“Bila nak kahwin?” happens to be an ongoing mantra for mothers and nosy aunts. It is the question that echoes the dining area of a family dinner during its periodic lull. It is the question that is shouted over the droning of lagu raya and annoying DJs. Ultimately, it is the question that plagues the minds of women of this generation.
My response to this form of prying is, “Kenapa nak tahu?”
Marriage is often viewed as the fairytale ending to our miserable single lives. Finally, a prince has come to the rescue and save us from our impending doom with his wit, charm and gorgeous locks. It is deemed the final step to a relationship, a destination in which we all should be heading. But is it?
Recently, an Instagram account by the name of Makchic has gone viral due to its popular series where they allow women to anonymously share how they feel about their marriages. This platform brought to light many issues which in an otherwise regular conversational situation will be strictly taboo and met with scorned faces and disgust. Topics such as forced motherhood, spousal negligence, lack of financial planning and most of all, regret, are discussed and expressed by the anonymous wives.
Take a look at what some of them had to say:
Di IG story makchic, banyak isteri yg me ngadu lonely, penat, need help, minta suami kurang main fon dan main game. And then all this pic.twitter.com/rk7Y8Yzt7G
— Puteri bunian/ Laila (@aishahnurhakim) April 17, 2019
Jap. Ini yg saya macam tak boleh lupa pic.twitter.com/sc7Ew51Dt3
— Puteri bunian/ Laila (@aishahnurhakim) April 17, 2019
— Qistina Syasya (@qistinasyasya) April 16, 2019
Here is an entire gallery of alarming confessions taken straight from Makchic’s Instagram:
As illustrated above, marriage is not a pastel-coloured, sweet-like-cotton-candy, dream. In fact, it’s quite a hellish nightmare that is tangled in a web of deceit, insecurities and quixotic expectations. Most women, admittedly not all, are unhappy with the current state of their marriage due to, most likely, a lack of preparation. This is because love and romance increases the propensity of us jumping the gun and naively thinking everything is going to fall into place once we do. Well, reality bites.
The most prominent problems faced by these women are neglect from their husbands and abysmal financial planning. Both of these issues could be ameliorated with better pre-marital preparation and I don’t just mean kursus kahwin.
Before getting married, it is absolutely integral to know your partner like the back of your hand because in essence, this person is going to become a part of you ’till death do you part. So, dating for 6 months (commonly known as the honeymoon period) is not enough to gauge the strength of the relationship. By hook or by crook, you need to go through a substantial amount of hardships with your partner to see if they (or even you) will break under pressure.
As mentioned before, the question, “Bila nak kahwin?” is engrained into our Malaysian culture. Regardless of race, our aunties constantly pester us with the pressure to get married and bear children. But what about our finances? What about loyalty? What about all the pillars of marriage that are supposed to be present in order to preserve its sanctity? Bila nak tanya pasal benda-benda tu?
Currently, our culture of indulging in excess is breeding the growth of garish spending. Since most newly-weds are between the age of 22-26 and usually fresh graduates, the salary provided by Malaysian employers is not up to par with their affinity for luxury. Moreover, Malaysians are known for having extravagant weddings to please people they actually don’t really care about.
Bank Negara released an estimation of living costs which delineates that being a single adult is exponentially cheaper than marriage which will sooner or later lead to offspring.
Additionally, Bank Negara revealed that wages for fresh graduates have decreased substantially since 2010. In 2018, a fresh graduate with a diploma could earn a real salary of only RM1,376, compared to RM1,458 in 2010. When referred back to our spending habits, it is clear that we really cannot afford to live in marital bliss.
Finances aside, excess is also watering the seeds for infidelity which in turn, results in neglect. The situation has become so dire that wives seek solace from an Instagram platform rather than their husbands whom they share a bed with every night.
As seen from the collection of screenshots above, women experience a great deal of turmoil due to this neglect to the point where they seek affection elsewhere, perpetuating the cycle of cheating which consequently results in divorce. Divorce then leads to a custody battle which places stress on both parties as well as the children involved. According to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA), there is a plethora of ways in which you can easily lose your child in a custody battle.
So, it’s probably best to be sure.
On the topic of children, many women have expressed their contempt towards their husbands who force them into motherhood. It is an archaic way of thinking to assume women are born to be the bearers of children. Some women just don’t want that and that’s okay.
With the modernisation of the world, women have broken through the glass ceiling and been provided more jobs with higher (re: more deserving) pay. This increases a woman’s drive for a fulfilling career and she should not be criticised by society for choosing herself instead of a child. When will women escape the enslavement of society’s standards for us if we are constantly being peddled this expired mindset?
Let us hark back to the beginning where I mentioned that the common denominator for these confessions is regret. This reminds me of a brilliant scene from the Quentin Tarantino classic, Kill Bill Vol II.
Intrinsically, the character Budd asks Elle – the hottie with the eyepatch – which R is she filled with, relief or regret? I believe the same can be asked about marriage. And I hope for our sake, it’s the former.
Main image: screencap from the movie, Wild Tales (2014)
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