Comments on the Article “Marriage, Armenian Style”
[June 18, 2007]
See the article: Marriage, Armenian Style
Dear readers, thank you for your comments on the article “Marriage, Armenian Style”. The overwhelming majority of the responses came from Armenians of both genders and different ages, living in Armenia and abroad. Most of the comments were based on the analyses of subjective experiences: if someone had an arranged marriage and it went on successful it is the right thing to do, if not - it is wrong. IAE we decided to post your thoughts on the website without commenting them.
1. I am an Armenian woman living in Argentina where many young Armenians found their future wife this way. Families were created where was respect to the husband and to the mother- in-law (there is no other way), but was there love, a desire to be together?
Once on the Mount Aragats I met a family who were temporarily living in tents shepherding sheep. Nice, educated peasants. They invited me for a cup of coffee. A very beautiful girl, about 16 years old were serving coffee in silence.
“Today is her last day here, tomorrow she is leaving for Russia to get
married”, her parents said.
Why they needed to take the girl our from her surrounding, where she could find business for herself she would like and be useful rather than to send her to serve a stranger she had never seen?
Our nation will never move forward on the ideas “our traditions”, “we have no divorces”, “our ancestors” but will go on living in the atmosphere of hypocrisy. Because, I forgot to say, the guy who brought a girl from Armenia a year ago, already has a lover.
2. As to my opinion, marriage always happens to be a lottery, when it is not a good planned program. And believe me it doesn’t matter whether you know the person whom you are going to marry for a week or let’s say for whole 5 years.
3. Hi, I'm an Armenian reader from California. Ever since visiting Armenia last year I too started to dream about getting married Armenian style, although I didn't realize it was so common. It also makes me happy to know that Armenian girls are willing to get married on faith like that, although it can cause lots of problems. I think they should be slightly more demanding than Anna was, but always within reason.
I would also like some feedback, since I'm an Armenian guy over here, and want to get married to a girl from over there, what are some characteristics that Armenian girls look for (or want), from a guy who visits from America for 21 days?
4. Hi...being an American born Armenian...and married to an American born
Armenian...we met & fell in love.. have been married more than 54 years.....my
parents...both survivors of the genocide....met and married by writing each other
letters...dad here in America...mom out of an orphanage...living with an Armenian
family in Greece...they had the utmost respect for each other and were in love
(I'm sure) they never argued and spoke kindly to each other....
5. I have read your article in HETQ online on 'Marriage, Armenian Style' and
could not resist writing to you. It is an amazing thing what you have done. You
tried to fight the 'monster' with a mirror. May be one day they will see themselves
and see that their patently 'care' is also something one would call sell for
a good deal? May be one day these mothers
burgeoning with their daughters will understand they are revenging their children
for the 'sold' life they had?
'We are all in the same gutter, just some look at the stars' Oscar Wilde. It is not definitely about the heroes of your article!
6. It sounds almost incredible that people in Armenia still consider the marriage to be a contract between two joint-stock companies, where every detail has to be evaluated according to the interests of the company. People just got used to hide behind the concept of tradition while trying to find an excuse for their own ignorance.
The marriage story you brought to our attention has awakened in me the desire to write about my own story.
I was born and lived in Yerevan till my 18th birthday after which, in 1994, moved to Europe with my family. Why we left was not only the consequence of the difficult life in Armenia , but because my father was a highly qualified scientists needed abroad.
While traveling from country to country, learning new languages and different cultures (by now I speak 6 languages, have graduated from a prestigious European university and am completing my PhD), I could never imagine life might turn to be a labyrinth for me.
Nine years ago, in the Armenian church of one of the most beautiful European countries(let me keep the name veiled), I was presented to a nice Armenian guy 4 years younger than me. We started to hang out together with some other friends of the Armenian community, getting to know each other better. After a while we realized we had fallen in love with each other, and it was a fantastic feeling!
To make it short, just let me tell you that month by month and year by year
our feelings grew and we decided that the marriage would represent the fulfillment
of our dreams.
