A young lady came in for pre-marital counseling. She is a working professional and her parents had found an alliance for her. She was not sure if she wanted to marry him. But her parents went ahead and fixed the marriage, after she hesitantly gave her consent.
Her parents did not want to wait and see if their daughter was very sure before committing. They found the boy’s family to be good, both socially and financially. He is well educated and also working. Physically too he appears to be good. So on the parental scale of things, he is a good match for their daughter.
The daughter was not so sure. She started to have misgivings about the marriage and expressed her concerns. Her concerns were dismissed and she was told this is a good match and her fears were unfounded. They assured her all girls had such fears and it would soon disappear.
She came to me very disturbed. She felt she had no choice but marry him because her parents had already done most of the preparations. The invitations had gone out and all purchases were done. As the days passed, the young girl started to feel anxious. She was unable to understand how her parents failed to see her agitation.
When asked if she was totally sure the wedding had to be called off, she was not sure either. She was angry with her parents for not considering her feelings. But she also did not want to let down her parents. She would have appreciated some more time. So what was she willing to do?
She said she was willing to go ahead with the wedding. She will not be forced to put up an excited look. She said she has her misgivings. She wanted an assurance from her parents that if she was genuinely unhappy in her marriage, they would welcome her back. She said she was not getting this assurance.
Her father was shocked. He reassured her of bringing her home, with just a phone call. He did feel bad for rushing into things. He too hoped the marriage would work, but he reassured her of his full support. He said he would stay out of her marriage, it was her responsibility to try and make it work. But if she genuinely felt she could not, the doors of her parental home would always be open for her.
This assurance was what she was looking for. She said she needed this support for her to venture fully into her marriage. She was constantly being told things would be fine after marriage. Her extended family members were dismissing her fears and felt she was acting foolish. All the while she wanted her parents to articulate this assurance. Her parents had not explicitly said it, so she felt she was being abandoned.
Her mother was expressing in more general terms her support. That parents are there for their children. Then why did she insist her daughter go ahead with this marriage? She knew her daughter had reservations. Instead of giving her time to analyze them and resolve them, she was pushing for the marriage. So the daughter did not feel comfortable.
I asked the mother to spell out her assurance. The mother was amused, but finally she did. This assuaged some of the daughter’s anguish. I asked the parents if they were confident their daughter would give her marriage her hundred percent? Were they confident of their parenting to know their daughter is a responsible girl? The father told me he was very confident. So if their daughter were to say there is genuine problem in the marriage, she is unable to continue, would he listen? He said, hundred percent.
I feel the mother was not so confident. But the young girl felt better after knowing her father had given her this complete assurance. She said she was also aware her marriage could turn out better. She could be happy. The chances were there. She had been put off with the slight possessive demonstrations of the groom.
She told me she would work on the marriage. She is the type not to give in without a fight. She seemed to be more upset her parents did not consider her feelings in the whole issue. Once her father said he understood what she wanted to say, he loved her and would love her no matter what, she agreed to the marriage.
I suggested she and her fiance come in for pre-marital counseling. It will help them understand each other’s perceptions on various important issues. She seemed interested, but was not sure of the young man. I suggested she put the idea across.
At first it seems like the young girl is miffed with her parents. The extended family, seemed to think so. But she came across as a very mature girl, she is pretty confident. She wanted to know why her parents were swayed by relatives’ opinion rather than her feelings. She is torn between not wanting this marriage and also not wanting to put her parents into unnecessary hassles. The war between choosing her feelings and that of her parents’.
Young people of this generation want to have a choice. They want to be included in all the aspects of choosing their life partner. They know they require their parents’ permission and blessing. But they do not accept being dismissed as immature, ignorant and irresponsible. The older generation needs to understand this shift and shift their thinking pattern too.