6 do’s and don’ts for Pakistani husbands

Published: January 8, 2014

It takes two to tango. As with any relationship, it takes both sides to put in an equal amount of effort in order for it to work.

It isn’t often I feel the urge to write a long winded response to a fellow blogger’s work; however, this is one of those instances. Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I mean no disrespect to the author of “13 ‘Do-Nots’ housewives can wave goodbye to in 2014” and “14 ‘Dos’ for die-hard housewives in 2014“, nor do I intend any insult. I would simply like to share my two cents.

While I feel the topic on marriage has been ‘done to death’, after reading two consecutive articles centered on what a wife should and shouldn’t do, I felt the urge to respond.

Why are such lists only ever made for wives in Pakistan?

Is there no need for a similar list for husbands or are husbands in Pakistan without flaws?

Granted the woman who wrote these blogs can only write them from the perspective of a wife. However, I can’t help but take issue with her pointed ‘to-do’ and ‘not-to-do’ lists. Among the points made, some were apt while others were completely unreasonable. Some of these points would have been better suited for a list devised to promote a wife’s already secondary status in Pakistan.

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the last thing Pakistan needs is more paraphernalia promoting wives as ancillary in nature, or condoning that wives should bend to the will of their husband and in-laws without expecting reciprocation in return.

A list, such as the one devised, although not outrageous in nature, is far from needed in a society like Pakistan where women are already expected to do more than their fair share.

As I read the ‘to-do’ and ‘not-to-do’ lists for wives, my mind immediately began formulating an answer for husbands or husbands-to-be.

1) Don’t treat you wife like one of your children

Your wife is supposed to be your equal, your partner in life and an active part of the household decisions. Protect her, don’t patronise her. Respect her, don’t treat her like a child that needs to be shielded from everything or is inept at handling things of a serious nature on her own.

2) Treat your in-laws the way you want your wife to treat your family

As important as your mother is to you, your wife’s mother is equally as important to her. As much as you want to keep your mother and father in your life, and take care of them as they age, your wife also wants to be a part of her mother and father’s life, and take care of them in their old age.

A woman is not a loaf of bread that was given to you. She is as much a person and offspring as you are. She came from a home with two parents who also bore her, raised her and took care of her throughout life. I point this out because too often I hear men use the ‘but-my-parents-raised-me-and-took-care-of-me’ excuse when their wife complains of neglect.

So did hers, yet here she is.

If you are not willing to take care of your in-laws as your parents, it is unfair to expect your wife to take care of your parents as her own.

3) Don’t complain to your mother (or father) about your wife

I imagine most men are perturbed when their wife complains to her parents about him, and rightly so. In the same regard, don’t complain to your mother about your wife. Troubles between a husband and wife should stay strictly between a husband and wife. Third party involvement, even when meant well, seems to do more harm than good.

4) Don’t insult, condescend or patronise your wife in front of your children

If your children don’t see you respecting her as an equal, they will remember that and potentially end up doing one of two things; either they will resent you for mistreating their mother, or your son will mimic the same behaviour with his future wife while your daughter will think it acceptable to be disrespected by her future husband.

5) You cherish a boy’s night out? Let your wife have a girl’s night out

It’s perfectly acceptable and healthy for husbands and wives to have their own friends. Just as most men don’t want their wife to interfere with their boy’s night out, husband’s should not interfere with their wife’s girl’s night out.

Women cherish and need time to themselves or with their friends as much as men do.

Sitting at home, waiting on hand and foot, is nobody’s idea of fun. Having a little time apart and out of the house can be a good thing for a couple.

6) Don’t expect your wife to be the only one to keep the marriage together

It takes two to tango.

As with any relationship, it takes both sides to put in an equal amount of effort in order for it to work. It’s a common expectation in Pakistan for the woman to be the one to keep the marriage together and, if it fails, the woman is blamed. Men ought to take a more proactive approach to their marriage, as they would with other things of importance in their life.

There are many more points one can think of to add to the list. Some may apply differently to couples depending on their individual circumstances, but the overall element of respect and equality is vital to the stability and longevity of any relationship.

