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Author Topic: Too Old for an Arranged Marriage?  (Read 383 times)
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« on: Feb 12, 2013 04:22 AM »


At 28, she’s too old for arranged marriage but she still longs to find love

http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/18032879-522/vickroy-at-28-shes-too-old-for-arranged-marriage-but-she-still-longs-to-find.html

Updated: February 10, 2013 2:18AM (Vickroy)


Is it foolish to want to fall in love? To crave romance? To long for your heart to skip a beat when a certain someone approaches?

Love may be a many-splendored thing, but in some circles it is hardly a prerequisite for marriage.

Just ask Faiza Rammuny, or the legions of young American Arabs, Indians and Africans who are heralding her as a hero.

Last summer, Rammuny, a former South Sider who attended school in Bridgeview, put up a website called “Expired-N-Fabulous.” It is devoted to opening the long-closed doors of discussion on the topic of arranged marriage. And, boy, has it caused a stir.

In November, conservative Muslim students rallied to have ads promoting the site taken down from bus stops on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus.

Now some fear Rammuny will be pressured to take her site down as well.

Rammuny longs to be a writer. She also longs to meet the man of her dreams, fall in love and get married.

She is beautiful, expressive, brave and, by her own description, “fabulous.” But at the age of 28, she is three years beyond her “expiration” date and is too old to be married off in her Arab culture, she says.

Nevertheless, she holds out hope for something many of her elders would consider inconsequential or even ridiculous: love.

“I want to meet a Muslim Arab man who will respect me, support me and be romantic,” Rammuny said. “And, for the love of God, I want him to open the car door for me.”

Her wish challenges a longstanding tradition among many cultures in which a young person’s parents find and secure a mate for them.

“Parents tend to value things like family, money and how nearby the person lives,” Rammuny said.

In her case, her father figured she needed a man who could rein his outspoken daughter in.

“Love was never a consideration,” she said.

In many cultures, parents seek out potential partners and bring them home to meet their son or daughter. Open-minded parents allow their child to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the candidate. Sometimes, prospective couples can “halal date,” spend time together without kissing or touching.

But parents always select the candidates and oversee the subsequent contract. In the absence of a parent, an uncle may assume the role of marriage broker.

Sometimes the pairings work. But often they do not, Rammuny said. She’s heard from young people who are trapped in miserable marriages, and divorce is not allowed.

A woman who identifies herself simply as “Team Faiza” said, “As a Muslim woman who settled for what her parents chose for her, I find myself rooting for Faiza to find true love, not just for herself, but for that 20-year-old girl in me that used to dream about finding Mr. Right.”

Rammuny said she launched the site to openly explain her position and to encourage conversation.

She admits that in many other ways she is a traditional Arab woman. She loves and respects her family, as well as her religion. She simply wants to have a say in who she dates and eventually marries.

Many others feel the same way.

This past week, I received a flurry of emails from both men and women, praising Rammuny’s courage and supporting her views.

“I, too, want to meet Mr. Right and feel the spark. I think every girl wants that, especially Muslim girls,” wrote one writer. “We were raised on Cinderella, too, you know.”

A young man added, “Faiza made me realize the truth — we love our parents to death, we do, but they have to sit us down and ask what we’re looking for in a marriage partner. I want to be with someone I care about.”

One young man talked about how, after his secret marriage to a woman of another faith was revealed, he was forced to leave her or be banished from the rest of his family.

Rammuny’s views are not without critics. Last fall, ads she posted at bus stops on the UIC campus raised such an uproar that they were taken down within days.

A woman who was among those who railed against the ads later changed her mind.

“I started out as a hater but ended up a loyal fan,” she wrote. Though she contacted the Muslim Student Association and the vice chancellor of student affairs to complain about the ads, when someone suggested she reread the passages on Rammuny’s website, she did an about-face.

“I realized she wasn’t promoting us to run off and do as we please, to disrespect our parents and throw away our values, she was telling us to understand where our parents are coming from, while trying to make them understand that we actually may know what we want and are looking for when it comes to love,” she wrote.

The custom of arranging marriages is centuries old and crosses many cultures, said Aymen Abdel Halim, a spokesman for CAIR-Chicago, an organization that promotes and protects civil rights for and among Arab-Americans.

He admits it is a sensitive topic for many.

“As our population grows, we’re going to have to start talking about this,” he said. “Clearly, no one should be forced into any marriage or any other legally binding contract. But there is little we can do about it other than encourage people to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

Betrothed at birth to a cousin, Rammuny grew up knowing her destiny.

“Can you imagine knowing at the age of 10 who you are going to marry?” she said.

Fortunately, she said, her intended ran off when she was 15 and married someone else. But then the process of finding a new mate began. Rammuny resisted. After her father passed away, her uncle stepped in, determined to marry her off.

She resisted again. Her mother has supported her through that resistance.

Now she longs to meet a man who will respect her dreams to become a writer and who understands how simple gestures can make a woman feel special.

“My aunt and uncle have been married for 40 years. He’s in his late 60s and has cancer, yet he won’t allow my aunt to open her own car door. He still runs around the car and does it for her,” she said. “I love that. It’s so romantic. I want that.”

For more on Faiza Rammuny’s thoughts, visit expirednfabulous.com
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 12, 2013 01:59 PM »

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“I want to meet a Muslim Arab man who will respect me, support me and be romantic,” Rammuny said. “And, for the love of God, I want him to open the car door for me.”

