Why should a marriage rest on solely the bride’s shoulders?

Published: March 2, 2013

I believe fairness is a way to achieve what a healthy marriage is intends to; the merging of two lives, not the figurative demise of one life to appease another. PHOTO: FILE

Recently, I came across a blog post on The Express Tribune which left me appalled. In this post the author gave some advice to a new bride.

Let me clarify beforehand, I’m no expert in the marriage department, nor am I naive nor presumptuous enough to think I’ve got it all figured out. However, the advice that I wish to pen is of equality – fairness, plain and simple.

You wouldn’t maintain a friendship if it were one-sided, would you? You wouldn’t make a deal or sign a contract in which you were being dealt a resolutely unfair hand, would you?

So why would a person be so willing to enter into what’s arguably one of the most important ‘contracts’ in a person’s life, knowing and accepting that he or she will be at a distinct disadvantage?

I can’t help but be incensed when I read the advice given to young brides or brides-to-be in our culture. It screams only one thing to me; you are not to have your own identity.

You are either a wife or a mother. Period. You are not a woman. Your individuality is lost after marriage. And if the marriage fails, it’s your fault.

In light of what I read in the blog mentioned above, I decided to compile a list of my own, a list that I believe is a way to achieve what a healthy marriage is intended to; the merging of two lives, not the figurative demise of one life to appease another.

1. Try not to be too quick to judge your new family

Why not tell the new family not to be too quick to judge the newcomer and instead, embrace her? Make her feel welcome and go the extra mile to make her comfortable since she is the one leaving her life behind.

From a personal perspective, I’m completely against the notion that a woman should leave her life behind and live in someone else’s parents’ home. Simple logic tells me, if I have to leave my home, he is adult enough to leave his. However, I understand this is a deep-seated tradition among most Pakistanis and who am I to come along and order a change?

I simply think the situation can be handled with at least a bit more fairness.

2. Remember that you have married a human being who is as much of a mature individual as you are

Most guys (and their families) need to realise that the girl coming into their home is not someone who ought to be expected to mend her ways simply to suit their wishes. Both sides need to make an effort to understand each other, give each other some personal space and respect their differences. Presuming the new groom really is a mature individual, he should have no trouble taking time to understand his new wife and accepting her.

3. The girls in our society do not marry a man, they marry a clan

To be quite frank, this needs to change altogether. This notion that a girl marries an entire family is old school and simply doesn’t fit from a practical standpoint anymore. Both need to learn to respect one another’s families. That doesn’t mean you’ll love everyone, or even like everyone, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to lay yourself down to please them. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Two people. Period.

Third party interference will never make it go smoothly, whether with good intentions or not. This doesn’t mean you should forget your own families; always keep the element of respect and care when dealing with your partner’s family, but the crucial decisions, like how many babies, when to have babies, what to spend money on, where to live, what to buy, to move, not to move, etcetera should ideally be made by the husband and wife.

4. It might seem like the only thing to do at times but try not to tell on your in-laws to your husband

I agree. There is rarely ever a situation where I think ‘tattling’ is acceptable behaviour for an adult. It simply adds drama and makes a mess of things. Instead of going to someone else, approach the person or persons directly. Unless it’s an extreme situation entirely out of your control and third party assistance becomes necessary (for example, your in-laws are disrespectful or abusive in some way).

5. You will gain more respect over time by allowing time to take its course while dealing with a lot of issues

Forgive me, but being the passive ‘good girl’ approach has in no way helped Pakistani women to date, and I don’t see it helping in the future. Keeping the element of respect, make yourself heard. If it was a mutual decision between parents and son for the son to remain in his parents’ house after marriage, then it’s presumable they also knew that someday, there would be a new addition to the family in the form of a daughter-in-law. If they aren’t willing to make adjustments and/or changes, or at the very least, accept the new girl for what she is, then it seems the son needs to move out and live separately where he and his wife can make their own rules.

6. Yes, it is hard to not visit your parents frequently in the early days of the marriage but do try to keep your maika-visits limited at this time

Why?

Why should the girl, once again, be the one to make herself unhappy and go through a tough transition relatively alone?

This attitude is one of the many ingredients in the recipe for unhappiness. Marrying a girl does not make her yours to do with as you please, and expecting her to make a tough transition alone, without her parents is simply absurd. No one would appreciate someone meddling in their relationship with their own family. Why is it acceptable coming from your life partner? This system hasn’t proven to be successful in any way; where’s the logic in promoting it?

7. Try not to talk too much or too excessively

What? Why make yourself unheard? Encouraging silence or lack of proper communication does not make sense in any set-up, particularly not in one as important as a marriage. Two way communication is crucial. Walking on eggshells to avoid being irksome is not a solution.

8. Avoid getting too familiar too fast

It’s simply absurd to expect the girl to tiptoe around like a fearful mouse trying to be invisible and not step on any toes. I’m not suggesting barging in on anyone’s personal space, but do make an effort to get to know your in-laws and give them a chance to get to know you. Putting up walls is no way to develop a healthy relationship with anyone.

9. Don’t get into the competition mode with the female in laws at all

Yes, competition is never healthy with people you aren’t supposed to be in competition with and reeks of insecurity in certain situations. Don’t encroach on anyone’s territory, establish a bit of your own personal space.

