Take two houses, each containing one kitchen, one sitting room and two bedrooms. Each house is occupied by a mother, father and girls and boys. This is the typical situation in Fuvahmulah.
When a girl reaches age 19 most parents start to see a way to reduce their economic burden by marrying her off to someone. At the same time there is a social pressure from the society backed by tradition to marry her as soon as possible. Not doing so is seen as disrespectful and insulting to tradition. Which may cause a retaliation from traditionalists. Thus, parents begin pressuring to find a partner and get married as soon as possible.
The girl looks for a partner but due to time constraints she is not able to choose properly. It gets even more difficult because of the taboo behind hanging around with a person from opposite sex. So she make poor choice of partner.
The traditional view is that marriage is more important than having a place to live. Due to constant pressure from friends, parents, media etc they decide to get married. Most of the couples who married does not have a place of their own. They live either in one of parents house or in a rented apartment.
After marriage and once they start living together, they both realize they have chosen a wrong partner. If they want to undo the marriage and dicide to get separated, again there is the social pressure from families of both sides, as well as the taboo of being divorced. The social perception of divorce is negative. So the families, friends, from both side, the thought leaders and media tries to keep them stick together.
In Fuvahmulah, couples move in to one of their parents house. The house which was previously occupied by a Mother, a Father and their two children. Now one of their child grown up and brought in a partner. So now one house with one kitchen, one sitting room, and two bedrooms are shared by two families.
The reader might notice a chain here: Couple living in a single family housing unit > They have children > Children grew up > They are pressured by parents, media, friends etc to get married > they comply with the pressures and get married > Chose a wrong partner because they didn’t get a chance for careful selection > they don’t have a place to live > decided to live in a parents house.
If the husband is working in a resort, they could meet each other for a few days once every six months. This creates other social problems. Sometimes the partners go elsewhere to satisfy their psychological needs. If the couple is living together, it creates multiple other unwanted conflicts as a result of two families living in one roof.
Soon after the marriage, another wave of social pressure hit them again. This time pressuring them to have a baby. Families, friends, peers, thought leaders, and media begins to pressure them. Even though they don’t have a place of their own and they are still living in their parent’s house. They are pressured to have a child.
They decide to have a child. This drastically affect their income because in most cases when they make the choice, they don’t calculate the cost. Bills arrive after the exchange. They hit the rock bottom.
When the child arrives, the conflicts within the household increase over the roof because children by nature causes lot of problems (unintentionally) and parents had to deal with it.
To reduce the problem, the first generation parents who own the house decide to give a pice of land to their married son/daughter who now having a baby.
By giving a land does not solve the problem because a land is useless for them. They need to build a house on it. And construction equipments, building cost, plan, and all these things are beyond their expertise. Above all, they are barely surviving, they don’t have money to build a house.
When the child reaches the age three or four, the traditionalist, peers, media etc begins to pressure them to have a second child.
They willingly obey. As a result, the parent’s attention, finance, room space and other resources had to be divided between the two children.
By trying to look after two children at the same time, parents get worn out. When a family fall into this deep pit it is the women who suffer the most because she is in the center of these problems, juggling the responsibilities of their parents, husband, children, house work, and office (in working mothers case).
This negativity affects the quality of life of the children. The children face problems at home, this negatively affect their school performance, the school performance affects their employability in the future.
In this deep pit the children grow up. If the child was a girl, when she reaches 19, her parents pressure her to find a partner and move out just like the parents’ parents previously did to them. And the cycle repeats.
Let’s examine the chain:
Three things, Social pressure, economic situation and traditions are the reasons why parents pressure children to get married early. If we eliminate those three – if there are no social pressure, no economic problems, and no tradition that support early marriage, will the girl’s parents push her?
Choosing a partner: Talking to a person of opposite sex is highly discouraged by the society. This leads to making poor partner choice. If girls and boys can freely talk to each other without getting labeled, will she be able to choose a better mate?
There is no social pressure, family pressure, or traditions that encourage them to get a house or an apartment before marriage. If parents, thought leaders and traditions insists on finding a place to live before getting married, will they obey?
Having children without making things stable, without getting life together, without counting the cost. Couple rush into this decision because of family pressure and traditions that pushes them to have children, without giving any regard to their situation. The tradition consists of generalized slogans like ‘More children happy life’.
Every human being in a society is a mother, father and/or a child of someone. Imagine a man getting stuck in that chain. The result will be a dysfunctional father. If a woman gets stuck in the chain, the result is a dysfunctional mother. And any child born into this chain will become a dysfunctional adult. Therefore it is necessary to remove the vicious links from the chain to produce fully functioning people.
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