October 06, 2019


Dear Auntie,
I am a 19-year-old intermediate student, focusing on my admission in university. But recently my father engaged me to my cousin. I have no objection with this too early engagement because I also love her. We are living in the same building but in different apartments. The girl to whom I am engaged is nine months older than me and studied up to the intermediate level. She is a shy girl and of backward mindset. She does not chat with me and doesn’t like to go outside anywhere. She does not even use any social media apps. Our families allow us to go out to any place where we like and have no problem with our meet ups. But my fiancée always refuses to meet me by saying, “What will people say, because we are still not married officially.” At this stage of life, instead of thinking about her prince of dreams and her wishes for blissful married life, she always thinks about people’s remarks. I am very annoyed with this situation and have no idea how to bring my fiancée into this modern world and change her mindset. Please suggest me how I can deal with this problem. Your suggestion may help me to combat this obstacle in my prosperous life. I will wait for your advice.

Dear Engaged,
You are quite young and perhaps a little idealistic about marriage.  It is good that you are thinking about your fiancée and your compatibility at this point, because you probably foresee that this could create issues between you once you are married.

Let’s put your fiancée aside for a moment. Do you have an image of the kind of partner that you want to be married to in your mind? Have you thought about this at all? If not, Auntie would urge you to think about the kind of partner you are looking for.  

‘My fiancée is too conservative for me’

For instance, do you want someone who is compatible with you? That may sound like a strange question and the answer may seem obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people don’t think it is necessary. They may have married their partners just to have children, or because it is the ‘done thing’ in their culture and family.

So what are you looking for in a partner? Are you okay with living with a shy girl who has, what you think, is a ‘backward mindset.’

Please see people for who they are. Your fiancée is showing you who she is. She is someone who thinks you need to wait till you are married before you go out. She doesn’t use social media. She thinks other people’s opinions about her are important. She is showing you who she is.
Believe it.

Also, most of the time, people don’t change. Their basic personality usually doesn’t change, unless they make a huge effort to change themselves. Realistically speaking, you could assume that your fiancée will generally be a very traditional person who follows certain traditional values, possibly throughout her life.

Bottom line: Marrying a Type A when you actually like Type B is not a good idea. If you are looking for a more modern partner, then it is a better idea to just find someone who is more modern. Marrying a traditional woman in the belief that you will change and mould her according to your wishes is a recipe for disaster. The same goes for women who marry smokers, drinkers, etc. in the belief that their love will change the partner. You are only deluding yourself. People change because they want to change, not because we want them to change. So it could happen, but don’t count on it.

Marriage is a lifelong commitment. If you can live with a very traditional woman and can understand where she is coming from, then this is a right match for you. If you can understand (without getting annoyed) that your wife will always value other people’s opinions a lot, then she is a good match for you. However, if these things annoy you, you may want to wait and gauge the situation. Look at your fiancée’s actions in terms of compatibility and ask yourself frequently if you could live with someone like that. Some couples enjoy the fact that they have different approaches to life.

So, before you take the plunge, just ask yourself, if my fiancée were to remain exactly as she is today, would I still love her and love being married to her?

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to:

Published in Dawn, EOS, October 6th, 2019