10. Do not enter the marriage with divorce as an option on your mind

I wholeheartedly concur with this one. You wouldn’t take on a new adventure, begin a journey, or start a business with failure in mind. The same rule applies to marriage. Only in extreme situations should divorce ever be on the table.

Having said all that, with respect to the time the author took to write this out, frankly I just think this list reiterates all the things that are currently unfair to women about the set-up of marriage in Pakistan.

As far as it being the woman’s job to run things smoothly, pardon me but that’s not the case. Marriage is a two way street and its two people entering into it. It is equally the husband’s responsibility to see the differences in his wife and learn to adapt. If he doesn’t give his 50%, there’s no reason for the woman to be expected to give hers, as it simply won’t be enough.

Before the menfolk jump on me as I’ve neglected to mention them here, fret not. I’m not attacking the male population as a whole, nor am I pointing fingers at you alone. From what I know, marriage is no piece of cake for you guys either, and can often be equally difficult or overburdening. But if you’re looking to get married and want to make it work, remember your new bride had a life before you, and deserves to have one in marriage as well. She is an individual. Not just a wife or the mother of your babies. She’s a woman before all of that. Treat her as such.

Arub M

Arub M

A graduate student pursuing a business degree with a concentration in marketing. In her spare time, she loves to socialise, travel and read.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sindhu

    I love you for this!Brilliant reply.Recommend

  • Maira

    Not agree with “Simple logic tells me, if I have to leave my home, he is adult enough to leave his. However, I understand this is a deep-seated tradition among most Pakistanis and who am I to come along and order a change?” This is not Pakistani tradition but an Islamic one. Girls are not supposed to live in their parent’s home even after wedding, this would be total unlawful and many social evils will prevail.Recommend

  • Sindhu

    I love you for writing this! Brilliant reply!Recommend

  • http://tribune.com.pk farhan

    @ author when you plan to get married , just give list of these demands to your future inlaws or husband, they might accept your pre-conditions otherwise the ship will sink. Recommend

  • Al_Chemisto

    Most of the points raised in the article are naive and defy the ground realities of our society. Please don’t take her advice!Recommend

  • Sidrah

    @Maria
    yes but in Islam a girl is also not supposed to live with her husband’s family. It’s a mans job to provide separate lodging to his wife. He can see his parents and take care of them but that is not his wife’s duty. Joint family system is a patriarchal tribal system not an Islamic one.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Now my head is hurting and I’m all confused……..ten of that……and now ten of this.
    All I know is that both have to stick it out during the down times and yes there will be many but at the end of the day, its all really worth it. I do speak from experience.Recommend

  • Critic

    I think you could have conveyed your point by posting a comment to the previous blog. A whole new blog was really not required.Recommend

  • Queen

    @Al_Chemisto:
    We are the ones who set “ground realities” in our society and it is high time that we change some of these realities to give the bride/lady/daughter-in law some space to breath. Recommend

  • Fiza

    Our society is perhaps the most difficult one to live in. In situations where religion openly supports women, the so called deep seated tradition ruins it for them. Well if we go by religion, then it categorically tells men to marry only when they can get a separate house for their wives. Since our patriarchal society find ways to support men— where it is convenient—they become blinded by culture and ignore what has been ordained by God.

    In Islam a woman is neither required to live with her in-laws, nor is responsible to take care of them in anyway—that’s culture! Recommend

  • black

    Cat fight Cat fight cat fight :pRecommend

  • Mudassar

    Marriage is all about mutual respect, friendship, care, love and harmony, so better to understand each other and try to built strong foundations for this upcoming life time relationship because understanding is extremely vital for any such relationship.Recommend

  • Hamza

    Your article is a breath of fresh air after the headache inducing piece this is in response to. Bravo!

    @Maria

    The writer (from how i interpreted it) does not mean that the husband move into the wife’s house. The writer seems to point out to the fact that if possible and with the consent of the two parties (yes only two! not a clan of blibbering aunties and uncles) is involved, the husband should set up a new life, in a new place together with his wife. Is that a slap in the face of culture? Well yes…but culture is meant to evolve. Recommend

  • Married woman

    You know i shared your viewpoints when i was single but seriously now i laugh because you can’t change the general mindset no matter how hard you try even if it is a love marriage. You might succeed in changing your husband’s mentality to some extent but never the inlaws. And no matter how hard you try to fight it you do lose your identity and your personality not only to please other but also u r expected to do so. Women who don’t are shunned and criticized by the inlaws especially the mother in law. Even if you don’t treat others as competition. they see you as a threat as an alien invader who seriously needs to mend her ways asap. You can only carry your independence and principles and ideals with you if you are financially independent and your husband totally understands and supports you for which he has to choose sides which is very hard otherwise everything goes down the drain. And at times even with your hubby’s support things don’t turn out the way a new bride would expect them to. Its impossible to change a familyz mindset but what you can do is practice yours when you become a mother in law or a sister in law. That can bring change.

