Staying together in a marriage just became more mundane and old-fashioned than ever. The oh- so-with-it millennials seem to be taking a leaf out of history
There comes a point in the life of every man and woman when they start to think about life after 60. Where will they stay? Source(s) of income? Do they have enough and more saved for their kids? It’s a story as old as time. Man meets woman, they fall in love, get married and spend their entire life saving up for their progeny. It’s the ideal retirement plan, or so one is told. As recently as the early 2000s, people would start making their retirement plan after they turned 50. Maybe, even 45. In some cases, 40.
In 2022, this retirement plan is made right after one gets married. And this plan isn’t a hefty bank balance anymore; it’s now a person, someone who can last with us till the end of our lifetime. Who said love makes a marriage work? For the young people of today, a spouse who doesn’t leave is better than a spouse who makes them heave.
Welcome to the age of practicality. Nobody cares for a marriage filled with love when they can have a spouse who’ll happily wait for them at home while they’re out having a good time!
“My wife is great at running a home, taking care of the kids and focusing on her own career. We don’t have great love between us, no, but she’s the kind of person I’d want to be with when I’m old. So I have my fun on the side, knowing full well that she’s my retirement plan!” Deepak (name changed) is the CEO of a popular lifestyle media conglomerate, married to a successful PR honcho in Mumbai. Their marriage has everything but love, and yet it works. Deepak has his flings on the side and no one has to rock the boat.
A similar sentiment was echoed by Khyati (name changed), one of Delhi’s most loved fashion designers, famous for her kitsch clothing and OTT style. Her marriage too runs more on logic than love and longing. “My husband isn’t my kinda guy in terms of love, etc. But he’s surely one for keeps when it comes to providing a secure future for the kids, ensuring we’re always saving for a rainy day, and all that. And that is what makes our marriage work!”
But all marriages can’t be so loveless, can they? Back in 2010, a Pew Research Center survey revealed that 84 percent of young people didn’t believe that love is a good enough reason to get married; for them, having someone long-term was a more viable reason. And 87 percent said they would stay in a marriage without love because of other reasons such as financial investments, children and to avoid loneliness that comes with old age.
If this was the result 12 years ago, you can well imagine the outcome now.
When I shared these findings with Sakshi Mehra (name changed), a popular web show actor, she wasn’t surprised. We’d met at a common friend’s housewarming party recently and she was more than eager to talk about her ‘wonderfully working’ marriage, after a few-too-many martinis, of course. “I don’t see my husband as the love of my life, and I’m sure he doesn’t see me that way either. I’m with him as he’s one of those stable, homely men who can promise you a good life and a comfortable old age!” What about enjoying your younger days being in love? “It’s called compartmentalising—have a husband on one side and enjoy the perks of love with someone else!”
It’s the new way to make your marriage last. Don’t seek romance and intimacy. Focus on stability, wealth and a comfortable home instead. If you’ve got kids, think about them too. And most of all think of the future. I’ve been told by enough people that old age isn’t easy. Your looks have long faded (even after Botox, btw) and your body isn’t as shapely as ever. Your work life isn’t as robust, if it exists at all, and your kids have their own things to do. It gets lonely, difficult and increasingly frustrating. That is when you need someone. Not for love but as a partner. Someone with whom to share the most mundane part of your life.
Nobody gets this better than the young who, while in their 20s and 30s, have already begun working on their retirement plans. They have their flings, love affairs, et al. But there’s also the spouse on the side.
As Shalini Sharma (name changed), one of Delhi’s most famous hostesses and one half of the country’s most revered real estate power couples, said, “When you stop thinking about love in your marriage, you’ll find plenty of reasons to stay in it!”
Who Am I?
Think of me as someone who knows the minds, hearts and bedrooms of the young Indian today. I have a social life across cities that allows me access to coveted parties, people and positions (pun absolutely intended!). Through this column, I aim to keep you abreast of how the young people of India go about their personal lives. I promise to keep it
honest and to-the-point. No judgements, no prudishness.