10 reasons why you should NOT marry a Pakistani man
1. ‘Ammi jaan’ – the famous monster-in… I mean mother-in-law. She is the idolised queen of the domestic domain, ‘lovingly’ referred to as Ammi jaan. Her precise duties can vary from lovingly criticising you in front of your husband, taunting you with scathing remarks while your husband is not around and haunting you in the middle of the night, even in the privacy of your own bedroom!
She will not forgive you for the smallest of mistakes and enjoys watching you squirm in your chair, embarrassed. She will not allow you to change anything in the house, even though the ‘you’re just like my daughter’ line has been thrown at you; not even the brand of tea that she uses, so don’t try it! The reason will probably be as simple as, ‘well that has been the tea brand in the house for years’!
When you marry him, you will bid farewell to the thought of drinking your favourite tea forever because when she dies, your husband will tell you that the tea brand she brought reminds him of her and so will be the only one brought into the house despite her not being there anymore!
As a mother-in-law in Pakistan, she also holds the divine right of telling you exactly what she thinks of your relationship with your husband (her son first) and will offer all kinds of unsolicited advice, whether you want it or not. It is just part and parcel of the legacy of being a Pakistani mother-in-law.
Remember: your misery is her delight; your win is her war!
2. You must compromise on everything. Your husband will not, but you must. Of course, you must never let him feel like you are unhappy because then he will get hurt and being blinded by the pain of the ‘unfair pressure’ you put on him, will be left with no choice but to divorce you – possibly via a text saying,
“I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.”
And tadaa, you’re divorced.
3. To marry this highly eligible bachelor you must impress him. No, not with your good looks, charm or personality, this pauper… erm… prince will give you a long list of wants! This will be the dowry you bring with you. Your in-laws will want air-conditioners, refrigerators, kitchen utensils, cars, motorbikes and possibly even your nightie. Apparently they never had any of those things before his highness met you. But don’t take this lightly at all, there can, and have been, huge fights over dowry; sometimes, in a rage of greed they burn you or even kill you for not bringing that last toothpick left in your house!
4. You will have to live with over a dozen other people in a small, cramped house. Your husband will never leave his beloved ‘mummy’ to live with you in a separate house.
Momma’s boy, you say? That’s an understatement.
Not only do you live with his parents, you share space with his three other brothers and their families. Everyone wants to know whats the latest with your relationship, and you will have to tell everyone what, why, when and how because, after all, they are family and you must not hide anything from them. Besides that, they are in your face all the time anyway, so if you don’t tell them, they will find out!
What did you just say? Privacy? I am sorry, I do not believe he has ever heard of it or knows the meaning of that word.
5. You say you want to go meet that friend from college? Sure thing! He’s a boy? Don’t you dare step out that door! You, dear ladies, will be his property and he will not ‘allow’ you to hang out with male friends (only immodest girls do that). Do not pester him into letting you go for a movie with your friends because this may result in him calling you all sorts of names, from dogs and cats to mothers and fathers – or, he will go crying to his mother, who will sympathise with all her heart and this little tête-à-tête will result in him texting you,
“Do you want a divorce? Do you want a divorce? Do you want a divorce?”
6. You will not have a say in family planning; your body is his asset now. He will decide everything; starting from when you will have babies to how many you will have. If he could, he would program you into delivering his choice of gender too.
It really is very sweet that you thought that the little bundle of joy is your baby too, but don’t worry, it will be your baby when it comes to bathing, cooking, cleaning, teaching and putting it to sleep; at all other times, the father is the ‘big daddy’.
Oh, you thought it was a collective effort and he would help you raise the child too? Please, he’s doing enough favours paying for the child’s education and well-being! Don’t expect him to wake up in the middle of the night and change diapers — that is a lowly job meant only for wives to do.
7. You will be expected to act in a proper and dignified manner at all times. You must kill the child inside you and remember you cannot be seen roaming about the house in your pyjamas or just relaxing, even if the house is empty; it is disrespectful to the ghosts living in the house. Obviously, if it offends ghosts it would offend his family and that would be a grave sin.
You don’t understand? Oh you’ve always been like this and he knew you before he married you? Well tough luck sister, that was then and this is now. Stop being yourself, it was cute then, he can’t stand it now.
8. You will not have a share in your husband’s property while his parents are alive. You will have to wait until they expire; with your luck, they might just outlive you.
9. You must do all the household chores yourself; do not expect any help from your husband. Helping you will hurt his masculinity and ego. It is your absolute duty to make sure the house is well looked after and that his mother does not have to move an inch! Please do not be under the false impression that you got married to become his wife, you are just his mother’s assistant.
10. You must not do anything to offend him. Do not ever suspect him of extramarital affairs; do not let him know that he has bad breath and that he snores. He will threaten you with divorce every time you dare to speak out.
Still if you really, really have to marry a Pakistani man, then it would be best to think of yourself as his puppet. Let him do whatever he wants, do not speak without his permission, do not react without his permission, in fact, do not breathe without his permission – and you will be fine. I think.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.