Can you imagine how shocked they were by the idea that their son had dared
to take a decision on "the most important step in life" without their
approval. But the best is still to come!
Since then we have been living in Armenia, with the Armenians, learning the Armenian language and culture, and respecting the Armenian traditions. So why, I ask myself, shouldn’t they try to accept me first of all as a quite good “educated” human being with it’s own personality who loves their son and can make him happy?
As about traditions, there is no such a big difference between us any more.
Our peoples have learned to get along with each other respecting one another’s
origins and traditions.
Is it fair and morally more correct to try to find a bride for their son
in Armenia in order
In the mean time 9 painful years have passed for me fighting and waiting for a happy end. My struggle still goes on.
7. Passion disappears in a few months, marriage should last a lifetime. This system probably works a bit better that others.
8. I have read the article and to be honest felt disgusted. I live in Armenia
and do not agree with that way of getting married. That girl was born to become
a mother. There are many Armenian families where the wife is just a mother of
the children, someone who looks after the everyday life. And the husband goes “to
left” and then boasts of it in front of his friends. The wife has not to
work, the University diploma is just for putting in the dowry. To me wife is
something more than just a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner or an incubator
for the future generation.
9. I have read the article and indeed got upset because it is our reality which keeps on for ages. As an Armenian woman, as a mother (I have got two wonderful kids) I would like to advise Armenian parents: do not interfere into your children’s private life. Trust them. Give and advise but do not try to control them. They are mature people and live in the 21st century. You can destroy your child’s life. But you should feel happy seeing your child happy.
10. My parents marriage was arranged by my dad's sister picking my mom and then the visit and engagement went on. They were not allowed to be alone before the engagement and it took 24 hours for my dad to travel by car to where my mom lived so they saw each other only a few times before the marriage. They did, however, come from the same area of Turkey and knew each other's families in the old country.
They were married a month short of 65 years when my dad died. Mother followed in less than 6 months.
I, on the other hand, "fell in love" and married someone whose family I met for the first time two days before the wedding. I discovered a few years later that my husband came from a very dysfunctional family and he was never able to deal with the problem he and his brothers had with their mother. We were divorced after 15 years. His next younger brother's divorce followed ours by a few years.
I wonder, should I have married one of the men whose family came to call on mine with that in mind? Who knows.
11. Though I am an Indian, I am an occasional visitor to your site and I am generally interested in the Armenian society. Your article, Marriage, Armenian Style evoked memories of my own marriage in Mumbai, India, a couple of years back.
I was really surprised to know about the rituals / customs followed in Armenia are hardly different from those here in the Indian society. We call it the arrange marriage and the foreigners find it very difficult to understand how two totally unrelated parties can even make a decision of staying together in a matter of a few minutes.
In my own case I have discovered that the whole process is actually very good and works to the advantage of the boy as well as the girl, provided none of the interested parties try to steal the show form the other one.
Needless to say, myself and my wife have been very happy together during the past few years - even though we met only a couple of times before making the final decision and saying yes.
12. I am a 25 years old girl and not married. I am currently visiting your web-site, I am interested in all of your articles. They give me a food for thinking.
Now please let me express my ideas on the Marriage in Armenian Style. I think that the girl should have never married to a boy having known him only for a couple of weeks. This is nonsense...
What age we are living at? And I can not understand the fact of leaving the
couple alone for 15 minutes chat????? How can it be, to get to know each other
in 15 minutes, to get engaged in a week and get married the next week?
The parents of the girl are wrong in their turn also, why did they make
daughter marry? may be she could have a rather good luck abroad, making good
And I don’t agree with the saying that the marriage is a lottery. No, not
at all. I think that couples already feel if they have a lot in common, can they
share a bed , is there a physical wish between them, do they have the same interests,
partly the same way of thinking and behaving? And in order to know and feel these,
the couple needs more than 4-5 months to get to know each other, and not only
to be limited with frequent visits to each other houses, what about walking,
Marriage is not a pair of shoes to try on and then give back or to buy then throw away for getting a new pair.
Compiled by Hasmik Hovhannisyan