Dear Mom, I love you, but please stop forcing marriage on me

Published: July 19, 2016
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You are an inspirational woman and someday I wish I could even be a fraction of who you are. But there’s one thing I don’t want to adopt from you and that is your approach towards marriage. PHOTO: indianexpress.com

Dear Mom,

You are an inspirational woman and someday I wish I could even be a fraction of who you are. But there’s one thing I don’t want to adopt from you and that is your approach towards marriage.

I know you and your sisters got married in your teens because that was the correct thing to do back then and still is for most people. But you brought me up different, you made me believe education is something I should value and you encouraged me to be more confident and outspoken.

I grew up with you constantly saying,

“If you receive a ‘good’ proposal, you should consider it.”

And I did.

That’s the reason I accepted a proposal when I was 21, because subconsciously I felt it was the right thing to do. Halfway through it, I realised our basic values do not match and I may have said yes because of the novelty and excitement of the situation. I admit I accepted it for the wrong reasons, which led me to break off the baat paki later. It was a lesson well learnt which led me to understand the right reasons. Communication, loyalty, companionship and similar thinking are a few of the right reasons, but they differ individually.

You supported me, but little did I know it would become the foundation of future taunts for me. I know you want the best for me, but sometimes I feel you want it for selfish reasons. Parents want to see their children stable and settled during their lifetime, but is that enough reason for you to push me into something I may not be ready for?

I never say no to you when you tell me I have someone coming over to ‘see me,’ but now I feel I’ve become a commodity to be displayed. I say no to all the proposals for a reason mom, because I am not sure he will be the right man for me based on one meeting.

His lucrative business, commodious house and solid degree may be enough for you, but for me, they aren’t. Marriage isn’t a checklist mom and I know you know that. But out of fear of me hitting 30, you want me to accept anything coming my way. Sometimes, I am afraid myself, I wonder if I will ever come across who I will click with, who I will end up liking, but I fight it. Because I know, everything happens in due time.

Mom, I’m fed up of being told how once I turn 29 or 30, I will only receive proposals from old men, or how I will end up like your female relatives who never got married, or how I am too picky and will end up being dependent on my siblings or how I can’t get everything I ask for in the man I want to spend my life with and should therefore ‘settle’ with whatever option I currently have.

This is a choice which will alter the course of my life. Nearly everything will be impacted after taking this decision, since it will be permanent, which is exactly why I cannot rush into it.

As for your fears about me ending up alone and being dependent on others, I won’t, Mom. I have a job, I earn enough to support myself and I enjoy the independence. But that in no way deters me from wanting to settle down eventually and I cannot find it in myself to say yes to anyone just because I may be edging towards the oh-so-scary age of 30. And why is 30 such a terrifying age? Will I lose all semblance of mind or become unappealing as soon as I hit 30?

You may think I am picky, but I think otherwise. All I want is a man who I think will complement me and vice versa.

As if that wasn’t enough mom, I have everyone in the family telling me to consider proposals because,

–        Parents know best. (I know they have our best interest in mind, but that does not turn them into soothsayers).

–        Arranged marriages always work out better. (Only time can be the predictor of such sweeping statements). I have personally witnessed arranged marriages ending, as well as love marriages.

–        Don’t give your parents more stress. (I do not think my parents problems would ebb away as soon as I tie the knot).

My brothers, who I thought would support me on this, tell me the same. We are all products of a society where marriage is the answer to all issues.

It frustrates me. I thought I belonged to a ‘liberal’ family, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to being born a female. Liberal or not, I’ve realised every mother fears her daughter not getting married on time.

I don’t blame you for this, because how can I? You’re only adhering to the culture you’ve been brought up in.

I wish, though, that you could look beyond what’s been fed to you over these years. I wish you could see that I too want to settle down, not because time is running out, but because I too want a partner who I think I can spend my life with.

