Sociology of marriages in Pakistan

Sociology of marriages in Pakistan


Marriage isn’t all fun and games; it is something that takes you away from all the things you love. It’s better for boys; their lives pretty much stay the same. But for girls, your entire life will change. Since then I began to observe our society. I observed married people and their actions. As a student of psychology, I analyzed their verbal and non-verbal cues, signs of distress, facial expressions and body language.

Before marriage, many factors are considered when deciding on an agreement. Such factors can be age, career, health, looks and the likes. Not all people are grateful to have a person that is happily willing to marry them and spend their lives with. They seek more, and in that more they see the frame of details the person has to come with.

Age is a factor that can change the way marriages work. And late marriages are often a chord of contention in our society, for both genders.

Let’s start off with men. Men that end up marrying late probably can be justified, as men are considered to be the ‘breadwinner’ for the family. With the economic state throughout the world, especially in Pakistan, it is not easy to settle down with a good income, unless you are born with a silver spoon.

Men usually work up to a stage where they want to satisfy themselves to the point where they think they can provide a good life for their family. But, in such cases, as they delay the time of their marriage, it becomes difficult for them to find a good girl. (Except if they end up with a greedy girl or family).

Since they have matured even to a greater age, they also wish to seek such maturity in their partner. Again, at this point where they seek maturity, they also wish that they get a trophy wife who is good looking and young, which isn’t entirely possible. Thus, for men, late marriages become a hassle on their own for them.

Women, on the other hand, face a whole different lot of issues with late marriages. In our society, the younger the girl, the prettier she is, the better she can be carved out for the perfect piece to fit in the family.

This may be harsh and brutal, but I will not stand to deny this mentality that exists. People ignore that women can also face problems like men and have several justified reasons for not getting married at an early age.

Apart from weight and skin color, things like a woman being too educated and working were a problem.

Finding the right person to get married is important since it means getting into a lifelong commitment no one can afford to mess up. But in our society while women face pressure to get married, there are several other societal norms they are subjected to, be it body image or their skin color.

Several ridiculous for prospective brides can often be seen in matrimonial columns in India, and now women from Pakistan are sharing their plight which is not much different from the situation on this side of the border. Twitter was abuzz with Pakistani girls describing the most absurd reasons for which they were rejected.

There are households which have no sons and may have a retired or handicapped father who cannot provide for the family. So, the daughter rises to take care of the needs for her family. As she continues to do that for years, she does not feel obliged to be married off as she considers her first priority to put food on the table for her family.

But, our society does not give recognition to this and instead degrades such lifestyle as women are only bred to be married off. Other situations can be about a girl’s look, weight or any other such problem which causes mayhem for her – because a girl needs to be perfect for the wedding, even if the guy is not.

I ask my readers, is this not discrimination?

I would also like to shed light on how society questions the girl very easily on the fact that she hasn’t been married, and becomes the talk of town which is not only immoral but disgraceful.

Our society needs to understand that picking on unmarried spinsters is ethically incorrect.

I agree that marriages should not happen so late, especially for women, in terms of their health-related issues – but to use other degrading reasons to malign their character is just wrong. There is a match for everyone in this world, and marriage is something that should take place at the right time and place; it just takes a better heart than an eye to see this.

First of all, not all married couples have problems big enough which can’t be solved. Most couples remain happily married till their death, see examples from your families. Divorce rate is also very low compared to western and neighbor countries.

Yes, exceptions are there but you can’t generalize it. Pakistan has different classes (social and financially) so are the problems. I believe if the issues or problems are too big which can’t be solved then we have option for separation permanently even in our religion though not preferred. But I have seen many people who got divorced and found perfect love partner in form of second marriage etc.

So, I must say biggest problem is that we always look at the darker side and as Alexander Graham Bell said “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened”

Before you wrinkle your eyebrows in a ‘holier-than-thou’ frown and judge my very existence, let me assure you that this blog is not a preaching of what you should or should not do. This blog is based on mere observations of human relationships and a concept that defines our lives in so many ways – shaadi (marriage). You cannot generalize the answer on all the married couples.

