Monday, April 03, 2006

The overseas marriage thing

Growing up, a common discussion point amongst my desi friends was wondering who we would someday marry. My friends found the answer to these questions fairly quickly as the majority of them were engaged by 16 and married off by 18 to men in Pakistan. Some lived there, some returned with their new family. These were not forced marriages, all parties involved wanted to get married.

Without exception all my friends were beautiful and intelligent girls. They never got less than A's most of them graduating in the top 10 of their highschool class, many participated in national math championships and wanted to be doctors, lawyers, and teachers. I still remember one of my bestfriends turning to me in class one day to tell me she she found the perfect place to open her law practice once she graduated from Yale. Her fantasies rarely consisted of boys, she wanted to be a lawyer and she read every book and watched every show that featured one. Before she could even start college though she was engaged and married and living in Pakistan. The same went for all my other friends, some were excited, some quite nervous seeing clearly the opportunities they were leaving behind. I won't lie, a freshman, I secretly envied them as I saw their beautiful engagement clothing and gold bangles, the letters they wrote to their fiancees and the gifts that arrived in the mail from eager inlaws.

With the exception of two friends out of over a dozen who went this route, all returned home to their parents four, five years later, wounded and bruised some physically some emotionally, toddlers in tow and no means of supporting themselves. In my social psychology class our professor repeated it over and over "correlation does not equal causation" So I can't say that it's because these girls married guys overseas, or that they were not educated that divorce resulted since marriages fail everday outside of this category of people... but its an odd coincidence.

What makes it more peculiar to me is that just as much as I hear about the latest ABCD girl who is divorcing her Pakistani husband, I have never heard of this situation with ABCD guys marrying Pakistani raised girls. The overseas divorce trend seems to strike mainly the women who marry there.

My theory is that the problem lies with the desi idealism of traditional gender roles. This issue isn't a problem for ABCD boys who marry girls from overseas because most girls there understand their role as a housekeeper, mother, cook, etc. And ofcourse girls are taught growing up to be docile and to listen to their husband so if he wants them to get an education and become a career minded woman, why she'll put her mind to that and do that too.

But these same gender roles dont groove quite as easily for ABCD girls marrying overseas expected to be the docile desi wife. She has her own expectations and he his own as well, often because of the difference in upbringing the expectations conflict. Compromise could happen, but who should be the one to give in a little first or take the step to meet halfway? Add to the mix inlaws who now want to move in with their son... its a difficult situation.

I assumed it was the culture clash that caused the bitter problems, a connection gap in understanding the other's perspective. But Wayfarer, Southern Masala, Sobia, Baji are examples of beautiful intelligent American women married to guys from Pakistan. They are obviously happy with their spouses so I can't help but wonder, why did all my friends have such a hard time adjusting? Was it that men who would be able to think outside the box and marry a non-desi woman are the type of men who are open minded enough to compromise and understand different gender roles? Is gender roles even the issue?

My friends are all back in the US. Some remarried, others are going back to school to become teachers assistants, paralegals and medical technicians... I find their career choices today sadly ironic as just ten years ago their dreams were very different... birds with wings clipped so long they forgot how to fly...

Are my perspectives an anomoly to what others have witnessed or experienced? I do know some who are happy including a good friend of mine... but more often than not, such marriages that I have seen are not working. Maybe I'm just witnessing a strange anomoly in the people I know... Your perspectives very welcome.

Note: Mezba is sharing some interesting well thought out perspectives on similar issues here.

40 comments:

Southern Masala said...

Awwww, Aisha your making me blush! Thanks for the compliments.

As for the overseas marriage thing, there probably is culture clash to some extent. But the one thing that really strikes me is that you say these girls were engaged at 16 and married by 18 or 19. They are not even adults yet! I know 18 is legally an adult, but I personally did a LOT of growing up through college and still am. Probably if you look at the divorce rates of people in this country who marry that young they will be pretty high too. (I'm just speculating on that, have no stats to back it up). Add to that growing up in too different cultures and it seems like it could be very hard to have a sucessful marriage.