    P.S. Dont show these demands to your future in laws or husband as some reader advised you to, it will never work the way you intend it to. it will only create bitterness and rifts.Recommend

  • Married woman

    And i just read the article to which you have referred here and trust me if you want to make a marriage work smoothly, its the right advice given by Aalia Suleman. Wise people learn from others but most of us learn the hard way. Aalia doesn’t say what happens after marriage is right but she has given us a good way to deal with all the drama and thus enter marriage with open eyes rather than rosy eyes cause i personally think marriage is the biggest gamble which you can lose especially coz of your inlaws. And this is still Pakistan not a western society that embraces women independence and even in the west women have to put up with the in laws whether they like it or not. So you shouldn’t be bitter about it. Recommend

  • yasmin

    good blog for conservative ones… :)Recommend

  • BachelorBoy..

    Though have’nt yet seen the blog, from which this answer of yours has been concluded. Still, won’t support your American liberty like ” bring your own bottle to the party”, Marriage from every aspect shouldn’t be considered a risk free calculated bond, as if anyone goes for ultimate perfection remains alone. Moreover, relience on parents is partially a natural phenomenon because man does not get mature financially enough till by reaching thirties to buy or construct a house for his own self.
    It isn’t a far harder agenda for women also, when it is determined to lead her life for the family she bares afterwards in the shape of her kids, in addition every other choice has been swiped away from aims set for the life except well being of her children; infact this isn’t to be considered a defeat toward career ambitions or something, or unification of whole personality of yours, but that should be the way by which we could ever be able to teach our offspring to remain loyal with their loved ones…
    Life is not afterall bed of Roses, than why not to lead it more selflessly and devotedly instead of thinking all the time about “we two” n “our two”. Wouldn’t it be better choice if hardships are being dealt to teach others….Recommend

  • The Rebel

    An absolute gem of a blog. The responses you have given to the other blog might be unorthodox, but I completely agree with each one of the points you have made. We have to come out of this age old mentality that a woman has to be the one making all the sacrifices. It’s only fair that the man she’s married to plays his part in ensuring a happy and a healthy foundation for marriage.

    I will share a bit of my experience regarding marriage with everyone here. Although I’m unmarried, both my elder brother and sister are. My sister went to UK after marriage along with her husband (he was already based there since a long time). However, her husband’s mother-in-law and his two small brothers lived with him in the same house. And after just 6 months of marriage, my sister had to come back to Pakistan as living with her mother-in-law became an arduous task. The reason being that the ‘saas’ was constantly barking orders at her (as if my sister was her slave), with no regard to her personal well being or her private space. She couldn’t bare the thought of her son being shared by another woman and my sister having her own life, so much so that even if the couple went out somewhere, she would get into a fight with them both. At first my bro-in-law wasn’t man enough to tackle this issue head on, so my sister spent nearly FOUR MONTHS back in Pak, with both my family and the groom’s having long discussions about this matter in my drawing room. Ultimately, her mother-in-law (your typical Star plus ‘saas’) realized that she had to go easy on her, and now she’s living a bit more peacefully, although issues still remain.

    As for my brother, he’s newly married (almost 5 months). He lives and works in Cayman Islands ( a place near USA). When he got married, my sister-in-law went with him to live a peaceful and happy life, without the distractions of any family. However, her mother is the type who didn’t want her daughter to go so far from her, and might I add, my sis-in-law was/is very popular within her family. As soon as they went, her mother started rasing some petty issues and interfering in their married life. She would constantly phone my mother and talk to her about her daughter being alone as my brother is at work until evening. She would say he doesn’t earn enough to keep her daughter happy, although my brother has a very decent pay-package, (both our families are upper middle class). On Valentine’s day he gave her wife some chocolates and flowers, and again the mother of my sis-in-law called my mom to tell her that he didn’t give her daughter a ‘proper’ gift for V-day. Issues are still on going, and I’d like to end my story here, as Im sure most of you have got the point.

    My point in telling all this was that in our society, there’s too much interference from the families. Just let the couple live and get on with their own lives. No one has a right to tell them how to live or how many babies to have, or even how to raise a baby. They’re mature adults and however they wish to live their lives, it’s their choice. A marriage should be the union of two people (like in the West), not two families. It creates too much drama and unnecessary tension.Recommend

  • Been there

    @ Arub, Very well written and things should really be like you say. Unfortunately, even in the most educated of families, in laws have double standards when it comes to their daughter in law vs how they would want their daughter to lead her married life. Hopefully, things should change for the better…Recommend

  • Meem

    Really ET, enough of the tit for tat blogs already! And that too about marital advice. Anyways, since I have read this blog and the one this is in response to, one thing that definitely needs to be said here is that giving out marital advice to anyone is perhaps the most pointless thing to do. Just because something worked in one marriage does not mean it is going to work for another couple. I got countless such ‘tips’ when I got married but realized with time that none of them were applicable to the bond I share with my husband or his family.

    Now this particular piece is less about advice and more about giving out useless retorts. If only life worked in the parameters of ideals you have set, my friend. The ‘need to’, ‘ought to’, ‘should’, ‘would’, ‘could’ are all not applicable to real life. It’s more about what works for you and your marriage.

    Like you said you are no expert in the marriage department, just leave it at that and don’t rant about something you have not experienced as yet. I’m not a mother yet and it will seem extremely out of place if I start telling other women how they should be raising their kids, that too only because I don’t agree with their idea of how it should be done. Just some food for thought!Recommend

  • Omer

    @Maira:
    What are you taking these days?Recommend

  • BachelorBoy..