Today in our times, however, this institution has lost its sacredness because people stopped respecting the bond itself. It became a ritual performed because ‘we have to’. Parents took it upon themselves to get their children married to the most suitable partners. Consumerism increased the need of more rituals, a need to display the union to the world along with a desire to compete, boast and beat others at it. Shaadi no longer means marriage, it means wedding.

The generations before ours (our parents, grandparents, etc.) had a different meaning of relationships than we do. For them, it was all about compromise and fixing things. They are the kind of couples who go through hell and still stick together. I’m sorry but I don’t think our generation has what it takes to tolerate and be with each other through thick and thin. The rising divorce rates back up this argument.

We, the youth, are conditioned to be independent and free thinkers. What we read, learn and watch (through the media) has evolved us into accepting individualism. We rebel against the system, question norms and think out of the box – that is what our generation is. There is nothing wrong with these qualities but perhaps it is these qualities that cause problems in relationships.

When both the partners are so opinionated and do not have the ability to compromise or sacrifice their own needs and wants for the other, then how is a relationship supposed to work?

They call us the resilient generation, well resilience also counts for our ability to move on and bounce back when a relationship ends, so perhaps that’s why we don’t try to fix relationships and work on them the way our parent or grandparents did.

Divorce is no longer taboo; if we can’t stand someone anymore, we leave or think of leaving.

Our society is extremely sexist to BOTH the genders, especially when it comes to marriage. Not only does a girl have to leave her home, her room, her parents and her freedom to move in with her husband, she also has a constant psychological ‘tick-tock’ on her head since the day she turns 20.

Trust me, this tick-tock is a constant nuisance hanging over heads. There is so much that I want to do with my life. I want to study, work, build a career, travel the world, and write a book! To this argument, I am told by everyone,

“So, no one is stopping you. You can do all of this after your shaadi.”

Agreed that you can study after marriage and work post-shaadi but what about the other things?

Will my husband have the patience to let me be locked in my room writing for most of the day? Will he be fine if I want to focus on my career for five years and not have children?

And boys don’t have it too easy either.

While a boy gets to live in his own home with his parents after shaadi (lucky son of a gun), he also faces the constant tick-tock. He is told he has to complete his entire education, build his career and get settled at least by mid or late 20s so that he can ‘afford’ to have a wife and family. I really don’t think that’s fair. The pressure of getting the best job and high-figure salary can be really stressful.

What if he wants to become an artist or travel, things that won’t get him the money he needs. What about his dreams?

Marriage is a full-stop to our dreams. They say we can pursue them after shaadi but who are we kidding?

During the pre-nuptial period, everyone is on their best behavior. Not just the couple but the families of both treat each other like royals. It is all about gifts, wedding preparations and impressing each other.

It is only after the shaadi that everyone becomes comfortable with each other and reveals their true selves. Mother-in-laws, who before the wedding sang praises of how perfect their bahus (daughter-in-laws) are, begin to mentally make a list of all the things their bahu does wrong and how awful she is. The bahu suddenly sits, walks, cooks and breathes in the wrong way.

For the bahu, she begins to see her mother-in-law as nothing less than Cruella De Vil.

Every single person in both families feels responsible and overly concerned about the couple and their relationship. They become mediators and judges even though no one asks them too.

The boy and girl gradually begin to change into constantly irritable, annoyed and ‘bezaar’ (fed up) human beings. Stress levels increase, tempers boil and each day, the ability to tolerate each other reduces.

There are so many couples getting divorced (many who were deeply in love with each other), people cheating, families turning against each other, children fighting with parents, people ending relationships in a blink of an eye.

I have heard of ‘khalas’ (maternal aunts) turned mother-in-laws, physically abusing the ‘bahu’. I have heard of a man throwing his wife out on the street a week after their love marriage. I have heard of in-laws kicking the girl out because she couldn’t produce a son and what not.

There are few people who are just lucky enough to reach the desired, ideal milestone a little earlier than some, while others are unfortunate to never reach it ever. However, marriages are never an easy achievement, as they require two eligible people who willingly want to spend the rest of their lives together under one roof.


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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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