Rare View Relationships

Dear Daughters, Please Don’t Get Married

Marriage has nothing exceptional to offer a woman in the 21st century.

I must be the only Indian mother in the world to advise her daughters never to get married. EVER. Everyone laughs when I say this. Indian mothers are notoriously obsessed with the nuptials of their sons and daughters. I must be joking when I advise against it. I must have had a fight with my husband, you all snicker.

But I say it in earnest. Marriage has nothing exceptional to offer a woman in the 21st century. Even today, the institution continues to follow age-old patriarchal values that place the financial, physical, emotional and social needs of the husband above the wife’s.

It’s still the woman who changes her name, leaves her home, adapts to a new family, becomes the default in-charge of the housekeeping, social relationship-building, elderly care and childcare, and gives up her job when the babies are born. Indian girls have new aspirations to step out of the home, work and fly, but Indian boys still expect someone to make them tea and ensure that their clothes are laundered.

Essentially, marriage reduces a woman’s power and increases her responsibilities.

If you’re lucky, you find a husband who is loving, caring and mindful of your needs, though he has no special obligation to. People urge you to be thankful for your blessings as if it’s a precious gift only a few can possess. If you’re unlucky, you’re insulted, criticised, disregarded and ignored, or beaten, raped and treated like a punching bag. People say it’s a domestic issue and tell you to ‘adjust’.

Most Indian marriages, however, are somewhere in the middle. How good or bad they are is irrelevant. Marriage is a prerequisite to living, like roti-kapda-makaan-shaadi.

Till a few decades ago, marriage – for women especially – meant security, social acceptability, a source of income, children, and a companion in old age, all of which were worth the effort. These days, however, women can very well have all of these while single. So what do they need the burden of a husband for?

As someone who’s been twice married, you may consider me an authority on this matter. Both my marriages were poles apart. One was arranged; the other is of my own choice. One was a prison sentence; the other was liberation. One was a hell of fear and hate; the other was a paradise of love and desire. One left me broken, bruised and powerless; the other has given me wings, healed and nurtured me. Both led to my spiritual development. Both helped me to introspect and find myself.

But here’s the thing: you don’t need marriage to do that. Not anymore.

Yes, my husband today is a good man and my best friend. But we both agree that being married has not added anything to our relationship except for social sanction, which was a big deal for my generation. But it doesn’t have to be for yours.

What I’ve learnt about marriage (a happy one or an unhappy one) is that it’s never about the other person, it’s about you. Every day is a new journey into yourself, your own insecurities, fears, social anxieties, and suppressed pains and triggers. Marriage certainly isn’t going to cure them. You still have to do the spiritual self-work yourself — in addition to someone else’s housekeeping and laundry.

Men can be amazing lovers, wonderful companions and they are very useful for sex. But you don’t need to marry them to enjoy them. Claim your freedom, respect and desires. Let the guy earn you every single day. Men are best behaved on their toes.

I secretly long for the day when a whole generation of Indian women will reject this outmoded institution in favour of meaningful, equal relationships. That’s when entitled Indian men will change. That’s when society will evolve and we will #SmashThePatriarchy. Till then, have one lover or several, have kids, have pets, run a house, run a company, follow your dreams, fall in love. Just don’t get married.

Update, 2.24 pm: My husband says he has nothing to do with this article. Please stop messaging him your condolences. (But he does hope all boys who planned to propose to our daughters read this.) 

Update, 25 August 2020: I changed the lead photo because the original one only showed one of my daughters. Here is me with both of them.

First published in eShe’s March 2019 issueRead this article in Hindi here.