    Perhaps we all are carrying our self experiences or self viewed images about marriage bond. Explicit or implicit, concious or sub concious. But whatever our level of awareness, our images are simplify reality by exaggerating some failures of wedlocks in our surroundings, ignoring others successfull exampleries. Thus, we live in a society defined by our expectations and images..
    Where if we are going through a collective social constructivism, there thoughts are needed to avoid divorces, a blockade toward copying westernisation inspite, and deatortion for living a compact nuclear family system with machinical morales installed. This will surely bring unto us our real culture, religion and belief. And will surely help us in precieving real meaning of life, instead of dragging ourselves in western Monkey businesses…Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/mahrukh.azhar.khan Mahrukh Azhar Khan

    Excellent reply! Why only woman has to sacrifice herself and her wishes just to make her husband, children and in laws happy? I hope I get an understanding and loving husband and in-laws. Recommend

  • Ellie

    The best thing to hold onto in marriage is each other …its a vow a promise to walk hand in hand wherever the journey leads…living, learning, loving together forever ..In the journey comes lot many difficulties but then its always for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and till death …If this is how a man and his woman is trust me all third parties stop to exist !Recommend

  • Gary

    “You are either a wife or a mother. Period. You are not a woman. Your individuality is lost after marriage..”

    Since when can you be a wife or mother w’out being a woman?
    Doesn’t mother/father/wife/husband means being a woman/man with greater responsibilities?Recommend

  • gp65

    @Critic:
    It looks like that is exactly what she had done. It was the Tribune blog editor who reached out to her for permission to publish her response as a separate blog.

    @Arub, I had been waiting for this and I wasn’t disappointed. Good job.

    @farhan She has not made any demands. She has just responded to each point on the other blog.

    @Queen I often do not agree with you but in this case I do.such practices prevail in India and Pakistan and they need to change.Recommend

  • Mohammad Usman

    I think there shouldn’t be any pre-planned approach to marriage. When two people are entering into a relationship they should enter with an open-minded and flexible appraoch. Slowly, steadily and over a period of time they will be able to lay the foundation of a long-lasting relationship with love, sincerity and good intentions :)Recommend

  • dangermouse

    @Maira:
    this happens when the the guy comes from abroad to set up home and married life in england they live in the girls maika no one then says this is not right ahem! Recommend

  • dangermouse

    @Al_Chemisto:
    our so called society is changing pakistan and its adapted to far worse issues all the author is doing is explaining to the iliterate folk like you what the new era brings.Recommend

  • dangermouse

    @Married woman:
    if you are strong and you dnt break your indentity that ou can achieve anything. ive been married 9.5 years in that 7years ive dealt with lies, back stabbing, competition from inlaws, death threat to my life, and recently watched then asssault my sister in law also married into their family…when enough was enough i called the police on my inlaws and since then they are bbanned from coming within 50 yards of my uome and my son. you have to show them ou are not a weak woman only will then our traditions stand up and take notice. Recommend

  • dangermouse

    @Married woman:
    ps we are not bitter, depressed, rebelling for no reason its time the inlaws changed their sad tune. Recommend

  • dangermouse

    my mom say when the son is unmarried the parents do everything together with their child. when he marries its time for the parents to take a backseat and let the youngsters set the tone for the rest of their life Mashallah my mom is modern even coming from the pindh. Recommend

  • Asad

    No. My mother had to sacrifice a lot of things and had to bear a lot of things which she didn’t like. By your definition of what a marriage is, she wouldn’t still be happily married. But guess what, her sacrifices paid off and we have a very happy and healthy family life. Yes she had to tolerate a lot of things from the in laws but in the end it doesn’t matter because she has my father and adult children.

    Women have to have a higher tolerance to make it work. As we can see, this tolerance has decreased resulting in higher rates of divorce. The stark difference between Pakistani women and women here in the US used to be the fact that our women thought more for their family unit and would sacrifice their own dreams for their family. In the west, its all about me, me and only me which is why there isn’t really much of a family structure. They just end up putting their parents in old homes.Recommend

  • Something Clever

    @Married woman:
    So they broke you. You gave it all up and now you want others to be miserable as well. Yes, miserable. Deny it to not hate your life but you obviously have given up on your life and aspirations. Nobody is ever ok with that no matter how many times they say differently.Recommend

  • geo

    I am not Muslim or Pakistani. This criticism is weak. It attacks the paper form of a perceived cultural perspective to marriage. The principles of these so-called Pakistani advice to a bride are in my view very sound re if you look at the spirit behind the advice. These advice does not in any way say a woman should die in silence. The old way is bad and need reforms but here comes a substitute that is as skewed . Recommend

  • mani

    would writer give same piece of advice to her mother’s daughter- in- law? Recommend

  • gp65

    @mani: “would writer give same piece of advice to her mother’s daughter- in- law?”

    Having read this author’s other posts, I would imagine that she would. Speaking for myself, this is definitely the space that was given to my bhabhi (that is what we call my brother’s wife – not my mother’s daughter in law). In doing so, no-one did her a favour. As she happily settled into wedded bliss with my brother my parents got what they wanted – my brother’s happiness. They have been married for 18 years now and the love and laughter have only grown.

