The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are good days and bad days. When my husband and I talked about what “set up” we were going to have for the new addition in his already crammed life, I told him that what he did is something that any woman, regardless of color, upbringing, intelligence or faith, would have difficulty swallowing. He usually rebuts by telling me that I do not understand because I am not spending enough time studying what I should be studying (with that he meant religion).  I have learned to keep mum when he tells me that because no amount of explaining will convince him that what I am feeling is a “human” emotion, religious convictions aside.  Anyway I said that there will be days when I would be fine with the set up and days when I will not be good about it. Needless to say, I will need a heaps of patience (raise that to the nth power) before I could perfect the art of feigning happiness, just like he wants me to.

Today was a good-bad day. It was his weekend off. I looked forward to having a stroll with him on the beach at dusk just like we used to but I realized things are different now. I shouldn’t be planning anything with him anymore. And I was right.

He went to study with his Imam, a schedule which stretches from late morning until early evening. Talk about having a happy weekend with your husband, huh. In the early afternoon he phoned and asked me to talk to his Imam, tell him that I already know about IT and that I was okay with it. Tough. When his Imam asked if I was fine I couldn’t help but say I wasn’t. That was the truth. When he said the pain will eventually go away I told him it won’t. How could it? My husband committed a lifetime with that girl, pain would be as permanent as his dragon tattoo. That was the truth. And I broke down. Hubby, on the other hand, went amok.

He said that I embarrassed him in front everybody. Everybody. Who’s that, anyway? Okay, I might have said too much and maybe the tears are a little overboard too but what can I do? I was just being honest. And human. Anyhow, after he hung up on me, I already knew where that was leading to. All our misunderstandings lately have all been blamed on me. I was the irrational one. I was too emotional. I was being selfish. Etcetera, etcetera. Do you find him blaming himself in all this? Of course not.

Thankfully, he went home after prayer time. Calm. We talked and apologized to each other. Again he assured me that his love has never wavered despite what happened and nothing has to change. Yeah, right. I just smiled. We had a peaceful dinner of fried rice and sardines in spicy tomato sauce – that was a weekend tradition we used to have. It felt nice to relive it again. Happy. An hour later he left to see her.

So goes my life.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ashrubhaleeb
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 19:47:22

    Wow. I dont want to be too personal. I just clicked on this link off of a link on my own blog where you made a comment ( http://happilyhijabed.wordpress.com ) . This was a little painful for me to read. I think you must be a very strong and faithful woman to try and work past this. Im not sure that I ever could. I feel like despite our flaws I cling to my husband to stay afloat and him to me. What an absolute violation of trust. I think about the role of multiple wives in Islam. If it is a choice freely entered into Im sure it is difficult but none of my concern to have an opinion on it. . . but I think the idea of a man imposing that choice on an already established family is very selfish and not very in the spiriit of Islam or equality to just expect anyone to accept it as his right. Why shouild it be. . . how could he treat you fair and equally if you dont even have a fair say in the matter. I cant understand how someone can feel it is Islamically justified if thier is no necessity driving it like war wiping out eligible male populations. Im sorry I dont mean to be rude. I think if you work it out and save your love and marriage you are a woman of remarkable faith and strength . . .but you have every right to feel hurt and angry and betrayed. That kind of betrayal and inequality of the sexes doesnt seem to fit in at all with the ideals of Islam and the original spirit of progressiveness and equality.

    Reply

    • hearthquakes
      Mar 05, 2012 @ 00:33:51

      I agree with you sister. My husband feels that his actions are well justified and I have heard other brothers talking about having a second marriage without telling their wives and they, too, share the same views. As a new revert I feel like I am the only woman opposing their belief. If what you do is, as they coin it, “according to Islam” but is hurtful to the one whom you vowed to love and protect for the rest of your life, then I think there is something wrong somewhere. Right now I draw strength from the advice of sisters who are in the same boat as I am. As women who have been in this faith way longer than myself, I thought that it would be somehow easier for them to accept the situation because they have already been “conditioned” from the beginning that their husbands might marry again (as opposed to me who has been promised to be the only one – forever). But they are actually no better than I am. Like me, they are also angry, hurt and violated. So then if every muslima, regardless of the number of years she has been practicing Islam, goes through the same exhausting agony, how can this practice be pleasing to Allah?

