I have not written in a while because I felt my life wasn’t social media worthy – shiny, picture perfect, staged just so and I did not want my life to become gossip fodder for those who have a negative intent or ill will towards me.
Over the last three years, I have struggled in my marriage with my husband. We have attended marriage counseling twice both times initiated by myself. I had hoped we could work through the issues we faced as a couple. Some of the issues were not my own. Some of them were.
I wavered back and forth to stay in my marriage or not. There was a lot of familial and social pressure to stay – no matter what the issue that I was facing. There was support from good friends and family to leave and set me up for a smooth transition out of the marriage.
I fought to reenter the workforce applying to over 150 jobs. I succeeded when my daughter was 18 months old because I could foresee where things were heading. I knew that if I did nothing that I there was a high probability I would shortly be homeless with a small child.
I could not rely on him. I could not trust him to do the right thing.
I would hope I could again and again only to be disappointed.
I paid for and did all the paperwork for my husband to immigrate to this country.
I helped my husband gain his first job here in the United States working part-time for UPS and he was content with this.
I saw how he did not have a hunger for education to improve his career outcome and financial standing by working on his English language ability or seek to get a job that required full-time hours.
He was comfortable doing the bare minimum to get by. He was comfortable and ok having us on MediCal and food stamps. He was comfortable and ok with my mom paying our rent. He saw no reason to change and step up.
I continued to see evidence of my husband’s lack of care and selfishness. My mother in law asked me to take care of my husband and I think I and my family have stepped up to do so really well.
I finally decided it was time to rip the band-aid off in July. So after 5 plus years of marriage, I filed for divorce.
I grew tired of being the sole responsible person in this marriage. I am tired of not being a priority for my spouse. I am tired of begging for affection and love only to be rejected in favor of pornography and sex workers. I am tired of working full-time, being the parent, maid and cook all alone.
I am tired of being lonely. I am tired of being tired.
I accept I can not change another person. I can only change myself and control myself.
It is healthier for my daughter and myself that I not remain in a marriage where I am something to be used at my husband’s convenience be it for sex, money, a verbal punching bag or validation.
I felt I was a single parent long before this divorce started. I do not think its right that I or any other parent should have to fight or argue to get the parent of the child to care for that kid’s needs – for example, something as simple as a diaper change regardless if the mother works outside of the home or not.
Being a parent means that you sacrifice your needs or delay them to tend to the needs of your child in my opinion especially when they are in the three years and under age group when their needs are the most intense and basic.
Some in the community and family would say – just stay – tough it out and do not air your “dirty laundry.” To them I say – how is that in line with our Prophetic tradition and more importantly our Qur’an? We were not made to suffer within unhappy and unhealthy relationships as my marriage has been. It is this demand for silence and suffering that perpetuates abuse within our community.
It enables those who are not ready for the spiritual, financial and emotional responsibilities that being in a marriage entails – to get married and create a pool of single mothers that then struggle to create support networks, reenter the workforce, move out of poverty and fend off being targeted by men who would abuse their power and privilege – not to marry these women but seek sexual gratification in the guise of the promise of marriage or even orfi (temporary) marriage.
Marriage is work and it is not all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. The wedding and all of the pomp and circumstance around it is not the entirety of a marriage.
Marriage can be a boring daily grind where you simply are happy that the person you chose to be with is there in the trenches with you as you collapse into bed at midnight knowing you are both going to get up and repeat the cycle again the next day.
I remain optimistic that I will one day find the right partner for this journey in the Dunya. My journey right now requires me to make hard decisions with a focus on what is healthy, safe and moves myself and child forward to a better future.
“There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.”