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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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