The third post in the series about forced marriages shows what an impact it can have on those who are forced.
Forced marriages. Such a ugly thing. And parents need to know the damaging effect it can, no actually WILL have on their children and the relationship between parent and child. If by some miracle the marriage does work, then it won’t always be all sweetness and light and everything is hunky dory. The damage is internal. In the heart, mind and soul of the person who is forced to marry.
My story is that my parents had agreed to my marriage for a number of years before I even knew. So when the time came for the wedding to happen, if I said no then it would bring shame upon them as the other party thought that I was aware of the ‘engagement’ and were happy about it all. Not really my problem I hear you say. But when you are brought up to respect your parents and your parents have already been through so much with their other children then it get’s slightly difficult to go against them. And I guess I just wasn’t strong enough to walk away and potentially be disowned.
I guess I was lucky in that I was not physically forced. It could have been a completely different story if they were physically abusive as I don’t think I would have stood for that. It was more emotional abuse. The silent treatment,then the screaming and shouting, the swearing. The ‘lets be nice’ approach instead. And then the complete emotional blackmail, tears and what it would do to them if I didn’t agree with it. What could I do? I had no support from my siblings, they had their own issues. And it was basically go ahead with it or be disowned. So I went ahead with it. Thinking it would be relatively easy to divorce in the UK if he turned out to be a complete div.
photo credit: hamidijaz via photopin cc
Once of the issues that makes it difficult with arranged marriages is that alot of them are done ‘back home’. This leads to a number of issues, including language. My first language is English. Although I can speak my ‘home’ language, I’m not at that comfort level where I can have a deep and meaningful conversation with my husband. The other issue basically is being brought up in different environments means we have different thoughts and processes. Different ideas on marriage and bringing up children.
Being forced to marry had more of an effect on me than I realised. I was bitter without knowing it. Any argument with my husband and I would sit there thinking that I had never wanted to marry him anyway and daydreaming about what my life could have been like if I had had the courage to walk away from my family when they were marrying me off. Picking minor faults just because I hadn’t chosen him as a husband; it was like I was purposefully looking for the bad in him and still do.
And ultimately my relationship with my parents suffered. On the surface it looks like things are fine. But the cracks are there and the cracks continue to grow. They may try to give me advice and I immediately think they are trying to control my life. They suggest I do something and I will do the opposite because I don’t want them telling me what to do, forcing me to marry was enough.
The pain and hurt always stays with you. The thought that their honour was more important than their child’s happiness; that they were willing to be emotionally abusive to get what they wanted. And then once the marriage happens you are told not to bother them with any issues as it is no longer their problem.
Parents really need to think twice before doing this. Is a forced marriage really worth the heartache? Is it worth losing your child’s love and respect? And for the Muslim parents out there the practice isn’t even Islamic so in effect they are sinning for doing this.
We need to work together to wipe this out and save future generations from suffering with forced marriages.
If you would like to share your story with us then please do not hesitate to contact me in the strictest of confidence
This series of posts is breaking my heart, I cannot imagine how awful it must be to be put in that position and to live a life with someone who you feel nothing for.
I sincerely hope that it is something that stops very soon.
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I admire you so much for having the bravery to write this, it can’t have been easy.
I simply do not know what to comment. It breaks my heart that people are still forced into a marriage and have no choice over who they want to be with.
It is great you are able to talk about your experiences to help others in the same situation. Although I don’t know much about it, from what I have seen and heard it is a very outdated tradition and one that definitely needs to be abolished.
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I wish you peace, in whatever form it comes to you. I am glad that you haven’t experienced any physical abuse, and I hope that is the case, based on what I am reading. I didn’t realise that to do this wasn’t compulsory to the faith. I guess with so many cultures, things are done as a way of life, for tradition.
This series of posts highlights so well the problems of forced marriage. I hope some people may learn from them, or at least gain comfort if they are already in this situation.
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It is truly awful that this still goes on x
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Wow, what a scary and shocking experience, I am so glad there was no physical abuse. I cannot imagine my parents choosing my husband for me
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It must be really hard to sit down to write such a heartfelt post, my heart goes out to you xx
Wow, that must have been so hard to write but what an insight it provides. Such a powerful piece of writing.
A powerful post that speaks volumes. Thank you for giving us insight of another life.
Wow, such an honest piece and I really admire your courage, so powerful and refreshing to hear you say these things x
It really is a heart-breaking series… It’s so sad that these things happen nowadays, even in the Western countries. It’s sad that the parents don’t take their child’s happiness into account. It’s sad, that they effectively wrong-do themselves, doing what’s not Islamic. Not many women would openly speak about their experience, I have a great respect for you. The only “positive” thing is that you didn’t experience physical abuse, but sometimes the psychological one is even worse… May Allah bring you peace and comfort x
I find these posts so interesting, but also worrying. I love that you said div in this post!
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My dear friend endured the same experience and suffered immensly.
Today after her divorce she is still suffering.
It’s heartbreaking to think that any parent would force their child into a marriage that they do not wish to partake in
Oh my goodness, how strong you are. I had a friend at law school who left for Summer holidays and came back married, she was not happy and was told by her husband that she had to drop out. It was awful seeing her so conflicted and broken.
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Thank yu for sharing your story. It’s heartbreaking to even imagine it. But it’s important to talk about it and to show how hard it can be, for the person forced, the person on the other side and the family ties in general, half broken forever.
Many people keep believing it’s the best way for their kids to be happy, like they know what is good or not for them. But testimonies show that it’s not true and that people suffer a lot.
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I cannot believe that this still goes on in this day and age. There is no way i would want my parents picking my future spouse.
it’s horrendous this sort of thing is still going on, lots of love to you and thank you for writing about it x
I admire your honesty, courage & strength for sharing this with us. Hope you find some peace & happiness xx
Assalam O Alaikum Foz. Totally love this series. So proud to see that somebody had the courage to touch an almost taboo topic. Jazakillah u Khairan Katheeran for sharing with us your personal dilemma so openly. It must have been difficult! Yet, this is so important! How families are ruined because of forced marriages, is something parents must consider before marrying off their children. May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala put barakah in the marriages of all of us. Aameen!
Wa alaikum asalaam.
Yes I did debate whether to post this on a public blog but thought it needs to be talked about.
Ameen to your dua