Why Are Your Children Not Getting Married?
- By Sam George
- Published 04/27/2006
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A few weeks ago, I spoke at one of PARIVAR’s Family Seminars in Chicago, USA. The seminar was geared towards immigrant parents with marriageable children. This was a first of its kind seminar that I heard of or spoken at in the Indian community.
The topic given to me was – “What does your children want to tell you ….and don’t know how?” In less than 20 minutes, I had to communicate all that singles think about relationship and marriage to their parents. Not an easy task at all. But in light of the research on the Coconut Generation book and experience of many leaders who have spoken at many of our singles & marriage preparation events, I put together 10 things the second generation would like to tell their parents about their marriage plans.
All parents dream of seeing their children happily married. For the immigrant Indian community, there is a heightened sense of desire when it comes to children’s marriage. No matter how much education, wealth or success they have achieved, when their children remain unmarried, they consider themselves as a failure. The parents also experience pressure from their peers to live up to the societal expectations. To the status conscious immigrant generation, getting children married at the correct time (whatever that means) is meant to enhance their own standing in the community.
I tried to communicate the young generations’ fears, apprehension, expectations and perception of marriage to their parents. I tried to address issues like why your children are turning down most of the proposal they bring, why they do not want traditional Indian marriages, growing gender imbalance, changing gender biases and some contemporary trends of the second generation when it comes to seeking marriage alliances. Many in the coconut generation do not want marriages like that of their parents or are unable to find mate like their parents. Some are unwilling to consider marrying from India, while many are forced to look outside of Indian community for their life partners (hard for immigrant parents to digest).
Most American-born or raised women hold a more egalitarian and romantic notion of marriage and are not willing to settle for traditional desi bahu. With many marriage breaking ups in this generation, they even wonder - will they find true love, will marriage work for them, what if I were to remain single? No wonder, getting married has emerged as one of the major struggles of coconut generation in the book. (Item 4 in chapter 6).
Let me know your thoughts.