For far too long women have been expected to bear the brunt of marital problems, be responsible for its stability and take the blame for failures. It’s high time that things changed, parity between men and women was created.

Before taking your leave, I’d like to point out that I don’t at all think men alone are responsible for a marriage’s success, nor do I think all husbands are evil and wives angelic. I know women have the capacity to be difficult, sometimes downright mean, and I understand that men don’t always have it easy either.

This blog isn’t meant to start a blame game or create a battle between the sexes – it’s simply an answer to the plethora of the ‘to-do’ and ‘not-to-do’ lists, and the endless instructions aimed at women surrounding their pending marriage.

As I’ve said before, in a place like Pakistan, the gap between genders is already too big and I see no reason to continually uphold or encourage it. If a husband isn’t willing to put his best foot forward, neither he nor society should expect a wife to do so. Some of you may ask if I’m married yet, or why I feel like I’m any kind of authority on the matter.

While I don’t at all deem myself an expert, one doesn’t have to be married to understand that marriage, as any relationship, requires an equal compromise from both parties involved.

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.

  • MinahilR

    Completely agree with what your saying! Two thumbs up!Recommend

  • http://www.saadhamid.com/ Saad Hamid

    Is the author even married?Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Great points. I would like one very common point to this list of Donts. Husband – DON’T compare your wife to your mum .Be it in cooking , taking care of the house and the hearth or just plain organizing . You mum is a very good cook / organizer no doubt but it took her decades to get that ‘medal’ from you.Recommend

  • Captain Jack Sparrow

    Basically, it takes a real man to do that. The problem is, a real man doesn’t a lady that easily. Nor does a lady gets a real man these days.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    :D .. I just knew that a blog from Arub was in the offing. Quite liked reading it.It is very well written :)Recommend

  • Fraz Naqvi

    Are you married?? the basic thought process or idea is good, but reality is missing.. Recommend

  • Saad kalwar

    Good work, Being a husband I strongly agree to all the pointsRecommend

  • Sohrab

    A strong and valid piece of writing. Not a husband yet but I only hope I can remember this list and live up to the task :)Recommend

  • Samad

    .evident from the points it is wriiten by a female…..Recommend

  • Sohrab

    A very well written piece of writing, food for thought and a healthy reminder to men, that you always have to keep ure head in the (proverbial) game, especially in regard to one of the most important people in your life.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/1209/asad-k/ Xeric

    Wife being treated like a child? That’s awkward. The author could just have stopped at a 5 pointer, which were quite pertinent.Recommend

  • AM

    Thanku for writting this, iv felt extremely suffocated while reading the earlier to-do-be-a-complte-doormat lists by the author in question. unfortunately women of Pakistan dont respect themselves so how can they expect thier husbands to respect them and those articles just prove this theory correct. keep it up with goodwork, we need more women to think like you!Recommend

  • Mubashir Sabir

    Precise, to the point and honest piece of writing.Recommend

  • rebellious wife!

    Finally something worth reading from a wife’s point of view! One thing id like to add to the above mentioned list…husbands also need to stop interfering and making decisions for their wives. We are intelligent creatures with a brain of our own (well most of us!) and we’d like to use it without being influenced by our husbands. For all the husbands reading this…If you cant accept us for being an individual at least respect us for the efforts we put in to move away from your dominating shadows.Recommend

  • Javeria

    One of the two has to compromise… and if one is compromising it means he/she is the stronger one of the two…Recommend

  • Naveed Razzaq

    thoughtful piece of writing!Recommend

  • Another View

    Although its a nicely written article but women must not forgot that it is the Husband, who promises and have to pay the cost of food, shopping, travelling, recreation etc of Wife. In some cases if women compromises, keeping the sacrifices and hard work of of husband, its not a big deal.Recommend

  • Azeem Aslam

    This blog amused me much and i appreciate the author who wrote it. Actually it’s much intersting and much funny in sense of inferiority. No.5 represents the narrow mindness of writer and no.6 is based on logic which is acceptable to everyone. But as a human being nobody is perfect. By the way nice effort.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/faddie.k Fahad Khan

