An Indian teenager’s perspective What is the right age to marry?

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By Arti Patel
Shaadi? What Shaadi? If you’re in your early 20s and think you’re ready to tie the knot, you  must think about it again. I mean, you must think about it with a clear mind. At that age, you barely finish your education, your job applications haven’t been responded to yet, and you let your parents put your name in the matrimonial ads. On the other hand, you may be eager to settle down with your college sweetheart soon after graduation. Either way, there may be many reasons why one may choose to marry early, as well as marry late.

However, one of the reasons some couples have successful, long-lasting marriages is because they marry at the right time. So when is the right time? Stephanie Coontz, a professor of family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., tells USA Today on November 11,  2005, “If you’re in a good relationship and if you want to marry, there’s no reason to postpone it.” Of course, there is also no need to rush into such a big decision, either. A young person should ask, why? Why am I getting married? Do I have the means to make a down payment, to run a house?

Most importantly, will I be able to deal with this kind of a person for decades? It is necessary to test out if you are compatible with the other person. If it means turning to extreme measures such as cohabiting, so be it. Spending time together and talking through about complex issues should give you an idea. It takes time and hard work to adjust sharing the same house; you find you can’t deal with his/her dirty laundry, or that he/she has no sense of saving money. Your marriage candidate, who is trying so hard to impress you right now, might give up doing that after marriage. After all, for most Indians, even for the new generation, a marriage is expected to last for  a lifetime.

Many young couples fail to predict the possible problems because of habits and traits that are hard to deal with. A way to solve those habits and personality problems is to look into your inner self. That is the key to a successful marriage. As a young person, I see in happily married couples that not only are sure of their compatibility, each spouse also understands his/her own inner personality. If you can understand yourself, you can consciously recognize your weaknesses, so you will be more likely to admit your mistakes and apologize.

That leads to trust and respect traits that show how worthy a person really is to be your life-partner. Among the factors affecting a successful marriage, it is vital that he/she trusts and respects the other. No, it is not just a Bollywood phenomenon — over-suspicion can be dangerous to a relationship. If my hypothetical marriage candidate conveyed his absolute trust in me, I would be a hundred times more likely to marry him and stay with him! The same goes with respect. If both partners know what their boundaries and values are, and do not cross them, they indicate their care for each other.

In the end, even though a successful marriage has a lot to do with how early you marry, it has much more to do whether or not you think things through before rushing into the decision. Then, whether your spouse comes from a matrimonial ad or from your college campus, you are sure to be together for those seven lifetimes. Think about it.
(The writer is a 10th grader at Lyons Township High School in Illinois)

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