I know you love me endlessly, but you’ve damaged my confidence, something which you pushed me to build. I sought validation from you but now you’re pushing me to seek validation from the institution of marriage.

Do you think parents should push their children to marry by a certain age?

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Anonymous 90

Anonymous 90

The author wishes to remain anonymous.

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

  • SavetheVirgin

    Marriage does not stop education, You can get world Top education online, The best age to get marry is the teenage because by the time you pass university you will have lots of bad experiences and 99% chances that you are no longer virgin, which effects you marital life….Unfortunately what i observed in schools colleges and iniversities, the girls fleeing with their love birds and 95% have illicit relation, I do recommend early marriage…Recommend

  • Arsha

    How does virginity affect marital life?!!!!
    Teenage is definitely not the right time for marriage…. Decisions are more ruled by hormones than wisdom. As for top education online…please tell me one online university that has top ranking and best job prospects?Recommend

  • Acorn Guts

    “I wonder if I will ever come across who I will click with, who I will end up liking, but I fight it”

    I wondered too, but then I realised what ‘clicked’ for me was evolving and changing as I matured, decided to ditch it and get more practical. Of course, doesn’t apply to everyone but then that’s true for the article too.Recommend

  • MR.X

    Early marriage is encouraged by Prophet(SAW) in Sahih Bukhari. You say “Communication, loyalty, companionship ” were important. Most of our anscestors were more loyal than people these days and they developed these traits after they got married(arranged mostly). The westren concept of so called love and marriage has failed(70% divorce rate) and still some people would like to copy the west??Food for thoughtRecommend

  • MR.X

    Agree with you that chances definitely increase but not by this much in Pakistan i guessRecommend

  • LoveBird

    1. What does being a virgin have to do with marriage?
    2. Why can’t you go to a regular college or university once married?
    3. Did you get a “world Top education online?” Would you describe yourself as being educated?
    4. Are “the girls fleeing” with other girls? If so who are they fleeing with, and why is it not called an “illicit relation” on their part?Recommend

  • i

    Virginity does unfortunately affect martial life in south asian countries.Recommend

  • Mj

    Yes, girls should definitely be getting married at 9. We need to follow the timeless traditions of the middle eastern desert.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/MalikSaabSays MalikSaabi

    Agreeing on the overall theme, I’d differ on just one issue: too often people tend to look for perfection, whatever their version of it is. Nobody is perfect. I read somewhere that you don’t marry a perfect person, you just marry the imperfections you’re comfortable with.
    Between bad traits in a potential spouse, and looking for the perfect one, the balance has been lost.
    Arranged marriage is by no means something to be decided in one meeting. The alternative is a hit-and-trial method, really wears a person down, and has more chances of taking an individual down the wrong road ‘to find if this is really the one’.

    Best is to stick with looking for character traits, which imho can only be discovered/explored *safely* when family is involved. Solo flying is…flying blind.Recommend

  • Arsha

    High divorce rate in West is also a factor of highly independent individuals and minimal social pressures. It’s less a factor of love or arranged which are again more social consequences versus predictors of marital success.
    In Asian societies when a woman is married at a young age it also effectively closes the doors on her ability to develop her individuality and independence. That’s a big reason why many women choose to stay in a marriage despite even extremes of abuse. Also even if they are not happy they do not have an alternative.
    I, as a woman, would much rather choose setup where I can have choices even with risk of divorce. Of course there are other issues in West however when you have deep conversations with them you realize their overall value system is as strong as anyone else’s. Recommend

  • Hash

    My eyes were watering while I was reading her article. I second her views because personally I know people who are facing the same dilemma of life. This is true, whether a girl belongs to a liberal family or not but when it comes to marriage, we all Pakistanis sails in the same boat. This is my request to all parents please take marriage as a sacred duty of them for their respective daughters and sons and do not malign it for sake of material benefits. For girls, if her proposal offers material wellbeing like his own car, house or earns lots of bucks then parents like to go through the proposal no matter how bad mannered or corrupt by his character. Similarly for boys, parents are more interested in girls bodily features for instance she should have a fair complexion, and walk and dress properly. If parents found something odd in girls features, they outrightly reject the girl without considering her innocence and simplicity. As a result their daughters or sons end up with no-knot- attached mindset because marriage seems daunting to them and therefore either they prefer to choose their own partner or attached in casual relationships. (Either steps could have good or bad consequences)Recommend

