Shackle of Marriage 

Ganesh P Paudel 

There is a widespread notion in our society that the day you get married your personal freedom starts getting compromised in different ways. Maybe the curtailment of freedom ends up coming to you as a nasty aftertaste and rude awakening. But in my opinion, the sense of restriction to your freewill is because of marrying someone with a myriad of your expectations attached. Freeing yourself of your expectations leads to avoiding or breaking the shackle of marriage that lies primarily in your mindset alone.

I happen to recall a story I heard. A girl and a boy, who live across a river, tend to meet whilst they are on their respective boats on the river. Having been on the same wavelength they spend days together happily. One day, the boy proposes to the girl to marry him. The girl says “Marry? What’s the need of it? We enjoy our company and value each other anyway. Isn’t it sufficient per se?” She adds “What more value would our relationship add after marrying each other?” The man tries to explain why it is important for a couple in love to get married eventually. The girl relents a bit and agrees to his idea but she puts forward a condition to it and says “After marriage we will not necessarily live together, we can choose to live where we have been living”. The man is reluctant to accept this condition and asks what purpose this idea of hers serves. “If we are forced to change ourselves just because of marriage then the marriage is a real hindrance towards love,” she beams.

Further she adds, “Love and respect is the basis upon which every sort of relation is and should be formed. If it is compromised because of a social contract named “marriage”, then we might just as well remain friends like we are now. See, how beautiful it is that you come to my house at will, I go to yours at will, and we do not have expectations from each other. Whoever we are, we are appreciative of it. Whatever we can offer each other we are appreciative and grateful to each other. Will these intrinsic attributes of our relationship be safeguarded even after marriage?”

We vent our anger and frustration related to other people in our life. If we put aside our expectations and egos (ahankara) and focus on our dharma (not religion, mind you) that would be the holistic approach to armoring ourselves from all sorts of melodramas staged by people around us. Then, nothing gets in the way of extracting bliss from the fact of being alive today.

Love is not about changing others, it’s about appreciating the difference and valuing other’s freedom and needs above ours. In the name of protecting the sanctity of marriage people end up trampling upon the very sanctity of the cosmic power “love”. Love existed even before the practice of marriage came into existence. Laws are there to govern marriages whereas there is no such thing for love. Love is liberating whereas the very concept of marriage that exists today shackles us in one way or the other.

Society, therefore, should stop dictating how marriages should be like through laws and societal norms. Then, this will go a long way in preserving and perpetuating its sanctity instead. Let true love rule the marriage, not stringent laws.