Advice to a new groom

Published: April 3, 2013
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Please upkeep your side of any 'bargains' made before the marriage. PHOTO: AFP

Just like two hands are required for clapping, a marriage, too, is unlikely to succeed with the efforts of one partner alone.

To all those readers who thought that my blog “Advice to a new bride” was overly derogatory to new brides, let me clarify, this blog is not a consequence of comments on that piece. This was already written even before the first was published.

On that note, if I were to have my wish for a chat with the groom before the marriage, the following are some of the issues I would address.

1. Resolve your issues before marriage:

If you have disagreements with your (future) wife on issues such as mode of attire, habits, her choice of working or not working, attending school in the future, supporting her family after she gets married and such, resolve these before you get married.

Please don’t marry someone with obvious, glaring differences with your lifestyle or religious preferences on the pathetic whim that ‘I will change her once I get married’. That is the cruelest thing you can do. It is nothing short of entering a sacred relationship under false premises.

Today, it is acceptable that the boy and girl talk before they get married.

So talk about these important issues in these critical meetings rather than each other’s favourite eatery, colour or dress design. Put your cards on the table and if she can accept them, go ahead. If you sense poor compatibility, back out. A few days of hurt are better than a lifetime of regrets, fights and grievances.

Please upkeep your side of any ‘bargains’ made before the marriage. Also keep your family in the picture about any such understandings reached between the two of you. Otherwise these are likely to create rifts between you, your wife and your family members.

For instance, in a joint family system, the mother may have issues with the new bride working after the marriage. Sensitive topics like that are best discussed with all concerned before they balloon into unmanageable balls of yarn later.

2. Don’t take her for granted:

You are basically the single most important reason she has left her family, her friends, and her home behind to start a whole new life. Do hold her hand through this very trying new period regardless of whether you are in a joint or single family setting. It is not her sole responsibility to nobly hold up the sign that reads ‘compromise’. Both of you have to hold it up together, otherwise it won’t stay up for long.

She has married you, not sold herself into slavery for life.

3. Let the newly-married mood swings go by:

Please give her a break through the ‘blues’ she is likely to go through as she settles into her new role as a wife, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, or granddaughter-in-law. You might get impatient with her sometimes quite depressing moods, but be understanding.

You are still comfortable in your home with people you’ve known all your life. She needs time to adjust, especially if she has relocated to another country or city after the marriage.

4. Never forget family:

It is quite understandable that you are overwhelmed with joy at being married to this gorgeous creature and consider her every wish your duty to fulfill. However, do not neglect your duties to other close family members in the process.

Make sure you keep a balance from the start.

Your sudden leaning towards the wife may cause others to feel neglected and this will not fare well for your pretty bride. In all likelihood, she will be the one touted as the reason for your suddenly ‘neglectful’ attitude.

A healthy balance of all duties will make this new transition easier for your wife.

5. Don’t overdo the “amazing son-in-law”:

Being a part and parcel of the Pakistani cultural scene, you too, as a groom, will be keenly judged by your family in the initial stages of the marriage. There will likely be many quiet bets to see if or not you will turn out to be a ‘joru ka ghulam’ (wifey’s pet).

Talking excessively about your in-laws, constantly visiting your susraal in the early days, getting overly friendly with the sisters and brothers-in-law and going out of your way to do favours for the ‘other side’ will make your family suddenly feel ‘left out’.

They could start to feel like they have lost their son to their daughter-in-law.

Making an effort to avoid creating such feelings will help your wife being accepted more readily as a new member of your family. Please do respect your wife’s family just as you expect her to respect yours, but do it gradually at a balanced pace.

Absolutely do not assume the role of a haughty, arrogant son-in-law. These somewhat ‘paindu’ attitudes are no longer entertained by educated women or their families.

6. Financial support:

The financial logistics is another sensitive issue after a son’s marriage. How sensibly you handle this will affect how well you and your wife will be viewed by your family as the marriage moves along.

If you are living in a joint family system then keep the money matters as they were going before the wedding. If you are living separately and you used to give some part of your income to your parents, please continue to do so without any sudden jolts and changes.

True, you will feel like you want to bring the stars at the feet of your new wife but refrain from doing so all of a sudden. Sadly enough, some girls are taught to ‘keep the money and the husband in control from the start’. That does nothing to develop trust and stability in marriage. If your wife displays immature tendencies such as these, be loving but firm from the start.

The best thing would be to discuss money management as point number one, during the engagement period.

