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[The Interview]: Despite Social And Family Pressure, I Choose To Get Married By 30 Years Old

In March 2016, when I was a contributor at Indonesian wedding website The Bride Dept, I wrote an article about 8 reasons why men are in hurry to get married. The reasons vary, from getting emotional support, social pressure, to biological needs.

Lately, the article has inspired me to explore deeper. I wonder if there are people in this country who want to get married at the age of 30 or older, instead of 20s as expected by the society (or our families).

Then I conducted interviews with some friends of mine. I asked them why they want to get married at 30, their thoughts  regarding the social/ family expectations of being married at 20s, and how they deal with such expectations. I also asked them if they’re going to change their personal preference because of the social or family pressure.

I interviewed 3 young women, and all of them plan to get married by the age of 30. I also contacted 5 males. Surprisingly, there was only one young male who plan to get married by the age of 30; the other twenty-year-old guys wish to get married as soon as possible—which just conform to my The Bride Dept’s article!

Some respondents in the article used pseudonyms as per their request.

 


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Financial stability, exploring life come first

Magenta, female, 24 years old,  in a long-term relationship, a non-profit worker

 

When do you want to get married?

Ideally, I want to get married by 30 (early 30s, to be exact). I have just started my career for two years. Since I love buying fancy stuffs myself, I do not have sufficient saving. In addition, professionally speaking, my personal values have not been increased yet. I want to enrich myself with experiences and, yes, financial income too.

Aside from that, I also want to explore everything that this world can give prior getting married. I am now preparing myself to get a master’s degree and I want to know how it feels to live alone. I’d love to solo travel, unleash new opportunities, work overseas and so on. I believe I need more time to achieve them, instead of getting married at a young age.

As for financial matters, I also think that I need more time to be financially independent; to truly be able to financially contribute to my future household. We did the math! My partner and I want everything. Living in Jakarta costs you a fortune. It is impossible to survive in this city with only one breadwinner.

 

Most of Indonesian parents usually expect their children to tie a knot at the age of 20-something. What is your opinion?

I understand this. The reasons vary, ranging from women’s biological clock, religious concerns, and such a “philosophical” reason called kalau-ada-rezeki-nggak-boleh-nolak (you can’t decline a blessing). Eventually, these are pretty common reasons in our society that push young people to get married in their mid-20s.

I do understand that, but that doesn’t mean that I’m ok with it. I am tired everytime my mother talks about marriage, or when someone asks me when I will tie a knot just because my partner and I have been together for couple of years and I’m “already” 24 years old.

Again, I understand that perspective, but I am so pissed that such a view sticks from generation to generation.

 

How do you deal with this “social expectation” or “family expectation”?

I always try to explain to my parents that pursuing dreams and career is more important than going to KUA (Religious Affairs Office) or planning a wedding.

My trick is to tell them that I am preparing my master’s degree, so ain’t nobody got time to get married. The second trick is telling them that I am not ready financially. My partner and I would love to live independently. That means we will be receiving minimal assistance from both parents. It goes well by far; heaven knows this will last.

 

With this social/ family pressure coming your way, will you change your personal preference? Why?

Honestly, yes, a bit. I am starting to consider my Mom’s suggestion to not postpone a wedding when the time comes. That doesn’t mean that I’m getting married right away. I mean, my partner and I have started to talk about the wedding, what steps we should take, for example saving more money.

But every time we have a discussion about financial need, we realized that we just can’t raise money within two or three years. Probably it will take five years. By the time I’m working again after completing my master’s, my boyfriend will have had a more settled job and we’ll both be more mature.

We’re saving money, not for a wedding party, FYI. We’ll use our money to buy a house or an apartment as we don’t want to live with parents. It is not surprising that we need more time to achieve our saving goal.

I am kind of relaxed although sometimes we both get more romantic and wish to speed up the process of getting married. We won’t deny this. LOL.

 


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Marriage is not for pleasing our parents

Nadia, female, 24 years old, single, journalist

 

When do you want to get married?

I don’t have a specific target. I just want to get married when I am ready.

 

Most of Indonesian parents usually expect their children to tie a knot at the age of 20-something years old. What is your opinion?

