The problem with arranged marriages

​Having dedicated my blog to writing for three whole years, I figured this was the year to focus on photography given that it is my other major interest. Alas… something ticked me off this evening that I now feel I must write slash vent about, so;

Where my fellow brownies at? Gather round. Ya’ll will know what I’m saying.

At 29, the one question I always get is; when are you going to get married?Actually people seem to have accepted my spinsterhood now and they do not even ask me this anymore. I don’t know whether this should make me feel relieved or depressed. It sucks that that’s all anyone can think about, but we all know that that is how things roll in the Asian slash Arab culture. I belong to both so double whammy.

My answer to people that ask me that is that I just haven’t met anyone yet. Then they say; why not try arranged marriages, stop being too romantic, don’t wait for the one he will never come.

Yes, being female does carry the unfortunate expectation with it that one day some dbag will find his way to you and think you aight enough to spend the rest of his life with. Maybe he hasn’t shown up yet because I keep referring to him as dbag but you know…

I digress. The reason I prefer the idea of meeting someone solo and not as an arrangement set up by a third party has little to do with romance. Rather it is because that way, people know what to expect. They take you with your flaws knowingly because they have seen something in you. They know what they are signing up for.

With a set up, ya’ll swap info and you get rejected based on what fits their bill. If I send a guy a photo of me and he says no to marriage straight after, it’s very likely that it’s because he saw something in the photo that he didn’t like and vice versa for girls. This doesn’t sit well with me for many reasons but it is what it is. I’m not going to sit here and argue that as humans we don’t have preferences when it comes to looks becuase well, we are only human.

Let’s take a step back though to the advertising process that happens before photos are exchanged. Arranged marriages happen when that dreaded aunty in your family knows someone that knows someone that knows someone who wants to get married and thinks you would be a good match so she gets the ball rolling on your behlaf.

Alternatively, because this is 2017, people now have whatsapp groups where people throw information about their son / daughter / nephew / cousin etc in the hopes that someone will spot this info and immediately think of a perfect match that they could reccomend. A halal dating service without the dating if you will.

My friend is in one of these groups and so I borrowed her phone for an hour to sift through thousands of messages from men listing their name, jobs, hobbies and preferences in a life partner. I started reading with amusement. This amusement though soon turned into other emotions that reminded why I’ve always subconciously rejected the idea of arranged marriages.

I noticed that the three major qualities that featured regularly in all life partner requests on the whatsapp group were for the girl to be; fair / light skinned, 5’4″ and above and slim to medium build. 

My friend and I laughed about how absurd and deluded some of these men and their mothers were. Later on my own mother asked me why I didn’t look for someone I liked from the list. I felt very strange when I told her, honestly, it was because no one on the list wanted someone like me.

I didn’t want to sound like a sob story to my mother. So I feel a disclaimer is in order; I don’t want anyone to console me by saying that I will find someone when the time is right and blah because it’s all good. Marriage has never appealed to me per se. Everyone I know tells me not to do it. I love travelling and married people don’t get to do that without kids and 2 extra lots of expenses. I live at home where I am free to do whatever I want (within reason!) My meals are always prepared for me because my mother says I can’t cook to save my life; hopefully no potentials are reading this ha! My dad likes to make me tea in my travel mug before I go to work. I am illustrating these facts to make it a point that I am not distressed about being single. I live a life most married people tell me they envy. Then I tell them to say mashallah because nazar.

But the fact of the matter was, most guys wanted tall, fair and slim girls. I am none of the three. It puts me right outside the loop of what is desired. That’s fine, to each his own. 

Fair enough. It’s not just these guys that are being unreasonable. I am very short and I want someone who is very tall so that’s me being unreasonable too. Aside from the fact that I find taller guys more attractive anyway (hello bias, nice to see you) I need to give my children a chance at life. I need them to at least be average height because let’s face it being short sucks. I got bullied for it a lot. Also, you can’t reach anything. Trust me. I even need a ladder to reach my dreams. It’s so inconvinient.