7. Don’t be a total critic:

Overly or continually criticising everything your wife does is wrong. She wasn’t raised by your parents in your home and hence will display mannerisms quite different than what you are used to.

Just like a sensible girl is told to adjust to her husband, you also have to adjust to her. For instance, your wife may not be used to having breakfast at 8:30am sharp as does your family.  Don’t force her to do this. If the girl has good sense, she will pick up the hint and join the family in due time.

8. Don’t try to change her:

Please remember that the word ‘adjust’ is neither synonymous nor interchangeable with the word ‘change’. Adjustment is a process of give-and-take. It is made successful by the patience to forgive shortcomings, the desire to look beyond imperfections, the will to find some degree of goodness in others, and the benevolence to focus on the bigger picture rather than the trivial details.

Trying to ‘change’ each other takes the game nowhere. Honest and sincere attempts at ‘adjustment’ will create compatibility over time. Inflexible rules and harsh attempts at ‘changing’ will only breed rigidity, contempt, and resentment of each other as individuals.

9. Her place is not “under your shoe”:

It is possible you’ve been told by some 17th century-minded member of the family (or even by a friend) that ‘keeping the new bride under the shoe will keep her forever under your control’. Needless to say, it is pathetic advice.

Girls are no longer the pitiable, submissive, grovelling creatures they used to be. In behaving like an ogre, there are greater chances of you losing your respect and dignity, and getting the marriage contract slapped in your hand than getting the wife ‘under control’.

Please be a gentleman and seek calm, dignified resolutions that will go towards a stronger, loving bond. If the new bride is willing to go the extra mile to ensure decades of a happy marriage together, there is no reason why you shouldn’t either.

10. Know your responsibility:

Last but not least — ponder over what you say when you utter the words ‘qubool hai’ (I do). By saying “I accept” thrice, you are accepting a new human being as your responsibility. That human being is leaving the care and protection of her parents’ fortress and trusting you to carry on the task with equal wisdom, love and care.

Please don’t betray that trust.

Your marriage is a boat that will have a steadier, merrier journey with two oarsmen, not one. So go pick up that oar and good luck!

Do Pakistani men treat their wives better or worse than their Western counterparts?

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aalia.suleman

Aalia Suleman

A freelance writer and poet who is keenly interested in the status of women in 21st century Pakistan. Her writing also zones in on Pakistan's new social and political status on a redefined global chessboard. She has a masters degree in English Literature and blogs and invites debates at 'Socio-politically Pakistani'. She tweets @aaliasuleman (twitter.com/aaliasuleman)

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

  • kanwal

    I think the joint family system is more wrong than right. If you cant afford a separate place for your wife and future kids, better not move in together untill then. Afterall, marriage is “sunnah”, not essential or “wajib”. This is what our religion Islam says. But if wife is willing to live with in laws for other reasons, for example, if she is working to support her family or studying yet, then its up to her will.
    This joint family sytem is a huge problem. I know many prudent women who brought their daughter in law in a separate portion of the house from the first day. And they have a huge success ratio in terms of financial and familial system’s integrity. Recommend

  • HappyFeet

    As much as i enjoyed the afore mentioned points, it kinda crossed that line between a sincere advice and a taunting suggestion. The writer seemed to under influence, when penning down this article. A lil in the middle would have served the purpose of this article. Recommend

  • Trishul

    Message for the newly bridegrooms;Work out on your thighs, helps you gain strength, stamina and help you in staying rock hard for longer..Recommend

  • Rameez

    Haha….What an irony.First,you said that(while referring women)

    She has married you, not sold herself into slavery for life.

    And then you said this,

    It is quite understandable that you are overwhelmed with joy at being married to this gorgeous creature and consider her every wish your duty to fulfill

    (The Bolded part)Only slaves do that.

    So,a male should be basically be a slave to his wife because she has married him and hence done a huge favour on him. Please get off your high horse.Recommend

  • Asif Nawaz

    Sounds more like “Hey, Listen Ladies” than “Advice to new groom”Recommend

  • gp65

    Interesting – your advice to the bride on how she should treat her parents and her in laws was diametrically opposit to your advice to the grrom.

    Why so?