    Amazingly written :)Recommend

  • grandmasti

    Though I m an Indian,I find this post ridiculous..God save the man who is going to marry the author:-)Recommend

  • Komal Hassan

    I totally agree. Just like it is said “taali ek hath se nahi bajti”. I wait for the time when inequilities will start deminishing in our society. Apart from inequity husband need to realize the fact that women leave their home and family for their husbands, so they are bound to be more sensitive and deserve more care.Recommend

  • grandmasti

    Nah..only follow order of madam ji:-)Recommend

  • sane

    Indians must stay away. Take care issue of your own.Recommend

  • Indian

    I think the article is reasonable & the author’s views are balanced & moderate.Recommend

  • Guest

    Men must not forget that women are just as capable of paying for their food, shopping, traveling, recreation etc… And men dont forget this, which is why most men try not to let their wives pursue a career so that they can keep on reminding them who is paying for their upkeep.Recommend

  • Guest

    Correction: Its the weaker one who compromises.Recommend

  • RealMan

    For quite a few years now I’ve been married to a woman who thinks pretty much along those lines. Being in a marriage with an ‘equal’ has been a wonderful experience :).. I’m almost tempted to blog about it.Recommend

  • amirza1985 .

    this whole article is treating the wife like a childRecommend

  • MK

    Where are the DO’s?Recommend

  • Nazir Ahmed

    I appreciate the author who is trying to make men to learn something like commonsense and culture. These don’ts should be put as conditions to the husbands while marrying and they should be asked to recite them during nikha.Recommend

  • tungi

    women shud obey their husbands!they work hard for their recreation!Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali


  • Xara

    It would have been more authentic if written by a Man. It seems like a wishlist that a wife carries about her husband while on the other hand men are too naive to even give it a thought. Not saying good men dont exist. They most certainly do, i myself have a very loving husband alhamdullilah :D but i think everybody knows menp tend to pay no heed to pointers like such ^ . Even though its brilliantly written :)Recommend

  • TheDude

    In a country that is male dominant wouldn’t it be a paradox if men did respect women equally as wives, sisters or mothers as they do their borthers or fathers.

    Having lived in Pakistan and moved abroad, if there is one thing I have learned over the years is that Pakistani men are far from men, or they are just plain out confused. Think about it, men in Pakistan favor marriages, all over the world men ignore commitments as much as they can. Men are generally the quiet type, thinking nothing minding their own business mostly, Paki men complain all the time like girl friends in the west, they actively take part in khandni darmas and are interested in rumors. Men generally don’t like the kind of people around who have no idea what to do, what to say, what to wear, what to eat, the what question is a buzz kill in the male world. Paki men like shepherding wives all their lives, telling them what they can do, what they can wear, what needs to be cooked(that blows my mind away).

    So maybe the problem is to expect a men like character from kids who were never raised to be men.Recommend

  • Bilal

    It works both ways to have a healthy relationship. The idea of gaining the upper hand and control in marriage is never a solution to a health relationship.Recommend

  • AK

    recipe for a divorce??Recommend

  • TSil

    Typical feminist rant…Recommend

  • Parvez

    I wish I had your common sense and pragmatic wisdom years ago when it was much needed.Recommend

  • SAF

    Dear Writer,

    If you are a Muslim women, please read some Islamic books on the husband wife issues. The simple and easiest way to know what are the Do’s and Don’ts of this relation. After marriage priorities are different and more practical rather than FRIEND’s NIGHT OUT (for both of them).Recommend

  • Anon

    Is it your professional job description to be this vitriolic all the time?Considering you are way below the league of this girl, all you can do is snark to make yourself feel better.
    Atleast she sounds educated and most likely will end up with someone. God knows whether as per you the poor man will be saved or not on time.
    But with your bitter remarks littering every article, I can only imagine you bitterly alone and continuing to be alone for a long time.Recommend

  • sultan

    just one question is the author married???Recommend

  • Lookie

    Ofcourse he will say such things, Girls of the author’s complexion shade are hard to come across where he lives. No wonder he sounds so pitifully bitter and petty. He can’t bite so he’ll keep barking!Recommend