I cannot do much about being dark to be honest. Well I could with make up I suppose but why should I fam? If you want white go date rice. Stay away from me.

As for “what build are you?” Yeah I am not slim at all. I’m not even medium bruh. I should really do something about that one but for my bmi not your demanding ass dbag.

I guess what I am trying to say is I always get asked why I am too narrow minded when it comes to arrange marriage. And no, it is not becuase I am picky. It is because subconciously I know I don’t possess many of the physical qualities that the majority of guys (and their deluded mothers) are after. So, I am saving myself the rejection in advance. I don’t need that toxic energy in my life. I have plenty to keep me going.

So unless dbag wants to show up and take me willingly despite my many flaws, I am quite happy continuing to live in my folks’ house where frankly they always find things to keep me occupied anyway.

Finally, to sum up; thank you aunty, but arranged marriages, though work perfectly for many, they are just not for me.



  1. Don’t ever, and I mean ever, think you need to change your stance on marriage. No matter what age your single life takes you to, please do not ever change.

    I ‘compromised’ and yes, in the long run it saved me but omg it hurt…a lot. No need for unnecessary pain.

    The best reply to “why aren’t you married yet?” is ” Allah swt knows best” add a patronising smile too. Xx

    1. I know 4/5 women in my life. One gets shoved around from one sibling’s house to the next for them to care for her as she is elderly and has no kids to care for her. This makes me sad. My mother often says do you want to end up like that poor women who everyone treats like a burden. And the answer, honestly is no. But that’s incentive to just work harder to secure my own life so I don’t have to rely on anyone. The other singe ladies are in their 40s. I think they have given up on the idea. A employed. All independant. Sometimes they miss companionship but just the idea as you can’t really miss what you never had. Meh. It’s not all bad anyway. Allahu Alam πŸ˜€ thanks for reading anyway x

  2. If you want white go date rice. Stay away from me.

    LOL. I will have to use that line sometime because it is true. As someone who is dark skinned, this obsession with fair people is so stupid that I don’t even find it offensive anymore.

    Regarding arranged marriage…I find it hilarious that it’s done via whatsapp groups now. Technology be infiltrating. Anyway, I think your stance on it is the right one. They may work out for some, but they also don’t for a lot of people.

    Marriage seems like an alien concept to me anyway. Sharing my bed and personal space with someone 24/7? No, thank you! Well. Unless they have a lot of money. πŸ˜›

  3. You don’t have to change the way you feel about arranged marriages (or any type of marriage for that matter) just to make other people happy! This is the rest of YOUR life, so you better be fully comfortable with a step/decision before you make it.
    I hate hate HATE the idiotic obsession with fair skin in brown culture πŸ˜– The first year I was married and came to the states, my mother in law forbade my h Evans from taking me to an amusement park because I would get tan and too many aunties hadn’t ‘seen’ me for the first time yet πŸ˜–πŸ˜–πŸ˜– It was frustrating to say the least. She meant well I’m sure..

    1. They do, they do. The older generation have been programmed to believe that white is beautiful. Honestly the amount of times I hear “tam is beautiful despite being brown is enough to send

  4. OMG literally have been thinking about this lately. I don’t exactly fit the qualifications of getting married. I’m very short (and like you I’d like to marry someone taller so my kids have a fair chance at life lol), I do have lighter skin (but some acne scarring, which bothers my mom a lot and she wishes I’d wear make up to cover it and make myself look more attractive in order to get married -which I refuse to do for the exact same reason that I want someone to marry me based on how I look normally), and I’m pretty skinny. But I live in a small city, with not many Muslim guys and no one knows my family. I talked to this one guy recently and I’m sorta traumatized with the experience – I’m exaggerating a bit, but I cringe thinking about what we talked about and what happened in that month’s time. I really do want to get married, but this process bothers me quite a bit. I wish I didn’t have to put myself out there. Like dress up super fancy and wear make up and make myself stand out. Cause that’s not who I am. The problem is that a lot of younger girls than me have been getting engaged/married recently and my mom is freaking out. Also, I have plans to move away in September for school and my mom’s trying to settle me down before then so I don’t live on my own cause that’s “bad”. Though she hasn’t said it explicitly to me. Lol my life is crazy and I hate culture and traditions sometimes

