For Sheba Shaffie, a psychiatrist in Overland Park, the marriage process
all happened so fast. Her soon-to-be husband Khalid was visiting Pakistan
with the intention of finding a wife. His sister-in-law recommended
Shaffie, who was interning at the hospital where she worked. Khalid visited
Shaffie at the hospital on Feb. 2, 1978, and 15 days later, once both
families had made the final arrangements, Shaffie and Khalid were married.
In a predominately love-marriage society, the concept of an arranged
marriage may seem startling. But, a majority of people in several Middle
Eastern, South and East Asian countries prefer the process. Women are
usually not forced into arranged marriages but agree to them for family
values and religious, cultural and even personal beliefs.
Shaffie defines arranged marriages as a process without courtship, where an
agreement of marriage is made but not forced upon either side. Arranged
marriages hold both cultural and religious significance. Arranged marriage
is the process preferred by the Pakistani community where Sheba grew up in,
so she learned to understand and accept it.
In fact Shaffie even recommends arranged marriages. She says parents, who
are making the decision, are the ones who know you the best and go through
particular care in picking someone for you.
"When you go to buy a shirt, you look at it from every angle," Shaffie
says. "You try it on, show it to your friends and family and are always
willing to get an experts advice." Why not take the same care with marriage?..