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Some thoughts on marriage in Iran

My husband`s close friend is getting married, and when he announced it to us, I realized how happy I was for him, even happier than for my own close friend`s wedding! And that made me think that marriage is still a big deal here in Iran, and I believe, it`s a positive thing, something people, unfortunately, lost in the Western world.

Marriage in Iran takes a LOT of effort, and couples face LOTS of obstacles on their way to marriage. Let`s say, due to lack of opportunities for socializing, it`s simply difficult to meet new people. But once the mutual affection is reached and a relationship is formed, mostly the couple must hide it for some time from their parents and society for obvious reasons. After months and sometimes years, when they finally realize that they are meant to be together, the families meet to get to know each other, then parents gather information about the other family`s social position, etc. And then, if everyone is satisfied, famous khastegari (a ceremony when the groom`s family visits the bride`s house to propose) takes place, and negotiations start. Those include all types of matters starting from where they are going to live, if the bride continues her work/studies after marriage to financial issues such as mehrie (the amount of money/ gold coins/etc. that the husband is obliged to give to his wife on her request at any moment during their marriage or when they divorce) and who`s going to pay for the wedding, etc. Sometimes engagement takes place first, and that postpones wedding again for months/years. So, when finally, after completing all these steps the couple gets married,  you feel truly happy for them, because you realize what they`d been through to get there.
On the one hand, these difficulties frighten young people and prevent many of them from even thinking about marriage; many couples (or their families) don`t come to agreement during negotiations, and they break up. And it`s pretty awful that it`s so hard for young people to marry the one they love. On the other hand, however, they make marriage more important, because, well, how many times one gets married in their life (normally, I mean)? It`s a huge step in one`s life, and maybe, it SHOULD be a big deal.

Sometimes in the West two people live together for years and then, one day decide to make it official. Marriage is considered more like some paperwork or a beautiful banquet rather than creating a new family and starting a new life. However, in Iran marriage brings a huge change in one`s – and especially woman`s – life. The bride leaves her father`s home, moves to a new house which she should make a home for a new family. Lots of new chores, new challenges and new difficulties (connected to getting used to living with another person and considering their opinion, too) await both the bride and groom. And that is what, actually, makes marriage in Iran really special, precious and wonderful! 

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