As for my own relationship, I would say that yes, M definitely does not fit the stereotype of the typical traditional Pakistani male. From being raised in a family where both parents had Masters degree education or higher and both worked out of the home, to living in the U.S. for 8 years, he has a different concept of spousal obligations and relationships. I don't know if this made him more inclined to marry an American girl as opposed to a traditional girl from back home.

You know, I had a similar conversation with my sil the other day. She was talking about how the trend in the Pakistani community in Chicago is to marry off the kids by 18 in order to ensure that they don't succumb to American "influences" (if you know what I mean...) I asked her what she would do with her daughters in that situation (who are 1 and 3 right now) and she said she didn't know, that it was scary to think of raising girl in a society where abstinence until marriage is the exception rather than the norm. At the same time, she has her MD and would not want to limit her daughters' educational and career opportunities. It is a tough conflict to face.

Enyur said...

I've seen arranged marriages where the girl married overseas who later came back to Canada as a survivor of an abusive marriage. However, I also have seen marriages overseas that have been very successful! This may sound silly, but I believe it's all about fate and luck. I mean there are certain things that we can control, the rest is kismat.

I've had proposals from Pakistan, and have had to turn them down because I don't know what fate holds for me. However, I do know that accepting a proposal from there means, leaving my job (I can't imagine what it would be like working for the government in a male domininated world! ) I know I want to be able to work even after I get married, but marrying overseas may mean that I may have to give that up. Therefore, that's something I can control. Now if I choose to get married in Pakistan and then run into this problem of how my husband doesn't want me to work because of the work environment there, then I'm also to be held responsible because I chose to accept this proposal.
Marriage is really like gambling I guess, whether it be arranged or love marriage, here or overseas.

Aisha said...

Southern, I only speak the truth :) Your SIL is right though there is a trend to get girls married off young.. in Tampa there is a weird trend of getting them engaged young but letting them marry later. Basically allowing your kids to have kosher boyfriend/girlfriends it seems? This trend just began and I'm curious how many of these engagmeents will result in marriage since the kids are like 16-18 (boys!!!) and at that age you're just pretty fickle. Time will tell. You are right. As I read my post back I thought, Wow these girls were SO YOUNG. Youth probably does have a big factor to play in the divorce rate as well b/c when they got into these marriages they were practically babies. I have also seen older people get married in this way and not be happy but I guess when you're older you have a stronger sense of whats right for you too... so your odds at happiness are higher too...

Enyur, yeah I've seen it both ways but I guess what I saw of the abuse and hadship scared me far far away from such an arrangement myself. There are guys even here that dont want their wives to work, etc. You said it best, marriage is a gamble. There are folks who live together get married and get divorced. Youd think that "unkhi ankhay bilkul khool-ee thee" but even they find out they made a bad a choice for whatever reason. It's all up to God we have to have faith :)

Huda said...

If your experiences are an anomoly, then mine are too because that's exactly what I've seen as well. Guys who import do fine. Girls who import usually end up unhappy or divorce or both.

I think you're right about the gender roles thing; we American girls want more, from both our husbands and our lives, than what's considered the norm for desi women overseas. I also think we've got less tolerance than our counterparts abroad; I've seen bahus put up with things that would have me demanding a divorce. I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing, actually. Maybe we (or at least I) do need to be more accomodating.

And I totally think sixteen is too young to get married, especially for a girl who has been raised here and hasn't lived in a joint family all her life. It's hard to make marriage work when you're still trying to figure out who you are and who you want to be.

TwinTopaz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TwinTopaz said...

a very related article here...

Seabrook Crisps said...

a very good post.

You've picked up that western girls get left by desi boys. There reciprocal is also becoming true here in uk, but only because teh western guy has a gf tucked away somewhere and decides its time to marry her.

Having said that, i know of a few instance where the desi kuri is not teh walkover the wetsern guy thought she'd be, and a few years and a few kids later has found himself kicked out of his hard-earnt house and suddenly paying child care. And then sees his wife call over all her relatives from pak too... Us lot call this kind 'The Kabza Group!'

mezba said...

Aisha, thanx for the trackback.

I do agree with one poster above, 18 for NRDs (non resident desis) is a very young age. I have not seen many marriages at such a young age amongst bengalis here. People are just into college, girls dont know where they want to go, yadda yadda. Most girls (even back home nowadays) marry around 24.