624 comments on “Dear Daughters, Please Don’t Get Married

  1. Sonia Kaur Dhaliwal

    I was browsing through the first few comments. I was amazed at how badly people reply to you saying you are a mad woman. Or that one guy said great no to marriage will you date me please? Wow. I am first of all an NRI who has lived in India for 6 years now. I don’t like somethings here. Assuming a woman’s place is marriage is one of them. If you were happy in another marriage good for you. Yes not all men are the same, in mother’s case she was arranged to quite the asshole and met a great guy later. If you wish to say men are good for sex, so what? Why should you be called bad for that? Often many times men look at us in that way of course not always. You should be free to express anything or idea you wish without everyone disrespecting your opinion as such. If you want to tell your daughter not to get married, that’s your right to express what you want. If she wants to follow it, or not that’s her right as well. She might find a good guy or not but bottom line is we should not think of a married woman as successful because she is able to earn well in this day and age and can govern her own affairs. You are not against Indian culture for that regard. We are the land of Kama Sutra, or Krishna not marrying Radha and it being such a celebrated aspect. Not everyone needs marriage. Nor does that mean the person is hunting out people in their spare time all the time. And if they are that’s their business. Let people live how they want to live. Simple. And if your views are such, I will fight for your right to express it!

  2. TiredOfBeing

    I am a 23 old . I’ve 2 younger sisters 21 and 19 year old. My mom is educated but my father never let her finish her studies and trapped her inside. All my relatives from my father’s side are very hateful towards us just because my mother never allowed us to be in their company. They have tortured my mom mentally for over 20 years. Father is very toxic , he never even wanted us to go to study but my mother always fought for us . But now he’s acting very stubborn about marriage . We are at home because of quarantine and he thinks we are sitting at home. I am doing an internship, trying to get a permanent job in IT industry , but my father doesn’t understand that i don’t want to get married and i want to stay with them and earn for them and get them out of this ugly place . He compared me and my sisters to sluts just because my mother told him that we are too young now to get married . He has stopped eating and taking medicines, he’s a heart patient. I love my father a lot no matter what he does but i just don’t how to deal with this since all his relatives feed him words and they all try to ruin our lives . I want to be independent and work and get my parents , at least my mother but my father acts so hurtful, he even said we 3 are dead to him just because we want to be independent and not have a married life like our parents because it is so toxic. My mother is even scared of sleeping with him. She asks me to sleep with her . I wish someone could make him understand our point as well and that marriage isnt everything . I regret being born a girl because of the way my father has treated us since our birth. He never even held me as a baby, but i just can’t stop loving my father .

  3. I wish more and more people could think like this! I wish girls could be free from this terrifying ordeal one day without being judged by the society.

  4. I’m an Indian girl and I never wanted to get married. I didn’t have the support of my mother so thank you for writing this article. I feel a lot better

  5. Tiger Zinda hai

    I would suggest not only daughters but Sons as well- Please don’t get married and stop producing the lost identity generation (You see that’s the outcome of marriage). Countries should legalize surrogacy and free everyone from the burden of marriage so that not only daughters but everyone can FLY (including Husband, In-laws, Parents, children) . Udne ka haq sabko hai….

  6. Arunraj D

    I am not a daughter, nor I have a daughter, nor I will have one.

    I don’t know in this fucking sleepless night of lockdown where I got this article from and the comments over 550 im no at 5 am this surely screws my sleep like anything.

    Pure Mind Fucked!

  7. TL;DR: Not suitable if you want your child(esp daughter) to have a career in STEM discipline.

    Disclaimer: Not a comment based on value judgement.

    India has a very high population density, poverty, income disparity, and well-paid career prospects(for middle class and lower economic background).
    Getting into IAS has less than 0.001% probability even with 1 year thorough study and coaching.
    Same as for old IIMs, old IITs, any government medical college.
    Cracking these exams requires :
    1.long hours of one dimentional dedicated study routine
    2.a stable family support and
    3.CONSERVATIVE OUTLOOK regarding DATING, SEX, DRINKING [because you can’t study 10 hours A DAY WITHOUT FAIL when you spend an evening Drinking; or you spend 2/3 hours chatting with partner; or having sex and wasting a night/evening/afternoon’s study. And i am not even considering the lack of concentration due to Relationship and its allied matters]

    And I have seen many single parent and their child’s upbringing and future career prospects and dreams. NONE of the parents have been successful in engraving point no 3 into their child’s mind.
    None of the child went on for a career in STEM(Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) either.