    I don’t think anyone would have benefitted by bullying my bhabhi – not my brother who would be sandwiched between 2 people he loved, certainly not my bhabhi but in the end her resentment (even if it was suppressed for some years would have manifested itself in negative ways towards my parents as well.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    A necessary response to the patriarchy-affirming “advice” in the original article.

    Good job.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    I know that most people mention “increasing divorce rate” as a clue of societal degeneracy, but isn’t necessarily so..

    It’s a fact that well-educated and financially independent women are more prone to divorce than those who aren’t. Reason? Because they have the option to escape crummy marriages where the men mistreat them!

    On the other hand, the obedient “Allah-mian-ki-gaen” variety of housewives are desperate to make the marriage work, because they need someone to support them.Recommend

  • Umaimah

    hats off to you ! totally loved it and i agree with it. some old concepts REALLY need to be uprooted.Recommend

  • Mariam

    My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately our chauvinistic society will never try to understand these thoughts. :( Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Brilliant job Arub ! :) We should make this post a mandatory read for people in the sub continent.
    I bet you’ll make a good sister in law and a good mother in law someday. :-) Recommend

  • Aleena

    Yes, thank you for this article! I didn’t agree with most things in the other article. This was a great reply :)Recommend

  • Sameera R

    I wish Arub best wishes in her future life.
    Truly, joint family system or even extended family system places a lot of pressure on newly wedded girls; but making marriage work cannot be equated to baking of a blue berry cake or cooking of curry i.e,ingredients in perfect proportion can result in Divine cakes or finger licking dishes.
    Just approach marriage with a tolerant and positive attitude and find the right person- a person that you respect and admire.
    One important advice should be pre-marital- marry for love and affection and not to confirm to traditions or for material considerations. Marrying the right person for right reasons takes out a lot of unpleasantness from a relationship, be it with a husband or in-laws.
    Good luck to Arub though!Recommend

  • MNIA

    Being a student in the West, I frequently visit back home and the cultural differences are some times hard to digest for me. I am really used to liberal views, and self identity and having your own voice. I think having these qualities CAN WORK in a marriage, but its our Pakistani culture that it all backwards. The concept that ” our daughter in law is not really part of the family” is the kind of thinking that never lets the in laws accept the girl. Our culture values are not alligned with our religion. FOR ALOT OF THINGS. For example as mentioned above, a women is not obligated to live with her in laws in Islam, that is merely a cultural condition. However, the way our society puts it is as if it one of the major obligations of Islam!

    Each person is unique, as talents and has a thinking mind. Our culture back home refrains us(women) from being our selfs.

    Live and Let live. Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Married woman:

    No in western society women don’t put up with in laws irrational behavior. Here you got it wrong. You need to research more about western ethos and culture.Recommend

  • Uzair

    As a happily married Pakistani guy, I fully agree with and support the arguments of the author. Marriage is first and foremost a union of two consenting adults to live their live together, not some family-expansion scheme. Secondly I concur that women should have their own identity. At the end of one’s days one shouldn’t feel that one hasn’t achieved anything in life, hasn’t pursued dreams, done something for society. As for raising children, that should be the man’s job as much as the woman’s.

    Luckily for my wife I was able to provide her an independent household :) I love my parents but I find it a weird concept where a young newly married couple is expected to live with the guy’s parents. Again, marriage is about two people, and secondly, it is about responsibility. If those about to get married aren’t allowed to choose their life partners on the pretext of being “too young” or “immature” then how the heck are they supposed to fulfill the massive responsibilities that come with marriage, and later, parenthood?

    Marriage is not a joke, it’s time our society recognized that and allowed young people to both marry of their choice and secondly to live as responsible adults rather than sharing a house with a dozen other people after marriage. Love is natural, arranging marriages of teenage girls to men twice their age is not ;)Recommend

  • Gary

    @Faraz Talat: “It’s a fact that well-educated and financially independent women are more prone to divorce than those who aren’t. Reason? Because they have the option to escape crummy marriages where the men mistreat them!”

    It’s a fact since when? The statistics and numbers at-least in US are to the contrary! While marriage did indeed decline among upper class whites (have at least a bachelor’s degree and work as a manager, physician, attorney, engineer, architect, scientist, college professor or content producer in the media.), the drop stabilized in the mid-1980s, standing at 83% in 2010. However, marriage continued to slide for lower-class; as of 2010, a minority (just 48%) were married.

    It’s debatable if marriages in Indian subcontinent is breaking down purely due to financial independence or emotional immaturity or irresponsibility or some combination this and many more…
    I’m not advocating anyone to be in abusive relationship, but things don’t look that simple to me.Recommend

  • Hasan Fazeel

    Pakistani society is made by all of us reading and commenting here.

    All this family drama has been there, will be there and no matter what you do; it will because we are all away from DEEN. Islam has taught us A_Z re this i.e. criteria for selecting prospect partner, each other’s rights and responsibilities.Recommend

  • Fatima

    My goodness, thank god you wrote this, I was fuming after reading that previous article. I hate that our society expects women to become sacrificial lambs after marriage. Recommend

  • Queen

    @gp65:
    Thanks :)Recommend

  • Arub M

    @Maira:
    You wrote:
    “Not agree with “Simple logic tells me, if I have to leave my home, he is adult enough to leave his. However, I understand this is a deep-seated tradition among most Pakistanis and who am I to come along and order a change?” This is not Pakistani tradition but an Islamic one. Girls are not supposed to live in their parent’s home even after wedding, this would be total unlawful and many social evils will prevail.”

