“There’s this boy looking for a nice girl to get married, and I thought of you,” said the aunty.
The first time I was told this, I was flattered. It was also the first time I was approached about marriage from an aunty: My unofficial entrance into the world of aunty matchmaking.
I was still in school completing my undergraduate degree, so marriage wasn’t something on my to-do list. The conversation caught me completely off-guard.
Then the really surprising comment came: “His mother wants someone religious, so he’ll get more serious about the religion.”
I couldn’t believe it.
I wear hijab, which is why I’m guessing she thought of me when the aunty heard this from the mother. But why do you think I would want someone less religious? As though I can fix him into what his mother wants? Was he some sort of child that I was now being expected to mother?
I totally believe that marriage should be a ‘better and be bettered by your spouse’ relationship, and it’s something that I want for my relationship. But there’s a slight re-framing for who wants you to be better: it can’t be your mother.
It needs to be you.
If you don’t want to better yourself, and you just do what your mother wants you to do, then your intentions in this game aren’t pure and you’re definitely not sincere. It also means you can’t voice your opinions because your mother can’t seem to be able to step aside and let you live your life. I want someone who wants to be better and is making efforts to do so.
There can’t be three people in a marriage before it even starts. Hell no.
In the Indian community, there’s a prevalent cultural belief that a daughter will live in two houses: her parents and her husband’s. There’s also this belief that a man must be taken care of because he’s basically an overgrown child.
I’m here to tell you no. I’m not here for that.
Not this Indian girl.
And let’s not forget the pervasive belief in popular culture, that women want to fix men. Is this something propagated by their mothers that makes it so common?
I need to know because it’s absolutely ridiculous.
Furthermore, why is the process so one-sided?
Why is it that when those matchmaking conversations do happen, it’s always meant to flatter the girl with, “you’re the first person I thought of ” – but nothing about the boy in question. Why is it that when romantic interest is shown in women, they must reciprocate or even marry, regardless of how messed up the boy is. And can we please talk about how nice girls can’t possibly want nice boys, or that women shouldn’t have a say in their partner’s characteristics?
But ya know. Aunties know best.
It’s very rare that the question of “well, what’s he like?” is asked or information other than what he does for a living is given. There are other important things to consider besides being financially ready. Is he emotionally ready? What about spiritually?
Is he even into me?
I don’t owe anything to anyone, especially if you don’t have your life together when the marriage talk comes up.
And I’m not your mother.