When you hear about forced marriages, the focus is pretty much always on the person who is actually being forced to marry. Sometimes we forget that there is another victim; the other partner who may not actually be being forced to marry and has no idea that their future spouse is not happy.
Being forced to marry effects you emotionally, and you won’t necessarily bond with your spouse, making married life very difficult. I would like to say a big thank you to the latest sister who has shared her story for my forced marriages series. Thank you for making us think of the bigger picture.
Forced marriages are more complicated and heart breaking than we think. I’m going to talk about a victim of a forced marriage who actually wasn’t the one that was forced to marry but she was the one someone was forced to marry. Confused? Read on.
Usually when we hear about forced marriages, we think lots of girls who have been married off without their consent. But there exists a form of forced marriage in the Asian community which we don’t know much about. And that is when a son is asked to get married according to his parents likes/dislikes. It’s a known fact, sons usually get what they want so the idea of them being forced to do something comes across silly. But it happens. And I’m living in a marriage where my husband was, according to him forced to marry me. He didn’t want to marry within his own community but that’s what his family wanted. Right after we got married he told me he was forced stated that I couldn’t expect any form of happiness from him because his heart isn’t in the marriage.
I on the other hand came into the marriage thinking I’m doing it the right way by having an arranged marriage, someone my parents have picked and was looking forward to starting a new life. But this was not to be the case.
I was emotionally and financially neglected in my marriage. He told me he behaved in this manner to make me end the marriage and leave him. It caused me much heartache but I didn’t want to give up and thought I should stick by it in hope of something good.
But the truth is no matter how much happiness you think you’ll gain over time and through acceptance, it just doesn’t happen.
The fact that my husband never wanted to marry me is something that lingers in our lives. Over 7 years together and I think we’ve only learnt to live together rather than want or desire. It’s made me a very bitter person. Although my husband now tells me he has changed his view point but I find it extremely difficult to accept it and relate all that goes wrong in our marriage to the fact that he never wanted me.
It can seem like I’m not letting go, but these things affect people in ways more than what meets the eye.
I blame the lack of Islamic understanding in peoples lives the reason for forced marriages to take place. Islam is completely against such behaviour and views marriage as a back bone for a healthy society that produces loving children who grow up to be obedient slaves. And all this is affected in the long run when people take the steps of forcing someone to get married. They just don’t realise to what extent it affects a person and their whole future. I tried to do the sensible thing and didn’t end my marriage but now I’m living with the consequences of a broken heart and a very insecure mind. Even now I stay awake at night sometimes wondering if I could turn back the clocks I would marry someone else. This kind of thinking is not unhealthy but unIslamic but I feel the cause of it is because someone didn’t think what forcing a marriage would do.
My plea to all reading this, when you get married please do find out exactly what the other person wants. And to those that think it’s ok to convince someone to marry a person they don’t want to: NO, IT’S NOT O.K!
You ruin more than one life and in a forced marriage there are more victims than we think.
If you would like to participate in my series and share your story then please feel free to contact me in the strictest of confidence