      Reply

      • ashrubhaleeb
        Mar 05, 2012 @ 01:47:21

        I am no scholar but I firmly believe it is a manipulation of interpretation to say something like this is pleasing to Allah. Im sure you know that in the early years of Islam plural marriage provided some benifit to the community. Since widows formerly didnt remarry this offered some protection and ability for them to remarry and constant war and conflict had reduced the eligible male population to the extent that this practice could help people into halal marriages instead of women being left unmarried and vulnerable. We dont have those conditions now so the practice isnt necessary. . . granted it isnt strictly haram. I no way believe a man has a RIGHT to more than one wife and especially at such an emotional cost to his first wife. Islam teaches us the virtues of happiness and mutual respect in marriage. . . so how can one person make this decision that so intimately effects another. Taking another wife isnt a game just for a mans pleasure. It is clearly stated they must be treated fair and equally. The Prophet (PBUH) had more than one wife, but with great purpose. . .as an example that widows can remarry, as alliances to consolidate the community of believers and build on this. The Prophet (PBUH) is our example of the greatest of moral virtue, kindness compassion, spirituality and wisdom and there are still stories of struggles, jealousy and some dissappointments in his own household. So why should every regular joe on the street assume he can even begin to live up to the standards of what was a difficult balance even for the greatest of men? Your story really emotionally touched me. I think we have an obligation to understand and process what is in the religion we believe. We should educate ourselves and come to our own conclusions about what is moral and acceptable witin Islam and not just be spoonfed what certain people want us to believe things mean. I think as women we are particularly vulnerable. Islam is such a great religion that brought so much progress and beauty for women and I think some people have been fighting to take that all away from us. I dont want to change Islam to suit me . . . I want to see it for what it is and that isnt always what other people want us to see. I hope that makes sence. I think I am going to write a post on this topic one day soon. (It is all just my jabbering and my opinions and not scholarly work 🙂 ) I just think we all need to be thinking and contemplating for ourselves . . . scholars are important and so very useful . . . but their word and the word of Allah is not the same thing . . because many people interpret things differently. Anyway, sorry for rambling. If I write a post on this subject do you mind if I post a link to your blog (just noting it as inspiring me to write on this subject) since you are living it and articulating your personal situation in a powerful way. If you mind I certainly wont :). Salaam

  2. hearthquakes
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 02:56:38

    Thank you sister, that was well said. I am glad that there is at least one muslima who agrees that this is not how things should be. While I have so much respect for scholars and the like who are studying and educating others about Islam, I think we can all agree that the Quran, like other published materials, is bound to different interpretations. And there is so much is at stake when matters such as multiple marriage is shed in a light that skews in favor of men. Feel free to post a link to my blog, sister. Salam.

    Reply

    • ashrubhaleeb
      Mar 10, 2012 @ 05:49:11

      I know I don’t know you and I don’t mean to be nosey. I am just curious how you are doing. I mean I hope that you are doing well. Thinking about everything I said I think I let the angry feminist part of me go to town. I stand by the stuff I said but I was thinking that if I were in your shoes I might be doing exactly what you are doing. I might try to make it work. It is scarey to walk away from security and from the life you know. Plus, I love my husband and all of those hopes and dreams for our future and our family would be so hard to let go of. And like you I would be running through every emotion I have. Anyway, for what it is worth I am hoping you are well and Insha’Allah you will find peace and happiness. And if life has taught me anything it is that time really does heal all wounds. The times in my life where I thought that I couldn’t even pick myself up to go on have all passed and I’m sure that everytime life knocks me down in the future I will drag myself up again. We are women and mothers and that is what we do. It is kind of beautiful and unfair at the sametime I think 😉 . Salaam.

