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Monday, February 13, 2006


Wise men say that life is full of mystery. Three main things that people say as mysterious: who will be our spouse, what kind of occupation we will get (Indonesian people call it as rejeki, and the last one is how old someone will drift away from this mortal world.

This morning, I got a chance to interview my students again about getting married. Two students came up with two new responses. The first student, a boy, aged in his early twenties, said, “I am not really concerned about getting married or not, Ma’am. My religion teacher at school said that if we do not get married in this world, God has provided us a ‘match’ or ‘partner’ in heaven later.”

Jokingly I asked him, “How sure are you that you will go to heaven? How about if you go to hell?”
Convincingly, he replied, “I will go to heaven, Ma’am. I am sure of it.”

I responded, “Wow … that’s good. To be confident that you will go to heaven is good. It means that you will take care of your attitude and behavior in this life.”

The second student, a girl, also in her early twenties, said, “Getting married is our destination in this life, Ma’am.”

Being not clear what she meant with ‘destination’, I asked her to elaborate it. She said, “In Al-Quran, God stated that we were all created in pairs. So was I. I have my own pair, I believe.”

I asked her back, “Are you sure about that? Don’t you see many people around us still live single until they get old? And many of them have passed away before getting married? Frankly speaking, I’d prefer your classmate’s response that, if we don’t have our pair in this world, believe in yourself that we will have one in later life. It will not make you feel uncomfortable or restless if you will not find one until “dangerous” age.”

What I meant with “dangerous age” is above thirty—especially for women (in Indonesia!). Many women who do not feel confident that there is nothing wrong to be single will grab any guy to marry, only coz they feel restless, inferior, and uncomfortable when people around them besiege them with questions, “When will you get married? Now that you are successful with your career, don’t you think about getting settled by having a family?” Living in a marriage-oriented society like in Indonesia makes people—especially women, coz they get much more pressure from their parents, relatives, neighbors, friends than men—feel something wrong with them if they keep being single. Consequently, it can engender women to choose to be the second wife, let’s say. It is supported by selfish men who believe that they were created to be polygamous, while in fact, they are just greedy and cannot control their egotism.

If only those women were not besieged with such questions, if only they didn’t feel restless to live single, this grabbing any guy wouldn’t happen. They would feel more confident to go on living single.

The answer of that second student reminded me of a friend, a guy, divorced, and his only daughter lives with his ex wife. A year ago, he said, “Nana, living in this world, we have to struggle to get what we want. I am sure one day I will find someone again. I got very hurt with my divorce, yes, but it doesn’t mean that I have to stop trying to find someone. I believe that God created all human beings in pairs.”

I commented, “You know, Prophet Isa left this world in his very young age, only about thirty three years, and he was still single at that time.”

He went on, “Nana, the most important thing is that we have to struggle. And who said that our pair can only be found in this mortal world? If we don’t get one in this world, well, God has created one in later life for us.”

If only all people think that way—if we don’t have pair in this world, we will have one in later life--, I am quite certain that this world will be a bit more peaceful. No one will get forced to get married soon, at least. No one will complain that someone has “stolen” his/her spouse. LOL.

The following question I asked my student was “How old is an ideal age to get married?”

One student, a boy, straightly said, “29. It is related to the fact that men as the breadwinner, he must prepare everything before getting married.”

I commented, “Well, you know, nowadays, many people complain about the soaring prices for everything. Don’t you think that you will let your wife work to help you?”

He answered, “Well, I still want to be the main breadwinner. If my wife wants to work, it is okay as long as she doesn’t forget her main responsibility as a wife.”

I asked back, “What do you mean with wife’s responsibilities?”

He replied, “Well, such as taking care of our children.”

“Will you get rid of yourself from taking care of your children? Don’t you think that raising children is the responsibility of both parents? Well, it reminds me of the movie The Stepford Wives where in one scene a man refused to help his wife to cook by saying, “I have a penis. I am not supposed to do kitchen chores.” A woman doesn’t need her breasts nor her vagina nor womb in doing household chores. How could a man say such a thing to refuse to do household chores?

By the way, that conversation with my student reminded me of two cases of two ex male workmates of mine. Around 10 years ago, a male workmate of mine—with initial B--married his fiancée after he graduated from his college. As a new English teacher, of course, he didn’t earn much to support a life of a wife; moreover with a baby that would come. This was what another male workmate of mine—with initial H—thought, so he criticized B. Wisely, B said, “If you always wait for the time when you feel “ready”, how sure are you that you will feel ready financially? People tend to have greedy character, never feel enough.

A year after getting married, B got another job which was more suitable with his educational background. Now he lives prosperously with his wife and two children.

Some years ago, H became a furniture businessman. He married a beautiful girl who happened to be a daughter of a rich man. He quit from the workplace. Unfortunately, with the changing business world atmosphere in Indonesia, he couldn’t go on with his business. He had to live together with his wife’s family. And the last info I got was they already got divorced.

Life is really mystery, isn’t it?

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