Lakshmi Kothaneth –
To marry or not is a question many youths of today have in their minds. In Oman, for instance, the number of marriages registered in 2016 saw a 6.4 per cent decrease compared with the previous year, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
So what could be the reason? Women are empowered these days, comes an instant reply. But what about marriages made in heaven?
The latest statistics has brought the topic of marriage to the for once again. There are many social issues that could be the reason for a dip in the number of marriages. More young women prefer to continue with their studies, thus delaying marriages. Women who are qualified may not want to lose out on career opportunities.
To find out what really goes on in their minds, I caught up with young men and women, most of whom were interestingly single. A married woman said by the time they are ready for marriage, there may not be an ideal groom with suitable academic qualifications and career path.
Our small circle of thinkers was quick to debate. Logical said, “The issue is everyone wants to be independent. They do not understand each other. They do not come to the table to discuss problems. Everyone thinks he/she is better than the others.”
And to that, Practical jumped, “It is not just about independence. Yes, financially women are independent today and we control almost everything at home.” Practical isn’t married yet, but says she has seen her friends go through many problems.
Another married woman said, “I think it’s just that men let down the women. Women feel empowered and think it is okay if they are divorced because they can manage on their own.”
Practical added, “This is only if problems occur. If I am leading a happy life, I am content to continue with my married life. But if there are problems, why should one continue to go on with it?”
If there is a conversation, issues could be erased and this is when Senior stepped in and said, “Most problems arise out of misunderstandings.”
Meanwhile, another gentleman said in many cases the fault lies with the women.
A total of 3,736 certificates of divorce were issued last year, a 3.2 per cent increase. Year 2016 saw the highest number of divorces since 2012.
Even mass weddings have seen interesting changes. Hussain al Saidi has been a volunteer for the last five years in conducting mass weddings. Last year, as he was going through the list of names he found a person who was on the list the previous year as well.
On enquiring, he found out the couple had differences and had divorced. There have been other cases too. He feels it could be that the couples are too young.
There is another factor that is being blamed: social media. A man hanging out with a group of friends in coffee shops is a thorny issue for women. On the other hand, women and social media are being blamed by men.
Nevertheless, I did come across a successful woman who told me she was married off in her early teens as her mother thought it would be safe for her. She continued to study after her marriage, had children, continued college, has a career going on, is an entrepreneur and is now heading abroad for her Masters, while her daughter takes up undergraduate studies. “Life is beautiful and my husband has been the pillar of my strength,” said another woman.
And I just happen to walk into an organisation and see an elderly couple laughing their heart out at a shared joke.
He was ahead of her by a few steps, but close enough to hear her as he continued laughing. That, I think, must be the secret of a happy marriage — when two people are at comfort level to share a joke and laugh. It requires acceptance, giving each other space yet staying connected.