Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

Arranged marriage & the role of parents

A sarcastic post of a vibrant Bangladeshi-Canadian girl:

If this daughter is not married to some Muslim guy (she is ‘permitted’ to bring a Pakistani guy *horror*) by next August, …she will apparently be seeing Mrs. Mother's dead face. If you want to save the life of a 40 something, attractive, slightly dramatic Bengali mother …apply now.
Applicant must be:
– virile
– a Bengali Muslim
– able to sign his name
– from a nice family who like to keep their woman on a leash.

People may laugh because of the comic elements of the post, but if you read in between the lines you will hear the wails of a free bird about to be caged. How can she confront her mother who had sworn such thing?

She ends with:
Apply now and don't let forever bind you together. Please note that applicant is allowed a leave of absence of ‘eternity’ from married life starting the same day following a wedding band exchange ceremony.

Yes this is the tragedy of many arranged marriages when fixed arbitrarily by the South Asian parents. When parents go looking for a spouse for their child they usually consider superficial criteria like religion, ethnicity, financial condition and even horoscope. In absence of pre-existing mutual attraction of the partners or even some sort of communication and understanding before reaching at the final decision to marry, is horrifying for a smart and educated individual. And often they end up with a uncomfortable relationship they had never dreamt of. I hope Mrs. Mother reads her daughter's post.

Much have been discussed about arranged marriage here, here & here.

30 comments

  • asma

    if theres a will theres a way .friends if s/he realy truely loved u, no mountain is too high to climb. Parents always come round, all they want is their child to be happy. just be sure they have their priorities sorted.

  • Rosa

    Dear all,

    I’m Rosa from El Salvador, working in a peace keeping mission in Ivory Coast, I’m 35 and I met here the love of my life, a Lebanese guy, who is 32, his name is Mohammed. We were together for year and 8 months, I can tell you that this was a pure love, sincere love, I mean pure from the spiritual part, because I was not any virgin when I met him, I’m a mother of a baby daughter of 5 years old … Single mother. But I love my Mohamed and I’m 120% sure that he also loves me.

    Just a few days ago he went to get married with a beautiful girl, she is 18 years old and until the last moment he was telling me that he doesn’t love her, that he doesn’t not love her … that he loves me more than any one else … He called me the day of his marriage, he did not talk, he just wanted to hear my voice …

    I knew that he is back with his beautiful wife.. I knew that his family is very happy and that they are making a big celebration for them … BUT WHAT ABOUT ME ??? … I’m feeling like a lost soul, totally miserable without my Mohamed … Oh God !!! this is hard …too hard …

    I have change my telephone number, not because I dont want to speak with him, is because I dont want to keep any expectation that he will call me sometime … maybe he will never do that … maybe he is very happy celebrating his marriage and new life … BUT WHAT ABOUT ME ??

    I miss him, love him and always be … but unfortunately, I’m Catolic, I’m a simgle mothr, I’m Latina and for all his family just a “Happy Girl” …

    I’m sure that this will never be … but I keep a hope, that he will come back to give me the love that once we had, the wonderfull time, that once we had … :(

  • […] On the flip side, not all arranged marriages are successful. That may be due to lack of mutual attraction. Refer here for yet another perspective on this. […]

  • Nazzyb

    I think arranged marriage is better than love all my family and relatives have had arranged marriage and they’re really happy. I have also had loads of proposals my mum said its my chooice when i want to get married and who to strictly arranged.

  • thulasi

    I am from a hindu vegetarian family.. my family is very orthodox and my family is almost a settled family.. i love a guy who is also a hindu but non vegetarian.. he is from a poor family. my parents are totally against my love.. we both love each other deeply from 4 years.. my parents want me to decide either they or he.. my lover says me to listen to my parents because we cannot be happy going against him.. i am in great depth of sorrow.. my lover is in great problems financially at present due to loss in his business. otherwise his earnings are more than enough..

  • Obuolis

    All these stories sound the same, and it is heart breaking. I also absolutely love this guy from Pakistan, really truly do; but I am from Lithuania and probably not what his parents are looking for, although i would love to learn and participate and even convert to their religion and everything. And I know he is struggling to do the right thing, to have his parents happy and to not let his friends like me down. He has an arranged marriage and its killing me. I can’t focus on all the high classes I am taking, one with him. So to make it “easier” I stopped talking to him. Please, please if anyone has any advice what to say or do I would really follow because Im a wreck. Im so sorry so many of you have also had to go through this, but how does it end, how does it go away? Everyone says time heals all wounds, but does it? Email me at snieguolelele@yahoo.com.

