Monday, November 2, 2015

Forgetting Wedding Anniversaries, Remembering Love

Yesturday was my wedding anniversary. Like usual, I was busy, and totally forgot all about it. I don't remember birthdays, or most holidays. Life is too full of today usually, to remember something that happened on a day long ago.

My husband didn't remember either. I suppose I could blame him, say it was his fault. Claim to be offended that because we eloped, had only the religious melka, not any big Omani-style urs wedding feast, that I didn't wear Omani-dress or a white ballgown, or a veil, but a black abaya, and that all the maher/dowry he had to pay was for an antique silver Omani ring from souq nizwa and for a little silver box (I think it cost in total under fifteen rials) that he forgets my wedding day. I could manipulate and guilt-trip him into something awesome for today.
I won't of course. I'm not that kind of woman. I forget days too.

I think my husband just realized he too forgot and is planning something for tonight. I am pretending I have no idea. I am not really a person who is easily surprised, and thus, I don't like surprises very much. I am very much a planner. I plan things, get them done.

Of course, a woman never forgets how she would have liked to have had her wedding done. Of course, I planned out my future wedding as a yougin'. I've been married twice now. Still didn't happen how I planned. Love doesn't work well with plans, is what I've since discovered.
I always wanted to a forest wedding, on my family's land. They have a forest, and a meadow lined at the edges with ferns, with tall sweet grass and wildflowers, like dandelion and forget-me-nots, and daisies and clover. At the edge of the meadow, is a tangled knotted forest path, where I used to play Robin Hood and King Arthur as a little girl. I always saw myself, as Marion, getting married I guess lol, veil over my face, a crown of flowers, everything else very rustic and charming and simple. And we'd eat strawberry shortcake instead of regular wedding cake, because that's what I liked best as a girl. I never bothered to envision my groom, what he'd be like. I assumed he'd sing to me, tell me stories, be okay with travel and adventure, and encourage me to do all my dreams, be honest, and kind, and good, more than great, and of course brave. I've never met a good person who wasn't brave.
or a winter wedding in my favourite hotel back in my home country, in the library again, because that's a place I loved as a girl. I thought it would actually be cheaper than a country forest wedding, because in December it is already decorated, just the cost of the food and the dress would really be there.
Of course, my actual wedding was an Islamic one, and I didn't have a reception/urs... I sat in a car in an abaya while an Imam came out to check with me if I really was okay with such a minute ammount of maher/dowry. He tried to convince me to take more, he told me my rights.

I didn't need more because I already knew my husband-to-be's character. Patient, kind, and brave people need less insurance policy than romantic sorts from fairytales...

Everyone Omani and adult male who knows me well (as like, aquaintances from work and good Muslims I know) at first were shocked about me getting married in secret and to someone without a good solid income, or in the situation my husband is in. But now they see the wisdom in his character, which I already knew. Anybody else, would have divorced me a dozen times by now;). I am not an easy soul. I am a storm, a volcanoe, a secret forest path that I won't tell you about even I like you because it is mine in memory... Love and trust for me, are not easy, if loyalty and duty are.

I knew it from luck really, women wanting to get married aren't usually able to see through men to the core of their personality and character. As it was, at the time, I was heartbroken, low, and discouraged, when I was first introduced to the man I am married to now, and I saw him with almost accusing eyes, prepared to see the worst in him, and expect nothing good. He wasn't the man of my dreams. He wasn't the hero I'd envisioned, however, he was someone who could say, stand up girl and save yourself.

For someone like me, that's more important than being rescued, surely, since I am well equipped to take care of myself and see the world as it is.

He wouldn't give up on me. As likeable a character trait as that is, for me, it marked him out to be a complete idiot. He's an onblivious, rash, unthinking kind of person. He does what is in his heart.

He to this day, doesn't understand how I don't think calling him stupid is offensive but is actually something sweet. Stupidity of that kind, is rare. Maybe it isn't actually stupidity, maybe it is faith? But to someone as practical as I like to be, I call it stupid.

Now we have been married for almost five years. Time flies. He's still stupid, and patient, and full of dreams for plans, I'm still remarkably unkind and stubborn and impatient and imperfect and suspicious of people.

You could dress up in another day in the past, put him into a bisht, wrap a mussayr, strap a khanjar on, put me in a gown with jewels in my hair and perfume on my skin, but we'd still be those two people who were married and remain married now, only the process of how we would have gone about it would have been different. It would still be just one day from our pasts that we'd forget when we are fighting, when we are busy with our kids and our jobs, and deciding what to cook for dinner or if we can afford to eat out instead...

...I can romanticize weddings, but not marriage. Marriage isn't romantic. Waking up beside the same person every day, dealing with their foibles, and quirks, and personality flaws and cleaning up the messes of their rash actions, and seeing your own flaws constantly reflected back at you through them, and growing old together, none of that is romantic. But it is real. It is a day that you have, and have a good chance of tomorrow, not a memory that is gone and not repeatable.

Is marriage merely comfort and support? Maybe. I won't say that it isn't a good backup, when you're weak and you're down low. Is it habit?

It would be so strange to wake up one day and realize that you have no one to share your thoughts of the day with, funny things your children did, a fact about someone who annoyed you, a beautiful dream...

Is it something we stubbornly cling to, because of all the effort we put into it?

We went through a lot to get married, and even the man who married us went through a lot and risked a lot to marry us.

I think of the man who married us, an Imam from Barka, who could have lost his job for doing so. I remember his wife, who gave me my wedding food, even though it was late in the evening. I remember their kindness, nothing compared of course, to what my husband went through.