    1. Welcome to the mad house dear πŸ˜‚ do you know what; I can obviously relate to everything you said. I am just exhausted of trying to fix what our lovely community keeps telling me is broken. I’m gonna focus my energy on doing something worthwhile before I die. Sometimes I feel like yeah it would be nice to have someone. Other times I’m like; nah forget that headache. It changes like the weather πŸ˜‚

  5. Haha! Thats so cool. Yes the arrange marriage process does suck amongst browns. Typically because it is ruled by the Auntys and mummys. I have been checking out in the market since two years for myself, my friends and now sister in law. The bio data of girls has no hobbies except applying mehendi and reading Quran. From when did reading Quran become a hobby?? And how much mehendi do u apply all day dude? On walls, fans, TV, sheets, bed, furniture… Is that all you do – hold a cone and scribble mehendi? πŸ˜€

    And men can be anything as long as they make money.

    And dahej! Whoa. I had never thought this would be so prevalent amongst Muslims.

    However, practising individuals looking for themselves is a growing trend and much to relief for young Muslims. Families are informed, they may suggest but the decision isn’t theirs. And this is the only way we can select a good spouse pushing aside the outdated standards.

    1. This I hate most about the corrupted Muslim marriage process today.

      Women are expected to be practising and Hijabiyaat, especially with Arabs, whilst men can quite literally be some downright pugs with nary any facial hair in sight (again, especially with Arabs) or any commitment to the sunnahs of marriage.

      What’s worst is their physical shape. Most Muslim men by marriageable age are either fat, getting there, out of shape or just thin.

      Women being slender is nice and all butbits a beauty thing and superficial. Men being physically fit and in control of their appetite is part of what makes a man a man. But because eating little and staying physically active are inconvenient Sunnahs and take work, and not an ostensible display of piety, they’re left aside by ‘shaykhs’ with their rotund bottoms and distended stomachs and lazy, flabby laymen Muslim men alike.

      And these beardless (and bearded alike) flabbies expect and demand slim, slender, practising Muslim own. What a farce….

  6. Good to hear this from a sisters perspective, it’s enlightening

    The arranged process always was a bit retarding and problem causing

    But today it’s just no good as the default way

    Sadly many of us do need that safety net of the arranged process because we’ll never stand out or be worthy in the main crowd of eligibles

    The realest, legit tragedy is families whose parents don’t have connections or parents not bothered or too timid to get their kids married, thereby leaving their kids to fall into nasty haram, stay si gle and empty for life, or in th end just be dumped on some relation from back ‘home’ whom noone wanted to marry

    Lose the simple approach of Islam for just keeping it simple and you lose everything. And hence the tsunami of Muslim unmarrieds now who will grow into their 50s with no children or spouse and die alone.

    1. Your comment made me laugh and cry at the depressing situation of the ummah today ….True story though everything was simpler back in the day! So I hear anyway πŸ˜‚

  7. I have to give the other side of the argument. I thought the same way but I grew up knowing that an arranged marriage is inevitable. I had an arranged marriage and it’s kind of weird at first but it worked out great. We all have flaws but I think it’s our differences that define us. Sometimes you have to pray on and take a leap of faith.

  8. That didn’t sound like a rant at all tbh. It was empowering to say the least. The whole desi arranged marriage drama ticks me off too.
    But I’ve realized, after several failed attempts of trying to explain the irrationality of it to people, that there is nothing I can do except sit back with a bowl of popcorn and watch the show. There’s really no point stressing over something you cannot change right?

    Thank you for writing this! Jazak Allahu khairan. You seem like an amazing person masha’Allah, I pray to Allah Ψ³Ψ¨Ψ­Ψ§Ω†Ω‡ و ΨͺΨΉΨ§Ω„Ω‰ that you find an equally amazing spouse. Ameen. Do remember me in your duas. ❀

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