Problems faced by young married couples in Bali
Too young and not yet ready
Marriage is a holy unity between man and woman. People try to find the best partner with who they will spend the rest of their life together. But sometimes there are also marriages in which the man or woman is not ready yet to have this kind of relationship. Perhaps, they are too young to get married but they have to get married because the girl became pregnant. Unwanted pregnancy is the most common reason of early marriage in Bali. Teens have unprotected free sex and the girl becomes pregnant. There are some problems; economically, psychologically, physically, and culturally that will make the young married couple distressed.
Komang Ari (18 years old) is an example of unhappy young married woman. She was only 16 years old when she got married. Her husband, Wayan (19 years old) was her classmate at the junior high school. Their love was too deep and they did sex before married. Komang got pregnant and the young couple had to get married in their very young age. They already have two daughters now and since Wayan couldn’t continue his study, what he could do just to be a security staff. His income cannot cover all of their daily expenses so Komang has to work as a shop assistant. Their two young daughters have to be raised by Wayan’s mother.
It was not just that. Culturally, Komang and Wayan are not free teens anymore. They get new responsibilities as part of the society. They have to taking part in the ceremonies conducted by the villagers as “Pengayah” (servants at the ceremonies in temples and neighborhood). They also have to pay some amount of money in every ceremony at their family temple which is called “Peturunan”. Komang and Wayan should also conduct their own ceremonies such as the Hindu ceremonies for the children. All of the new obligations and responsibilities that should be taken by the young couple sometimes make them grieve and helpless. Komang said to me that the things were never be the same again for her since her marriage. She never woke up so early in the morning before, she didn’t have to cook when she was with her parents and now she has two little children to be taking care of. Luckily, her husband, Wayan, is really mature. Although they are lack of money but Wayan never complain about it.
Desak Made has the same condition as Komang’s. She got married when she was only 15 years old. However, her marriage was not 100% due to unexpected pregnancy but more because of an arranged marriage. Her mother allowed her now-became-husband to spend the nights at her house. One night, she couldn’t resist the man’s intention and they made love. Desak got pregnant and after that they got married. Her husband was much older than her but he was unemployed. Since they couldn’t afford to buy their own house, they had to stay with Desak’s parents until they could rent their own house. The worst thing was that Desak’s reproduction system was not ready yet that Desak found it difficult to give birth to her first baby. Desak was alive but her baby died not long after it was born. Now, she has a little baby and together with her husband they live in a lodging house. Her husband, still jobless, likes to get drunk and gambling, makes the life more difficult for Desak and her baby. Some days in a week I see them in the house of Desak’s parents. They ask money to continue their lives.
Komang and Desak are only two examples of young married women in Bali. It doesn’t mean that the men don’t face the problems as their wives do. But, in the case of early marriage, women are the most serious victims that need more attention from the society and especially the parents. Stronger women will survive because they can handle all of the problems and finally can stand on their own feet, although at first it might be very difficult for them to stand. But, the weaker ones will feel very distressed and helpless. This may be a reason to commit suicide as a way to solve the problem.