  • Obuolis

    I found this poem long ago, by Michael Flanders, and its really the situation.
    Misalliance
    The fragrant Honeysuckle spirals clockwise to the sun
    And many other creepers do the same.
    But some limb counterclockwise, the Bindweed does, for one,
    Or Convulvulus, to give her proper name.
    Rooted on either side a door, one of each species grew,
    And raced toward the window ledge above.
    Each corkscrewed to the lintel in the only way it knew,
    Where they stopped, touched tendrils, and fell in love.
    Said the right-handed Honeysuckle
    To the left-handed Bindweed;
    “Oh let us get married,
    If our parents don’t mind. We’d
    Be loving and inseparable.
    Inextricably entwined, we’d
    Live happily ever after,”
    Said the Honeysuckle to the Bindweed.
    To the Honeysuckle’s parents it came as a shock.
    “The Bindweeds,” they cried, “are inferior stock.
    They’re uncultivated, of breeding bereft.
    We twine to the right and they twine to the left!”
    Said the counterclockwise Bindweed
    To the clockwise Honeysuckle:
    “We’d better start saving-
    Many a mickle maks a muckle-
    Then run away for a honeymoon
    And hope that our luck’ll
    Take a turn for the better,”
    Said the Bindweed to the Honeysuckle.
    A bee who was passing remarked to them then:
    “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
    Consider your offshoots, if offshoots there be.
    The’ll never receive any blessing from me.”
    Poor little sucker, how will it learn
    When climbing, which way to turn?
    Right-left-what a disgrace!
    Or it may go straight up and fall flat on its face!
    Said the right-handed Honeysuckle
    To the left-handed Bindweed:
    “It seems that against us all fate has combined.
    Oh my darling, Thou art lost and gone forever,
    We shall never intertwine.”
    Together they found them the very next day
    They had pulled up their roots and just shriveled away,
    Deprived of that freedom for which we must fight,
    To veer to the left or to veer to the right!

  • just a girl

    This is crazy!!
    I was just looking on posts about cross cultural relationships because I just started dating a guy from a complete different culture than my own.
    By reading this posts I realize I have no idea what Im doing…all this time I been thinking how difficult it will be for us to accomodate with our cultural differences..it had not even crossed my mind about his family…good to read about this important topic.
    Rosa, I so much feel for you..Im also from El Salvador and the guy im seeing is from Africa

  • danielle

    I am doing a speech on arranged marriages and i have about a month to get it all finished. i’ve only been getting information on it for the past 2 days, and already i feel like this is just a way to put women on a leash. i dont think that this is a bad thing, but it is unfair..I think everyone should have their free choice of whom they marry. Yes, it is required in some cultures, and yes, some people do it to gain land or money. but i think that everyone should be able to take their own journey into finding that one special person, instead of just a person whom you’ve never met and it is only a business relationship instead of a romantic relationship.

  • Would rather not give my name

    I’m a Hindu man, 33 yrs old, born and brought up in India by liberal-moderate Indian parents. When my parents were expatriated to the EU for professional reasons, I followed them. I had just finished high school. I split time between India & Europe & eventually settled in the EU. Fell in love with a colleague, ended up having an (unplanned) baby with her, and tried (so very hard) to make it work. It never did. But the reasons were different from those I read above. Despite serious reservations (but NOT refusal) from my parents, I:
    1. lived-in with my girlfriend (the mother of my child): because she wanted it
    2. didn’t insist endlessly on marrying her: because she didn’t want to
    3. made my parents social outcastes in India because of the above
    4. cut myself away from my friends because of the time demands of my partner

    And yet, knowing that I had put my entire “being” at stake for her (and my baby’s) love, she left me because her parents left nostone unturned to force her to choose between them and me………and she eventually chose them.

    She just destroyed my life….and walked away….and changed her entire attitude towards me within days of walking away

    Didn’t let me see my baby for almost a year………….till the courts forced intervention and reunited me with my one-year old baby.

    Welcome to the “arranged” world of the west. Its worse than the Indian one I have known…

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site