    So, what i found out is that Single parenting is not suitable for a child’s career in STEM. For other career options, this factor might not have a negative effect.
    (especially for daughters; because those mom wants their daughter to live the teenage and 20s which they themselves missed. thereby making the daughters less inclined towards studying and more interested in careers like FASHION JOURNALISM, etc. No problem with that)
    Because in India, most single mother’s are due to DIVORCE; and not because they pop up a child with their boyfriend without marriage.
    And if a child is to be born out of the later reason, then their mother would surely not be a good role model for maintaining point no.3

  8. Geetanjali Barua

    Yes you are right..we should follow our customs..but customs are media to grow, to develop our minds, not a decreased element for anyone..In India customs are created for that purpose only to live people in a proper way of life..but we are not understanding it in correct sense..before marriage I was very much active in my profession, but after it environment is not allowing me to be more active in my profession, in that point my depression is starting on..I have lost so many times which I will not get again..

    I am supporting you fully.

  9. Nowadays, that’s the best advice to give to your daughters. You have covered important points and I hope to see related articles in the future.

  10. Anonymous

    Makes sense. In fact, I advise guys in my family / friends not to marry for almost similar reasons that is being put forth in this piece.
    Enjoy your freedom, dont get stuck to one woman. Invariably, marriage becomes a pain the back after some years.
    Good advice applies to both guys and girls. Here, though, the girls are made to look like victims. Its the same with guys as well.

  11. Zahida Shaikh

    When you look around we see so many marriages breaking even after 10 and 15 years of marriage ,marriage has become a joke and both the parties take things litely some marriages even when the boy is a lawyer is asking for dowry after years of marriage such shameless people and the family supports such boys shame on such people so better to remain unmarried then suffer such humiliation

  12. Suchikka Rao

    Yes. I definitely agree with you. Marriage is a just a social sanction for procreation. Yes a family does bring stability to children born to a couple but it is worse when people get divorced. Marriage is not the ultimate solution and a default next step after you complete your education. You have given your daughter an excelle nt piece of advice. So proud of you to be courageous enough to feel this and write about it.

  13. Suchikka Rao

    Yes. I definitely agree with you. Marriage is a just a social sanction for procreation. Yes a family does bring stability to children born to a couple but it is worse when people get divorced. Marriage is not the ultimate solution and definitely not necessary. You have given your daughter an excellent piece of advice. So proud of you to be courageous enough to feel this and write about it.

  14. Anonymous

    It’s better ur daughter dsnt marry else woman like you sure to ruin her marriage!!!!
    Advice to sensible parents let ur children look for a caring partner n let them decide how they wud like their married life to be!!!!

    • I agree. Family is important for children. Parents are important to children. Marriage is a bond that holds 2 ppl together. Dont blame marriage. Blames yourselves. Blame the ego. Committment is important

  15. Anonymous

    Enjoyed reading article and reading comments too. Social fabrics are made of collective values. Good or bad. Its all about what is comfortable for you. A number of times when we come across cultural practices strange to us, we feel differently, we disagree, we judge, and then later realize that it is working for them well. Maybe it’s time of multi-cultural society co-existing. There is never one best answer to problems being explored here.

    • Anonymous

      Wow …. well said !!! Loads of wisdom in what you said. Totally agree.

  16. Shanaya

    No,Your are not the only mother.My mother said the same thing to us and she proved it by not forcing my sister for marriage and it feels so good and liberalised.

  17. Anonymous

    This is same i tell everyone about my daughter….feeling like dis article is written by me..