And to tell you the truth, I am surprised these girls, having born and brought up abroad, agreed to get married at such a young age.

You may enjoy this link, a blog by a young British Bangladeshi female author whose parents are looking to get her married. Well written, not stereotypical.

Aisha said...

Huda yeah I know we talked about this before too... and I agree there are things I've seen girls born and raised there that I couldn't deal with either. A part of it could be a compromise problem too though since even in the US we may have to compromise.. I guess its *what* will you compromise and will the man from another culture be willing to compromise as a man compromising is the exception rather than the norm in desi society.

Twin, thanks, i"Ll check i tout :)

It's me, welcome and thanks :) I actually know one girl who did that.. married guy and left him after greencard and married a guy she met in college... but usually tis the other way around. My friends were not left by the men. They left. The yreally didnt have a choice as they were abused and mistreated abhorrently. But you know I've heard about what you speak of... of guys marrying cuz ami said so and a girl on the side. Very sad.

Mezba i dont know if you can relate but in certain cities its so "desi" that you are sucked into a fantasy. Its a result of way too much indian movie watching that many girls think that their lives are unfolding just like this.. guys in pakistan write sweet sappy love letters of love for a cousin they never met and the girl at 16 who is innocent and never dated falls hook line and sinker. This is why they succumb You are right they were very young. But even among older women I see a conflict with intercultural marriages.

Arshad said...

Asalaam alaikum,

That's a really interesting topic, I think it really has to do with culture and the roles each gender perceives of the other. I really do believe people should marry within their own culture, it just makes things more easier to deal with.

You have a nice blog, mashallah.

wasalaam,
Arshad

Aisha said...

Arshad welcome and thanks for your kind words:) Hm, there are different cultures and thus diff expectations but marrying within your own culture... I dont kow if thats the answer either. Parenst want their kids to marry in Pakistan for the exact reason that they want their kids to marry into the same culture. But though they're both of the same genetic makeup the cultures have evolved into slightly different versions. ABCD is a real culture to me. Also, There are mannnnnny people who interculturally marry and are happy such as the peple I listed above... it just seems to be a phenomenon that strikes ABCD girls and Guys from Pakistan. I know Pakistani women married to white American men and are happy, I know Pakistani men married to white American women and happy.... those are different cultures yet they are happy..It seems that THOSE two cultures (the abcd woman and the pakistan man) just dont groove together quite as easily. It's quite puzzling...

opinionatedinjerzee said...

i think those ABCD girls married to pakistani guys cant adjust to the lifestyle in pakistan.. Its not their fault, especially if you lived in the u.s or england and go back to pakistan, it is very hard to adjust.. And the pakistani mentalitly the guys have that grow up there is very different from a guy growing up abroad. I think the guys that married the american girls that you mentioned knew that they are marrying someone from a different background and already had in mind that they will not try to mold them to desi wives.. but the ones who marry their own kind act as if they not only married the girl but bought them or something!

Bongi-Amma said...

Wow, meaty discussion here! I really dont know as to whether the trend owes itself to whether its a guy or girl desi or guy or girl western brought up person. Ive found equal incidences of crashed marriages. More often than not the ones that seem to not work are when the couple are really young when thet get married. I personally dont think MANY people know what they want from life at the age of 18 (as my psychology consultant used to say...they're in LUUUURVE , not LOVE) , add in culture clash, unrealistic expectations, and annoying butting in mothers, and you have a real recipe for disaster!!!

See theres cases where a western brought up guy marries a desi girl, and the girl may be all docile, but the guy may have a gf tucked away (As BBCA mentioned) Or the girl is just using the guy as a ploy to get her entire family across (Happened in my family)

Then again theres the western girl and the desi boy (situation my friend is in) where it seems to "work" in pakistan, but when he comes to england (hes a doctor) hes a total loser cos he has no concept that there is no such thing as a servant, and clothes and dishes gotta be washed by self!!!

I think its really difficult to predict outcomes, and so marriage is one big scary thing!

Oh and the worst is when boy ad girl are getting along fine, and mother of girl inteferes and messes things up, or mother of boy interfere. Tho personally i think mother of girl intefering is the worst and is one of my most hated things about people back home!

all done *breathing again*

wayfarer said...