    Recommend

  • ab

    great post again. i more or less agree to every point but i think that the first point should be read very carefully by every bride and the groom. i think that after everyone agreeing the boy and the girl should see whether their is no glaring differences as the author pointed out and some mental compatability at some level (this can be done very easilily with 5 to 6 calls) with each other . if their is please don’t move forward as it is you who have to spend the life together not your familiy. if everything seems right Allah ka naam loo and move forward.

    and keep in your mind she is is your wife not your friend at the start. friendship can began after 5 years and mind you that friendship can be very strong.

    no 10 point is applicable to both when the girl signs then she should also enter another house with open heart and mind. Recommend

  • Hemant

    Will apply equally in India .
    Very well written .Recommend

  • Usman

    Very well :-) Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @Author :

    Talking excessively about your in-laws, constantly visiting your susraal in the early days, getting overly friendly with the sisters and brothers-in-law and going out of your way to do favours for the ‘other side’ will make your family suddenly feel ‘left out’.

    Why ? Are the groom’s family members 5 year old children ? There are brides who move into the husbands ancestral homes and are expected to be around their in laws 24*7 – when women are expected to adjust to this extent what is the problem if the man just visits his in laws ? When the brides parents do not complain about feeling left out when their daughter leaves them and lives with a new set of people , why should the husband’s family complain if the groom visits his in laws ?

    I’m sorry , but I think you ‘re way too prejudiced and sexist. Recommend

  • Norman

    Sounds like good adviceRecommend

  • BlackJack

    Seems to be unnecessarily long-winded, and does not have much to offer for those who aren’t going to be living with in-laws/ parents in the near vicinity. Further (and I could be wrong) but the ‘I will change my future spouse after marriage’ is not really a guy thing – I guess they assume that the girl will adjust to a new life after marriage anyway and specific characteristics to target for change may not appear top-of-mind (this does not mean that they are more broad-minded); on the other hand, I do know of girls who plan on making changes in the future husband’s lifestyle or less attractive habits post-marriage. Again, not based on enough data points to make a statistical sample or on personal experience, so feel free to correct me.Recommend

  • UMSyed

    A balanced article. Most of the suggestions are practical.Recommend

  • Raiya

    Excellent Advice! At least someone has thought that the groom should be given advice too before marriage instead the girl only.Recommend

  • AD

    This article would have been way different, had it been written by a male. Recommend

  • http://facebook.com/zaka.khan.85 Zaka

    Love the Article…
    specially the points 1,2,6,8 & 10Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @BlackJack:

    ‘I will change my future spouse after marriage’ is not really a guy thing

    There are loads of men out there who do exactly that : they expect the woman to make changes in the way she dresses, there are men who pretend to be supportive of a woman’s career but post marriage make her quit her job. I’ve seen such cases and I think there are men who pretend to be broad minded just to win the girl over, once the marriage takes place, the poor girl is in for a rude shock. Of course, women employ these tactics as well.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Nandita.:
    I guess I was looking at it from the perspective of specific kinds of behavior and habits, and didn’t think that guys build such a checklist before marriage, although I did assume that expectations get set wrongly because prospective bride and groom want to appear at their best, leading to an (often) rude awakening in the near future. However, you are absolutely right, I did not consider choice of clothing and career, which are clearly areas where there could be a significant (conservative) shift post-marriage. Withdrawn.Recommend

  • Rija

    Making an effort to avoid creating such feelings will help your wife being accepted more readily as a new member of your family. Please do respect your wife’s family just as you expect her to respect yours, but do it gradually at a balanced pace.

    Okay so this is the one point i really have an issue with. If she is coming to a guy’s home and asked to adjust imediately or atleast try to understand everyone before cmpletely adjusting in the in-law’s home, why should the groom respect the girl’s parents GRADUALLY? Are the some lowly creatures? Respect is indeed earned over time, but in certain cases it is expected that respect be given immediaely according to the relationship without judging, same is the case here. Please don’t say gradually here, if he can’t respect her family how will he make his family respect her.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ziad

    Poor men always suffer in Pakistan. /sarcasmRecommend

  • Reality check

    Im getting bored of this topic. Dont pakistani girls have anything else to write about?

    Please girls, stop making shaadi the be all and end all of your life. Recommend

  • Rizwan

    Well written. The problem with the people commenting on this blog (and your last one), is that rather than focusing on the practicality of these suggestions, they feel the need to voice their idealistic notions about what they feel a marriage should be like.Recommend

  • aamil

    @Author
    Please now don’t advise us to chew on some tablets for increase in our sizes.Recommend

  • Ateeb

    we should talk on these issues,mode of attire, habits, her choice of working or not working, attending school in the future,rather than each other’s favourite eatery, colour or dress design etc…Recommend

  • Ateeb

    and also the word “qubool hai ” should be replaced with the word “i accept…..sweetRecommend

