To propose or not to propose? – Marriages in the 21st Century

On one knee and ring at the ready.

Romance and thrill of Rome.

C’est parfait.

This puts us in a pickle nowadays. The infamous alliteration ‘Independence and infidelity’ seems to toll with incredible resonance amongst the majority of would be married couples.

To question whether it is a stepping stone in progress or a blatant disregard for the established standard is a discussion for another day. Let us focus on the issue at hand: Is it wise for a lad and a lady to transcend their relation to a degree mired in legal and sometimes religious sympathy? Let us begin.


The crux of the matter is that the concept of marriage, albeit symbolizing union, was predominantly established as a way to either strengthen ties amongst elite ranks or to promote the ‘insurance of wealth’ whilst maintaining a religious backdrop. It has evolved over time to symbolize love through union and a promise of a long-term relationship.

And here we face the faceless paradox “Long-term relationship”.  It is a term that is as foreign as postal mail to most millennials. With the “hookup culture” and “one night stands” and “Wanderlust” and “digital nomads” and “#goals” and stuff, it is becoming increasingly cumbersome to tag something like marriage which has legal papers to sign and rules to be followed and… you get the idea. So we have reached an impasse.

Although the concept of romantic regalia is appealing and the tales of chivalrous love alluring, marriage is simply not on the cards for many of the contemporary guys and gals.


Another aspect and an annoying one at that is the hullabaloo following a couple’s decision to separate. As the legendary comedian, Robin Williams once said, “Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet”. An inordinate amount is spent on divorce procedures and no word attracts more noses as much as ‘divorce’ does. The celebration of marriage requires one to declare the relationship to the masses of friends and family and an annulment demands it too, be it slightly less appetizing than the former.

Since the extent to which the Y generation commemorates something is via a social media post to a well-chosen poetic quote, the sanctity of marriage paraphernalia and the bitterness of divorce is diluted amongst these. The point is this, the current folk simply don’t possess the patience or passion for the whole marriage shenanigans and it would seem pretty counter-intuitive for such an establishment to exist anymore.

So, what do we do when our better half decides to propose?

The phrase ‘I am not ready yet’ is typically the MVP in this situation. In my herculean humility, I believe it is time that the answer should be tidied to “I love you and you love me, so let us just keep loving”.

Before we decide to give our knees a beating to propose, let us pause and peruse: do the love that is shared require a legal stamp; would the promise of forever become a chore if the love is to fade?

“Love is more pleasant than marriage for the same reason that novels are more amusing than history.”        – Nicolas Chamfort

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Anil Vinayak
A voracious reader, poet, aspiring writer, phone photographer and student of engineering. Author of the poetry collection "Shadows and Silhouettes". Social Media handle: VIN's Scribbles

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