Recently I wrote about my friend and her brother. The brother hoped to marry a young woman but the mother objected and was forcing her to marry someone else. Last week, when my friend told me that her brother had "kidnapped" the young woman, I wasn't entirely surprised. Because he did it on the day of the forced engagement party, I was surprised that there wasn't any violence. Honor killings aren't unheard of around here, either.
My friend was very upset. Although this sort of kidnapping--bride snatching-- could almost be called an elopement, it's a shameful thing. Another friend once told me that the family of the girl often disowns her after a kidnapping. In essence, the couple lives together until a wedding can take place. Think how the Bennett family reacts in Austin's Pride and Prejudice to Lydia's elopement. That's probably a pretty close analogy to how families here react.
Attitudes toward marriage are certainly changing: divorce is becoming more common, arranged marriages are less common. Still, in a traditional family, refusing to heed a parent's wishes about marriage is no small issue.
This event raises some interesting questions for believers here. How does the church minister to this family? How does it help bring the young couple to a point of restoration. . .if the relationship with her family can ever be restored at all? How does the church make it clear to the surrounding community that it doesn't condone this behavior, especially in a culture where followers of Jesus are already under great suspicion?