Love and Marriage

Love is a funny ol’ thing. For example, I love my blog, but due to the ridiculous amount of work which I didn’t take with me to Temara, I’ve had to abandon it in favour of that. Then, I love my family, and The Boy, and since they have both been on Skype, work has taken a back seat to them. Which is why I am now here, ready to blog, having spoken to loved ones, and done some (but not all) of my work.

I already explained to you what I think about love. This week, while I was away, I learnt a lot about how the Moroccans see love, and marriage. It was an interesting experience for me. I’ve grown up knowing that once I found someone I wanted  to marry, I would marry them (provided they also wanted to marry me, otherwise we might get into a really weird situation where I would get crazy and take them hostage in the hope that they’d get Stockholm Syndrome and fall in love with me too but then I’d get caught and arrested because I’m not cut out to be a criminal because I get a guilty conscience even if I say a mean comment about someone. But I digress).
So I would just go ahead and get married. Cool. Here, not so simple. For example, BMB has a girlfriend now. He’s not exactly kept her a secret, but he doesn’t want his parents to know her name, because from that they can find her parents, and then discussing will happen, and pretty soon it will all be set up without him. This quite clearly scares him. BMS has a boyfriend too, and he is strictly completely secret. Also, she’s really inexperienced with boyfriends, which of course is odd to me, because my little brother has girlfriends and he’s like, 9. Or something. Ok, I joke, he’s older than that [yes I do know my own brothers age, thankyou] but you get my drift. BMS is 23, and secret man is her first boyfriend. When she asks me about relationships I feel like the older sister, which is a weird feeling.

The parents are the same. Halima talked to me at length about long-distance relationships, and how being involved is viewed in the UK. While she clearly isn’t bothered if I have a boyfriend or not, she would never allow BMS to have one. It’s just “not done”. And BMB may have a girlfriend, but she doesn’t want to know unless it’s serious.

Then this week, I met Fatima-Zahra, the lovely cousin of the family. She is really friendly, and we got chatting easily. Which wouldn’t be hard anyway, since I found myself in her room the first time I met her, helping her pick out clothes to meet her future mother-in-law in. She’s been with her boyfriend for two years, and last week was the first time either of them met the parents. It will be January before the families finally meet eachother. Picking out clothes for this meeting was a massive issue – What would future mum think if she wore a dress? Should her hair be up or down? Did it matter that she doesn’t wear a hijab? The tension in the room was amazing. When we got the call from her the next day, saying it had all gone fine, everyone was elated.

All of this made me think. In our culture, is marriage all a bit too easy? Should we wait around, be secret and stressed and worried? And should our parents have more of a say in who we end up married to? Would they choose better for us than we can choose for ourselves? There is such a high rate of divorce now in the western world, you wonder if anyone ever discovers the truly ‘right’ person for them. However, while there is something to be said for the Moroccan way, I think I’m happy living the way I am, for now. I have no idea what kind of man my parents would pick out for me, but I like to think that I personally have good taste!

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