Aw, such sweet things you said. I do think open mindedness is one factor. My hubby isn't like the other pakistani men i know. For instance, he doesn't expect me to serve guests, we serve guests together, etc. So gender roles aren't so defined with us.

I do think age is something that can cause problems. These girls that marry young may not know what they really want at the time or maybe are caught up in expectations of family.

Interesting though. I often say i want my son to marry young to stay away from sin but perhaps that's not the answer...hmmmm

Hasan the Not-So-Great said...

My mom wants me to marry from overseas but I want a desi girl that was born here so she can relate to me.

Zak said...

Very well written Aisha..I think one has to step back and examine several factors when talking about this..a few points from mine:

1) I've met some "Confused desi" gals who look at a guy from Pakistan as a safe option actually..they have messed about..and now wanna settle down..so they marry someone from Pak..in Pakistan I've seen soething quite different..because of the whole Bollywood influence..more and more guys wanna marry young and the girls wanna marry late..the guys are just looking for that special someone..the girls want to experience life ( an odd reversal of roles)

2) This whole thing about corrupt western influences in my eyes is more about poor parenting IMHO. Yes the West does have many negative influences..but to assume marrying from Pak would remove those is just silly and it's a copout for some parents who can't say no to their brothers and sisters. The argument that Pak girls from the west can't live in Pak is also a copout because many white western girls have successfully lived in Pak. It may be too much for some but it's not impossible.

3) A lot of it has to do with the families socio-economic and ethnic status..I find that those from well educated families in Pakistan or in the West..often end up being outsmarted by the new entries into the family regardless of whether tehy are from pak or not. A friend of mine..guy from Pakistan..a Doctor married a girl over here in England..arranged marriage. Poor guy found out later on that the girl was shacked up with a guy here and thats why she went ahead with the marriage. After the marriage the girl was still seeing the guy and one day ..her bf was drunk and he came back and hit my friend on the head with a hammer..if it had been a bit harder he'd have been dead..or 2 cm lower he'd have lost an eye. He is divorced now but his lifes been shattered, his ex wife has had a child and is trying to claim child support from him ..he is not even sure if the kid is his.

4) There was a survey in Bradford England a few years back and it documented a very high number of cases of Pakistani men who suffer from abuse at the hands of their BBCD wives.

5) A contrast in expectations is another factor..the Pakistani concept of life is based on..more so for women..self sacrifice, fatalism and compromise. When one sees those around them in the West living lives of selffullfillment..off course tehy are gonna be disappointed and blame.

Aisha said...

Amzu- very good point, they know that when they choose to marry a non-desi that they will HAVE to fix their expectations though many of them dont realize that marrying an ABCD just because her skin is different doesnt mean they cant alter their expectations either. Pakistani culture differs from ABCD. Good point :)

Bongi- you are right the age is a big factor. Seems like this gf tucked away phenom is very common in the UK from what I'm reading. AWFUL :( Do they do that only to overseas girls or also to domesitc fellow UK desi girls? And YES that is probably ALSO another factor GOOD POINT Bongi.. that the men are used to having servants, momma etc to take care of business and they're shocked here when a wife demands a little help and no servants to clean up after. And YES in laws know how to stir the pot of tension to the next degree for certain. But I've seen that happen across cultures, so dont know if its just a pakistani-abcd thing or just a "thing"....

Wayfarer I dont know if marrying kids off young is the solution to save them from temptation. Temptation will always be there even after they marry, the best thing we can do is try to raise our kids to be good people and insh'allah give them the confidence and wisdom to make good choices. It would be nice to get them married young to guaruntee they wouldnt do "bad" things but I think that most of the young folks I see marrying are having sad results... It is scary to just raise them and send them off to college praying they remain on the right track but insh'allah with all the love and knowledge you will impart on little dude he will know the right things to do :)

Aisha said...

