Friday, April 02, 2010

Married Life

As soon as I got married, people started asking me all the time "How's married life?" as if I might have some cute quip about it. I never did have a good answer, but now I've had some time to think about it, at least. In the CD set 'Fiqh of Love,' Sh. Yaser Birjas mentioned how silly of a question this is to ask someone newly married. But as I said--I've had a little bit of time to think.

My married life--maybe not anyone else's, but mine--is fun.

It's been fun getting to learn more about Pakistani culture, as well. And I have nothing but praise for the women I've met here among the wives of my husband's friends. They've been very welcoming, considering that I don't speak their first language, know very little about their culture, and come from a completely different country. So I've had the opportunity to attend many weekly dinner parties--a new experience for me--and even a cook-out.

I never really had any experience going to dinner parties growing up, and even after Islam they were mostly with just single women, so the segregation in dinner parties was new. I'm sure that for Muslims who have grown up seeing adults segregation naturally it's not weird at all. For me it was just a little bit of adjustment, though I'm not sure it bothered me as much as it might some people (example).

The segregation makes things a little bit more complicated--you need an extra set of serving dishes, and there's never enough chairs, not to mention communication (we need more rice) barriers and who's going to ferry the food back and forth. For us it also meant hanging curtains in hallways so men couldn't see the women as they came in.

But I'll say that even though American apartments don't necessarily make it easy, I think desis have this concept right about segregation at dinner parties, keeping the men and women in completely different rooms. I don't think it's necessarily right for all gatherings (especially classes in the masjid, committee meetings, khutbahs and the like) but for a purely social engagement, what need is there that men and women be sitting and talking with each other?

I'll admit that at first it was awkward to be in social situations with complete strangers--since my husband wasn't around--but I got along, met new people, and now I am comfortable with them and they're not strangers any more. And, if I'm going to a dinner party to socialize, why would I want to socialize with my husband (who I see at home?) And there's no way I really want to socialize with the other men.

So I'm coming around to view it as the best, even though the first few times I was pretty chicken, not having my husband there to hold my hand. But now, thankfully, I'm over that stage (most of the time) and have a pleasant time visiting with some new friends--very kind, welcoming, hospitable people.

4 comments:

rtfgvb785 said...
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Yusra (from Nurayn) said...

Asalamu Alaykum Amy,

I just popped in to check your blog and mashaAllah you got married! May Allah bless your marriage for you! :) Great news sis!

Anonymous said...

Salam sister

I liked very much this bit:

"not to mention communication (we need more rice) barriers"

:)

Glad that all is going well

With best wishes

Cortoby

Shamsuddin Waheed said...

As salaamu 'alaikum,

Once again, congratulations on your marriage. May Allah bless and provide happiness to the both of you.

Inter cultural marriages are always a fascinating change because of the 'mixing' that will inevitably take place. Dinner parties segregated by gender is just one example of the many things you will experience as married life continues. Without doubt, for your husband as well there will be changes that he will have to accustom himself to.

It will be hard to not judge by one's own cultural habits and standards, but it's something that has to be done. Fortunately, since you both are conscientious Muslims, the two of you have access to the criterion of the Qur'an and the Prophet's life and that will make things much easier, insha-Allah.

About a year ago, headlines was made in Britain when a politician [whose name escapes me now] attended a Muslim wedding party, only to walk out because he felt that the gender segregation was sexist and bigoted. To add insult to injury, he then went to the press to voice his complaints.

My point being, politics and positioning aside, he judged based on his own cultural expectations, rather than seeing it from the point of view of the hosts. He could have had the experience that would have made him a richer person in terms of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, but instead he metaphorically placed his fingers in his ears, as if to not listen [as phrased in a Quranic verse].

Again, this is a great opportunity for the both of you, so may Allah bless and provide for you. Ameen.