands for?
Some of my female friends have said, girls over 30 are seen to be expired or not worthy of marriage because they are seen as ‘out of date stock’ in some cases. Just because a girl is in her 30’s or over it does not reduce her chances of having children, her beauty isn’t any less… it does not determine whether that girl is a far less suited match.
The Asian community often forget that it’s the compatibility between the two that make a relationship work, not good looks, or the opinion of others and this needs to change.
Are things going to change in our community?
I feel that things are changing but it’s still there, it’s not changed enough as there is a huge focus of what others think… we need to start having conversations to change this. We need to talk openly about life, what’s important and be realistic. The talks and opinions of others don’t create a happy and sustained life and they certainly don’t determine whether you find the perfect life partner.
I’d love for you to share your experiences with me so that we can all grow as a community and make a stand for allowing us to have a choice without the shame. Have you ever felt pressured into getting married? Did you go through with it? What are your thoughts about it now?