  18. I agree with you. Marriage kills and destroys your true self. In the end, all that is left out of you after Marriage, be it a happy or a sad one , is just a life full of heartache and compromise. Who needs that? What become to the true and raw YOU ??

  19. Absolutely rubbish. I dont know how i came across this on my nees feed, maybe a passive aggresive wife posted it to feel sort of better.
    It was all well till i read the word “obligation”, a sense of expectation from a husband to give equal status, ensure the wife’s needs are taken care of. Why?? This pseudo feminism has fo stop. The fact is you must cut this nonsense and take responsibility of your own lives. So simply choose a partner that will resepct you, before you marry get settled, buy a house of your own, dont try to pick and choose when it suits. Women in india and im talking modern india have a habit of picking and choosing what suits them and its absolute bollocks. Rural ibdia has serious issues as far as women rights are concerned but hey urban india is a different story.
    Very ill informed and bitter article written by someone who’s probably living in a house made by her husband. Where did the feminism go then?

    • Annie Mathew

      Dearest Ms. Priya … everybody is entitled to their opinion just like you. So does the writer of the passage. There’s no need to blast a person for bringing out their genuine thoughts. Everyone is born free n entitled to their opinion n choices for their life. If you like bondage so be it.

      I would like to know what marriage actually is that a woman is not entitled to any rights as an individual! You may have a husband who loves n cares for you as an respectable individual ! Mine does …. and im not a person who will accept anything less. But I’ve seen majority marriages where women are enslavened and not given a matter of choice in anything. My FIL used to be one of that kind. All definitions for how GOOD women should be but a man Scott free of any responsibility of any choice or action that he takes; plays around with womens feelings as if pain was something they should tolerate and never acknowledge; control women types. The disgusting type of MCP who thinks a woman does not have an identity of her own. Seeing him and the many men like him I too never want my daughter marrying an asshole like that. Why do we force our daughters into slavery? Be it a man or woman …. God has given you two hands and legs … or did handicap all men and given all abilities only to a woman that our society deems that a woman shoulder all burdens yet acknowledge that man is the stronger in might ! Come on … open your eyes n feel for your clan. Just because you and I don’t go thru unjust treatment in the name of marriage that does not mean that loads of women are not treated like shit by theit men and his family !!

      Women could do with a little support or silence if not support from other women like men support their clan !!! We suck at it because all we women like to do is elevate ourselves whilst showing down other women. It’s a way of boosting our morale up isn’t it.

      The writer brought out the TRUTH of her life, what is there to be offended so much. If a man writes down a woman or tarnishes a woman I don’t see any other man booing him down. How come women tend to feel so offended on behalf of other men …. wow !!!!

      Anyways your opinion you are entitled to … so am I !!!

      Have a great life dear. Live and let live !!!

    • HeartCatcher

      What a nonsense, don’t get marry but go for date,just like everyone just need a fuck buddy like you ,you don’t want that your daughter don’t get marry that is your choice to play with her life , but how you gonna justify your two time marriages ? Doesn’t she deserve to marry? Indirectly you are choosing her life her but you portray just like you do care , you don’t care , you are just s mentally retorted person who are polluting the current world with damn freedom of speech or personal opinions , my foot , same pseudo feminist, pick and chose when you need a man , what basically you are teaching to your daughters/children? That it’s okay to sleep around ? To be the need of every bed ? To used again and again just like toy? Isn’t it better to be the queen of one heart rather to be the need of every bed? You just have restarted mind with no logic but have envy,hatred ,jealousy against the abilities of man.

      • Shin Kaur

        I have to agree. This article is a load of bollocks. She is basically condoning casual sex and thinks that women are incapable of choosing a respectful loving partner, and that all men are incapable of being that respectful loving partner. Not every man has to control the relationship, not every man expects his wife to be chained to the kitchen sink/stove, and be his sex slave. What a narrow minded opinion. This would be a horrible future if everyone went this way.

        I completely agree with you Priya. Women have the choice to get settled before marriage. They can choose a partner who respects them. Not all marriages work out, but neither do al relationships.