    With respect to your comment, I have never found sufficient evidence of this as far as religious rulings go. Furthermore, there is no evidence of a ruling suggesting the couple must live in the boy’s parent’s house either. In fact, since religion has been brought up, there is a duty upon the husband to provide his wife with her own home. More to the point, I’m not suggesting a married couple remain in either of their pre-marital homes. A new couple needs privacy and a healthy environment. It simply doesn’t seem logical to remain in someone else’s house, whether the bride’s parent’s or the groom’s.

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @farhan:
    You wrote:
    @ author when you plan to get married , just give list of these demands to your future inlaws or husband, they might accept your pre-conditions otherwise the ship will sink.

    Not a half bad idea. To be honest, I’m all for laying all the cards out on the table and plan to do exactly that. In my opinion, these demands are not unreasonably, they are fair and square. Husband and wife to be should discuss everything beforehand, and just as I wouldn’t accept an unfair demand from him, he has no reason to accept one from me. As I mentioned in my blog, my focus is on one thing: fairness. Plain and simple! If a new groom and his family aren’t willing to compromise, it’s not feasible to expect a compromise from anyone else.

    Regards,
    Arub Recommend

  • Arub M

    @Critic:
    You wrote:
    I think you could have conveyed your point by posting a comment to the previous blog. A whole new blog was really not required.

    It’s funny that you say that! That’s exactly what I did actually. However, the comment posted under it was quite lengthy as I had a lot to say, and ET requested a counter blog, so here it is!

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @Al_Chemisto:
    You wrote:
    Most of the points raised in the article are naive and defy the ground realities of our society. Please don’t take her advice!

    There are many things that are ‘ground realities’ in a society until people come along and start to change them. Not so long ago, ground realities in the US consisted of sexist and racist practices; however, people stopped accepting them to be the way things were and slowly but surely, things began to change. Now, in the US, expecting segregation or disallowing women their rights is no longer a ground reality. It’s a shame to expect women to make most of the sacrifices and say it’s simply ground realities. Perhaps women no longer want to simply accept ground realities if they are being dealt a bad hand.

    Regards,
    Arub Recommend

  • Arub M

    @Married woman:
    You wrote:
    You know i shared your viewpoints when i was single but seriously now i laugh because you can’t change the general mindset no matter how hard you try even if it is a love marriage. You might succeed in changing your husband’s mentality to some extent but never the inlaws. And no matter how hard you try to fight it you do lose your identity and your personality not only to please other but also u r expected to do so. Women who don’t are shunned and criticized by the inlaws especially the mother in law. Even if you don’t treat others as competition. they see you as a threat as an alien invader who seriously needs to mend her ways asap. You can only carry your independence and principles and ideals with you if you are financially independent and your husband totally understands and supports you for which he has to choose sides which is very hard otherwise everything goes down the drain. And at times even with your hubby’s support things don’t turn out the way a new bride would expect them to. Its impossible to change a familyz mindset but what you can do is practice yours when you become a mother in law or a sister in law. That can bring change.
    P.S. Dont show these demands to your future in laws or husband as some reader advised you to, it will never work the way you intend it to. it will only create bitterness and rifts.

    With respect to your comment, I won’t comment or give my opinion regarding your experience as a married woman because these are your experiences, and you know them best.
    I will, however, say that change is never easy and never overnight. Changing one thing at a time is the way to change mindsets, and it takes a lot of stubborn, bull-headed people, in this particular case, women, who simply don’t give up or give in to the demands of society to bring about a gradual change.
    A single individual resisting tradition is not enough to change mindsets, and as an individual, I know I alone cannot change an entire culture. That’s not the sole reason I refuse to budge; it’s also because I simply do not care what society says about me or if people shun me for my beliefs. They are, after all, my beliefs.

    However, that may not be everyone’s mindset and I’m no one to judge women who take a different road. They alone know what they are up against. I, however, will not veer from my bottom line: fairness. I expect it, and I’m not wrong in doing so.
    As far as telling my future (non-existent at the moment) in-laws about this, it’s no secret. And the system here is a bit different as in-laws are not generally involved in such discussions. and young men are not opposed to the idea of fairness either. However, I know the situation for women in Pakistan is quite different, and after seeing my fair share of it, I found it difficult to be silent on the issue.
    Lastly, as you said, a person can be a part of a positive change by changing their children’s mindsets, male and female. That in itself is a big achievement and one of the first steps of many in order to bring about change.
    I have nothing but respect for women who fight against traditions of society, namely the ones where they are dealt a bad hand. I don’t know the exact gravity of what they’re up against, but I know it’s not easy and I admire those who resist for remaining steadfast. I wish nothing but the best for them.

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @Married woman:
    You wrote:
    “And i just read the article to which you have referred here and trust me if you want to make a marriage work smoothly, its the right advice given by Aalia Suleman. Wise people learn from others but most of us learn the hard way. Aalia doesn’t say what happens after marriage is right but she has given us a good way to deal with all the drama and thus enter marriage with open eyes rather than rosy eyes cause i personally think marriage is the biggest gamble which you can lose especially coz of your inlaws. And this is still Pakistan not a western society that embraces women independence and even in the west women have to put up with the in laws whether they like it or not. So you shouldn’t be bitter about it.”

