Arab parents have a particular knack for being right about a lot of things. They really want the best for their children, as do most parents, and often think there's a 'right' way of doing things, and certainly a 'wrong' way. But in matters of love and the heart, many Arab parents still believe in matchmaking or making the big decision for their children. After all, what do these young people know about lasting relationships, anyway?
Fortunately, most parents have eased up on arranged matches or even the criteria they require for their children's spouses. It's never been more liberal or open-minded in that regard. Yet there are still some ways that Arab parents think they have the upper hand in matters of love. When do you listen to their advice and when do you follow your own heart? Is there a way to combine both?
More advice: Telling Your Parents You're Getting Married
When your parents come to you with unsolicited advice concerning who you should marry, when you should marry, the kind of person it should be, and a number of other things, it's important to make them feel like they're being listened to. They want the best for you, after all, and are pursuing that in the best way they know how. They've been there, done that, and they feel they have the right as your parents to spare you any trouble if they can. They may have been married for years and given up a lot to raise you, so respect them and take their advice into consideration.
Unfortunately for them, their advice should also not be the be-all, end-all. Following your own heart and thinking on your own is just as important, if not more so. Think clearly, but in matters of the heart, rarely are people ever logical. Remember that while your parents are just looking out for your best interest, it's you who will have to live with your decisions, so make the right one for you.
Don't marry someone your parents approve of if there's no chemistry. Don't acquiesce to their demands because you're afraid of them. Do listen and try to understand where they're coming from, but let them know this is your life, and you should be the one at the helm of it.
If you find yourself going against your parents wishes, don't expect them to be understanding or content with it. Frustration is normal, and some even go so far as to disown their children.
Be strong, steadfast in your decision, and confident that you're making the right one. Trying to make everyone happy will get you nowhere and leave you feeling resentful towards your parents. Instead, explain to them why you're making the decision you are, and hope for the best. Inevitably, most parents will come around and embrace the new family you have just started.
Whatever you decide to do, try to include your parents in your decision-making. They want to feel involved and included, and making sure you do that will greatly help your chances of winning their approval.