  • Anon

    youre a lucky sod then. As you can tell the majority on this blog are just bitter petty. as usual whiny and have nothing useful to contribute besides attacking the author.Recommend

  • anon

    you’re the only the indian commenter who had anything positive to say unlike the usual curmudgeon and stupefying Indian trolls who litter about here. I think it has to do with you being a woman, and being able to empathize and see the bigger picture being analysed by the author and for once not make it some sort of nationalistic one-up show that they try to reduce it into.Recommend

  • evilindian

    I am just asking ,when she says girls night out.What does it mean like does it mean going to bars,drinking like in the west or something elseRecommend

  • abubakar

    And you didn’t mention don’t beat your wife or wivesRecommend

  • champak

    lol what an awful rant – You my friend are up for a divorce if not alreadyRecommend

  • gp65

    IS that relevant? She is describing how it should be not how it is.Recommend

  • gp65

    I read the article multiple times and could not come across even one sentence that could lead to such a conclusion. The article advocates equality NOT a reversal of roles where instead of the man dominating the woman, the woman dominates the man.Recommend

  • gp65

    In many cases, just as a man earns, so does the woman. But in a 100% of cases, only the woman gives birth to kids.

    Any case, sacrifice comes into picture where giving some right to the woman actually somehow diminishes the man. But if a woman is able visit her parents and take care of them in little ways or can hang out with her own female friends occassionally, how does it adversely affect the man. In fact it just makes it easier to expect some personal space and respect for his own parents. If a wife’s opinion is also taken into account instead of husband making all decisions, it will certainly improve the quality of decisions. Not because women make better decisions but decisions that incorporate 2 perspectives are likely to be better than one. FInally is it such a big sacrifice if a man does not yell at his wife in front of the kids?Recommend

  • gp65

    You are allowed to have your own views by all means. But if you disagree with the author you should explain the rationale for disagreement. Simple ad hominem attacks are uncool whether the object of such attacks is an Indian or a Pakistani.Recommend

  • gp65

    The very fact that you consider these points valid makes me think that you will not need a ‘list’ to remind you to treat your wife with trust and respect.Recommend

  • ahmed

    I admire Arub M for starting a very relevant debate which is topic of our daily lives and I agree with all don’ts because almost everyone of those points is a valid one and they gets me in trouble every time. Most of the time husbands and wives never talk with each other openly about these points of contention.Recommend

  • gp65

    The author acknowledges that this is not how things ARE for most of the women in Pakistan but wants to advocate a change where women are treated with respect and trust as equal partners. If no one even expresses a makes an effort to change the reality, how would things change?Recommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    Why is the post ridiculous? Because it asks you to treat your wife as an equal? Of course, a man who wants a submissive mop instead of a wife would definitely not want to marry the author, but a sane, rational man would love to.Recommend

  • Rabeea

    What is so ridiculous about it?Recommend

  • Nandita.

    That is so sweet..Thank you for your kind words to me. :) Recommend

  • gp65

    I cannot speak for Arub. I will tell you though that even in the West – a girls night out does not necessarily mean going to a pub and drinking – though of course it could be that. IT is just female friends hanging out. They could watch a movie and have dinner or go to a stand up comedy show or go to a karaoke and sing their hearts out or whatever. It is spending time with each other that’s all.Recommend

  • .grandmasti

    Oh come on mam,I was being sarcastic you see..I never expected such kind of response to my comment .Recommend

  • grandmasti

    Thank youRecommend

  • Javeria

    I disagree…Recommend

  • aly

    why would u even say such a thing? Recommend

  • Nobody

    Thanks for the feedback! :)Recommend

  • Nobody

    As I mentioned in the blog, I’m still single; however, one need not be married to know what any healthy relationship needs: balance and equality. While marriage brings with it a new set of responsibilities, different in nature from other platonic relationships, my self education and observations of those close to me and around me (and my own parents) has led me to the conclusion you see in my post.
    I’ve never heard anyone say marriage is easy, even those with the healthiest of marriages. Common sense tells me it’ll be that much harder when one spouse is dominant to the other.
    Whether you liked or disliked the piece, thank you for your comment nonetheless.

