Arranged Marriage: For all the Pakistani Men and Women out there.

31 Mar

The traditional outlook of ‘arranged marriage’ in our society is full of ‘surprises’! The notion of surprise exists primarily because the man/woman may not know each other on a romantic stance. Dating someone for a while and being aware of each other’s likes and dislikes creates common ground which helps in forming a sacred relationship that exists between a husband and wife, but ‘dating and falling in love’ aren’t necessarily the only ingredients or paths of success in a marriage. There are so many arranged marriages that take place everyday across South Asia, I might be leaving a few other regions out where it’s a common practice for a man and woman to enter into a relationship without prior sexual, emotional and sometimes even verbal exchange. Some people prefer taking the massive plunge and swimming in the dangerous depths of ‘love’ oceans, whilst some of us take a liking to the traditional ‘arranged marriage’ perspective. Except the good old arranged marriage has been tweaked, and there’s a comparatively adventurous touch to it in the 21st century. Stay tuned.

Arranged marriages come in all different sorts of forms, meaning that the proposal for a man or woman could be through a close source (mostly female relatives) or it could be after the potential husband has spotted his ‘bride to be’ at a party and then the mother and family approach the woman’s family. There’s no single tracked way of these things happening, they can come from any and every direction, but the primary element of significance is that there is no previous ‘intimate or romantic’ history between the man or woman. Hence it is termed as an arranged or fixed up marriage. This is the way a typical arranged marriage works out in our part of the world, many years ago the ‘no communication’ rule was followed strictly by many, where the future bride and groom were meant to hold their horses and not interact with each other until the official wedding takes place. That sounds like a pre-historical tradition nowadays, even though there are those avid traditionalists who stay loyal to the old boundaries, most of the population has taken a ‘modern’ turn and accepted the average interaction between the man and woman. This in turn has opened glorified gates of technology and pre-marital romance even for those who have submitted to the notion of arranged marriage.

After the deal is sealed, where an engagement or talk amongst elders has taken place regarding the issue of marriage, many men don’t hesitate in getting the lady’s number. That’s right, they jump into the cellular world of ‘flirting‘ and ‘intimate conversations’, this allows both prospective parties to understand and appreciate each other without taking things too far. The duration before the official wedding permits the couple to exchange thoughts and ideas which might have an effect on their completely ‘arranged’ setup, this communication has the power to morph this traditional institution into a romantic one.

Since society has loosened up to the idea of a man and woman ‘getting to know’ each other before marriage it has created a calmer environment for the couple to open up. Just because the marriage has been arranged through external sources doesn’t mean that it can’t be full of love and joy. Someone very wise once emphasized that ‘love grows with time’, I couldn’t agree more. Just because the couple didn’t bump into each other in the most spontaneous ‘hollywood‘ styles or fall in love whilst completing their Bachelor’s degree at university doesn’t mean that their “future” couldn’t be as exciting as that of a typical ‘head over heels’ couple.

There are countless married couples that encountered each other through purely ‘arranged’ intentions, but live in a rather happy, loving and comfortable marriage. I suppose two people eventually form that connection where love and emotions become the fuel power to thrive. Let’s cut to the chase here, in essence the soon to be ‘wedded’ couple manifest their rather fetal and developing emotions into a technological medium of communication. Does midnight texting sound familiar to some of you out there? Does the 10 minute meetup with the future life partner when you’re supposed to be out with ‘friends only’ ring any bells? That awkward sense of uneasiness caused by aunties and uncles when your fiance/fiancée tries to speak to you at a social event, the intense glances make one feel like the horrors of pre-marital sex are going to take place right then and there!

The bottom line is arranged marriages work out just as successfully as ‘love marriages’, the only difference is the presence or absence of a romantic history. A word of advice to all of those who might be thinking of tying the knot and are still in the limbo of ‘yet to be married to him/her’, utilize this time in getting to know each other. In order to make a wise and conclusive decision about whether or not to marry your potential partner, it is essential to channel this ‘limbo’ period so as to understand and realize the mental compatibility between both parties. It is true that living with someone in the same residential perimeters makes you more personally aware of the other person, but that doesn’t undermine the significance of the duration before marriage where both persons are not living with each other (engaged to be married couples or even dating couples normally live in their own separate houses before marriage), the anticipation of marriage shouldn’t prevent us from assessing the risk factor in an arranged marriage.

During the ‘limbo‘ period, the man and woman should share their likes, dislikes and future visions with each other, more importantly it allows both persons to be skeptical about the pragmatic dimension of the future relationship. Even within such a traditional and patriarchal framework, both genders have the secret luxury of assessing their personal opinion about the relationship whilst they interact through the mobile, internet or social events. Occasionally when people fall in love, they determine their mental and emotional meshing by themselves and aren’t drawn into a union by third parties. In the case of ‘arranged marriages’ the couple don’t have the opportunity to comprehend each other’s stance on numerous subjects, so these days many of them take advantage of the ‘limbo’ period. For all my friends who are about to enter the joyous union of life-time partnership, don’t hesitate to understand your other ‘half’ and if something strikes you as odd then be vocal about it. When I refer to something appearing ‘odd’ or ‘strange’, I mean if you might think that your ‘future’ pick has intentions of diminishing your individuality or might not hold a similar perspective as you towards things that are close and dear to your existence.

Our present generation is lucky to have this altered version of ‘arranged marriage’ where communication is easier and more reliable than the treasured yet old-fashioned exchange of ‘love letters’. How about morphing ‘arranged commitments’ into technologically thrilling modes of communication and understanding, additionally why not determine whether your future life partner is someone who you actually want to be with? Just because our elders have made level-headed choices in matters of marriage for us, doesn’t mean we seal our hearts and minds too, never stop thinking for yourself. In such a society I maybe categorized as those lucky people to have parents who value thought process and opinions on such debatable matters. At the end of the day it is our responsibility to speak up and think for ourselves whether it concerns topics of ‘arranged’ or as termed in Pakistan, ‘love marriages’.

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