Arranged marriages worked for some

Maslihon and Rahman

KUCHING: Modern marriages frequently include prenuptial agreements to protect the rights and obligations of both parties with respect to property.

But long ago, when arranged marriages were the norm, there were no such agreements, said Maslihon Sahari, 78, who married her first cousin, Abdul Rahman Bakeri, 85, in 1956.

Maslihon during her teenage years.

Maslihon, who was 16 at that time, was requested by her family to marry Rahman, a 23-year-old police officer.

“I was taken aback at first, but I had to respect my family’s wishes. Even though he was my cousin, I believe it was the right decision at the time. Of course, they would not have chosen him if they didn’t know he was a nice man,” she explained.

Although he had a girlfriend, Rahman, too, had to follow his family’s demand.

“In those days, no boys or girls dared to reject their parents’ wishes. Although it was an arranged marriage, we have lived happily ever since.

“I see no problem with arranged marriages because family members, particularly the parents, just want the best for their children.

“Such marriages should still be practised but I don’t think the younger generation are interested in doing so,” she said. 

Sabtuyah and Raidi with their children.

Similarly, Sabtuyah Zamahari, 65, and Raidi Ramlee, 75, also had an arranged marriage in 1975.

Saptuyah revealed that their families were close friends and that they were married when she was 19 and Raidi was 29.

Sabtuyah with her grandchildren.

“Although I was slightly upset with their decision at first, I did not dare to oppose my family as I feared they would  disown me.

“Despite my feelings at the time, we were able to make the marriage work and I believe it is because of my family’s blessings.

“I believe that arranged marriages are still relevant today because many people are too absorbed with their jobs to look for partners. Therefore, their families must find partners for them. However, I don’t think many young people nowadays will accept arranged marriages because they may already have their own girlfriends/boyfriends,” she said.