Dowry

So, yes, it still exists in India. One of the drivers we met in India told us that he was working as hard as he was because he had three daughters that still needed to get married. That means that not only does he have to pay for the cost of the wedding (which will be over-extravagant and way beyond the family’s means) but he has to give the groom’s family a variety of gifts.

The official definition of dowry according to Google is the property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage. In India, as far as I know (and you can correct me if I’m wrong), the groom’s side asks for a bunch of things from the bride’s family as part of the requirement to marry her. Yup, that’s right. The bride’s family is required to give him all sorts of stuff in order to marry her. Now you tell me how that makes you feel if you’re a woman.

My mother-in-law told me the other day that the ratio of men to women in India is now 6:1. That means there are so many more men than women there. Women are valuable and in high demand. So why and how the dowry system still exist? And I know it does because I’ve heard accounts of people dealing with a situation where the demands of the groom’s family are getting out of hand.

My big question is what if that driver invested the money he was saving for his daughters’ weddings into their education instead? Wouldn’t that then provide these girls of a way to become independent and financially support themselves? They wouldn’t need to marry unless they wanted to. They wouldn’t need a husband to take care of them. They could choose a partner based on mutual respect and equality.

Is that even a possibility? Could you imagine what would happen if so many more women were able to take care of themselves?

If these women could get an education and financially support themselves, would they have the confidence to refuse to marry someone who was asking for a dowry?

The Wedding Day

I keep seeing some patterns on Facebook with the wedding pictures posted that I wanted to address. It might be judgmental of me or maybe I’m wrong in interpreting the meaning or the situation behind the pictures. I don’t necessarily know the couples beyond an acquaintance and maybe there is something there that I’m not seeing. But here are my thoughts and I wanted to share them.

1) On your wedding day, your smile should be real. Note that I said “should be”. The posed smiles are really easy to tell especially if you aren’t an actor. And maybe you have a great posed smile but the smiles I want to see are the ones that reach your eyes. The ones that really look like there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than in that spot with that person you’re marrying. A lot of times, the first pictures that go up on Facebook are not the professional posed pictures but the ones that your friends and family take at the event randomly. My question is: When the pros aren’t looking and it’s not a posed moment, do you still look happy?

2) My next question is: Is the person you’re marrying your best friend? If that person is, then what’s the need to ditch that person on your wedding day to hang out with anyone and everyone else? I understand that there are family and friends that you haven’t probably seen in years and you want to spend time with them but is it necessary to do it in a way that abandons your partner? Isn’t it possible for both of you to hang out with your friends? Besides, if you ditch your significant other, aren’t you ditching your best friend? Would you do that to your other best friends?

3) A wedding day is just that. A wedding day. I keep seeing people who are so concerned about the wedding itself that they forget to have fun themselves. You plan for a year for this one day (or in the case of an Indian wedding, this one week) and then what? It’s over. But guess what? Marriage is for life. So what if your flowers aren’t the exact colors that you chose or everything didn’t run in the order that you wanted? In the end, you married the person you are in love with. As long as that happened, who cares what else happened? It’s just a small piece of a marriage. There will be many more challenges in life than your wedding day. Get ready for those.

4) If you are more concerned about the wedding than what comes after, maybe getting married at this time or to this person isn’t the right path for you. I can’t necessarily see this in photos but again, you can see the connection between people. And you can see when someone is more in tune with the planning than they are with the fact that they are committing themselves to one person for the rest of their lives.

It frustrates me to see this. Again, I know I don’t have the full story always and there are always things behind the pictures that I will never know. But I definitely hope that I see wedding pictures where the bride and groom look so joyously happy that I can feel it when I see those pictures.

Are They Really Happy?

So I was watching this wedding video the other day and as I watched, I noticed that not at any point did the bride and groom look at each other and smile or interact. The first time they even looked like they were married to each other was during their slow dance at the reception. And then it ended. 

What’s the deal, man? Is it possible that a couple is so shy that they just don’t interact at all? Is it just me or does it seem somewhat off to you that the couple doesn’t even acknowledge each other’s presence on what is considered to be one of the more important days of their lives? Where do you even see that there is love present in this relationship? 

When I say this, I honestly mean the little moments. The one where the first time the bride comes into the room, the groom smiles or his eyes light up. The one where you can see one of them talking to the other about whatever is going on in their day. The one where you can see some inside joke or thought pass between them. 

Are we supposed to act distant and proper when we’re getting married? Because if that’s the case, I totally messed it up. 

It always makes me wonder if the couple was more interested in becoming an official couple rather than spending their lives with someone they really love. I don’t want to judge a couple that I don’t really know. I know it’s possible that this is their dynamic. Maybe it’s what makes them happy. I see couples that don’t spend that much time together in general. I wouldn’t think that was a happy relationship on both ends but then again, I want more than to just be a wife in name and in duty. 

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. 

If anyone can explain this situation to me, I’d like to learn and understand why certain couples look like they’d rather be anywhere but with each other. Or that they are indifferent to being next to their significant other. Because I still don’t understand it. 

Looking forward to your thoughts.