Gurpreet Kaur writes a letter to her fellow Kaurs and shares her trials and tribulations with the Sikh dating world. Ultimately, she finds peace with herself and finds opportunities for personal growth.
When I was a little girl, everyone told me that he was coming- that I would grow up, and he’d just be there, waiting for me. I heard it at Gurdwara, camps, in movies, and even at recess with the schoolyard rhyme, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage”.
I took the universe as its word. I assumed I had all the time in the world to wait for that Singh to show up. But now I’ve kissed my 20s goodbye, and I’m still standing here, waiting. Don’t get me wrong- I had my fair share of crushes growing up- including turning down Singhs who were interested in me because I wasn’t interested in them. Or, where I felt like he was “the one” and yet, I sat back from making the first move because showing any inch of vulnerability is hard and frightening. It stung to see things not go as I had hoped and dreamed. It bothered the hell out of me when people would say, “Keep looking” or “Change yourself”.
My parents would ask why I’m having a hard time finding a guy. They would then kindly suggest that I change who I am as a person and that I should change what I am looking for in a Singh. They would give me a long list of Shaadi.com profiles saying these Singhs are interested in talking and that I need to make the first move in reaching out to them.
As I worked through my disappointment of how hard it is to find a significant other, my faith grew stronger in believing that life is all in hukam– it’ll happen when it happens.
Let me give you background information, this is not the first draft I wanted posted on Kaur Life. I had written a letter addressed to Singhs back in July 2019 because I was frustrated, hurt, disappointed, and had lost all hope that there is not a single partner who is not “dumb”. I started believing something was wrong with me and that it’s not a matter of sanjog (union or linking) at all. (How my sangat described sanjog to me is like straight out of a Disney movie! Rainbows, butterflies, and that instant connection of “Aaaahhh there you are”.)
When I re-read that same article recently, in March 2020, I could not stop laughing at myself and I was grateful that it was not posted- I was clearly going through some dark times (haha). I’m now writing from my own growth and thinking about other Kaurs who are searching for a Singh right now. I’m also writing with thoughts on what my future possible daughter/niece would experience (if it’s in the cards that I am blessed with a daughter/niece) and keeping her in mind.
I offer some guidance and lessons that I have learned and hope that you receive some inspiration. I also included some reflection questions for you to ask yourself if this seems to be resembling your world lately.
When you get what you want, that’s Waheguru’s direction.
When you don’t get what you want, that’s Waheguru’s protection
I have noticed many Singhs are moving into adulthood searching for a partner who fits their idealized fantasy of the perfect wife. They, and I’m sure many of their parents, shrug off any woman who doesn’t meet their vision. I got a glimpse into this mindset by attending several Sikh speed dating events where a few Singhs shared with me their confusing views of Sikhi in a marriage.
For instance, a Singh told me, “I’m looking for a Gursikh girl without any Amritdhari values.” What does that mean? I thought. Aren’t Amrtidhari values the same as Gursikh values? Why does this Singh think Amrtidhari values are not desirable? This Singh is wearing a dastaar and keeps his hair so, what is the difference between a Gursikh Kaur and a Gursikh Singh?
Another kesh-dhari Singh said, “You shouldn’t tell people that you’re Amritdhari- it will come across less threatening”. I’ll give you a few seconds to laugh that off because it makes me crack up all the time! Since when was being Amrtidhari a scary thing? Wouldn’t you want your future partner to be on Guru’s path to merge with the Divine? What’s wrong with being an Amritdhari Kaur? What is the threat that we’re showing to others? That we’re fearless, independent lions who can “wear the pants” in the relationships? That we might bust out our kirpans and stab you when we’re having an argument? That would not happen, by the way.
I concluded that the best ways forward, for our community, is for everyone to let go of their imaginary girl/boyfriend. I needed to find someone who chooses to see the beauty in real women.
Initially, I was blaming myself and blaming these Singhs on this journey being so challenging. After much reflection and heartache, I fixed my vision. I stopped blaming myself that it didn’t work out with certain people and was grateful that it didn’t. I came to understand that some Singhs are seeking Western ideas of beauty, gender roles, and partnership. I came to accept that not every Sikh is at the same level of showing love towards our Guru.
Ultimately, I came to see these rejections as Waheguru’s way of protecting me from not going down a path that deviated from my personal Sikh values, with that particular person. Waheguru protected me from entering a relationship that would have been less-than-ideal for both of us.
Reflection Question: What are some non-negotiable things in a partner? What are things you can be flexible about? What are things that won’t bother you?
Give People A Chance
I realize that our American Punjabi culture has thoroughly convinced us that our life is all about our personal fulfillments, and marriage to anyone less than your ideal will create an intolerable act of settling. I beg to differ. For me, life is not about achievements and careers accolades, but is more about serving others. One way we can serve others while dating is to give people a chance. Everyone always has something unique to offer to everyone. So, instead of shutting people out or ruling them out as an option because they don’t fit your dream date, pull up a chair and share with each other what you can bring into each other’s lives.
Reflection Question: If you keep rejecting possible partners, ask yourself “Why?” Is there a common theme? Is it you? Is it them? Do you need to work on yourself first? Are you putting out conflicting messages?
Be Mentally Attractive
People spend so much time trying to be more physically attractive to find love that they forget the importance of being mentally attractive. Educate yourself, address your recurring toxic thoughts, deal with your insecurities, and learn to be happy on your own. That’s attractive! I mentioned earlier “the beauty in real women” and I personally define it as mentally attractive. To my knowledge, Gurbani does not explain beauty to be a physical appearance but rather beauty to be a state of mental attraction.
For example, in this shabad revealed to Guru Arjan Sahib on Ang 400, Guru Ji explains that a truly beautiful woman is one who is connected to the Divine:
ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਰਿ ਦੀਪਕੋ ਇਹ ਸਤ ਕੀ ਸੇਜ ਬਿਛਾਇ ਰੀ ॥
gur kaa sabadh kar dheepako ieh sat kee sej bichhai ree ||
Make the Word of the Guru’s Shabad your lamp, and let your bed be Truth.
ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਕਰ ਜੋੜਿ ਰਹੁ ਤਉ ਭੇਟੈ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ ਰੀ ॥੩॥
aaTh pahar kar joR rahu tau bheTai har rai ree ||3||
Twenty-four hours a day, stand with your palms pressed together, and your King, shall meet you. ||3||
ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਚਜੁ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਸਾਈ ਰੂਪਿ ਅਪਾਰਿ ਰੀ ॥
tis hee chaj seegaar sabh saiee roop apaar ree ||
She alone is cultured and embellished, and she alone is of incomparable beauty.
ਸਾਈ ਸੋੁਹਾਗਣਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜੋ ਭਾਣੀ ਕਰਤਾਰਿ ਰੀ ॥੪॥੧੬॥੧੧੮॥
saiee suohaagan naanakaa jo bhaanee karataar ree ||4||16||118||
She alone is the happy soul-bride, O Nanak, who is pleasing to the Creator. ||4||16||118||
Reflection Question: Know yourself well. Why do you want a partner? What is the goal and purpose of marriage for you? What do you think the role of Sikhi should be in a relationship?
Girls try to change a man, women simply change direction
Let’s keep it simple, Sis: Find someone that respects your time, matches your effort, keeps their word, always is honest, and stays consistent. Do not teach a man how to be a man!
You should never feel guilty for knowing your worth and staying true to your vision. I am not who I was in July 2019 and that brings me so much peace. I want to see you win too! If you’re experiencing any of this above, I would love to hear some life lessons that you learned along this journey!