Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Life is Crazy

I spent most of yesterday working on an electronic affirmation. We could do better in our marriage with the aid of a new contract, I thought. I typed it up, prayed over it, labored over it and printed it out with copies for my husband and the sheik's translator. My marriage was going to work, inshahallah.
Then, I had my husband walk in the door. He was in a bad mood. There had been a misunderstanding with his ex. He had called to speak with his son, and after a while someone told the son to hang up. Drama. Endless drama. So, he's sending a text message, she's replying, then he's replying to her reply. This is after he swore off text messaging. He at first denied texting. Then admitted. Then got mad at me because he meant to stop the romantic messages, but not messages all together.
The whole thing made me sick. Why did he have to call his ex? She is mad at him. Why instigate trouble on the day we were trying to save our marriage? And why couldn't he keep his mood up and his mind thinking about us?
I spent the next twenty minutes listening to a rant. "This is a joke. Why are we even going to this? I've got more serious things to think about."
My marriage was over.
I went to the masjid and prayed two more rakah. What was I doing? Was I going to walk into the meeting and end our marriage? Yes. I decided that he had shown disregard for me, our marriage and the process to heal our marriage.
The sheik, his translator, his teenage daughter as my translator, my husband, our baby and some guy, who might have been the janitor, sat down at the conference table. You can't embarrass easily if you are a revert Muslimah talking to the sheik and his entourage. I layed it on the line. I was living in torment and it wasn't just about his ex wife. There were the financial problems. There was the cruel mistreatment. There was the encouraging of disrespect from his family. There was his lack as an upright Muslim man. I'll never really know how it was all interpreted for me.
I don't think my husband knew this was coming. He thought we had patched things up. He didn't know how disheartened I was by his choice for upheavel. He was a little surprised as I pushed the button on my cell phone so the sheik could hear my recording of my husband yelling on the ride up.
When it was his turn to speak, my husband told (according to my interpreter) that he didn't want the divorce. He tried to explain his side, but the sheik lectured him on what he was doing wrong. Not being soft enough to me. Not being thoughtful enough of my feelings. Not being fair. Of entering into haram with his ex. Of keeping his sister's family in our house too long. Of trying to force me to sign a loan. My husband listened. The sheik saw a glimmer of hope.
He turned to me next and asked me what I wanted."I want to be done with this crazy life."
I was asked if I wanted a divorce.
"I don't want a divorce. I just want to stop all these problems."
"If he does take a second wife, can you stay married to him, " the sheik wanted to know.
"I can't IMAGINE that he will try us equally..." I started to say.
"If he treated you equally, could you stay married to him?" was the question put to me.
I thought and then answered honestly, "Yes, I could."
It was the truth. And the hope for our marriage grew. The sheik denied my request.
His response was translated as, "I knew you four years ago when you took shahaddah. You were so calm. You aren't calm today and that makes me sad. You ask me to judge what is best for you, but I can't measure the depth of the sea on a windy day."
"Yes, " I jumped in, "and he's the wind!" I said pointing to my husband.
The sheik told me that he would see to it that I was treated fairly in all matters. If I still felt, after trying to rebuild our marraige, that I wanted a divorce, I could come back to him. If I asked him again for this divorce, he would grant it without another discussion.
I felt so down. I had decided to divorce and, in the end, it wasn't going to happen. I couldn't imagine trying to rebuild once again.
But today is a new day and the thought came to me as I prayed that the sheik is such a learned man. I should take his advice and follow it whole heartedly. If the sheik knew I was dragging my feet and belly aching, I would not be so well liked. I have to give this my whole heart but, I will not give it my whole life.

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