Well, they can’t control it. It’s a different era. They can push me to do so if they pay for the wedding. LOL. If I may add my two cents, Indonesians have been glorifying marriage too much. It seems that when you’re married, all the problems are gone. And this newly-wed becomes the cutest couple on Earth just because they’re already “Halal”. The fact shows us the opposite. Not that marriage brings more problems. What I’m saying is that your life will change drastically the moment you say “I do”. You will continue to share and compromise with your spouse for the rest of your life. I am thankful that my core family (including my stepfather) always reminds me that marriage should be built on mutual love.

Marriage is not for pleasing our parents, otherwise, the ending will kill us.

 

How do you deal with this “social expectation” or “family expectation”?

Oh thank God, my parents never push me to get married soon. Probably because they divorced. They don’t want me to regret my marriage. Therefore, the “screening process” is pretty tight.

 

With this social pressure, will you change your personal preference? Why?

Hell, no! It’s my marriage.

 


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Happiness matters

Silver, female, 22 years old,  in a long-term relationship, media worker

 

When do you want to get married?

Around 32 – 35 years old

 

Most of Indonesian parents usually expect their children to tie a knot at the age of 20-something. What is your opinion?

I respect their choice, probably they find “the ones” earlier than other people do. Personally, I’m not ready for that.

 

How do you deal with this “social expectation” or “family expectation”?

That’s bullshit LOL. It’s your life whether you live it on your own or with your partner. The point is we want to be happy. People can’t tell us what to do by setting up a strict rule on marriage. It is better for them to understand and respect others’ choices.

Seriously, marriage is not a public business. Life is getting tougher. You can’t just get married easily. Well, good luck!

In my family, I listen to my parents’ advice. But I keep doing whatever I was going to do anyway. If they’re a true family, they’ll always have my back for every choice I make.

I am not ready yet for marriage because I still have no idea where I will dwell, with whom I’ll spend my life, and where my career will bring me. I am not satisfied with where I am now and believe there is still time to explore. My 20s is the perfect age to do that exploration.

 

With this social pressure, will you change your personal preference? Why?

Almost unlikely. I’m too stubborn to listen to people’s opinion. LOL.

 


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Readiness is key

Aldo Kaligis, male, 24 years old,  in a long-term relationship, entrepreneur

 

When do you want to get married?

Thirty years old is good. Age isn’t the issue, I guess. So, if I may, I wanna redirect the attention from age to material preparedness. Marriage isn’t about age or being envious because of your friends’ weddings. It isn’t about religion either (I am not underestimating certain religion, really). For me, marriage is about the readiness of two individuals (or more) to spend a lifetime together. Readiness can be seen if the individuals’ goals are achieved, or each of them is ready to develop shared goals and no longer prioritizes their own goals.

I wish people are more open-minded and able to see the issue beyond the religious and social pressures. If we can do that I believe we can reduce the number of divorces in this country.

 

Most of Indonesian parents usually expect their children to tie a knot at the age of 20-something years old. What is your opinion?

There’s nothing wrong with their perspective. They have their own opinion. I believe (especially my parents’ opinion) that such opinions have been carefully considered through many indicators. But at the end, it is always our choice.

Do you want to get married because of social pressure? Or do you want to wait for a little while until you’re ready? Stop blaming other people. Look the one in the mirror instead.

 

How do you deal with this “social expectation” or “family expectation”?

I am lucky that my parents trust me to create my own future. They understand that I am quite hard to handle. They won’t waste their energy to control me. The people outside my core family are the ones that annoy me much. If someone asks me when I will tie a knot, I replied: “I’ll invite you when I get married.” Easy peasy.

 

With this social pressure, will you change your personal preference? Why?

I told my girlfriend that we’re not going to marry because of our age. It never was, it never will. The reason for our getting married will only be my ability to provide for us. Lucky me, she always nods her head. So, let’s say, tomorrow or next year or five years from now, I became a billionaire, I would marry my girlfriend right away. But only God (and ME) knows when.


 

I am fully aware that this article might not represent the view shared by many people in this country, nor is it intended to be based on a strict research methodology (yeah right). I find it interesting nonetheless to get different perspectives from them.

Do you share the same view?

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