Hasan- good for you! I think your reason is very valid for marrying a girl here and insh'allah your mom will see your point :) although ahem, yu're a tad young to be getting married I think right? :)

Zak- I am speechless reading your comments. A HAMMER?!? Unbelievable. How sad that there is such a high abuse rate by the hands of desi women inflicting it on their husbands. Thanks for giving me a totally different side to the whole perspective. Bongi also mentioned the whole "get married with a girl/guy on the side" and I guess I have never heard of this happening here in the states but maybe I'm just unaware. Another unrelated sad point... I was talking to my mom today and it turns out that a few of my frinds prents are lying and saying that the bechari girls are still married but waiting for greencards! They are "saving face" for who? These girls are in their mid twenties and this is their chance to remarry etc but their parents are so concerned about "izzat" that they are destroying their children's futures.

rehtwo said...

I, being neither desi (ABCD or otherwise), nor married, have little to say about this. However, it is possible to raise a kid in the West and instill in them decent moral sense...blah blah blah...I was going to blog about that sometime too but I think I have to wait a few days now...

Aisha said...

Why do you have to wait a few days? Exams? Can't wait to read your take on it :)

Dil-E-Nadaan said...

Ah! Great post, something I would love to blog about after exams....I have seen exactly what you have seen, these trends are very real and are echoed in many communities in the West. Interestingly enough, I have notices an opposite side of the story that I can find realistic with my own observations of Pakistan: some Western girls are TOO conservative for Pakistan. Defense and Clifton now days are filled with alcohol, club scenes, marital infidelity; there is not a housework question as many have so many servants to do that - for some girls like me and you, this can be a very disorienting experience. I did not feel like I fitted in at all in Paksitan, and if tomorrow I married someone from that level of society there, I can see myself being very unhappy. We "Western" girls should give ourself more credit, maybe our values are the better ones in some situations. And of course, as mentioned above, age and unrealistic expectations out of marriage has EVERYTHING to do with this problem. Great Post Aisha!

Anisa said...

great post, aisha. i just think some of those overseas marriages fail because they're treated as nothing more than business transactions...

and in america, so many marriages fail because marriage isn't taken seriously enough...

awesome post!

stabani said...

hmm, i really need to post a nice big thing about this. sadly, most of the details I hold are confidential, but I'll tell you this much that I've seen an overall growth in the divorce rates.
Also, I have seen men marry women from overseas. Seen a large majority of them result in divorce...
I have also seen women in America etc. marry men from overseas. again, seen a lot of these result in divorce, and a couple resulting in succesful marraiges. At the same time though, i have seen pakistanis marry pakistanis in the same countries and result in divorces.
The problem, which you highlighted, is really the culture gap. Not only that, a lot of girls don't know what they are getting themselves into when they marry. Pakistani life is a lot different then American life, and girls from America have quite a problem adjusting with Pakistani life. Also, a lot of people simply have a hard time adjusting with their spouses altogether, since family life and life in general have become so different around the world in general. If a guy comes to America to be with his wife than a problem sometimes arrises with the guy feeling "unmanly" which results in some tensions altogether.
that being said, this is all jiberrish.. I need to collect my thoughts. great post though. :-D

Tee said...

I love these types of issues but I can't speak on them with any authority. I think you have excellent evidence to support your theories.

I knew an Indian girl in high school. When we were about 16 her parents introduced her to her future husband. She was so excited and I was excited for her. I found it mysterious and scary... but still, exciting. Just as you said, she'd get these great letters and always be writing letters and gifts, and long phone conversations. She told me he even respected her desire to go to college and would "allow" it. It seemed like a perfect match but I've lost touch. I have no idea how things went. I hope she is happy and healthy.

Anyway - It's my personal opinion that forced arranged marriage is wrong - but if both parties are sincerely wanting to do it - good. (Though one must take in to account, whether they have the "choice" or not, they may not want to dissappoint family.)

I can see how an arranged marriage would work out better than a traditional western marriage if the parents have the sincere best interest of both parties in mind.

If they are doing it just based on looks/skin color, education, family status, economic status, and not taking into account personality, compatibility and cultural differences, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

What is your opinion about how things will change (or not) over the next 40 years. When our more progressive generation becomes parents to teenagers - whether in the US or Pakistan, will arranged marriages fall out of favor?

ASH said...

I don't think it is one thing or another but the whole gamut of issues that plays into each individual case. For one woman it is the fact that she is young and has stars in her eyes, running into a situation where she grows up and finds the world is not always a wonderful place....something we all find out eventually. We just usually aren't married already when we discover it. Or the woman may be very opinionated and gets to Pakistan and finds herself stifled in a conservative family that expects her to "behave". I don't think it is one thing over another, it is the combination and how it plays out for each person.

