I Want To Be A Lot Of Things But “Good Marriage Material” Isn’t One Of Them

Growing up in a South Asian family, life was full of expectations—one of the biggest ones being to prepare myself to one day become a good wife. Now, I can’t say whether I’ll end up getting married or not, but I do know that I sure as hell won’t squeeze myself into a traditional mold just to make some dude and his mother happy. I’m a lot of things, but “good marriage material” isn’t one of them.

  1. Marriage isn’t part of my five-year plan. I just made generations of South Asian aunties turn over in their graves, but I’ll say it again: getting married isn’t on my to-do list. My goals involve my career, my personal growth, and sure, a strong relationship would be nice. But when it comes to cuffing vs. crashing through glass ceilings, I’d rather build a life based on my passions than settle for a shiny rock and “Mrs.” on my letterhead.
  2. I’d rather be on the field than be a cheerleader. Part of being the “perfect wife,” at least in certain cultures, involves being your husband’s biggest fan, often at the expense of yourself. That’s not to say I wouldn’t support my partner, I just refuse to stand on the sidelines and fuel someone else’s goals while abandoning my own. I’m nobody’s groupie!
  3. He might make it rain, but I make it shower. Many traditional families expect the husband to be the sole breadwinner or handle all the finances, leaving the wife completely dependent on her partner. But I hustle too hard to beg a guy for cash—maybe my bank account even has a couple more zeros than his does! I’ll keep my checkbook and my independence, thank you very much.
  4. My appearance is my business. I cannot and will not “look pretty” for my husband at all times. Sometimes, I look bomb as hell and I really don’t care if he likes my winged liner or not. Other times, my hair looks like it just went through its own personal apocalypse—my bad, I couldn’t curl it because I was too busy getting stuff done. Either way, the way I look is up to me and I won’t change it to give my husband something pretty to look at.
  5. I’m not a gift to be unwrapped on my wedding day. The idea of purity is such a strong one in South Asian cultures that you’re considered “damaged goods” if you don’t save yourself for your husband. Well, guess what? I’m not a car.  My value doesn’t depreciate if I choose to be in a relationship that doesn’t lead to marriage. Nothing I do can make me any less “pure” or any less of a woman, and I’m not going to “preserve” myself for a man.
  6. If I wanted to be a personal chef, I’d have gone to culinary school. My idea of cooking involves scraping slightly burnt eggs off the side of a pan—and that’s on a good day. So, sorry not sorry: my day’s never going to revolve around making delicious dishes as good as his mama used to make for him. He’s a grown-ass man, so he can try making his own food.
  7. I don’t do “shy.” Women are often expected to be meek, passive, and agreeable—and heaven forbid if you’ve got the guts to ask a guy out. The thing is, my voice is loud and I like to use it. If I think a guy is damn fine, I’m asking him out. If I don’t agree with him, I’m calling him out. I’m confident in my opinions and I know what I want, and if that makes me “too forward,” so be it.
  8. I’m too messy to be a maid for someone else. I’ll be honest: I have multiple “pile of clothes” chairs and sometimes I don’t do laundry for waaaay too long. I haven’t exactly mastered being a domestic goddess and I’m OK with that. But it means that I’m definitely not spending my life picking up after my husband—I’ve got better things to do with my time.
  9. I don’t know if I want children and that’s fine. Perish the thought! Being good marriage material means being “family-oriented,” and though I love my family to death, I don’t know if I want to start my own. Maybe I want seven kids or maybe I want to sail around the world baby-free—in any case, it’s my body and my choice. I won’t be popping out grandbabies anytime soon and I’m definitely not giving up my career, even if it makes me less desirable to some backward dudes.
  10. I want a partner who loves me for me, not just what I bring to the table. So much of what’s considered a good match in South Asian culture has to do with assets: beauty, family wealth, education, purity—the list goes on and on. But I’m not willing to settle for someone who wants me just because of my degree or my looks. I want someone who finds my obnoxious laugh endearing and accepts that I’ll inevitably always lose my umbrella. I’m not here to be a perfect portrait of a flawless wife—I’m here to be real, to love hard, and build my own definition of what it means to be “good marriage material.”
Devani is a biology student with a deep love and no talent for spoken word poetry. She enjoys singing in the shower, lychee boba, and hopes to one day develop enough coordination to look cool in da club.