Arranged marriages are not something current day people understand but they still happen, and many people are totally cool with it. Culturally it's ALL up to what the individuals decide. However a lot of people like to share their thoughts on things they don't understand or approve of with or without being asked.
Redditor concernedhusband2821 had to tell his story on this topic... My [28M] friends/co-workers [20s M/F] are mocking my wife [22F] and our arranged marriage, not sure how to address or deal with this?
My wife and I have been married for close to a year now. She was born and raised in India her entire life, while I have been raised here in America since I was four years old. As you all saw in the title, this was an arranged marriage, and I met her around two weeks before the wedding. Despite not knowing each other for a longer period of time, we have grown very close and I care for her deeply.
My main group of friends, however, many whom I have known since college, have joked and made fun of our marriage, and my wife. For example, we were at a dinner party a couple months and my friends were talking about something. My wife then commented, but because she has a pretty pronounced Indian accent, she butchered a few words, and everyone laughed and began to impersonate and make fun of her. I could see how much this hurt her, and for the rest of the night she was silent and later on asked to leave early. This was the only time this occurred in front of her, but many times when I have gone out with my buddies they casually make fun of her accent, or her confusion when it comes to American traditions and customs, and every time I tell them enough, they say "I'm just joking man, chill out," or "Don't take it so seriously."
In addition, there have been a few times when I've gone out or talked with co-workers, and when they begin to talk about or complain about their relationships and I chime in, they basically ignore or make snide remarks regarding what I have to say. I specifically remember one time where a co worker said "What do you know about marriage? Yours is not even an actual marriage."
I suppose I'm asking for help on how to deal with these sorts of comments, as I'm sure more will come throughout my marriage. My wife is naturally just very shy, so I know she won't try and defend herself when stuff like this happens. She hasn't been able to make any friends since coming here, and refuses to come out with me because of my friends. I know she feels home sick at times, and I really want to help her come out of her shell because she's a wonderful person and her happiness is extremely important to me. So I suppose I have two questions, how can I deal with my friends and co workers? And how do I help my wife gain more confidence and come out of her shell?
how can I deal with my friends and co workers?
Firmly but politely.
"I'm just joking man, chill out"
"You might be joking but I am not."
"Don't take it so seriously".
"That is my wife you are talking about and I am taking it seriously"
And how do I help my wife gain more confidence and come out of her shell?
Are there any interests your wife has and are there any clubs in your area that correspond to her interests? Are there indian communities in your area? Also, you might want to do a fun activity together, like dancing (assuming she likes to dance). Or go swimming or cycling together. Preferably something outdoorsy.
If she truly feels isolated by her accent, please think about hiring an experienced ESL tutor. I tutor an Iranian couple on accent and fluency 3x/week. I am able to identify their problem areas and do exercises to get them used to forming different sounds. One thing she should be doing is shadowing. Just Google ESL shadowing. You basically repeat a speech or conversation AS it is still being said, half a beat behind. This forces you to simply copy the sounds of the language instead of translating it into your own accent/cadence. It will help her to get muscle memory in place and speak more naturally.
More like enemies
The thing that pisses me off the most about your so-called "friends" is that when she ends up just joining Indian communities and clubs they'll be the first to say crap like "sick of foreigners coming to our country and then just not trying to fit in and only doing stuff in their own little communities" etc. Well of course she will be more inclined to do stuff with other Indians when you racists mock her and make her feel like shit and not welcome...
Class can be fun...Giphy
Also, taking some college classes could really help here. Courses on sex and culture, for example, delve into these issues and teach crass American college students that there are many ways of being and being married. Basic cultural anthropology. Sociology classes - and some psychology classes.
Your friends sound incredibly self-centered and immature. So maybe reading Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism together (a classic, really, don't need to finish it) would help her understand this particular subculture.
You need new friends - these ones are awful! My coworker was from India and she had an arranged marriage and it was one of the sweetest relationships I've seen. Choose friends that respect you, not hurt you.
I have to agree your friends sound like a-holes. Have they never met or known anyone for whom English is a second language? Have they never travelled to a country they didn't know the language? I'm horrified they'd mock her accent.
If you want to remain friends with them, then you're going to have to shut down those comments.
"I was joking." Answer, "it's not a joke, it's very rude and hurtful."
"Your marriage isn't real." Answer, "that's a rude comment. Why would you say something like that?"
Your friends seem unable to accept cultures and customs different than their own.
Eye to eye...
So you need to be honest with them! Say "look, I know we've joked like this in the past, but you are hurting someone I care for very deeply and it is not acceptable. Either you change this behavior or we end our friendship."
If they don't comply, you need cut them out of your life. Your priority here is the family you are building with your wife. DO NOT stand for people doing anything to hurt her. I cannot believe you didn't stick up for her at that dinner when they were laughing at her.
They can learn...Giphy
To piggyback on what some other commenters said about her speaking English as a second language, I would ask your friends to try learning hindi and see how stupid they sound. At least your wife is intelligent enough to even learn a second language! She is also stepping far outside of her comfort zone to make an effort to communicate with your friends, and they are making fun of her for that. They are literally shaming her for being a good wife. Point that out.
Your friends are acting like a-holes. Making fun of for being from India and your marriage is super crappy.
In the future, I wouldn't share with everyone that your marriage is an arranged marriage. In the current time, I would tell them that it's not acceptable and it's not funny. If they don't, I would stop hanging out with them. They don't respect you, they're xenophobic...
As for your wife, are there any Indian community centers or temples near by? I used to take classical Indian dance- there were a lot of Indian adults in the class (I was the only non-Indian) so that might be a good fit for her.
Time for new friends...Giphy
Oh my gosh, these are not your friends.
My lab partner in grad school was Indian. Great guy. He got lonely so he went home on break and came back with a wife. It was a strange and new concept to all of us white people, so we we asked some respectful and curious questions. When we learned that she hadn't left the apartment in the week she had been there, we threw a casual party to welcome her. We all became great friends. She often brought food to all of us when we were in the lab late at night. They have been married ten years, and have one of the best relationships I have ever seen. I always puts her needs first and always respects her (and her him). That is what I admire the most. Your wife needs your respect, which means standing up for her. I imagine she must be feeling very lonely and or isolated. show her that you are in her corner.