  • Nobody

    I’ve found I can often depend on you to say what needs to be said!
    Good to see you on here :)Recommend

  • Nobody

    Great point that I missed! Often men look for a wife like their mother, and women look for a husband like their father (which can also be a bad thing). Such comparisons are not fair to one’s spouse as our parents took a long time to get to where they are. Expecting a ready made mother or father isn’t sensible.

  • Nobody

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it :)Recommend

  • gp65

    Getting a divorce would first require getting married. Very likely she will show the good sense to not marry an MCP who would find it too much of a burden to treat a woman with respect.Recommend

  • Nobody

    I’d like to point out not all Indian commentators are ‘trolls’ spewing nonsense just as not all Pakistani commentators are sensible ‘non-trolls’ Healthy debates are a positive thing.
    That being said, thanks for the comment!

  • Nobody

    As mentioned in the blog, I’m still single; however, my personal observations of those close to me, my parents included, and my self education has led me to certain conclusions. One doesn’t have to be married to understand respect is a necessary element. Despite being single, I know what I would like in a life partner and what I would like to bring to the relationship from my end.
    Thank you for the comment nonetheless.

  • Nobody

    Thanks, I’m glad you agree!Recommend

  • gp65

    I am an Indian and would agree that @grandmasti has not given any valid reason for dismissing the author’s opinion as have many others on both sides of the border who have dismissed her opinion without providing any rationale.

    But then what are you doing. Why are you objectifying the author by citing her complexion? She deserves respect for her clear articulation and courage to say what needs to be said.Recommend

  • Nobody

    As gp65 said, the fact that you find the list valid means you’ll likely do just fine and do right by your future wife. :)

  • anon

    What kind of a mindset is that dude? Recommend

  • Nobody

    Yes, right you are. :) However, I have many male friends who are dear to me and before writing this, I did consult with a couple to see what their opinion was and if they felt I was too far off the mark (although it mostly matter to ME that I didn’t feel I was). Not surprisingly, they whole-heartedly agreed, even the 2 that are already married young men. Thankfully, it is not too much of a challenge to find a Pakistani guy here whose thought process more or less aligns with my own, at least not in my generation.

  • Nobody

    I’d have to agree with you there; the instructions seem never ending for women in Pakistan and often, I find they encourage the continuance of an already sexist culture.
    Thanks for your positive feedback! :)

  • Nobody

    Thank you! :)Recommend

  • Nobody

    Glad you pointed that out; I’ve found this to be a common problem among men of my father’s generation and have always hated seeing uncles instruct their wives as if she were his child, not his wife. Luckily, it was never a pattern I saw in my own household, which is largely why I have the (staunch “feminist” according to some people) views that I do. I saw my parents keep a balanced marriage together, despite patches of difficulty, and I’d like to learn from it!
    Keep reading, commenting and rebelling!

  • Nobody

    I think both have to compromise or it is expecting too much from one. There will likely be some situations where the husband will need to compromise, and some where the wife will have to compromise. I disagree that the one compromising is the stronger one if he/she is ALWAYS the one compromising. Like I said, it takes two! Neither should be overburdened.

  • Nobody

    Thank you! :)Recommend

  • Nobody

    I think others who responded to your post have said it perfectly; however, I agree a wife should not be ungrateful to a husband’s hard work, just as it’s vital a husband not be ungrateful to a wife’s hard work. Nor should he forget that a wife is perfectly capable of working and supporting herself. An encouraging spouse is a wonderful thing.

  • http://www.saadhamid.com/ Saad Hamid

    I am not undermining the piece, I think it is brilliant and you make some really good points but I would be more interested to listen to advice from someone who is actually married because he/she would understand the dynamics of a marriage.

    Disclaimer: I am married

    The points you have mentioned are good but some are hard to implement in our social context so I would need help in understanding the “how” of the points you have mentioned.

    Just saying, cheers!Recommend

  • Nobody

    To many, number 5 is not of the utmost importance, and I would agree with that sentiment. Individual circumstances differ for everyone and number 5 may not be applicable to everyone; however, it’s unfortunately worth mentioning as many in our culture don’t deem it important for a woman to have something of her own interest to do. Whether it’s a hobby or an outing with her friends or even an outing with her husband. There are still people who expect a wife to sit at home and take care of the house and don’t find it at all unusual for a husband to need to blow off some steam with friends or whoever. Do women, be they housewives or professional women, need personal time to do what they like?

