What is the older generation’s obsession with the word ‘compromise’ when it comes to marriage?

Published: January 7, 2016

It calls for equality between the two genders in a marriage. If the girl cooks and cleans, so should the man.

Marriage has too many complicated stereotypes attached to it. The more obvious ones include what the rishta aunties say all the time:

“Apki beti khana pakati hai?”

(“Does your daughter cook?”)

Apki beti lambi hai?

(“Is your daughter tall?”)

“Apki beti ziyada umer mein bari tou nahi?”

(“Your daughter isn’t too old, is she?”)

“Apki beti zeyada tou parhi likhi nahi hai?”

(“Your daughter isn’t ‘too educated’, is she?”)

The aunties want their sons to be the ones who run the show — the girl shouldn’t be too smart, too educated. She has to be just the right amount of literate.

Also, she should definitely know how to cook because that’s supposed to be her job after getting married. She should know how to make all kinds of desi dishes, know a thing or two about baking and brownie points for that girl who can whip up some ‘gora’ food for her husband’s cravings from time to time.

Doesn’t this read like a casting for a movie? Or ingredients for a dish?

Every auntie has something in common with Victor Frankenstein: They, too, want to have the ‘perfect’ specimen.

When the couple has children, the girl obviously has to be the nanny because cleaning diapers, washing clothes, keeping the house clean have to be a part of her resume. She shouldn’t be too much of a spend-thrift but should also be well-kept. Her hair should be perfect, but not too perfect so it doesn’t look like she spends most of her time at the salon.

This is basically what used to be expected of girls when they were getting married a few years back. Slowly but gradually, times are changing. People are evolving and mind-sets are reshaping. Parents are realising that their girls are so much more than just house maids.

I no longer feel I have to ask how they expect their daughters to mould their ways according to their husbands when so much time and money has been spent on their education, empowerment and liberation. The divorce rates have taken care of that.

The urge to write this blog came to me after watching the ad for BIBA that aims at breaking the stereotypes surrounding arranged marriages where girls are asked to serve tea and display their domestic prowess.

So many marriages fall apart because the two individuals realise how they cannot compromise enough for each other. And that, I feel, is okay.

I’ve heard the older generation speak of the girls of this generation as being “sar chari” (spoiled). I don’t understand the older generation’s obsession with the word ‘compromise’. It’s perfectly logical to not want to mould your true self completely for another individual.

Instead of glorifying the idea of compromise, we should be encouraging our girls to spend as much time as possible with the person they intend on marrying, just so the chances of divorce are lowered. But even if things don’t lead to it eventually — it is not the end of the world.

The BIBA ad does exactly that. It calls for equality between the two genders in a marriage. If the girl cooks and cleans, so should the man.

I hope that our local advertisements also become stimulated by the changing times. Sexist jingles, gender-centric ideas and patriarchy are no longer the ingredients for a successful ad campaign. Our advertisements should reflect the sentiments of our society.

Nashmia Butt

Nashmia Butt

The writer has done her undergraduate in Political Science from the University of Toronto. She is a subeditor for the Opinions & Editorial section of The Express Tribune. She tweets as @NashmiaAmirButt

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

  • Bairooni Haath

    Marriage outcomes seldom follow conventional wisdom. In the west couples live together for a while before they get married. Conventional wisdom would suggest that these marriages would be more successful as the couple have already tried each other as husband and wife and maybe even have a mortgage and a child together. But it seems more of these marriages result in divorce than when couples move in together after marriage. Westerners scoff at arranged marriages, but arranged marriages have a 1 % divorce rate as compared to 50 % for love marriages.Recommend

  • Time Is Up

    Good one to encourage breaking of the male gender dominance and going towards more equal roles. It is not easy being a working woman and also a home-maker at the same time.Recommend

  • harkol

    Not ‘older generation’. It is a older tradition or older system! Changing in urban areas, but rural/traditional households change is slow (even if beautiful).Recommend

  • mimi sur

    Since when ultraconservative muslim women stooped wearing black veil and start wearing Indian traditional dress ?Recommend

  • Qasim Cheema

    Check for the highest divorce rates and you will see it in the West, their the woman have plenty of time to “get to know” the men. Also you liberattis want equality when it comes to cleaning and cooking, but the moment the topic of earning money, well then that’s the mans job you know. If you want the perfect society then follow Islam not man made western ideals.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Life is all about choices and compromises………and marriage is part of life.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    If you want the perfect society then follow Islam not man made western ideals.

    And what sir, is the role of Islam in marriage considering that there are no western ideals? The marriage or partnership between a man and woman is even older than human civilisation and has been evolving ever since.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Xyz

    I have seen most educated women in India choosing to work after studies. The common reasons for stopping work is kids or pressure from guy’s family.

    Secondly divorce rates would increase when women refuse to accept disrespect, or oppression and have the financial freedom and social acceptance to walk out of a bad marriage. Those divorces are actually a healthier alternative versus staying in such marriage.

    I think breakups are normal …. People make mistakes in choice of partners as they do in other areas also, people have different aspirations, different vision of their life and they choose to part and that’s OK as long as there is good thought given for a relationship to mature before having kids. Important thing is for each individual to retain self respect and have the financial freedom so that marriage does not become a relationship forced by circumstances but rather a true choice.Recommend

  • valor

    In Islam, a woman stays at home while a prophet goes to make trade deals on her behalf. If this cant shut you up, nothing will. Stop attacking such a sensible article about our nonsense customs.
    And stop making up numbers. Highest divorce rate in West? Proof?
    And sure, do follow Islam as you must. It will tell you that wife’s ONLY responsibility is the upbringing of kids. THATS IT. Period. Want proof? Well, prove that its wife’s responsibility to earn for the household, or work like domestic help.Recommend

  • Yusranam

    partially agree though beautifully written Recommend

  • Tony

    “If the girl cooks and cleans, so should the man.” By this argument logic dictates that ” if a man brings home the money, so should the woman”. I’m all for equal rights and responsibilities. Oh, that would be bring home money from day one of thre marriage until the day you retire – not some part time job on the side that you intend on doing for a year or two.

    I urge Pakistanis not to be sucked into this feminist misandrist agenda – where women pick and choose what responsibilities they are willing to take on and which traditional responsibilities they wish to renegotiate with men. Just for the record, western women are less happier then they were in the 1950’s (plenty of studies out there, Google it).


  • Qasim Cheema

    Google divorce rates u will find out highest rates are in west. Also Islam gave women rights like voting, Inheritance etc thousand years before anyone else. But with rights come.obligations as well. Both for man and woman. Everyone has a role to play in society and when they are confused then the society is also confused.Recommend

  • MJ

    “If the girl cooks and cleans, so should the man”
    I am not even going to discuss what others have already written that if a man brings money home, so should the girl. But living in USA I can come up with other things along the line:
    “If a man changes oil in his car, so should the girl”
    “If a man mows the grass in the yard, so should the girl”
    “If a man shovels snow off the sidewalk, so should the girl”

    I love it when Pakistani feminists pick and chose what a woman can and cannot do. Equality is a double edged sword and cuts both ways.Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/11/bleeding.html Supriya Arcot

    Getting ( and staying married) is not every one’s cuppa my luv . Facing day to day vicissitudes in the form of relatives / demands of tradition and customs / wading through drudgery , transition /bringing up children as honest citizens / sacrifice of self int for the family / carrying forward and bequeathing generations old practices is not easy . If you are dicey to step in then ( at least ) please don’t mock at those trying to do a decent job of this .Recommend