  • SH

    You cannot compare the times of our ancestors to the times of now. Things change with time.
    Imam Ali (as): “Do not raise your children the way your parents raised you, for they are born for a different time to yours”Recommend

  • Maddy

    This is a really sensitive issue….. The essence of relationship like marriage is consent of both individual….. in arrange marriage proposals one go blind without knowing anything about the other person…….If parents are arranging something….. they should make an assessment by talking to individuals first…..they can see the differences between both and they can make a better judgment because no one knows a person better then his/her own parents ……Nothing should be in hurry……… ….but having said this its not like every person is the same , You cannot apply past relationship situation on everyone, and even if u get to talk with each other its near to impossible to make a judgement in short time ….. U have to build the relation together …u take care of each and every difference of each other……. You can seek good in each other…….Its a long journey……….and one should not start fearing it ………there are a lot of means by which u can check the authenticity and purity of the other person before accepting a proposal(For parents specially)…..but ones its done u have to let go these thoughts and look for the better future……people do really adjust with each other its just one should be flexible enough……………Recommend

  • Savethevrigin

    1. Why human have eyes, to see. Ear to hear, Nose to smell, Everything is created for some reason, Tell me why hymen is there..?
    2. You can go to regular school N college who stops, but instead going to any pakistani college and university better spend some time online for international education. That will educate you and make you better human.
    3. Yes I have world top education N is well recognized by educated first world. If you are talking about Pakistan its education and job market then sorry to say,,, to be successful here only you need to be a better crook.
    4.When girls are use to flee with love birds, At the time of age they are more in emotions and uncontrollable lust so they dont realize it, And if they dont consider it illicit then why dont they tell it to Mom and dad, that instead going college I was on my friend flat in his bedroom, They realise there mistake when they get marry and they starting telling there husband different stories,
    That i was riding horse some thing happend.
    I fell from some where
    I was jumping or something like that.
    I know girls been divorced at the first day because of this… but its reality… Thing is that there is a circumvention they use to do now days… But now because world is global village what ever affairs you had in past you cannot hide, And any illicit relation can easily ruin your marital life. So better you should have one love and relation that is only with your husband….,,Recommend

  • MR.X

    Allright follow the west, i dont care im just giving advice to my muslim sisters, Most muslims in Pakistan dont like westeren so called value system(which has killed innocent people eg. Palestine etc) which has destroyed the family system and love etc.Recommend

  • MR.X

    DId i say that.?? No .SalamRecommend

  • MR.X

    I agree. I just dont think we should discourage it if one is ready(financially,mentally etc)Recommend

  • MR.X

    Yes, The writer seems to be looking for something special, I guess the movies make her dream like this .People should not raise their expectation too much or else discontentment lies ahead(Most Probably) which could lead to, God forbid, divorce.Recommend

  • Jude Allen

    Very well written. I agree 100% – girls are not a commodity and I do not support teen marriages at all. True there are no guarantees on Love or arranged marriages – but to think that parents know best is just an idiotic idea. They don’t! Get over it. I think most women are strong enough to live with the decisions they make in their life once they have reached the right age to decide for themselves. I think that’s the way creating works right? Human beings were born with inherent unlimited intelligence and women are no exception to this magnificent gift. :)Recommend

  • Maddy

    Right approach…Recommend

  • Anwaar

    1) Prophet married at the age of 25.
    2) Married a woman of age 40 (would you marry a woman aged 40?)
    3) It was a LOVE marriage.Recommend

