Love, Life Stories

I thought marriage would mean giving up my freedom as a Pakistani-American woman, until I met a man who proved me wrong

It seemed way too good to be true, and perhaps too easy.

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The thought of sharing a life with someone – a space, a home, and everything in between – scared me at first.

I did mostly everything on my own. I traveled and lived in different countries without a man, I cooked my own food, sang and danced to my own beat (sometimes not so gracefully). Independence was way too important to me to ever give up for someone else.

Independence was way too important to me to ever give up for someone else. Click To Tweet

So many would try to undercut my lifestyle by saying that one day I had to settle down and let all of that go because I had someone else to think about. I would be lonely if I thought this way forever. How could I become a mother if I never gave all of this up for someone else?

These questions made me feel for the longest time that marriage was lame and entrapping. I did not understand what to be excited about.

Interestingly, society and popular media push the narrative that men are the only ones scared of losing their freedom after marriage.

This socialization occurs through movies of wild bachelor parties or the commitment-phobe character with a smooth, ladies man style. It is not unique only to the US or Western countries either. I cannot count the number of times men here in Pakistan have made jokes about their best friend becoming a sacrificial goat when he gets married.

And literally, in Urdu, they use a goat reference when referring to their male best friend getting married: “Aray woh to bakraa ban gaya!” (translation: he has become a goat).

Interestingly, society and popular media push the narrative that men are the only ones scared of losing their freedom after marriage. Click To Tweet

I was clear for a long time – I would only marry someone who would not tie me down.

By tying down, I meant that I would not determine the course of my life in only one place, career, or way. I was a nomad at heart, and while I do have some notions of home, I do not know if the concept of living in one place for the rest of my life is for me.

And then, I met someone I wanted to marry.

He was also scared of confining himself to one place for the rest of his life like me. The rest, you can probably imagine for yourself because it all simply clicked. It seemed way too good to be true, and perhaps too easy. I always only knew struggle. Eventually, I found myself willing to move abroad to be with him.

Everyone probably had a laugh: look at Saba, she gave into everything she was against.

I was clear for a long time - I only marry someone who does not tie me down. Click To Tweet

Little did they know, I gave into nothing. I found someone who was comfortable enough with himself to let me breathe and have my own space. While I was the one who moved to be with him, it was purely out of choice and life circumstances. We decided that we would make sacrifices for each other’s careers and ambitions throughout our marriage.

Sometimes, the best part is that we decide together.

Nothing is ever permanent, and yes, while neither of us has the same exact freedom to pick up at any point and leave like we did before marriage, the little bits that we both gave up did not feel horrible at all. They felt easy and there was nothing we naturally were feeling like we were giving up.

Maybe it was our age of marriage.

Maybe it was the fact that we spent our younger years living and doing everything we desired before we found each other. And we still do more of what we desire – both on our own and together.

Though, admittedly, the major things we get to do together make my heart melt.

All I know is that I would not have had it any other way!

Saba Danawala

Saba Danawala

Writing yogi and traveler immersed in all issues public health and social justice. Transplanted to Pakistan by way of DC, New Delhi, and Texas. Seasoned in the game of questioning systematic gender and social norms. Pragmatically idealizes a world populated with more self-aware and empathetic human beings.

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