I remember going to court and fighting to prove that the marriage even happened, since the man who married us, and his wife, were killed in the fighting in Yemen, where the man had gone to work as an Imam, sinced he said, Oman's unislamic laws forbid halal marriages from being conducted...

Valentines day, people think of that priest dude Valentine? Who was behaded for marrying soldiers to their sweet hearts? which was against the law? I think, that happens still in the world, why have an anniverary say for that? Or why not have a Anne Boelyn or Catherine Howard day as well?

That happens in GCC countries everyday (of course not beheadings! but punishing those for doing what their religious committments require of them to do) so I think of that Imam today, and his wife, who died. I wonder what their wedding story was? If they remembered their anniversary?

I think marriage is mutual admiration and trust, nothing more or less. Without those things, it deteriorates, breaks down, becomes something wretched and reduces people to decrepit monsters or wraiths of their former selves. Love is those two aspects united, perhaps blindly at first, then with such clarity, that it forces one to reckon one's own flaws and weigh them upon a scale of what is worthy to change, and what must be accepted, despite the weight of it.

We forget our anniversary, but still feel that the scale is lighter towards the end of our own true selves, and those made brighter, than the things we have let go of, to be in this place. That's what I remember, when I set myself down to remember such things.


Anonymous said...

This beautiful writing comes at an interesting time- my boyfriend? Potential future husband? Shares a wedding anniversary with his first wife. I'm an expat living in Southeast Asia, and he wants me to become his second wife. I found your blog about a year ago from a google "polygamy" search...and as lovely as your writing is, I can't quite seem to accept his proposal. I'm also a Muslim convert, divorced with a five year old daughter. I've been fasting and praying ad nauseum for weeks and I can't come to any conclusion; I've decided to go back home at the end of the month. I suppose I'm running away? I'm leaving the love of my life it seems. He has 4 children and loves his wife; this is supposed to be good right? Very admirable. But somehow it hurts too much. Is my culture holding me back from happiness? Not sure. But I admire you and your strength, you are a beautiful person.
Bless you and your family


Beautiful photos :)
Maria V.

R in KSA said...

Hey salaam happy anniversary to you and Abu S.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonymous: I think if I'd already had children, I would find polygyny so much harder to be the right thing for me... really:). Marriage in general, one or two, or three or four, but defnately more than one, I'd be more scared if I had kids already. I don't know why. It seems like more things to balance. I think it would be more work.

It isn't right for everyone (at least, not at all times in our lives).

Make istakara, and if that fails, think of yourself. Would you be far too changed (even in the ideal, fair, honest, open, polygamous marriage) from who you want to be as a person? If so, then the answer towards if it suits you or not, is no;).

Always follow what is halal versus what is haraam first, but know, Allah puts in our hearts awareness of what we can handle, when He gives us a choice. If Allah doesn't give us a choice, He thinks one can handle it;).

If it something you can run away from... then maybe it isn't for you. If you can't run away...then maybe it is?

All the best to you.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

M & M: Lovely blog. I am so envious... I so want to go to Greece!

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

R: Wa alaykom e salaam ramatullhi wa barakato to you from us in Muscat, and thanks.

Sorry I couldn't bring up your blog or find it any more just your profile!

DRAMA Queen said...

I admire you from walking away from him! And respect you as a person much! I'm sick of men and second wives justifying polygamous relationships which are weird snd disgusting especially when people involved justify themselves "it's real love, it's naseeb, it's halaal, it's appropriate"

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Drama Queen: I am still married to my husband who still has another wife...

And I am sick of people forcing us to justify our lives to them (first wife and second wife feel the same). Though I don't know about "appropriate lol". It is halal, and love. But a lot a lot or work. And occasionally, drama.

And ym husband usually doesn't justify himself to others, if other men ask him he tells them honestly how hard it is... how much time and how little of himself he gets to keep for himself to manage this in a way that keeps two women happy.... Anyways...

All my best.

Anonymous said...

Actually Dram Queen and OPNO, I am halfway changing my mind. I did istikara and honestly asked myself what I wanted truly, for myself and my daughter, and all I could see was his face streaming by me at all moments. We all went out for dinner with his wife and 4 children two nights ago, and it was like an enormous weight was lifted off of my chest. I finally could let go of my jealousy for his wife of 17 years. I could actually see their affection for each other and realize that it was also, largely her love and respect and support for him that helped him to become the wise, caring, kind and responsible man he is today. She hugged me and said, please come back soon from your country. You and your daughter can live in our second house right across the street from us. We can take our children to school together. I was breathless. After dinner they came over to my place for fruit and tea. The children all playing together. When they left, my daughter cried and asked me, why doesn't my father ever come over and play with me? I wonder, if God is giving me someone to love and care for me and my daughter, why should I travel the world and suffer in search for something better? My daughter is almost 6 and I am 31. I will still go home to think it over really and truly in my own country, but I am wondering why God is making this so seamless and smooth for me, and why this feels so good suddenly in my heart? Where did all those horrific jealous feelings go that have tortured me? Bismillah I suppose... Please pray for me and my daughter, and also for him and his family. Xoxo

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

I will dear;) inshaAllah.

Jealousy is a negative thing... it comes in waves. It will go today, come tomorrow, go out tomorrow... Knowing the other wife totally helps (at least me). I know when I am not with my co-wife at least once a week, we both start to fight and think our husband is different than he is.... I dunno. That's just me.... I have no idea how that extends to others.

And inshaAllah your daughter has a father figure who is what a father should be for a little girl, ameen, no matter what may be.