    With respect, and while I support everyone’s right to an opinion, I disagree with Aalia Suleman’s advice. I don’t think simply telling a woman to put everyone else first and lay herself down is the road to a smooth marriage. Quite the opposite in fact. And for argument’s sake if the marriage was a smooth one if a woman followed such rules, does that make it a fair one?
    Pakistan may not be a Western society and I’m not suggesting it should become one. Embracing your own culture is a beautiful thing. Accepting and changing the things that are flawed in one’s culture is also a beautiful thing. People and culture evolve. It something is flawed and needs changing, it’s up to people to push for it.
    And of course all married couples here have to deal with in-laws as well, however the scale is not tipping heavily in favor of husbands as they, too have to deal with their fair share of compromise in order to make a marriage work. Expecting fairness is not being bitter. It’s an individual’s right.

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @The Rebel:
    I wholeheartedly agree with you! Family interference from either family never bodes well for the marriage. Best of luck to both your brother and sister in their marriages.

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @Meem:
    You wrote:
    “Like you said you are no expert in the marriage department, just leave it at that and don’t rant about something you have not experienced as yet. I’m not a mother yet and it will seem extremely out of place if I start telling other women how they should be raising their kids, that too only because I don’t agree with their idea of how it should be done. Just some food for thought!”

    With respect to your opinion, my blog is not simply about dishing out advice about a journey I have yet to take. It’s more from a common sense perspective. I don’t have to be married to know what’s fair and what isn’t. Anyone looking in on a typical eastern marriage set-up from the outside can know it’s not fair. My sister married her college sweetheart a few years ago and the one thing they keep in tact when the going gets tough is fairness. Neither one expects more than they are willing to give from the other and neither one lets his or her family interfere. It seems to be working quite well so far!

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @Asad:
    You wrote
    “Women have to have a higher tolerance to make it work. As we can see, this tolerance has decreased resulting in higher rates of divorce. The stark difference between Pakistani women and women here in the US used to be the fact that our women thought more for their family unit and would sacrifice their own dreams for their family. In the west, its all about me, me and only me which is why there isn’t really much of a family structure. They just end up putting their parents in old homes.”

    I disagree. Women in the past have had to have a higher tolerance to make it work because that’s what was expected. Men weren’t expected to compromise or sacrifice. That’s exactly what needs to change. Women no longer put up with unfairness. Divorce going up simply means men do not like when women no longer put up with more than their fair share of difficulties so instead of putting forward their 50%, the marriage falls apart. The high divorce rate further proves my case that the traditional set up of marriage was unfair and unfortunately remains so even today in parts of the world.
    I’ve seen plenty of healthy marriages around me where women do not put up with any unfairness, and it’s expected the husband will compromise as well (and many of them do). Those marriages tend to work out best because you have two adults bringing their A game as opposed to one being overburdened.
    As far as putting parents in retirement homes, that’s an entirely separate issue and one I have yet to see the average Pakistani adult do here in the states, at least in my experience.

    Regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • Arub M

    @mani:
    You wrote:
    would writer give same piece of advice to her mother’s daughter- in- law?”

    I don’t have a brother actually, but my mother and father are the ones who taught me to think this way! :) My family in Pakistan has also been a great influence, and that’s how I know this can, in fact, be achieved.

    Regards,
    Arub Recommend

  • Arub M

    @Sindhu
    @Sidrah
    @Hamza
    @The Rebel
    @Been there
    @Mahrukh Azhar Khan
    @gp65
    @Faraz Talat
    @Umaimah
    @Mariam
    @Nandita
    @Aleena
    @Sameera R
    @Uzair
    @Fatima

    Thank you for all your kinds words! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. :)

    @all others
    Thank you all, even the critics as it’s always nice to read everyone’s opinion!Recommend

  • Khan

    Oh GOD, same old boring typical feminist thoughts. I wonder when will we get rid of “Ghissa Pitta” topicsRecommend

  • afza siddiqui

    yes compromise and giving each other space is the formula but women are made more flexible to adapt than men are thatsis why they are expected to show more patience.
    some one said that joint family in un islamic in that regard islam does not allow women to bother their men with bagful of wishes and desires for luxury.a separate home means a separate unit of her own not a classy apartment or something that 99% of our young grooms cannot afford at the start of their careers. frequent visits to maika may not hurt if u as an individual are mature enough not to engage your parents with every other petty issues and arguments u had with your spouse as parents are bound to get agitated and things can go even worst then what they are.the people being called as third parties are actually family and there is no way u can ignore them and even if u do so u r doing injustice to your spouse.if u treat them with goodwill and respect u will get back the same.
    even at a new job you cant impose your own rules and views at the start up though you r getting paid for your service.you dont try to boast about previous working place as you know pretty well what you are going to get in return.
    marriage is flourished by mutual understanding which may take time and sweat to establish .does not come for free.flexibility from both sides is the key to it. Recommend

  • Ammara

    Perfectly said!Recommend

  • http://Anewwriter A Successful & Too much respected DiL among in laws all over the world

