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Every Other Week
July 1st 2002
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Matrimony versus Career!

With numerous other challenges in this society, one of the perpetual debates under discussion is the woman of our society today and the growing awareness amongst her. As we see the divorce rates getting higher and people becoming more receptive to these ‘pinching facts’, it does give an invitation to the thought process.
Education has been a great help to women for knowing their capabilities, their rights and to enable them to choose what they think is right for themselves. More and more women are getting equipped with this tool and the race seems to have started a long time back. It is indeed a very positive step for building a healthier society but it appears that along with the package, comes a very alarming situation where breaking up of the families is becoming common across the nation. East, though deprived of a lot that the west enjoys, has always had an upper hand in what it called was its ‘traditions and norms’. It is no secret that with all the negative aspects of our society aside, we have always been far more family oriented and great preachers of family unification, compared to the west. What is beginning to get disturbing is the fact that the awareness in our society is having diverse effects. Career that was in one time, least important for a woman is now her most passionate goal and a priority higher than anything else, a fear that is making a man insecure. Loyalties are being reallocated from homes to offices. Women have lost their tolerance and men are wilder than before. Most importantly, there is a huge gap between a husband and a wife. Its no more than a mere contract in true sense of the word.
" I have seen in the past that women were bound to be with their husbands irrespective of what they felt. Even if their married life was shattered, separation was the last solution they could think of. This earned them nothing else but unhappiness," says Rida Ali, a member of the Corporate World who believes that awareness amongst women has helped them have an identity of their own and they are less subjected to the brutal tortures by men. " They think their career is all what life is about or for that matter, their own social life is not above all. We have a career too but we don’t forget our family life and responsibilities. We give them love, we give them respect, we give them all that we can; all that they wish for. We provide them with luxuries of life. We sponsor everything from food till the child’s education and all her make-up kits. We provide them with a house. All we ask in return is for a ‘home’," says Murtaza Ali, a Chartered Accountant working with a Multinational in Pakistan. A little confused that I was about the house and home thing, I asked Murtaza, " What’s the difference between a house and a home?" "A house is a shelter made of material to protect you and your family from cold rain and heat." He replied. "A home has a much broader meaning. It’s another world within the boundaries of those four walls that you call a house. It’s a world filled with love, affection, sincerity, concern and unity." What’s beginning to be a serious cause of concern is the fact that we have changed our priorities to earn us no good. Self-interests and personal desires are taking us to a road of no end and no return.
"I come back after a long day of working, earning every penny for my family. I am dead tired and my biggest reward is to see my wife when I get home. I know a friend who has a routine no different to that of mine but when he gets home, he has nothing to look forward to except the empty home. His wife comes back after he does and what he expects of her is actually what she is expecting of him. ‘Dance around’ attitude. At the end of it, both are fighting. None is to be blamed. But what’s the solution?" asks Zaid, a banker based in Karachi.
"If today, a woman seeks career, its because a man has always made her financially deprived. Its not that he wants to have an upper hand. It’s the fact that he wants her to beg him," says Shehr Naz, a Pakistani based in Canada who is a strong supporter of woman rights. " Don’t talk about those ideal husbands that provide everything to their wives in a golden plate," she elaborates, "they are very few. You could probably count them on fingers. Look at an average woman today. Look where the world is today and our men are still not out of their ‘housewife fantasy.’"
"These women who talk of women rights don’t have the right to complain. They do not truly represent that poor part of the society, suffering the most from the brutalities of men. They claim to be the true representatives whereas it is nothing more than a mere publicity. They enjoy a lovely life at home, have all comforts of life but pretend as if they really feel the pain of that woman in ‘androon shehr’ who goes through tortures from her jobless, alcoholic husband who takes away all the money she earns at the end of the month. How can these Hi-fi Merc-oriented Begum sahibas relate to those deplorable women?" argues Jawad Asad, a Britain based columnist who happens to be a part of the social work in Pakistan. " When it comes to their career, their interests, we are given examples of the west, of the world and are accused of being old-fashioned. But when it comes to being given preference in a long queue, being sponsored for the entire expenses of the house, being provided with all luxuries, being relieved of major responsibilities, then it becomes their right! Why then do we don’t follow the most idealistic west? Simply because then we would have to pay for our own food, own rent and own gas." For everything in life, there is a broad line that should be kept in site. It does of course matter that we all come from different school of thoughts. For a lot of people, my opinion would be that of a conservative, old fashioned, paranoid male. For others, it could be a realistic approach to see reality. The first thing we need to do is to set our priorities right. The debate as to whom amongst the two partners is right or wrong remains a debate forever. Of course both have something to add to this but does that solve the problem? Why can’t we devote a few minutes at the end of the day to analyze ourselves and see where we went wrong?
Everything is clear. We all know what facts are but we just don’t want to accept. We run away from the realities of life and seek shelter in those fake consolations that we give ourselves incase something goes wrong. Admitting faults is the last thing we do and this is what happens now. Compromising is the key to success in a married life. For a man to think that he owns a woman is absolutely ridiculous. She should be given a right to choose within certain parameters and her decisions should be respected. He should accept that she does have an identity of her own and he can not treat her like a car; drive her the way he wants! Women on the other hand have gone far beyond in their race to get their rights. In their effort to have an identity of their own, they have now started compromising on what was once the most valuable to them, their married life. As a result, husbands tend to have lost their faith in this relationship.
The need for a better family life can not be ignored at this point and time. Irrespective of our genders, we are all humans; Humans who are liable to commit mistakes and mistakes that are meant to be forgiven. A little bit of understanding, some quantity of compromise, a certain amount of love and obvious amount of respect is all we need for the recipe of a healthy relationship. Balance should be kept and priorities should be set. There is nothing more you need. Trust me, if you have the best job in the world, the best circle of friends, loads of money, good car, ideal house and all you lack is a loving family, then there is nothing that you have!

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