  • LOL

    This is the problem with Pakistani society. Marriage by arrangement is the trend, just marry for love and treat relationships as adults like humans have been doing for civilizations. Stop viweing it in the ‘bride and groom’ lens, but of course, @Author, you probably can’t because you married a guy chosen by your parents too and think you can make it work by following all of the blogs advices you give to other people. This generation should have changed the country, there were supposed to be more important things in a girls’ life instead of always thinking ‘saas ko kaisay khush kerna hai’. I guess we are doomed to disappointment forever because girls just simply don’t want to change the way they think.Recommend

  • Interesting

    Dear Aaliya,
    I was excited to see the title for this piece. I was really looking forward to you pen down the “other side” of this debate… However, I feel this post is just as distressingly sexist as the last one. Maybe I expected a balanced approach, which is obviously not possible in our society. Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    @Aalia Suleman:

    I agree. The lucky ones have a love marriage…the unlucky ones have an arranged marriage :-) But your articles (both this one for the Groom and the previous one for the Bride) are invaluable for the unlucky majority…lolRecommend

  • Parvez

    Everyone knows marriage is a bumpy ride. If you’re fortunate the bumps are small and far in between but the saying ‘ Sabar ka phal metha hota hai ‘ hold good in most cases.
    Recommend

  • Hassaan Naushad

    Each and every single phrase is what i fully concur with! Bravo!Recommend

  • The Real Aalia Suleman

    Dear Readers,

    Please don’t take the liberty to pretend to be any writer and comment on his/her behalf. The comment by Aalia Suleman earlier is an example of this. I am the real Aalia Suleman. Even though I agree with ‘my’ comment’ it shouldn’t have come from someone else. Yes, it is important for two people to know each other well before marriage. What is ‘love-marriage’ anyway? That two people know and like/love each other before marriage? Well this is also possible in an arranged marriage where the couple is given the time and space to understand one another and decide finally whether or not they want to marry each other. I hope the other pretend ‘Aalia’ will have the decency to not start debating on this forum on who is the ‘real’ Aalia….. :)Recommend

  • locks

    Defintely resolve ur issues before marriage. My parents, a few times were trying to push me to marry those” who wanted a wife to wear burqa/hijab, quit work after marriage, move in with the extended family etc. Even though I was not raised with these particular values.
    I was lucky enough to be able to chat to a few of these guys, and told them what I am willing and not willing to do.
    My biggest fear was that I will get married to someone with completely different values to me, but thankfully I was lucky enough to be able to talk to these guys and understand what they are looking for.Recommend

  • Historian 1

    Male chauvinists will be disturbedRecommend

  • afza siddiqui

    keep it up author for these honest advices.written in good spirit. Recommend

  • wild child

    @Nandita.:
    Brilliantly said. all this article does is encourage the groom to mollycoddle his family, who come across as childish and constantly jealous and insecure. the groom shouldn’t talk to the bride’s family, shouldn’t give her too much attention lest his family get upset? maybe he shouldn’t get married either so as not to upset his family in the first place. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Nandita.:
    @gp65
    You both took the words right out of my mouth. I disagree with advising new grooms to not be involved with their in-laws when the very opposite is expected of new brides.
    While this post is not as cringe worthy as the previous one giving advice to new brides, I can’t say I agree with all it’s points. Personally, I think the joint family system has got to go altogether . It’s absurd to expect one person to leave behind their whole life to marry someone. If I ever do marry, I certainly won’t be leaving my current life behind, nor would I expect my partner to either. Marriage does not mean one has to lose his or her identity. Recommend

  • KamiK

    All this is mambo jumbo….shaadi karo gay tu pata chalay ga:-) All this or that advice will be long forgotten and you wish “single hee achay thay yaar”!Recommend

  • Brassiere

    Very well summed up. :)Recommend

  • Ahsan

    Very well written and i love it! Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Much to the dislike of the feminists, the joint family system will stay in Pakistan and India. We do not (and should not) have old people homes in the sub continent. So these articles on how the daughter in law fits in with her new family after marriage and how the son manages his wife, her family and his own family are very relevant for our young guys and girls. Cheers.Recommend

  • Titties

    Very well written this time Aaliya. :)Recommend

  • Mod

    All the dear Readers & all the Participants,

    Its really very glad hearing positive notes on the article. I hereby would like to thank all of you for taking out time, all the readers, the participants and esp. both my dearest fans (who happen to share the same names as I).
    As mentioned earlier, this writing wasn’t the consequence of the previous comments, infact I chose to provide a follow-up since i understand that lately my articles have been revolving around the marriage, the in-laws and everything.
    Very well pointed by my two-dearest-fans here that one should and must make an effort to get to know their would-be life partners inside out but that doesn’t mean one should always seek love-marriage. Many of our parents, grandparents had had arranged marriages and we can see how successful they have been. Its all about oneself, the understanding, the compromises, the sincerity and how good you are at communication and valuing your better half and yourself.

