Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Need for Marriage

This post comes in response to some discussion on marriage in the blogger world, as well as various conversations I've had recently.

One of the statements I need to talk about is: "men need to get married because of raging hormones."

An argument I often hear about the difference between men and women when it comes to their need for marriage is that men need it for sexual purposes, and women need it for emotional purposes. This is an exasperating and incorrect viewpoint. On the one hand, it denies a woman's physical needs and thus makes a woman feel unnatural when she has those desires. On the other hand, it also negates the possibility that a male has emotional needs which can be satisfied through marriage. A man who exhibits emotional behaviour is thought to be effeminate or unmanly.

Furthermore, I think this argument is debasing for men. They are made out to be these uncontrollable sex machines. And not that I'm a big fan of men anyways, but I still don't think that's an accurate or fair description of them.

Why do we limit what the genders are allowed to feel? Every human has both physical and emotional needs. To deny their wants and needs is irresponsible and hurtful in the long run.

I think this viewpoint gives rise to a sense of urgency for men. They feel that they need to get married as soon as they can. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can become dangerous if they rush into something they are not mentally, emotionally and financially ready for.

The fact that many Muslim females are pursuing post-secondary education, and may not wish to get married until they finish, seems to push males to find wives from "back home." Plus, young women from the motherland may be easier to "control" because of the collective type of culture they live in. Since women here are brought up in sync with an individualistic approach, I could see how they would be more difficult to "control." I'm not sure why men feel the need to control their wives, but that's a topic for another post.

Marrying from "back home" is dangerous trend. It's more difficult for a woman to marry a man from back home due to issues like cultural differences, but also more tangible and logistical problems such as the male's foreign credentials not being recognized here. Because of this, we find many good women getting older who cannot seem to find a spouse. And it's not like you can get up one morning and get on a flight to marry a stranger from overseas. My individual values would not allow for that.

I suppose now, since I'm "next in line" in my family, I'm starting to feel these pressures at a higher degree. As the months pass, my confusion towards this issue grows. My own wants and needs seem to be in conflict with those of my parents, which is also another cause for concern.

I do not know how to proceed.


TheTruth said...

Maybe you should find yourself a Pious Modern Muslim man.. =)

Asmaa said...

I've been trying. (and failing)

sara said...

you should go see a social worker!

hahah, sorry I won't say anything since you already know my opinions on the matter.

adnan. said...

women can be controlled??!?!!

varsity said...

to be frank...

pious muslim guys want to accelerate marriage because of the effects of a highly pornified culture that just kills the soul, not to mention masturbation (which can be debated in regards of its halalness).

when the porn problem becomes a significant addiction, it brings down and over shadows any other emotional need.

yes, we both have physical needs and emotional needs, but I think in this porn culture, the physical needs become so well fed that it overtakes all other needs.

Thus, there is this huge emphasis on the physical for guys. I don't think girls deal with the same addictions to porn. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Abdul said...

I disagree with varsity.

However, I am happy you posted and I agree with you. In fact if I were to get married right now, it would mostly be because of companionship & emotional support than anything else.

sara said...

I think I disagree with varsity as well.

I'm sure Muslim men (as well as women) feel the affects of a "highly pornified culture", but I think you're reiterating the point that Asmaa was trying to dispute: that men only need marriage for sexual purposes. What I gathered from your comment is that since men find physical needs met by readily available pornography and masterbation, they no longer require any emotional needs to be met.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I'd like to give the male gender a little more credit (even though they don't really deserve it).

Asmaa said...

I think the concerns of "varsity" are valid in that I would agree we live in a hyper-sexualized world. I wasn't attempting to deny this, or to deny that people's desires for sexual relationships are strong and real.

My post was just challenging the very rigid "emotional vs. sexual" gender stereotypes that exist in our discourse. How can we begin discussing marriage issues when the very terms we use are biased and inaccurate?

varsity said...

but don't ppls needs differ? isn't everyone different? and get married for different reasons?

and there is never one reason to get married, nor is it ever a nicely divided pie chart split into percentages.

we all have both needs, just some more than others. some have raging hormones, determined by genetics and social conditions, and others perhaps not.

different strokes for different folks.

Abdul said...

"How can we begin discussing marriage issues when the very terms we use are biased and inaccurate?"

It's a lot like science - if the new idea/terms you use are more accurate then over time they will be accepted. Obviously they will be challenged and resisted - as was the case with many truthful scientific discoveries, but if the newer terms can better model reality then they are accepted.

Same thing applies here and I think we have a newer generation that is perhaps beginning to appreciate the delicate balance of different needs ,requiring different levels of fulfillment, in a relationship.

Asmaa said...

varsity, needs do differ depending on factors that are unique to each person's life. It's not a pie chart, I know. I agree with everything you're saying. Like I said, I'm just challenging the gender stereotypes :)

Abdul, go new generation! But only some of us are appreciating the balance of different needs. Most of us are just as lost as the average old fogy.

giacomo said...

I determine the market, not she. Allah provides my guidance, not she, not you, not me. I don't chase, rather I calculate. All problems in life are simple when I don't leave it up to me. Allah is my lord and he sent me a guide(s). A seducer shall want the creme de la creme. For he will treat her as creme de la creme. For he is the creme de la creme.

Be not disturbed oh muslimeen. For your lord has already chose your partner and he has already written your rizk. You just have to beg him for it.

I do not conquer, I submit.

-Don't call me casanova

adnan. said...

@giacomo - ummm... err... okay.

@asmaa - so relating the post to that title. you haven't really addressed the "need for marriage" as you see it. or have you?

Asmaa said...

Giacomo, tie your camel, and then put your trust in Allah.

Adnan, I think the need for marriage is a combination of things. It's a biological and social need. It can make us much better people if it's done strategically. And it can make us happier people.

It's also the socially acceptable and expected thing to do, both in the Muslim and non-Muslim context (albeit with different layers of complexity in each).

Abdul said...

u so smart asmaa :)

Asmaa said...

I am so smart, S-M-R-T.

sara said...

HAHAHAHAH you gave me the giggles again, Asmaa.


mezba said...

Perhaps you also need to discuss here our segregationist culture. We keep guys and girls seperate (and perhaps give guys a bit more leeway), and then suddenly when they are age 20, we say, ok, now marry someone. A woman who has not hung around with guys will always take a little bit more time to get used to the marriage idea and by the time she comes around to it, after studies and all, she is "too old".

In here, I see girls who were not that conservative and chose their husbands with their parents permission are the ones who are marrying "locally" and having long marriages. Girls who waited until they are near 30 are the ones with issues.

Again, my views, feel free to disagree.