In Iranian culture marriage is not about love. Marriage is more about stability, security and productivity. Both men and women in our culture are getting married in order to raise a family. Be fruitful and multiply is the motive. To do so they do not really pay attention in what they want but rather what is good for the children that they are going to have.
Most Iranian women are looking for a man who is financially secure and can afford raising a family (basically it can be translated to a Doctor) and Iranian men are looking for a girl who is young so she can bear children (by young I mean someone in her teens to early 20s regardless of the man’s age).
In Iranian khastegaree style marriage, a woman wouldn’t even let in a khastegar into her house if he is not for e.g a doctor or an engineer and the man wouldn’t even go to see a girl who is not young. Of course, there is always exception to the rule but here I am talking about the norms … In general this type of marriage has been working out but God only knows at whose expenses!!!
Most of couples in this type of marriage think as love as a responsibility. Since they are responsible people then their marriages are working. Furthermore as long as the wealth and the children are protected and are being taken care of then they are happily married. Their marriage is more of a business than anything else. Good for them …..
But not everyone can put up with this and call it a marriage. I believe to fall in Love should be THE only requirement for the union of two persons not a responsibility that you are going to acquire after you get married. I believe one should know what it is that he or she wants and sees in the opposite sex before one gets married. But how is this even possible in a culture that roots for gender apartheid? ……. How can you really fall in love with someone who you are not even allowed to talk to?
A marriage should have nothing to do with raising the family and having kids otherwise the end result is not a happy one especially when the kids are all grown up and the married couple have to spend the rest of their lives alone with each other while they have nothing in common and they do not share any similar interests………. They did not take the time to know each other before the marriage and they were both busy raising the family that they never had time to do so afterwards. These couples are not going to be good companions yet alone good lovers because to fall in love was not in the picture to begin with. Yes, they may stay together and yes they kind of adore each other but like a brother and sister … they are just so used to be with each other…… you get the picture…
National Geographic has an interesting article about the chemical actions in our bodies that define “love.” What we call falling in love creates a dopamine imbalance that is akin to being on certainaddictive drugs. However, that eventually levels off within 12-18 months and we start to develop a mellower oxytocin (also somewhat addictive) response to ourmates. I agree that the more stable oxytocin responses the more possible it is for us to deal with the problems of life together and remain committed. ……. But love is a drug that we need to constantly inject into the marriage and if you have never had that drug injected in your veins to begin with what is it that you have in order to keep the passion alive? Ofcourse nothing … passion? Which passion?
In this type of marriage one may say that he or she is happily married but if they spend a day alone with each other they are going to be bored to death and if they talk they are going to just fight over minor things.
To fall in Love is the spice of life … Something that is missing in most marriages within the Iranian community. Again all thanks to our culture and to a religion that is mixed with this culture and to clergies that have no idea what love is and have always warned us of devil. And what is more evil than to spend some time alone with the opposite sex. Sadly, their warnings have been even more harsh towards women. But that double standard by itself requires a separate blog to write about.
Mottahari in his book “ The Phylosophy of Hejab “ states that women are looking to be loved but they are not looking for falling in love “
I should sue Mottahari and any other clergy for even willing to write on behalf of a woman yet alone writing about her feelings ……
As John keats beautifully says:
There is a holiness to the heart’s affections you know nothing about!