Thinking about love
August 10, 2010, 4:58 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Gender


“Love needs no legalisation, it needs no certificate, no formality, no ceremonies, no vows in front of an authority.

Love between two individuals should remain so between them. The decisions made between the two individuals in love should be respected, not discriminated.”


That was what I have written to myself years ago after much reading and deep thoughts. It was then decided that I shall not marry for I am entirely against the whole notion of marriage.

I do not see why I must be obligated to support the idea of an establishment, in this case marriage or even the registration of it, that requires two individuals to submit to being one unit, sacrificing the need of individuality as they are then subjected to be obligated to the roles expected upon them by the families of both parties.

In most cases, the women have been the ones losing their personal identities as we can see in the history of Man. They take up their husbands’ names, compromise their ambitions, dreams and dignity to keep the family unit in order and stepping into the role of a daughter-in-law. Using the harshest words, the woman then becomes the property of one as well as his family’s child bearing machine (in most cases, that is the eventual expectation). She also has to submit to becoming the second in command of the family after her husband… and in some cases, third in command after her mother-in-law too. Her decisions will in most cases depend on the approval of her husband and his family.

As for the men, they suddenly have someone to ‘take care of’. Most men are still unable to get away with ‘forgetting’ that society at large still expects them to be the principal breadwinner and the ‘head’ of the family.It does bring alot of stress to them and in the modern day of nearly equal employment conditions for both genders, they tend to become very unsatisfied if their wives have a larger pay cheque than theirs.

The suppression of individual freedom and the added obligations in a marriage sometimes cause unhappiness and strains the love existing between the man and woman. I do not think that going through this is necessary at all.

Marriage is a huge decision. Nobody, neither parents nor peers, should pressurise their children or friends into taking that decision. Only the individuals involved in a relationship should mutually agree upon whether they are to take the great big leap, or not at all.

I am very glad that my mother, although disagreeing with my views, have stopped giving me all the pressure. She had done so in the past but I hope that it will not happen again in the present and future.

That will only frustrate me yet again but as always, I will continue to stand by my ground.

As a parent, she should understand that such a decision cannot be made by only one party in a relationship or parents of both parties in the relationship. It has to be made willingly by both parties and in the first place, I am not the willing one as has already been understood.

It will tear me apart if I am to be placed in the situation whereby I have to do something I am so strongly against myself doing in order to make the parents of one or both sides happy.

I will only be miserable if I am to give up an ideology for the sake of that. If my partner leaves me because I am not willing to please our parents by agreeing to sign on the dotted line, then he clearly does not love and respect me at all.

I am in a relationship because of love, not because I am pro-marriage or pro-creation. I am neither and it takes a man who respects the need to maintain an ideology to understand that. It takes a man who cares to see all the sacrifices I have made to be with him to relate my wishes to his parents while recognising his love for me and not breaking the relationship in the name of wanting marriage for the sake of his parents.

And I hope I have already found him.

If the man does not stand on my side for this, I do not know if he will stand on my side if the demands and expectations become more difficult in future.

A woman has to learn how to say no to her parents for the man she wants to be with, and so does the man.

This is because a relationship must be equal and mutual respect must be established. Demands and expectations cannot happen one sided.

And neither sides should expect the other to agree to doing such a thing like marriage just to make his/her parents happy.

It is just not reasonable and fair at all.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

There’s a lot of heartfelt humanity with those sentiments.

Comment by Mark

Hi Rachel,

I am almost 60 and married with a son. My wife is two years my senior.

I am not at all surprised to read your article. If u asked around, most young people (men or women) held the same view at least once in their life. We eventually gave up the belief when we came across someone we love.

You have painted a male dominant society. In reality, it is not so. It depends on the make up, temperament and character of the couple concerned.

No one can say that u r right or wrong. Though you have made known your position, I will suggest that u should continue to keep an open mind..

Who knows, one day u may come across a good Singaporean who is just as active in human rights and civil society. Who may want to establish a long term relationship whilst continue to respect and support your character and views.

Live a life u love and allow your life develop and change along the way… Open your heart and allow one or more good men to walk into it….

btw, my married life is not a bed a roses… I tried my best to make it work… becos I love the woman I married and she has given me a son; whom we both love deeply….

Comment by meiming

Rachel, I believe that your partner will not do that to you.

For all I know, he is a person who stands by his ideals. Surely he can also stand by you.

As for you, keep strong when standing by him. I agree that parents should not make their children get married to please them.

Talk to your folks. I am sure that with his folks being so cool about him being such a serious activist, they will also be cool with him standing by you. You need not worry about that.

Whenever I see the both of you, I see a loving picture of mutual understanding. Truly, how many girls will be able to be with a guy who is always at risk of being ruined by the government.

He will and should treasure you the way you treasure him. The both of you belong to each other and love will overcome everything.

Comment by An anonymous friend

Very interesting piece Rachel. They say it’s all written in the stars….and what more when it’s to do with the heart.

Comment by selvaraja somiah

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