I have been exposed to different types of people and have experienced a plethora of situations that someone raised and brought up in Pakistan might not have. Therefore, you can imagine why marrying a Pakistani man – someone who has lived thirty years of his life in Pakistan – has not been a stroll in the park.
Being raised and brought up in the United States, I have been through life a little differently than my counterparts in Pakistan.
This does not mean marrying someone from the United States would have been any easier, since every relationship has its ups and downs, but these are just the differences we have and have to face almost every single day.
Shalwar Kameez vs Western Clothing
Before you start thinking my gem of a husband forces me to wear shalwar kameez, you are absolutely wrong. It is actually quite the opposite. It is instilled in me as to what type of occasion calls for which outfit. Thus, when my husband urges me to wear jeans and a t-shirt around his family, it makes me uncomfortable. I have always been taught to wear a dupatta around my elders and family, so his action of wanting me to feel comfortable in what I wear does not equate to me wearing western clothes everywhere I go.
Lambay baal larkion pey achay lagtay hai.
Up until two years ago, I had long hair for as long as I can remember. Then one day I chopped them off. It felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders – figuratively and literally. I felt like a boss. That is, until a few days later, when I began to miss my long hair. After that, I prayed for my hair to grow back. I might have even ordered tons of extensions to repair the damage, but I was not happy until it all grew back.
Just a few days ago, I was looking through my old pictures and brought up cutting my hair short again. My husband wanted to have nothing to do with that conversation. He simply stated, “Lambay baal larkion pey achay lagtay hai,” and simply walked away. That might have more to do with his personal desires, but background does play a part in why he thinks that way.
Extending the family bloodline.
Many people in Pakistan are spoon-fed the “phat maangi, phat vaya, phat bachay,” ideology. I cannot blame my husband for wanting kids right after shaadi, because there is pressure from his parents to extend the family bloodline. On top of that both of our bhaabis had children within the first two years of marriage. His perspective on this topic has changed since he now understands life in the United States is a bit more complicated than he might have thought and that I am a little too young right now to take care of myself and another entity.
Work vs family time
While a majority of women in Pakistan are taught to focus on family life and give their husbands undivided attention, it doesn’t always work that way. My husband understands that my career is demanding and that it is very important to me. This often means working overtime almost every day.
There are days when he simply misses seeing my face and asks me to come home early to spend time with him, which is impossible at this point in my career. The progressive change in people’s thinking regarding women in the workplace in Pakistan helps him to understand there are other things besides family and housework.
Daily phone calls
I love my in-laws and hold no hostility for them. My problem is this invention called the cell phone. I would 9.99 times out of 10 prefer to catch up in person and have a meaningful conversation than long-distance phone calls where there are connection problems most of the time.
Since my husband talks to his parents in Pakistan on a daily basis, I am encouraged to speak to them that often as well, which is something I do not enjoy. It has nothing to do with my in-laws. It has everything to do with these annoying connection problems.
Dadi ki behaan ki dost ki parosi ki chachi hoon main ab.
Stop making me someone’s chachi, mami, apa, baji, etc. I am Maliha.
Being nagged about personal choices – like how much makeup I wish to apply
Men, in general, cannot handle the confidence in a woman that comes with wearing makeup. Therefore, it’s expected when they make comments like, “Yeh moun pey kya tatti lagai wi hai?” or “Atay ki bori mai moun dala tha?”
It’s annoying, and I guess they’ll never get it.
Sonay ke zevar.
I cannot remember the last time I wore jewelry let alone expensive, gold jewelry because chances are I will lose it. Then World War III will take place, because I lost his nani’s shaadi ka necklace, which is the last thing he had of hers. How about not asking me to wear gold ki jewelry next time we are going somewhere?
After Nikkah everything is allowed and appropriate. While I have never asked my husband to have a make-out session in the middle of a mall, he shies away at even the slightest forms of PDA. Like come on, do not walk five feet away from me like you are my bodyguard.
The whole, “shaadi ke baad karlena” concept is a lie
I have waited all of my life to be able to freely go wherever I want without the million questions that come along with that. So now that I am married, I should be able to do that, right? Wrong. Since he cares a little too much about what my parents will think if we stay out a minute past 9:30 pm, our date nights often end abruptly with him rushing to get home at an “appropriate” time. So next time your parents say shaadi ke baad jo marzi karlena, do not believe them.
Everyone’s married life is different, and it is natural for two human beings to have their own respective opinions. These are just the post-marriage experiences that I thought were worth sharing.
Cover image via healthbeauty.in