I met my husband when I was 19 and we dated for about a year before he actually bought the ring and we set a date. Now, dating someone for a year in Bosnia wouldn’t have been all that big of a deal, but here within the little “gossip-town” Bosnian community of Chicago it was the talk of the town for the whole year. I wasn’t the only one to date from the Bosnian community, all of us dated, but what I didn’t do was lie to my parents about it or hide it from anyone.
As far as my upbringing goes, my father was liberal compared to the rest of the community. That does not mean that I was allowed to do whatever I wanted and as a matter of fact, I wasn’t allowed to go out until I was almost 17, not even to a movie.
When I did start going out, I went to juice clubs, concerts and parties. My parents always knew where I was and who I was with and if I was dating anyone, they knew. There were no secrets. There were rules which I abided by and you can ask any of the other girls from my community that I grew up with – I did the least experimenting out of all of us.
We often discuss this matter amongst ourselves as my upbringing was the most liberal, yet I turned out to be (by all of our parents measure of good) the perfect daughter. I think what made me be that “perfect daughter” was that I had their trust. They felt that I was able to make wise choices and I therefore made wise choices in order to not dissapoint them. I would do nothing to betray their trust as there was absolutely no reason to betray it. They had allowed me more freedom than most of my non-Muslim friends had.
Besides, the one time that my parents asked me “to just meet the guy” as his mother had follwed my mother around at an ISNA (I had allready recieved a couple of proposals and spent the remainder of the convention locked in the hotel room and made that my last ISNA convention) convention for the most part of the day and they couldn’t shake her, I was on my own in regards to marriage. There was one rule and one rule only – he had to be Muslim. Nothing else mattered to them, he didn’t even have to be Bosnian and he could be a convert but he had to be a Muslim.
Anyway, my husband and I married almost 17 years ago now. We found each other. We dated for a while, initially without the intention of marriage (what I am saying is that I wasn’t looking for a husband and he was not looking for a wife). We fell in love. We announced our engagement with a Mevlud (the last one I have done) and were married almost three months later.
Now, I should mention that I used to have a little checklist of requirements of what I wanted in a husband and when I dated Bosnian guys, they had to fit in that criterion. I figured that while I couldn’t plan falling in love, I could control the outcome. It was silly little things, like I didn’t want his parents to be divorced. I didn’t want spousal abuse to be a part of his family history. I wanted him to have his own house, you know little things like that. When I met my husband, I didn’t pull out that list. The reason was that he wasn’t my type. Sure, he was very intelligent and in that regard he certainly was my type as that was most important to me. He was very attractive and he knew it – and that is where the problem was. This wasn’t going to last in my mind. Obviously destiny had other plans for us.
So while I did not end up in an arranged marriage I feel that I can make some statements in regards to objectification within the scheme of arranged marriages and when I saw this over at Haleem’s blog, I burst out laughing:
Look, I want to give you sincere advice, not from a religious perspective, but from the perspective of a female that has some respect for herself. I hate the way you talk about women, even in jest. You objectify women in a way that I wouldn’t have thought a self-respecting Muslim man could. You judge all these women so superficially – and you know, if you want to do that, go ahead, but don’t make it public like this, it’s honestly hurtful.
I love Haleem’s blog. I love reading about this guy’s quest for the perfect bride and even though I still don’t quite understand the appeal of arranged marriages, I think Haleem’s blog actually gives me a glimpse into this world and I don’t think it is so bad. I think Haleem is actually getting to know these girls and he while he admits every once in a while that he is drawn to those long batting eyelashes, a person can appreciate that Haleem wants more than just the pretty girl. I find that admirable. Haleem objectifying women? Yeah he does and I find it humorous.
So why am I not gung-ho offended by it? Well, my friends, because in the circumstances that Haleem finds himself, Haleem is just as objectified as the girl.
How? Just as Haleem is thinking ““Well, uncle, coz I wanna GET LAID. And quickly too. In a halal way of course.” when asked why he is looking to get married, some Haleema is out there possibly thinking the same thing, but she is most definately scouring his resume wondering if he will make enough money to buy her that Mercedes S class and a square footage home to put her cousins home to shame.
The object of arranged marriages is the aquisition of a spouse and the process of aquisition within such circumstances has needs that need to be met. The marriage comes out of want of a spouse or necessity, but it does not usually come out of desire to spend the rest of ones life with their Galbi. They are both objectified. Each would be spouse is looking for something from the other. They wash each other out. Wonderful how equality works at times, isn’t it?
Now, I think that Haleem and his crowd really need to read this if they really think that old-school ways the way to go. I was amazed when I read it – I always thought that the arranged marriage was a true and tried method, what a shocker.