I have seen enough arranged marriages last and enough disintegrate to know that if people are not happy it doesn't matter if they marry into an Inuit family in the Arctic. I've seen Indian and Pakistani women marry American men and move to the US and their marriages failed too. Usually because the husband didn't make the effort to explain the way things work here, he didn't empower her and instead treated her like an employee.

I guess what I'm saying is that marriages don't last for many reasons, and they last for decades for others. It depends on commitment, age at marriage, temperment, flexibility, etc. It is an evolving story....and that is what makes marriage hard....it never stays constant.

mezba said...

... Its a result of way too much indian movie watching that many girls think ...

I know, it's not funny... but that line cracked me up.

Chai Anyone? said...

aisha - hmm. as one of the women who tried what you are talking about i can speak - but only from my experience - and my experience alone is not in any form meant to be a generalization.

i think the reasons are far beyond something as simple as gender roles. growing up in america in a traditional desi household you get to see how a woman is "supposed" to be in a marriage. you know what is expected of you but there is only so much time in a day. america also exposes you to things such as opportunity and possibility which was not something women from my mom's generation necessarily experienced back home. age also adds to the list of wrongs. as we mature we learn ourselves better, thereby understanding our roles (or those we choose to play). this goes for men and women alike. taking on responsibilites of a husband, then children, then in-laws and putting off all OUR dreams over and over again take a toll on everyone. i can just imagine how down the girl who gave up her dreams to become a lawyer felt when her marriage didn't work out (if she is one of them). it's a shitty scenario to be in and very very difficult to summarize.

Baji said...

Asalaam Alalekum, Aisha. Thank you for the compliment! I really don't have much more to add then what was said. Here is my background and reasoning for my successful marriage- When my hubby and I met, we were older and through with college. I was "old" and he was "young" by Pakistani standards. I was 27 and he was 24. Also, my hubby's parents are very "Westernized" and highly educated, so that had a lot of influence. My hubby gave this a lot of thought before-hand and decided early on that he would not be happy with, nor did he expect a traditional docile, hubby-pleasing- only wife. He was also torn between two worlds having assimilated into American ways at a very early age. Plus, he knew that I would probably be more interested in culture, preserving family and religion because of our differences, rather than similarities. My hubby's parents were against it in the beginning, but in the end, they took the Prophet (PBUH) and his first wive's marraige as an example and knew that they had to support our choices. In the end, they saw outside of the "desi" box and were eventually able to embrace our choice. Finally, my hubby is not the best housekeeper, but he is awesome with everything else. He cooks, pay bills, serves guests, coaches me on my career, calls my Mom and brother, etc. Heck, he even celebrates Christian holidays and has taken my Mom to church. We have both put in 100 percent toward meeting each other halfway. All in all I would have to say it is education, confidence and good upbringing which includes wordly perspectives. I will have to trust that my children will be raised to make good choices. I did not make good choices prior to meeting my hubby, but I am a good person and I will work harder at communicating with my children about good choices, etc. My hubby also had a "girlfriend" prior to me, so he could not hold that against me. We are all human and we continue to make choices good or bad each day Allah allows us to live.

Aisha said...

Nermeen, you are right I have heard that some of us are way to naiive having been born and raised here to survive in the elite circles of Pakistani culture. They have moved past most ABCD's in the US. When I referred to the docile desi wife I meant more the "regular" desi folk since yes the elite definetly travel in different circles perhaps more akin to Paris Hilton than I ever could! :)

Anisa, yes.. some its taken so seriously it fails perhaps and some not seriously enough. Intresting take:)

Stabani I can tell this topic touched you in some way... You are very right about men feeling "unmanly" coming to the states b/c of their wife and a lot of this inferiority leads to them trying to dominate the wife to feel like a man again. I have seen that in QUITE a few girls and it breaks my heart....