    As for number 6, I agree, it’s absolutely based on logic that SHOULD BE understood and accepted by everyone; unfortunately, in our culture it is not. Often people expect a women to put her best foot forward and give it her all, with no such expectation from a husband. How long can that last without breaking a person’s spirit?

    Thank you for your opinion nonetheless!

  • Nobody

    Thanks! :)Recommend

  • Guest

    “In many cases, just as a man earns, so does the woman. But in a 100% of cases, only the woman gives birth to kids.”

    Exactly. Women can do everything that men can but they cant give birth on their own (not until cloning or artificial wombs are developed) until then men are going to continue to try and keep the women oppressed.Recommend

  • Nobody

    You are entitled to your opinion. Although I’m quite curious to know why you think so. Not to start a debate or a battle, but I’m genuinely curious.
    Why are my demands so outrageous to you that you give your well wishes to my future life partner? Personally, I’m not at all worried, because as I’ve said before, I’ve found no challenge in finding like minded men of my age group; however, I’d like your opinion on the matter beyond finding it ridiculous.
    Thanks for the comment nonetheless!

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    You find this ridiculous you say…so after marriage you expect to

    1.treat your wife like one of your children
    2.not treat your in-laws the way you want your wife to treat your family
    3.complain to your mother/father about your wife
    4.insult your wife in front of your children
    5.go out and have fun with your friends but expect your wife to stay in the house always
    6.have your wife be the only one that keeps the marriage together

    You might as well get a loyal servant who gets paid to endure these than get married to another Human Being and ruin her life.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Thanks very much! :)Recommend

  • Nobody

    Thank you for your harshly put, but kind words. :)

  • Nobody

    My thoughts exactly.Recommend

  • Indian

    It’s not too late to make small changes,Sir …Sometimes,retd.life,esp.when the children are independant & no longer require attention,is a very good time for a couple to reconnect and enjoy their time together,without the pressures of work & childrearing…Recommend

  • Nobody

    Thank you for your rational comment. :) People often have trouble cognizing that I’m not encouraging women to be monsters to their husbands, but rather encouraging a respect that goes both ways.

  • Naveed Alam Khattak


  • Nobody

    While marriages between Pakistani Americans have largely become independent of the family system (meaning rarely do young couples live with either set of parents), what you’ve said is particularly true within Pakistan where many women still leave their parent’s home making the situation that much more delicate.
    Unfortunately, because for some people it is expected a woman will leave one day, they accept it as normal and don’t realize what it entails and how difficult it can be for a woman. Even I can’t speak to that as I have little to no experience with the joint family system. However, I can speak to the plight of any woman to best of my ability and understanding and you’ve made a very valid point.


  • Ali S

    This article would be more credible had it been written by the husband or someone who’s married. Unless a husband’s wife earns and contributes to the family’s income, she pretty much granted her husband the right to call the shots in the relationship by living off him. That’s the way it is in the West – women call the shots because they’re financially independent.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Your wife sounds like a lucky woman. Wish you two the best!
    And do consider writing a blog; perhaps people will be more receptive to a blog coming from both someone married and someone male :)

  • Nobody

    Please do elaborate how so. And I ask this in a good natured way of course. I’d just like to know your opinion and why you feel I’m patronizing a wife with this list. If you’ve misunderstood, all you have to do is ask. I’m happy to clarify!

  • Nobody

    Good question; unfortunately, I didn’t come up with a title and to my knowledge, ET comes up with that part as it is. As you’ve noticed, it’s only a DO-NOT-DO list.

  • Naveed Alam Khattak

    I agree 101% with you on the points you mentioned in your blog but this is for your information that one need to be married to understand a married life. God bless you a happy life…Recommend

  • Parvez

    I’m a bit confused : Is the prolific commentor Nobody really the author Arub M. ?
    I hope I’m allowed to ask something like this………..but I’ve asked anyway.Recommend