Author: Madiha Azmat

Supervisor: Aisha Sitwat PhD

Degree: MS

Year: 2015-2017

University: Centre for Clinical Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The current explored the lived experiences of unmarried women
by investigating the reasons, impact and their coping with delay in
marriage. A qualitative research design and phenomenology
research tradition was used to explore this phenomenon. By using
purposive sampling strategy, sample of four unmarried women
was recruited. The age range of the participants was 31-38 years.
In-depth interviews were conducted. After transcription, data was
analyzed through interpretative phenomenological analysis. The
common superordinate themes for the reasons for delay in
marriage were unavailability of suitable marriage proposal for
participants, boy’s family requirements for proposals, familial
factors, social and cultural factors, cognitive factors and religious
factor. The superordinate themes for impact of delay in marriage
showed delay in marriage has impacted the psychological well being of participants and they experienced anger towards people, fear of loneliness, and fear of marriage responsibilities with
growing age. Moreover, they feel upset due to repetitive
questioning and suggestions from people. The participants made
flexibility in their proposal requirements as a result of delay in
marriage and few of them became advocates for marriage of girls
in younger age. Women mostly used avoidance coping,
distraction coping and religious coping to deal with stress of delay
in marriage. They started avoiding discussing marriage topic and
also decreased socializing. Distraction coping was used by them
to deal with their sexual urges. Furthermore, all the four
participants used religious coping by considering it Allah’s will
and also making supplications to Allah for their marriage. The
participants also used positive reframing, few sought social
support from their families and friends and few started active
efforts to do volunteer work for others to deal with delay in
marriage. This study is helpful in understanding the dynamics of
delay in marriage of unmarried women in Pakistan.

Keywords: Delay in Marriage, Reasons, Impact, Coping.

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