Tee, I wonder also about that girl you were friends with. @ the time it seemed so normal didnt it:)I hope things will change.. I think they already are, the concept in the US for MOST desi marriages is evolving to arranged introductions where the girl/guy get to meet hang out, sort of date before they decide to get engaged and marry. This is nic since you dont hav et obeat around the bush and meaninglessy date people, you date ppl who want a committment in the end if things work. Compare that to my mom who found out ONE MONTH after she got engaged that she was getting married. Her sister mentioned it in a by the way fashion one evening "oh yeah you're engaged!" lol imagine!! That ofcourse didnt happen to me. I personally like how my parents did it, I was introduced to Kashif by a mutual friend who thought we'd have a lot in common and we talked and fell for each other and got married... I liked it that way :) But I was curious what your take was on this Tee (if you even come back to read this super duper long comment, lol) since you married someone from a different culture. Do you feel that tug? Your MIL lives with you occassionally too from what I gather so how is that? Do you feel like the difference in culture affects your relationship?

Aisha said...

Ash, yes you are right there are many m any factors and youth is certainly a huge factor in it... and very good point a lot of the ABCD men who marry might be happy but how happy are the docile wives? I've seen quite a few of the desi raised wives doing it all here very much like an employee and it is sad.

Mezba you saying you never seen girls lose it watching Indian movies! telling you that stuff can twist a kid up! lol

Chai anyone, what do you mean you tried what I speak of? Did you go through this kind of situation yourself... I'm so sorry if you did. You said it all very well in your comments as factors that play into this issue. Your comment reminds me of Langston Hughes poem "what happens to a dream deferred" wow. That just gave me chills. How many dreams are deferred amongst desis for the sake of others?

Baji, wow thanks for your input. Very interesting. You are very very fortunate alhamdullliah to have such a wonderful spouse who is your companion in that way. It goes to show that good hearts know no cultural bounds.

=) said...

I have not read all the comments.
When you are 18, maybe you are physically ready but that does not mean you are mentally ready too. There is a huge difference. I have studied in a girls convent and right nw i am in a girls college with minimum interaction with boys. If i get married right now, i will prolly end up committing suicide coz' mentally i am not ready.
This expl. might sound stupid but this can be one of the reasons.
A friend from school and a girl in college got married early at around 18, they were from some royal family and both the cases, husbands were atleast 10 years elder to them. It is just impossible for me to think straight over here.

Chai Anyone? said...

aisha - what i meant was that i was married. nothing to be sorry about - it all worked out for the best.

How many dreams are deferred amongst desis for the sake of others?

That is a true problem. The desi mentality of "sacrifice if you love" really really sucks. cuz no one is truly happy sacrificing everything they are to make others happy. you see examples of that every single day in your own lives. and everyone looks to the other for some kind of solace for their decision to sacrifice. its as if others are completely in control of your life. they feel this need for approval and a sense of chaos and out of control constantly. hmm. if only ppl could learn that ppl can only do to you what you let them, accept the responsibility that goes with that - meaning that although you give it all you can the outcome is not always in your control and most of the time it just doesnt work out, and walk away. knowing that it is better to have tried than to have given up.

Bedouin of the Sands said...

My oldest sister's husband is american born and she is as desi as can be.Instead of pakistan we lived in dubai.

Tee said...

I always come back to read the comments (that's half the fun at your blog with the discussions that go on!) And the super duper long ones are my favoritest ;) LOL.

As for marrying outside my culture and what affect it has on the marriage - that would be the longest comment ever. LOL. What questions do you have specifically? As far as arranged marriage, that is not a part of their culture at all.

Aisha said...

=) Very good point. Thats a lot to take mentally for a young person.

Chai you have no idea how much rspect i have for you that you had the strength to walk away. I know so many women who feel they have no control but THEY DO. It drives me insane how they passively just sit thre and let their husbands wak all over them silently. I have told one of my friends, just stand up for yourself. Say what you feel and not "jee jee... theek hain.. maaj kur do" b/c how will he learn that he can't do what he does? But I honestly feel that some women have a martyr complex where the mor they are "abused" the better they are or something weird like that. Does that make sense to you?

Bedouin and how has that worked out?