    I am one such example who had in mind the previous author’s words. She was too correct what a new bride should do. I was the choice of my husband, whose anger is a terror among relatives. To create my space being the only son in a family where I did not have my father in law but had two grand fathers one my mother in law’s father & other being her uncle. My mother in law, Khala, Khalu, Mamoun & my teenage sister in law. Creating a space among elders was far too difficult. In due course I had my 2 children. I am a sonologist while my husband does not match my education degrees. But with patience but some blunders went off well. I took care of all the elders more than my husband & his sister. Now that 5 people have passed away I have gained so much respect that out of 17 years of my marraige relative who are distant share their happiness & sorros with me since last 15 years. There were relatives living abroad, since they have met me & know my efforts call me & I hear from total strangers that such & such people were praising you. In due course I found more negative people than positive but I have learnt to deal with them Alhamdulillah. But men are too unpredictable, I have over pampered my husband that everyone calls him my big baby that I have made some mistakes by doing so. But Alhamdulillah my own family was always supporting me & not asking to be against my in laws. So the 17 years of my marraige have been difficult. Full of sacrifices, me being married young studied too after my marraige but I am satisfied. Alhamdulillah e Rabbulaalameen. So in marraige you should be ready to sacrifice. I did & I have self satisfaction above alk. If I can do it why cant others???Recommend

  • S

    @Maira:
    She actually meant that the guy should leave his house and make a new one with his bride, not live in his in-lawsRecommend

  • Saba R

    BAMM! now this is what I’m talking about. Finally the voice of women heard! The other article had me banging my head against the wall!Recommend

  • Sa

    @A Successful & Too much respected DiL among in laws all over the world:

    Why should people sacrifice for others? They have to shop, gossip, watch movies and travel. Isn’t it better to focus on one’s own self than go and take care of elders?
    That said, if you have been really doing what you are writing, may Allah bestow you with more blessings. Recommend

  • Saadiya

    @Faraz Talat: bravo! True words Recommend

  • Nosch

    I almost thought i wrote this blog myself! GOOD JOB! I so agree with each and every word written! Somebody mentioned in the comments that you should not propose these points to your in-laws whenever you get married, well…why not?? i think you should be very clear about your viewpoint with your in-laws and your husband from the very first interaction….Obviously there is a right way of communicating things, but conveying what you really are in a nice way is vital for your future relationship. This way, they’ll be clear about who you are from the very first day. If you start being a passive sacrifice goat from the very first day, that’s exactly what they’ll expect you to do every time later on. So define yourself well, clarify all the expectations from either side, don’t give yourself up in the process, whatever you do, do it with ALL your honesty. At the end, if the other side still doesn’t respond well, at least you should be content that you gave your best shot :)

    I have been married for a few years, and its all tested and tried! :) Recommend

  • asma

    @Uzair:
    i must say your wife is a very lucky woman. i hope and wish every man thinks the way u do!Recommend

  • Dangermouse

    @A Successful & Too much respected DiL among in laws all over the world:
    That’s what this article is saying loud and clear marriage is a 50-50 split where the onus is not just on the women to become the sacrificial lamb and become a mediocre mbr of the family making “hanji” and serving tea all day long. Plus we are all different, time is different we no longer have to tolerate the inlaws. 17 years is a world away from 2013! Recommend

  • Rumaisa

    Some of things are rightly said, and some are not. (:Recommend

  • Arub M

    @Khan:
    you wrote:
    Oh GOD, same old boring typical feminist thoughts. I wonder when will we get rid of “Ghissa Pitta” topics

    The day the scales are evenly balanced, we can all stop discussing it and go on with our life! :-)
    And the above words are not “feminist thoughts,” they are simply words demanding fairness. That should be an equally important goal for everyone, not just women, but unfortunately women have to fight for it in conservative societies. Luckily, strong minded women and open-minded men are up to the challenge!

    Regards,
    Arub Recommend

  • Arub M

    @Ammara
    @Saba R
    @Nosch
    @Rumaisa

    Thank you all! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.

    Kind regards,
    ArubRecommend

  • http://www.awaregirls.org Gulalai Ismail

    Thanks for writing this article, it was much needed. The previous article was promoting the mind-set up which has been used for centuries to demolish the individual dentity of women and has made women victim of abuse. It’s important for both partners to invest in the relationship of marriage, and to co-operate with each other for a better relationship!Recommend

  • Be yourself

    I think you may have misunderstood the author here. She is referring to the fact that if the girl is leaving her home after marriage, the guy could be expected to do the same as well and they both can and should build a home for themselves after marriage. This is absolutely according to Islam. The joint family system is a cultural idea and works well for the guy and his family as they don’t have to give anything up. However, the girl can ask the guy for a home of their own at anytime after marriage and the guy must according to Islam provide it for her.Recommend

  • Be yourself

    Excellent post. Thank you so much for putting this in writing, now only if those culturally bound could be made to understand this. I know Allah swt has created everyone and everything for a reason. As I sit here past midnight, a married woman with a child, born and raised outside of pakistan and always taught to advance myself, hone my skills, and educate myself for the sake of my children and for humanity, I can’t help but think what the purpose is of what I like to call the “saas bahu phenomenon”. inshAllah may He give us the strength to continue to respect our elders even though they make it very hard most of the time. Ameen.Recommend