I was reading a message on one of my groups earlier. A woman was asking for advice on a situation with her husband. Some ladies offered their advice on how to deal with a man who was behaving rather like a pig. It got me to thinking.
I am finding that some Muslim women are getting married to men who are, well, rather like pigs. Not only are they marrying men who are not suitable, they are taking on a burden of guilt for feeling hurt when their man behaves rather like a pig. I want to ask these women what they were thinking when they got married, but that would probably put them on the defensive. Instead, I’ll ask the question rhetorically….
“What were you thinking?”
Now, I know I’m sitting on high here from my comfortably-ten-year-married pedestal, but really. Is being abused, used, disrespected and dismissed worth the sex? Because in this day and age in the United States, there is really very little financial incentive for a woman to get married. I’m assuming that women are getting married because that is the only way they can have halaal sexual relations. It can’t be for financial reasons – most of these women work very hard and many do not get money from their spouses. Some are married Islamically but not legally and collect public assistance, of which said husband relieves them on a monthly basis. Others are supported by their husbands, but live in tiny accommodations and scrape by month to month because the brother is so busy with ‘ibaadah in the masjid that he is spending precious little time earning money at his job.
Are you getting married because you are lonely? You want companionship? Well, be careful, because it seems a lot of ladies, especially those who are in polygynous marriages, are finding that their spouses don’t spend much time with them. For those who are second (or third or fourth), you live in one town, the other wife lives in another, and he works in that town so he can only make it out a couple of times a month for a quickie. Text messaging and e-mailing do not a marriage make. If you are the only wife, you can still be left home alone while he attends every halaqah at the masjid or hangs out at the hookah place – and yes, you are in America but there will be a hookah place where there are two or more Arab guys – smoking and drinking tea while you try to find something interesting to watch on TV because he said cable is haraam and all you can find is Wheel of Fortune and Judge Judy.
Did you check this guy out? Did you get beyond “He’s a good brother who prays and he’s always in the masjid”? Did you have a WALI who could look out for your interests and make sure the brother could keep a job and take care of a wife? Were you so desperate for any man that you would settle for one that you wouldn’t respect? What were you thinking?
Let me just tell any ladies out there who are contemplating getting married – think about it, then think about it again. Go in with your eyes open and with realistic expectations. Have the brother checked out – really checked out. Find out his source of income, if he sends money back to his family, if he is going to tell his family he is getting married. Does he have another wife that he has not told you about but the community is aware of? Is he keeping you a secret from that wife? There are many telltale signs that a man is not a good match for you. In this day and age, it can be difficult to find a brother who is living according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, who respects himself and respects women and knows that you don’t become a servile piece of property when you enter the marriage. If you feel like you have certain issues that might keep you from being great wife material – you can’t have kids, you already have kids, you have a chronic medical condition – you might think you’ll have to settle to find a husband, that you’ll just quietly accept any scraps of kindness he might toss in your direction. Think again. Don’t sell out, don’t settle, and don’t be desperate. The right brother is out there for you, or he isn’t. Don’t settle for Mr. Wrong just to have a warm body on the other side of the bed. If you have a healthy sex drive and you think you’ll be sorely tempted to commit fornication if you don’t marry, then yes, by all means, be active in trying to find a husband. But if you aren’t, then don’t rush into anything. Go to school, work a job you love. Make friends with the women in your community and be active in improving the lot of women everywhere. Learn to cook. Take up Tae Kwon Do. Become a Haafiz Qur’an. Make Hajj. Make peace with yourself. Yeah, you can get lonely. But you can be just as lonely in an unfulfilling marriage. Lonely? Get a cat.