Friday, July 29, 2005

Is this the point of marrige?

A very close friend of mine was telling me how hard it is for him to marry his sweetheart. He took on this DREADFUL job so he can save up and pay the "down-payment" for the rest of his life. He loves this girl to death, and love is his energy... like any young man, he is full of hope and is just pumped to get the most out of life and keep his better half happy for the rest of their time together. He works his fingers to the bone, and doesn't touch a fils out of his salary (although its not much for the effort) in order to give it off as a randsom to free the woman from her parents capture (traditional mahar) and ride away. His mother picked out this beautiful set of jewelry, and his fiónce just passed... not expensive enough apparently.
As they were closing the deal, and in order to start off on a high note, him and his family proposed a very good amount of money to end this chapter. Something over the market rate, if you can say so. The counterparty steamrolled them, using negotiation tecniques by the book, and demanded 150% of the initial offer. My friend talked to his fiónce about this. "Is this how we were planning to start off our life?" he asked. She started playing dumb and brushed off his concerns.." I don't know how this process is done.. talk to my mother" she replied.

What is this bullshit? We are at a point way past greed here. Are they seriously exchanging offers? How does someone bargain with his daughter's future? How can money become an issue like that? And from time to time, we have the audacity to comment about other cultures being materialistic, and ours being collective and strong-knit. I tell my friend, you ought to reconsider. You don't get to choose your natural parents, but you do get to choose your in-laws. Do you intentionally want to relate yourself to pan-faced bargain hunters like that? I know he loves her dearly, and she's the song in his heart bla bla bla... but if she really loved him, she could at least persuade her parents to loosen the rope around his neck.

I had an Omani friend.. he told me about the process in Oman. It is even more redicilus. When the man cannot afford the lumpsum initial offer (mahar) the father of the bride strikes a deal with him. He makes him get a loan of the maximum credit limit he can get, and the happy couple spend thier first years together paying it off! Unconditional love!

Offbeat: so the bonus I greatly opposed was given out. Apparently travel agencies were booking tickets and hotels left and right. I hope the good people of Thailand, Syria, Malaysia, and other countries that still allow Arabs through their borders, enjoy our wisely spent public funds.


Blogger Scorpio said...

What a bitch!

9:47 PM  
Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

This is really sad and your friend really has a choice.

When my hubby proposed..his family were the ones doing all the pushing for me to ask for anything, anything at all.. and I was the one who REFUSED.

In our family, we don't take a dowry.. but because his family insisted, the transaction was done with the symbolic amount of BD10.

In families which refuse a dowry, there is always a catch. An elaborate wedding and a Moaa'khar (some lumpsome paid off to the wife in case of a divorce).. I even refused to stoop down to that level! What is the point of negotiating a divorce at the beginning of a marriage.. and our wedding.. it was yummy.. just the family and a select number of friends.

And this is a man and a family which can afford things. And I am not stingy.

I still can't get it why people show off so much..

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate when this happens. I sometimes wonder whether stories like this are the norm in Bahrain or just odd cases here and there.

My situation was very different, my father-in-law made it very clear that money was a non-issue. I must add that both families are financially well-off and I wonder if this fact plays a big role or not in demands for 'mahr' and the rest of it.

2:18 AM  
Blogger $iLveR GiRL said...

Haraam :(

People should not fall very deep in love before doing the following three:
Taking the pre-marriage medical examination.
Meeting the in-laws
Watching each other eat and drink!

If these are not deliberately taken care of, things turn into a bitter experience.

As for your friend, obviously she isn’t as fond of him as he’d like.

6:24 AM  
Anonymous al said...

This "mahr" has taken a whole diff idea nowadays.
I know a bride who DEMANDED a new landcruiser which she gifted to her brother. I dunno what happened to the rest of the "gifts".
The hot topic at the weddings is "how much was recvd?" and then they complain y young men marry foriegners..I wonder why.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous al said...

This "mahr" has taken a whole diff idea nowadays.
I know a bride who DEMANDED a new landcruiser which she gifted to her brother. I dunno what happened to the rest of the "gifts".
The hot topic at the weddings is "how much was recvd?" and then they complain y young men marry foriegners..I wonder why.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Roohami said...

Gosh!!! i seriously don kno why this happenes in families.. i kno i'll also have troubles in my marrige belongin to a family whr love marriges r taboo.. god help us... n help all like us too...

12:49 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

I mean how much emotion is invested when they are talking back and forth about money? Just like SBG explained, if it was something real.. the couple can just push this issue aside.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Abu Sinan said...

I know in some places they have tried to regulate it. In Saudi there is a maximum you can ask, I think it is like 20,000-25,000 riyals.

Like anything else people take advantage of what was supposed to be there for a good purpose. We went to a Palestinian weding recently. There was enough gold given to that girl to weigh down a donkey. Meanwhile, people in Gaza live on $2 a day.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abu, Malik or whatever you name is this week. So what if there was enough gold to weigh down a donkey and what does it have to do with people living on $2.00 a day? Are you looking for wealth redistibution? Sounds like it. People live on $2.00 a day all over the bleeping world. It isn't pretty or nice but it is the truth.

BTW 25000 SR is TIP money at many Saudi weddings and lots more than that is in many a dowry.

5:35 AM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Abu Sinan, I know they tried to put a cap in the UAE. I think the Dowry ceiling was about 45,000 ED, thats nearly $12,000, But UAE families found ways around it... like bribery in a 3rd world country.

Abu Sinan I really don't have a problem with the money spent and the payment paid out... its common wisdom that the less spent on a wedding the more blessed (baraka) it is, but I have a problem with families demanding certain amounts and price-tags from normal young men just to show off.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

greed knows no frontiers!

2:03 PM  
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8:35 AM  

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