Lol quite possibly too high standards. Everyone wants to find love, definitely not an easy task tho, esp in the west.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 12, 2013 02:02 PM »

Lol quite possibly too high standards. Everyone wants to find love, definitely not an easy task tho, esp in the west.
Not just in the west madauntie
To get married is easy here, to get married to the right person is very difficult. I don't know much but it seems like staying single would be better than marrying the wrong person.
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 12, 2013 04:10 PM »

Out of curiosity, I read some of her blog!! She says her father brought a different guy for her every Friday night, so she had like 51 Arab guys brought to her and she blogs about each experience. She also wants to be a writer. Now not saying someone can't have 51 Rishtas and she is very pretty and Arab but just sounds a little incredulous to get that many in one year??!

That said, I do think she's had a lot of experience with relationships and has a lot of insight on things. I particularly liked this blog of hers: http://expirednfabulous.com/acceptance/

Quote
I was confused. If nothing had changed, how did this marriage last this long, aside from the obvious fact that divorce is not an option? This is a couple who neither showed any public displays of affection nor showed any displays of discontentment.

“We learnt to accept each other for who we are.”

“Acceptance?”

“Acceptance,” she repeated. “That’s the key to a successful marriage, Faiza. Learning to accept each other for whatever and whoever you are. You might not get along at first but you’ll learn to accept each other and by doing that, you’ll learn to love them.”

How could a ten-letter word be so incredibly hard for some people to do? At the point when you’re wondering if [em]this[/em] is actually someone you want to spend forever with, between the friction and misunderstandings, when you ask yourself, “Is this what I want? Can I live with someone who thinks, acts, or speaks that way? Should I accept them for who and what they are, or should I look elsewhere?” For a couple to go the distance, how far are we willing to go to accepting each others “faults” or “imperfections” and learn to stop expecting the impossible?


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I believe there are certain things one should be willing to sacrifice in a relationship. That sometimes a boyfriend, fiancé, or husband’s request to alter something of yourself can actually come to your benefit, but there are other things that I believe deserve no alterations. A woman’s dreams, her aspirations, goals, job, and her love of heels. No man should ever want nor expect a woman to accept his want or hope that she’ll, quit her job, change her goals and dreams, or lock away her Macy’s card. A woman should ask herself before making any alterations to herself, “Would he do the same thing for me? Does he know what I’m giving up is a sacrifice? Can we negotiate? What’s his motivation? If those questions can supply good answers, then perhaps it’s worth considering.


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The more I weighed out the pros and cons, the more I realized that not only did I make the best decision in agreeing to walk away from the halal relationship Hani and I were in, but that he too had made the right move. Love is about accepting, but when that acceptance turns into an abundance of sacrifice to the point when, as Khaled said, you no longer know who you are anymore, that’s not “Happily Ever After,” that’s “Wish I Had Never!”

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 12, 2013 10:50 PM »

I think that the reason she got a lot of backlash was because she's not very religious/practicing? Her blog seems to be much more about Arab marriage rather than Muslim marriage.

I personally think that she's expecting too much "Prince Charming" ("a guy who will carry me up the stairs when my heels hurt my feet"Huh?) but she certainly raises extremely valid points. For example she says "Is it really so wrong to ask for someone who you will love and who will love you?" She complains about how Arab guys are usually completely unromantic to their wives - funnily enough I think that this is true for the less religious guys I've seen - they're total players outside of marriage but within they're just slobs. The more religious Arab men I've seen are much cleaner and politer and nicer to their spouses.

I have to say that I have myself felt a bit  Sad at times when it comes to marriage - especially because my mother is a bit jaded and neverendedly reminds me that marriage isn't a Disney romance, it's hard work. I know that, I understand that - but I can't help thinking, is it really too much to ask for someone you like? Someone you'll be happy with? Someone who can joke around with you and tease and laugh and have good conversation and yes, be romantic? Of course there'll be cooking and diapers and money and crying and fights too - but why so pessimistic? I think it's pretty terrible to tell Muslim girls, nope no talking no friendship no flirting no dating no touching, that's all meant to only be within marriage, and the turn around and tell them that you can't expect that in marriage either. Honestly it puts a huge damper on your spirits to realize that you might be doomed to this.

EDIT: I just read through her blog - and I am extremely, extremely skeptical. It all reads like it was ENTIRELY made up.
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 13, 2013 03:43 PM »

Hmm...Sis Nature-Some nice words there

But I have always had this doubt-sorry if this is an inappropriate place to ask,but
How do you know you are in love?What is love?LOL
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 13, 2013 06:10 PM »

EDIT: I just read through her blog - and I am extremely, extremely skeptical. It all reads like it was ENTIRELY made up.
Sounds too familiar to be true, right?

But I have always had this doubt-sorry if this is an inappropriate place to ask,but
How do you know you are in love?
Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 13, 2013 06:13 PM »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21410275
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 14, 2013 04:29 AM »


An excerpt from the article in the link above.


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I suspect that the desire for a peak experience of love has eclipsed the fact that love is primarily about others. The romantic myth would have us fall in love with love, paradoxically not with another. This twisted love whispers that it does not much matter who you fall for, only that you fall in love.


Exactly my thoughts.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 14, 2013 11:45 AM »

Definitely a great article! It's been going around Facebook like mad. Mostly by single people but ya'ani Wink Lots of truths there.

I'd say people need to stop looking for love and start looking for compatibility. Don't know if that's an un-romantic thought but it would definitely make people's lives easier who get into things, then realize it's not going to work!

Also, we need to bring the focus to Allah and not other people, we can't look to other people to bring us happiness ie our parents, spouses, children etc. It's usually the opposite! We have to have a solid relationship with Allah and depend on Him to bring us happiness in this life and mostly the next.

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But godless, we seek instead unconditional love from our fellow humans. We make them gods, and of course they fail us. And then love turns to hate. It's a desire that, because of the excess, destroys love. People kill the thing they love, lamented an observant Oscar Wilde.
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 15, 2013 12:27 PM »

I dont think you necessarily give up looking for love, but love is only proven over time.


And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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