      Reply

      • hearthquakes
        Mar 11, 2012 @ 00:03:11

        Thank you very much for your message. To be honest, I am not that well. I thought that this will get easier as time passes but not I’m beginning to think I was wrong. It gets harder every day. Now that she is seeing how she is being favored, she is beginning to demand for most of my husband’s time. I thought that she ought to know her place but being that my husband really wants to spend more time with her, she calls and asks him to come even when she knows that it is “my time.” I have not met her and I do not really know who she is as a person but I do know that she is also a woman. All I am asking for is a little respect as I have accorded her the same. I hate to be blabbering like this and I really wish I could just learn to accept things as they are and will be but it is just so difficult. As much as I want to keep our marriage intact, I am not sure how long I could live like this.

      • ashrubhaleeb
        Mar 11, 2012 @ 03:51:26

        How do you feel about meeting her? Maybe if you both had a face and an actual person to go with the idea of each other it would help for her to respect you as his wife and understand that you need him around as a husband and in a fair consistant way. Not knowing each other might make it easier to dismiss one another. Im not saying you will ever be best of friends . . . because that seems pretty tough all things considered. Just a thought . . . not sure if it is a good one or not.

        But as another woman I think you are doing a pretty good job of accepting things. I mean its not like he spilled a drink on the floor and you are going crazy. What happened is a huge deal and the fact that you are making an effort to accept it at all is pretty amazing. I know there are lots of great men in the world and I love my husband but sometimes I just cant help but question if men really grasp the value of women and the sacrifices and accomodations we make for them. He should be the one trying to make ammends and yet it is you. I think this is a position women find themselves in all too often . I dont know if this sounds weird but I think you should make an effort to know your value. Think about it as much and as often as you can. I know it sounds like cheesy self help type of stuff but I think it is true. If you know your worth other people will too.

  3. hearthquakes
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 23:35:54

    The truth is, the very second I learned about what happened, I told my husband that I wanted to meet her. I felt it was the good side of me wanting to do so, just to let her know that I am willing to make this work. I even told him that when things settle, I want the three of us to be able to go out together – with all sincerity – so that everyone can see that it is not impossible to be at peace with the other wife if both sides are willing to work on it. Heck, I actually even thought of being friends with her, really! But she declined. She even refused to talk to me on the phone. I think it is for the reason that you cited that she doesn’t want to meet me. Perhaps it is easier for her not to know the person she is hurting.

    But lately I thought I’m fine with not meeting her. At this point I think it might be easier to not have an actual face in my head when they are together.

    It’s funny that you said that I should think about what I am worth. That was the exact thing running in my head while I was on my way home from work this afternoon. I said that this is not the life that I dreamt for myself; that this is not the life that I deserve. When I met my husband, I was in a relationship where I was taken for granted and he “rescued” me from that. Now I find myself in the same situation 4 years later – being taken for granted by the same man who promised never to make me go through that kind of pain again. I left that relationship because I knew that that was not what I deserved. Why should I stay in this relationship now when this is far worse than the first one?

    And so tonight, I ended my witr prayer with a du’a to help me let go. I prayed that if it is not possible for the other woman to give up on this set up, then I hope Allah will grant me the strength to leave. I love my husband dearly and Allah knows how I want to endure this just to make him happy. But I know I should also think of myself. That’s what he did anyway. He only thought of himself and what he wanted to do. Period. If I do not look after myself, who will? But don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to do this just to get even. I want to do this because it seems that the right thing to do now is to use my head and set aside what my heart desires. If it is already this painful when their relationship is not yet deep, I cannot imagine how painful it will be when their connection becomes stronger. I certainly cannot live a lifetime being this miserable.

    So from hereon I will try to un-learn loving him. I told myself that I should try to accept only what he is willing to give, to not demand for anything more than what he wants to provide. Perhaps in this process I will eventually pick myself up again and become the independent woman I once was when he first met me. Inshallah I will find the strength to do this…I honestly don’t think I can but it will definitely be worth trying.

    Reply

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