        What a boring isolated messed up world we’d live in if everyone lived alone and just ‘hooked up’ when they wanted sex, and those in relationships lacked substance, and people too easily quit and moved on to the next partner whenever they wanted to, like changing socks. What would happen to kids? We’d have all these single parent families, or kids who didn’t know who their parents were, or a dwindling population worldwide. Kids should grow up in a family, with parents, grandparents, siblings, with aunts/uncles/cousins around. This is a very isolated society the writer is portraying.

        Before you read this, bear in mind the writer had a bad marriage, but still chose to get married a second time! Also, make your own choices. Don’t listen to this person or that person, don’t listen to me even, make your own choices.

      • Anonymous

        Daughters getting used again and again…. wow what a angle of thought, handed down over age’s by culture and tradition. Ha ha ha. Son, so you think the men involved in such acts are not being USED ! Poor thinking, pathethic perspective.

        It’s all the same for men and women dear son. If you haven’t been able to see it that way is not your fault. It’s the fault of culture and tradition.

        Men are being used again and again just the same with women who ‘f’ around. Cloth worn once, be it by a man or a woman and re-worn by another person ….. it’s all the same … it’s second hand item. 🙂

  20. Anonymous

    I enjoyed reading your article. For once, it reminded me of my mom…who just said, “I want you to be happy no matter what” when I told her that I don’t desire to get married (I was hardly 18 then). 10 years later she still stood next to me when I struggled to convince the society and relatives that marriage isn’t my choice ever. Another 10 years passed, my whole family supports me in my decision. Just this week I was telling my friend that “Just because I love someone, and just because that someone is an amazing lover who cares for me, I don’t need to marry him.” Thanks for writing this. I know there is someone out there that has the same thoughts and beliefs but it is good to hear.

    • Anonymous


  21. Anonymous

    Hahaha! Ridiculous comments by insecure men/women. Wait till one day you have your own child that you love so much and want what’s best for them, you’d be biting your tongue. Don’t be condescending, think many many MANY times before commenting. The world doesn’t just work in your way. It works in plethora of ways. Be respectful. You want it, you earn it. No one is entitled to respect without warning it

  22. Anonymous

    I want to date your daughter pls. As you have given her consent to have many boy friends. Let me also be her boy friend.. Give yor no pls..

    • Shin Kaur


      • Anonymous

        Mr. Shin
        What makes u think our daughters want to date men like you with such sick mentality of mockery (lack of respect).

        Please find your sick kind amongst your family and date them. I’m pretty sure they won’t mind your kind because you all would be bred that way. Daughters have their choice in life. Perhaps not in your household.

        Wishing you well sir.

        • Charutta Dasture

          Everything else is.right..but marriage can give you sense of security.atleast partner doesnt walk out on you overnight.You know 6 months prior to that.Also intergrity is important.I mean no marriage can lead to multiple partner need which will disturb physical and mental wellness.There are many aspects to institution of marriage.System of marriage should evolve.We still havent come up with better alternative to marriage.We being humans still have all sorts of needs..and better done with less number of partners

    • Anonymous

      Enjoyed reading article and reading comments too. Social fabrics are made of collective values. Good or bad. Its all about what is comfortable for you. A number of times when we come across cultural practices strange to us, we feel differently, we disagree, we judge, and then later realize that it is working for them well. Maybe it’s time of multi-cultural society co-existing. There is never one best answer to problems being explored here.

    • Akshay Bharati

      You have to get the girls consent not her mothers. I don’t think you ever will though.

  23. Anonymous

    Idiotic article.. With one’s own thoughts.. Go and complaint to Supreme Court to ban marriages and have many boy friends and have sex as men are useful for sex as per your nonsense article..

  24. Anonymous

    Very good.. Don’t ever get married.. Now it will be easy to date women.. Women will be easily available as they will not marry..

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