Live-In Relationships

A walk down a flower laden aisle, circles around a sacred fire, or even simple signatures on a document; marriage has a different representation in different people’s minds, but for all, I am sure, its sanctity is utmost. A very normal situation has now arisen, that is slowly replacing these images, and that is of a live-in couple.


A live-in relationship is one in which two people, who are not married decide to live together in a house or flat and share a bedroom. If this idea was presented to our grandparents, they would gape at us, open-mouthed, and demand to know what devil had possessed us and made us think such insane thoughts! And who can blame them; such a situation is a very new one in the subcontinent, and has only started becoming popular over the past few years, and in essence, is preposterous.


People have become increasingly independent, and choose to live according to their own views, wants and needs. But the fact that the idea of live in relationships is popular does not mean that it is correct. Living in a conservative society, where only two decades ago, if a man and woman who were not legally married and were not from the same family, were seen together in public, were arrested on the charges of zina (pre-marital sex and adultery); the idea of an unmarried man and an unmarried woman living together is considered highly incorrigible. And with good reason too, for I have grown up being told that marriage holds more importance than any other relationship, and such a relationship is a violation of that very thought.


Pakistan is an Islamic country, with a clear majority of the people being Muslims, and in our religion, there is a strict rule against pre-marital sex; a live in relationship negates that very rule, as a couple that is living together is bound to be sleeping together too. In short, from a religious point of view, it is an unethical and immoral practice. Socially, live in relationships are not that widely accepted in the sub-continent, and are a common practice only in sprawling metropolitans like Mumbai, in India, and Karachi in Pakistan. Cities like Delhi and Lahore are, however, comparatively conservative in such matters.


The reason that such a category of a relationship took form is because of the highly promoted western culture. Live in relationships have been promoted by the media, even in Bollywood movies like, Salaam Namaste, which was actually a very bold step for the film industry. In reality, such relationships are not widely accepted, and not commonplace, at large. Such false depictions are spreading this trend in the upcoming generation, and are actually leading to threaten the integrity of the concept of marriage and are corrupting the sanctity of it. If a couple is ready to share all aspects of each other’s lives, they may as well enter into a marital union, rather than ruin the concept of it.


The generation gap between our generation and the one before us is a very large one, so the introduction and promotion of such ideas is going to widen the gap. Insightful communication is the only option that can help bridge that gap, but even though the previous generation is what we now call “old fashioned”, their policies seemed ethical enough to work. We need to take a leaf out of their book, and incorporate their views into our lives, for some of their concepts and practices seem far better than ours, now.


Khadija Ranjha

[Image source:]