|Translation: Love is for the brave; the cowards, their mothers marry them off.|
I admit that I live in a society where love is often viewed as a crime. It is not seldom that one would come across a young couple hiding their love towards each-other in the streets of Muscat, Oman. I personally thought negatively of people who choose to let love in prior marriage, up until recently where my view has changed as I grew to become the young woman I am today at the age of 20.
I am aware that the majority of my readers reside in Europe and in the Unites States, where our Arab culture might not be fully understood. However, I can assure you that from my personal view point I can see that love is very much looked down on if it is before marriage, and any woman who dares to let herself fall in love with a man who isn’t yet her husband would be deemed as ‘stupid’ or often even ‘silly’.
It is important for you, as my readers, to know that I write this article not out of personal experience, but only mere observations in the society which I have been raised in. I have finally came to the realization why only the brave fall in love in a society like mine, and why the cowards opt for marrying off with the help of their families.
Firstly, I strongly think that falling in love requires a great deal of courage everywhere around the world, not just where I stand today. Falling in love involves letting go of any walls you have built up to guard your heart, to be willing to dedicate effort and time for another person whom you care greatly about and most importantly, to give trust to somebody who has the ability to break your heart (please note that I actually dislike using the term ‘heartbreak’ because I truly believe that the hearts are underestimated this way; when in fact hearts are too strong to be bent, let alone be broken). Sharing your secrets and giving your life for somebody takes significant amounts of courage, it is not an easy task to be in love.
With the addition to societal expectations, falling in love becomes even harder because you are now not only responsible for your own heartbreak, but you have your family’s name at stake. Knowing that your dearest loved ones may turn their back against you if they find out that you have been brave enough to fall in love before marriage, is also not an easy risk to take.
Women in my culture (and I strongly would like to emphasize that I am speaking about culture and not religion), are often the victims on love crimes here in Oman. I often hear the society calling young girls ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’, and ‘a fool’ for falling in love and letting a man enter her heart before marriage. Many would argue that it is the girl’s fault for trusting a man who is not married to her yet, but the question that worries me is: should we really pay a price for trusting somebody? Is it their fault that they were brave enough to commit the crime of falling in love? And until when should a human guard his/her heart inside four solid walls, afraid to let love in?
Perhaps hearing all these foul names appointed to young women who fall in love prior their marriage, is the reason why I am extremely cautious with my heart. I wish I wasn’t, but the damage is done. What would you expect if that’s all I have known since I was a child?
I am happy to see that things are changing, but with a very slow rate. I hear stories of women marrying their longtime lovers now in Oman, but after a beating from their families. I see young couples brave enough to fall in love, but they maintain their relationship as a secret hidden from the public eye. I see change … but I remain unsatisfied.
I am unsure if my message is getting across correctly, which is why I named this series of posts ‘blabber’. I simply write what’s in my mind. I would love to read what you guys think about this.