    Again-thanking everyone for their comments and their participation.

    Happy Reading Everyone,
    Aalia Suleman (Author)Recommend

  • I am Aaliya

    Dear Readers & all the Participants,

    Its really very glad hearing positive notes on the article. I hereby would like to thank all of you for taking out time, all the readers, the participants and esp. both my dearest fans (who happen to share the same names as I).
    As mentioned earlier, this writing wasn’t the consequence of the previous comments, infact I chose to provide a follow-up since i understand that lately my articles have been revolving around the marriage, the in-laws and everything.
    Very well pointed by my two-dearest-fans here that one should and must make an effort to get to know their would-be life partners inside out but that doesn’t mean one should always seek love-marriage. Many of our parents, grandparents had had arranged marriages and we can see how successful they have been. Its all about oneself, the understanding, the compromises, the sincerity and how good you are at communication and valuing your better half and yourself.

    Again-thanking everyone for their comments and their participation.

    Happy Reading Everyone,

    Aalia Suleman (Author)Recommend

  • Whoa…what is happening

    I am feeling scared and confused. :sRecommend

  • Big Boobs

    I think you people missed a point..which hold a lot of importance and response…ahemRecommend

  • I am a Khan

    If Gabbar Singh had been reading the comments and seen so many different Aalias commenting, he would probably have said “Kitni Aalia Hain?”Recommend

  • Clarus

    Advices like these ruin marriages. Every Girl is not like you nor every guy is like your husband(if you have one). In every relationship the situation is different therefore let them handle their issues.

    And here you show your double standards.

    “By saying “I accept” thrice, you are accepting a new human being as your responsibility.”

    You talk about mutual understanding love bond blah blah and then you say your wife is a responsibility on your neck? Recommend

  • Mas

    ET Editors

    Kindly stop giving advice to brides and grooms. A lot is happening outside; publish posts on those topics.Recommend

  • Baba jee

    I foresee a cat-fight between two or more Aaliyas.Recommend

  • Gabber Singh

    Article 1 aur Aaliya 2…
    Bahut naa-insaafi hain…Recommend

  • Nobody

    @I am a Khan:
    Not having a joint family system does NOT mean parents are put in old folks homes. I don’t know a single Pakistani couple here in the states that lives in a joint family system. All new couples move out and live on their own, and none of their parents are in old folks homes. Parents are generally self sufficient here, especially when their children are newly married (most haven’t even retired from work yet). As parents age and their health declines, that’s a different story. And in such cases, it is not the boy’s family who gets preference whereas the girls family is left to their own devices if they don’t have a son. Guys here understand their wife will take care of her elderly parents as he will take care of his. The sexist joint family system set up in India Pakistan needs to go, and only people like you who resist progress have a problem with that. I have only sisters and my parents will not be left on their own when their health begins to decline. Whoever I marry will surely understand that as fair is fair. Recommend

  • Manahil Aleem

    It takes time for us to digest something that is so ingrained into our brains that it is impossible to change it overnight. Same is the case with this article, the writer is right on so many levels we don’t even realize it.
    She is doing it absolutely right in every point she has mentioned, Hats off to you lady! brilliant article!Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    @Nobody:

    “The sexist joint family system set up in India Pakistan needs to go, and only people like you who resist progress have a problem with that. I have only sisters and my parents will not be left on their own when their health begins to decline.Whoever I marry will surely understand that as fair is fair.”

    Sorry to say, but I see a great deal of hypocricy in this comment of yours. On the one hand you are against joint family system. On the other hand you say that you will not leave your parents when their health declines and your husband will have to accept that. So effectively what you are saying is that you will live with your parents but your husband will not be allowed to live with his parents. Thats exactly the point I hate about feminists. They do not talk of equal rights but talk of preferential rights. If any person is not able to think for their better half as they think for themselves, then they are probably not marriage material. Have a nice day :) Recommend

  • M. Salman K. Ghauri

    I good point listed in both the blogs. I really appreciated the efforts of writer. We must take care of all the point in respect of gender. In our society literate man and woman are neglect these small things and it results end of marriage contract. We must avoid small things related to our partners and as well other family members of both.

    We also remember that our religion also taught us balance in the life i.e. not to strict and not to soft. Recommend