Tee, I guess I've seen a lot of american raised hispanic girls who married men from Puerto Rico, Columbia, etc. and they said that they hda to deal with their expectations of gender roles too, and the whole machismo thing that desi men do, hispanic men do too according to them. The whole "be nice to my mamma cuz she made me" mentality that makes you subservient to her in desi culture I heard can be there in hispanic cultur too so i was curious if thos tugs were still there.

Tee said...

Aisha, really I imagine it depends on the individual, but I would say in general, Hispanic men tend to be traditional.

The interesting thing about Carlos is that even though some American women would be horrified at his inability to even pour himself a simple drink - he's a clean freak and won't think twice to pull the vaccuum out or fold the laundry I left piled on the bed.

As far as mothers, Carlos has literally said to me, "She's my mother. She's the one that gave me life." ... I nearly threw up. LOL. He acted like she was the Virgin Mary herself or something. I'm all for loving and respecting your mother but the whole "gave me life" thing is making it out to be like she gave you the ultimate gift. No. She got pregnant because she wanted a baby. God gave you life. Know what I mean?

I am sure that any second generation American from any culture, be it Pakistani, Korean, Mexican, whatever - will have very different ideals when it comes to marriage than someone from their parent's home country.

Whether they want it to be true or not, they are first and foremost American. Wherever you are raised, the culture will seep into who you are fundamentaly, as a person.

Chai Anyone? said...

aisha - But I honestly feel that some women have a martyr complex where the mor they are "abused" the better they are or something weird like that. Does that make sense to you?

yes it absolutely does. as a matter of fact i read it in one of my favorite author's books (paulo coehlo). he put it absolutely perfectly. he said that we develop this mentality thanks to religion and all the sacrifices projected that sacrifice is essential, good, noble and noteworthy. we think that we are not allowed to be free, happy, unburdened. and unfortunately it is a global epidemic. everyone wants to be good, irrespective of what religion they follow. being good = sacrifice. and since true happiness lies in thinking about urself ur automatically being selfish and bad. that's where all the "martyr syndrome" mentality comes from.

with that said, i am in no way implying that everyone must now go out and just think about themselves and no one else. cuz there is no true happiness in that either. humans contact in the form of companionship, friendship, lovers, parents, etc is a necessity for healthy survival (totally different very long conversation). i find it truly pathetic when ppl have a few bad experiences and write off the world. "yea, shit happens, ppl fuck up, make mistakes, you get hurt." and what?? you go thru life from that point on crucifying everyone who comes in?? and end up lonely and miserable at 40??

there is a balance. and attaining that balance makes you wiser, stronger and in essence - happier.

Aisha said...

Tee- AWESOME I'm going to share that with my mom about the whole "she gave me life" thing lol. Pakistani men have that too. My mother gave me life blah blah. She didn't create you, God did. She did give birth to you and she loved you and raised you, but YOU are a mother too and if a mother is truly worthy of awe inspriing stop you in your tracks type of respect than the mother of your children deserves that too. I dont mean to say that Carlos doesnt respect you i'm speaking generally. There's a saying in islamic culture "jannat (heaven) is at the feet of the mother" and men use this to guilt their wives into not complaining about their MIL's all the while forgetting that if that is so then the mother of their children deserve euqal respect.

Chai- hm that's a good point, a lot of times people advise (at least desi girls) on the basis of religion like its okay in the next life things will be easier. But I believe God wants us to live our lives well here too.... By the way I LOVE PAUL COELHO he's my all time fave and kinda a reason I'm going to Brazil to see the city he writes about so movingly in some of his books. By the way what you say about people who have a few bad experiences and write off the world, have you read his book "The Alchemist" I found it so powerful in that book when he was swindled by a man he thought he could trust who took all the money he painstakingly saved and when it happened he pondered about the different options he had. He could choose to shut off the world and trust no one. He could choose to accept it and move and not close his heart just be mroe careful and the latter is what he decided to do. Great story I thought. It's based on a Rumi poem but he expanded it into a novel nicely.

Tee said...

Aisha - Absolutly!

Chai Anyone? said...

aisha - the alchemist was my introduction to coehlo. i have gone on to read every one of his books and prolly will do so life long. except valkyries/valkyires - bought it but couldnt get it. and that is exactly what i mean when i say there is a choice at every instance in life - either believe or not, either hope or not. lovely books. whats the name of the rumi poem?

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