Today a great deal of things are going through my head. I got married 8 years ago thinking that it was going to be an adventure. I had been engaged four times prior to actually saying I do. I waited until my daughter went off to college as not to have that drama, and did it just for me. This marriage was not going to be about getting a father for my daughter, or about getting someone to help me maintain a home for her, or about security. This was going to purely be about love and enjoying a life with someone, having an adventure, relaxing in this love and life with another.
My husband and I had talked about world travel. He had done a great deal of traveling, especially in Europe, as he was from Tanzania, Africa. His ability to navigate through different cultures and countries, speaking several languages, was part of his attraction. The other part of the attraction was the way he embraced my ambitions, my interest in many things. Where many men thought of me as not knowing what I wanted to do, he saw me as interesting, and for the first time, it felt like it was alright to be me. That made me feel special.
Now I wonder if that was part of the game to win me over. I now realize for every plan we had, or I thought we had together he had an ulterior one. Therefore nothing that we planned together ever came to past. I had no idea because I was blinded by the love, on many levels.
Now that I am no longer blinded, which didn’t happen overnight even after separation, I am free to pursue my path, because it was obviously my path not his. It took me years to wake up because I respect the sacrament of marriage and I didn’t enter into that commitment to just throw it away when it no longer pleased me. But after two separations and many broken promises, I knew it was never going to come together. As much as I loved him, and still think he has some good attributes in spite of the ones that tore apart our marriage, I now totally understand what it is meant to be unequally yoked.
First my husband is a Suni Muslin from Tanzania, Africa. Even though he is not active in his religion, he still has the beliefs because it is not only a religion to him and his family, it is a way of life, it who they are. I saw him as a strong black man with strong family ties and great respect for family and his elders, who just happen to be from Africa. I was totally unaware of the major cultural differences. I figured that many people marry into other cultures and it works, so why can’t we. As far as religion was concerned, my being a Christian and his being a Muslin was not a deal breaker because we both believed in God, and that was enough for me. However, they do not believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, they believe that he was a prophet. Ok, I still did not see a problem. Then we started to have marital problems and I realized that we could not go to the church for counseling, because we believed two different things. Even though I was comfortable going to the mosque he was not comfortable going to a Christian church. This is when I knew I was in trouble. So there was not going to be any real marital counseling. Then the other things started to fall apart. I thought we had the same values, but we didn’t. I thought for sure we valued family the same, but even that was different. He was used to being thousands of miles away from his family, his siblings, his daughter, etc., so he never totally understood the urgency for me to be with my family at certain times. Even though he never tried to stop me or even discourage me, he just didn’t see the urgency. I understand now that he just had his own agenda, even though he tried to provide me with all that I wanted. His idea of marriage from my perspective, is to take care of home first, enough to keep me comfortable, and what went own outside of that was ok. There goes another difference in values. My idea was to put most of my energy in having a happy home, and the outside things were extra. Well first of all we are not talking about the same outside things. Lol
I had no need or desire to be with my husband 24 hours per day, I like it when he has his own interests and friends and I have mine, and we have common interests and friends, whether they overlapped or not. He comes from a culture where it is acceptable to have more than one wife, but they had to be equal, so what many would do is not have more than one wife because they could not afford that or they realize how difficult it was, but it was totally ok to have women outside of the marriage. It was my fault that I didn’t understand that. I think all people should be true to who they are, do what makes them happy, but they don’t have the right to do it to or with people that are not willing to participate.
I now realize that having more than one woman is viewed differently in his culture as it is in mine, not that men in my culture don’t subscribe to the same lifestyle. Maybe we are not meant to be monogamous, I don’t know, but I do know the pain that comes along with that deception.
Even though God did not choose him for my husband he put him in my path for a reason. That is what is most important to me now. I had to go through something to have clarity and understanding of myself and of life. I am grateful for every minute of the pain and anguish, because I now realize that God could not use me where I was, he had to mold me. The same way you mold metal, God had to mold me; you have to add heat to soften that medal; He had to add some pain (heat), to make me a little more pliable.