The second innings – marriage in old age is new normal

By January 12, 2021March 20th, 2021No Comments

Marriages, in India, have more emotional connotations attached to it. Indians consider marriages sacred; people, once married, are expected to cohabit “till death do them part”, literally. But no one speaks about the other part of Indian marriages – what a person is supposed to do after the death of his/her partner, especially if the person left behind is an older adult.

Older adults have to face a lot of changes and challenges throughout their life. In most cases, their children have left home for higher education or career. Older adults have retired from their own jobs, and do not have a hobby or any contingency plans to sustain them for the rest of their life. And at such a stage of life, when all they want to do is to settle down and enjoy life, a loss of their partner can hit them hard.

As the concept of remarriage, and that too at an old age, was almost unheard of in India until recently, most of these elderly people would sink slowly into ill health – both physical and mental. Studies have consistently shown that humans are social animals and they crave companionship. Deprived of such companionship, with children often too busy in their own lives, older adults are known to have attacks of depression.

However, in recent times, the concept of older adults marrying has taken root. Many times, the children of such people themselves recommend such marriages. Marriage of older adults is not a taboo subject anymore. Older people themselves are much more aware these days. They know and accept their loneliness and their need for companionship.

With the “marriageable age” growing bigger, from the 18-20 group in the ’80s to the early 20’s in the ’90s, the late 20’s in the new millennium and now even the late 30’s to early 40’s, late marriages are not looked upon with derision as they were before. Nowadays, even a woman, who was traditionally expected to get married early, chooses to stay unmarried till she achieves the financial independence she expects to accomplish.

Also Read: 70-Year-Old Natubhai Patel on Live-in Relationships and Re-marriages in Older Age

But, though society accepts a late first marriage readily now, a second marriage, and that at an older age, is still looked upon with distaste in some parts of the country. Indeed, a second marriage is seen as a betrayal to the memory of the first spouse.

What most people don’t realize is that older adults are more vulnerable than most of the younger population. They need support, they need companionship. They need happiness in the dusk of their lives. And a second innings in life is what they need. Even if their children and their family love them unconditionally, they need a spouse whom they can lean on and care for, share their joys and sorrows and worries. Remarriage is a boon for older adults, don’t you think?

Also, read this in Marathi and Hindi.


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