  • MR.X

    I did not say that, you just assumed it. Though hazrat Ayesha’s marriage was consumated at that age(sahih Bukhari). Im not encouraging it at the age of 9 though. May Allah guide usRecommend

  • MR.X

    Im not against love marriage , when did i say that??I just know that arranged marriages work better as according to statistics.He married Ayesha at the age of six and consumated when she was 9, im not encouraging it marriage at this age though but just telling you it happened. My brother please read Sahih bukhari so we can have a knowledgeable discussion based on facts rather than how you feelRecommend

  • Amir Khan

    Agree with it. in our society the religious clerics has made the religion so difficult for us. They think girls are just for fullfilling the needs of their husband. While on the other hands, girls have the same rights as boys do. and forcing marriage on them is an orthodox thing
    jitna haq hame hasil hai is society mai rehne ka aotna hi haq larkiyo ko hasil hai or aon par shadi force karna is orthodox thing. Recommend

  • Zoha Ahmed

    1. People pursuing for a perfect relationship never gets the one, for one only gets the kind of person like himself. Bad people are for bad one’s and good people are for good one’s. And after all, no one is perfect. Where people have their good qualities (which in our view is good), there are shortcomings as well. Finding a perfect one will only end up being single.

    2. Early marriages are the only solution to finding contentment in life. In present age, young people, under the influence of their emotions, lose their ‘I love You’ virginity at a very early age – usually at college/university level. What’s left there in life if you cant find the one who is free of such past and has a pure soul?

    Islam commands us to marry early for a reason and we should better follow it!Recommend

  • Arsha

    Hymen is not created for marriage. Marriage is a human construct while hymen is a natural construct. Hymen thins and is very prone to rupture as girls grow older. A ruptured hymen is also not a proof of woman not being a virgin as most educated people have now realized and often girls dont even realize if their hymen gets ruptured.

    Your question…who is stopping a married woman from going to college?…. Please acquaint yourself with ground realities of married Pakistani women and all the social restrictions that are placed on them.

    There is also a reason why online education is not yet mainstream. What are the chances of getting a job and being financially independent?

    As for “illicit” relation ruining marriage…. More chances of that happening when you are not independent and are married to an immature man. In such cases there may be multiple other reasons that will lead to a broken marriage. Much better for a woman to stand on her own two feet to be able to take care of herself and marry someone who is like minded and mature. I have seen multiple women who have had prior relationships and then found the right guy and are happily married.Recommend

  • Zoha

    1. People pursuing for a perfect relationship never gets the one, for one only gets the kind of person like himself. Bad people are for bad one’s and good people are for good one’s. And after all, no one is perfect. Where people have their good qualities (which in our view is good), there are shortcomings as well. Finding a perfect one will only end up being single.
    2. Early marriages are the only solution to finding contentment in life. In present age, young people, under the influence of their emotions, lose their ‘I love you virginity’ at a very early age – usually at college/university level. What’s left there in life if you cant find one who is free of such past and has a pure soul?
    Islam commands us to marry early for a reason and we should better follow it!Recommend

  • S Hassan

    Pretty late but your post caught my eye. Please do not mention Hazrat Ayesha (RA) age at the time of marriage. This is still a debate and most likely a misinformation passed on throughout generations. Open your eyes and brain and think yourself. Why would Prophet (pbuh) marry a girl much younger than his own daughters. It makes no sense and for someone who has read extensively on the Prophet (pbuh)’s personality.Recommend

  • Saadi

    Exactly. And look how he completely disregarded the fact that Prophet (pbuh) married someone who was 40. He is just on about Ayesha (ra). Also it’s not a fact that arranged marriages work better. Islam encourages love marriage. Islam encourages to marry whom you choose and like. Recommend

  • Pakistani Boy

    Karachi people please u tell that i mean “i wanna fall in love with a girl and wanna marry her” is that possible in Pakistan? i mean like dating i’m 15 years old. i mean like in my future?Recommend