Yesterday, I was listening to one of the many podcasts I subscribe, when one of the contributors had this to say:
“Secrecy, is isolating. What if you couldn’t find anybody to talk with or good resources to explore, before taking the jump?”
Now, the podcast was on a completely different topic, but this statement resounded with me. What if you had someone in a relationship like yours that you could have talked to before getting married?
I remember after getting engaged, searching for books, magazine articles, movies, websites on marriages between Middle Eastern (Arabic/Egyptian,Muslim) men and American (Caucasian, Christian) women. You know what I found? “Not Without My Daughter” and about 50 Silhouette romance novels. I watched, and read and was entertained, but those things had nothing worthy to contribute to my life.
Jump ahead to 2009, and I did another search, trying to find resources in general about raising children in an Islamic home. I found quite a few resources that teach general aspects about the religion, even a few that were readable (and not full of APA style quotations), a few documentaries about Islam itself, and a lot of websites where women bitched and complained about how they were hosed over or how they were trying to convert their husbands to Christianity.
I’m not saying that there haven’t been women taken for a ride, but that happens in every culture, and in every religion and in every nation of the world. But why is that the only message that we hear about? Because when you are wronged, whether it is in the restaurant, the car dealer, the contractor that works on your house, or the man you believed would love you ’til death you do part,’ you go far and wide to make sure that you complain to everyone, so it doesn’t happen to someone else.
When we stay quiet, we don’t support our sisters. We let them go in blind and afraid. Scared that they might get blind sided. Scared that their in-laws will hate them because they aren’t Arabic/Muslim. Scared that the man they have fallen in love with will turn out to be a stranger 6 months into their marriage. Scared that they are making a huge mistake, marrying someone so different, when it would be so much easier to marry someone who is more like them. We search out people in relationships like ours, but the pickings are sparse. Our friends are married, but the cultural issues are not something easily explained or shared.
When we don’t talk about what’s going on in our lives, we become isolated and lonely, thinking we are the only ones going through these challenges. When we get married, we are counseled to talk it out, and when we have postpartum depression, we are told to share, tell another person. Time and time again, it has been proven to work and to help. People work out their issues, depression is healed and we are not alone.
I want to talk about being happily married to a Muslim man, living an Islamic lifestyle. It’s been challenging and rewarding. I’ve learned a lot and I keep on learning every day. I chose the road less traveled, and it’s an amazing journey. You are not alone and I am not alone. Let’s get some coffee.