‘I must not cry, I must not cry, I must not cry’…. 10:53pm – 5th August, those were the words running through my mind. This was the day I got married and my life was no longer going to be the same.
Pakistani (and most Asian) wedding are very different to English weddings. There are a lot of strict traditions, and the wedding can last up to 2 weeks. Normally a weeks worth of singing and dancing, known as a Dholki, which is kept at both brides and grooms maternal homes, followed by a Mehndi which happens a couple days before the big day. Next is the Nikkah which is known as the Muslim Islamic wedding and is normally near the brides home, she is then sent off with the groom on the same day. Finally a Valima which a party from the grooms side to welcome the bride into his family, normally a day (some do it a week) after the Nikkah. A wedding can easily set you back £45,000 min. Dresses can range from £1,500 to £4,000 or more. Make-up, hair and jewellery, venue, food, dj, everything which an English wedding would probably have too.
I didn’t want all of these functions – just one day – a day to celebrate me getting married with all my loved ones – it was a personal preference which both I and the other half wanted. We set a date to the 5th August.
Referring back to the quote in the beginning, the night came to an end and my parents were about to send me off and I kept thinking, ‘am I never going to see my parents again?’ sheer panic. I started crying and hugging my mum and dad. I couldn’t care less that 100 people were staring at me or that my eyelashes were probably half way on my face.
I got into the car with the husband, and saw my parents standing outside, crying, waving me off – and it hit me. Life will never be the same again.
Pakistani culture, (or maybe just my family) has nurtured me and kept me safe from everything. Living with parents and not having to worry about day to day things like bills, rent, savings. Knowing that I’m coming home to 5 crazy but funny people. No matter what time of day/night someone will always be up for a chat. Waking up crazy night time phone calls from Pakistan because they have no idea we’re 5 hours behind them…all these things and more. I never really appreciated till now.
I loved my upbringing and without it I wouldn’t be who I am, however I have found it so hard to live away from my family, and not because of bills or the other things I’ve mentioned But I miss my family. Growing up in a joint family, and going to being just two is really difficult to deal with in your mid-20’s.
I didn’t think it would be as hard as it is, I’ve lived on my own abroad for a month, abroad always feels surreal though doesn’t it? In the back of my mind, I would know that I was going to go back home. Now I know, that I can’t go back the way I used to, I can’t cosy up in my own bed like I used to… I have responsibilities now.
I married an awesome guy, who is probably going through the same feelings as me, he too has moved out of his family home. It makes me wonder – why doesn’t Asian culture allow a couple to live together so they can adapt to the new life style before the wedding. Wouldn’t it help young Asian couples to spend more than just 8hours at a time with their other half so they can get to know them a bit better?
I am a modern Muslim, living in England trying to follow Pakistani culture and I do understand why there is a stigma that a man and woman can’t live together before they’re married – however if a Nikkah was to be done before – a quiet event between two people, they then move in together and adjust to their new life – and then have their party, wouldn’t that make life a lot easier? I just can’t help and think, if we adapt to English culture, why can’t society accept this? This is all hindsight, food for thought and abit (a lot) of waffle.
Being a newly-wed and having to deal with the feelings that I have atm has had an adverse effect on our marriage. Like I said, Mr is awesome and super understanding. So when I have my moments he knows I’m trying to adjust. But I wish the restriction on Asian culture were removed.
I put it out there to YOU. What do you think? Should a Muslim couple be allowed to live together before having their ‘wedding’ (note I say wedding, and not the marriage as marriage can be a small Nikkah with two people as witnesses and wedding is more like the Valima which is the party.)