Monday, November 27, 2006

Part XXIII. Marriage in the USA

Just like any single man, I wanted to live with a companion, a soul mate, a partner in life. The search was not easy due to different factors. Factors such as finding the a mate who is culturally compatible to me. Religion is also another factor, if not the most important one. Finding the right woman was a big task for me, for it is a big investment for life. This is not a short term deal. I know I may be wrong describing marriage as an investment or deal, but the fact of the mater is it is an important decision in life.

However, it’s a pretty difficult scenario I was put in. Being the “bad boy” I was made it difficult to find trust in women. Regardless if this was my fault or anyone else, it was just difficult. I’ve seen women who were never honest with their husbands, and I’ve seen women who were so eager to live the sinful life. That played negatively toward my search for the right woman that I can trust and feel good with. You see, once you live a life like mine, and once you see the type of women I’ve seen in my life, you would have difficulties to convince yourself that men out there are not as evil as you are, and the same is for women. So how can you establish the level of trust in the other gender after coming off such a life? I know it was not their fault, and the fault is mostly mine, but how can you overlook that past?

The search started early when I was still studying. I knew this nice girl, she was 18 years old. Well, if you lived with arabs in the states you would find that a large chunk of them try to marry their daughters at an early age to protect themselves from the social “seductive” nature of the west. So at any rate, she was 18 years old and just finished high school. She was beautiful, and from a well known family from Palestine. I knew her dad (who loved drinking and gambling at that time) and he was a very nice person. Her mom was wonderful. I knew the family via my interaction in the arab community. Her mom loved me to the point that she was sending home cooked meals to the gas station I was working in. She would send her husband and kids (the 18 years old daughter and the 12 years old son) where they would even spend some time with me. I needed that for it made me feel like home, somehow. I felt that the mother loved me to be a son in law. It was difficult to find a “nice” guy like me with a degree to marry their daughter, and they didn’t have relatives in the city they were living in.

I started liking the daughter. On occasions, I would drive in my day off to their home and spend some time there. Relationship got better where I would take the girl and her brother to the park, and even the movie theater. Now, I wouldn’t trust anyone with a guy like me, but I valued this family so much that I drew the line between me and getting to do anything with the girl, and was very cautious to protect their honor as if it was my own honor. Thank God I did good in this category. Then I decided to propose to the family and ask for their daughter to be my wife. I asked the girl first and she was very ok with the idea. I then went to her dad where he worked and asked him for his daughter. He was very happy, and later, the mother was too.

However, there was a voice in the back of my mind bugging me about the idea. What if this girl was like the rest of the arab girls I knew? So I decided to do my own investigation and started watching the girl. I discovered things that made me quickly change my mind. I told the dad that I can’t marry now and will need to pursue my second degree before thinking of marriage. He was ok with that, and when another man proposed to his daughter a year later, he asked me, and I told him that I am still not ready for marriage. That ended peacefully.

My second trial was not even that good. Without lots of details, I liked this Palestinian girl. I knew her brother very good, and knew the family. I proposed and everyone was happy. Except the girl. In my first visit, she sounded very interested since she knew me for over 3 years from the interaction with her brother. But somehow, she rejected me. However, her brother and father tried to pressure her. I knew that because the brother told me that she is not accepting yet, and he needs to spend more time to convince her. Because I liked her, I agreed. But then, I realized that I was making a big mistake and can not accept to force myself on any girl. Like I said earlier, this is a long term investment. How can I live with someone that doesn’t love me. That’s when I quickly went back to the brother and told him to forget about it, it’s not a big deal. I still know the girl and her brother till today, and both are wonderful people.

My third trial was a very interesting one and should make you laugh. A friend of mine, from the local mosque, told me about this girl. She was beautiful and very religious. Her dad deceased long ago. I was coming out off two failed attempts within a year and was not ready for a third one that soon. He told me that her mom wants to meet me. I declined of course because this is not the way things should go. Heck, I didn’t even see or meet the girl yet. In one night at the mosque, he came rushing to me and said that her mom is her and she just wants to talk to me. I was angry at such approach, but didn’t want to embarrass him in front of the mother, so I accepted on the condition of him iterating to the mother that this is just friendly meeting that is not related to marriage at all. He agreed of course.

So I sat down waiting for the mother. She came in the room, and my friend was there too. The mother’s sister was present too. After the normal “hey how you doin” intro, the mother started asking me questions about me. After every question, I would look at my friend with a look of “whats going on here?”. I decided to just answer all questions for the sake of my friends who was begging me with his looks not to act like the normal “trouble maker” mentality that I have developed over the years. Then the questions were starting to become funnier. Comments like “we rejected a man because he refused to spend $12,000 extra on the type of meals for the wedding”. Put it this way, she asked me about 5 questions about me, then she shifted to ask about my dad. His work, how much land he owns, where he worked, if he owned houses or not, his citizenship, and so many questions that relates to the wealth of my father. I really tried very hard to refrain myself from laughing in the “meeting” and did very good except when she said “oh, your dad worked in the UAE army, that’s good, they make lots of money in the UAE”. I just couldn’t hold myself, and laughed a little. She then said “ok, I’ll let you know”. “let me know what ma’am? I didn’t even see the girl yet” I said. She replied saying “we’ll see God’s willing”. She left the meeting and I was so angry. I felt humiliated, and sat down putting my hands on my head of the humility. My friend apologized to me, and I yelled at him for putting me in this situation. I didn’t propose yet. I didn’t even talk about marriage. I told him “listen man, please tell her that I’m not interested all” He calmed me down and said he will not pursue this further.

So two weeks later, I see the same woman, and she asks me when will I come and visit them. I was again shocked and told her that whatever God wants, will happen. I asked my friend if he told the woman about my decision yet, and he said “yes and swore to me”. But seems the mother wanted to pursue this. So I went back to the woman and told her “seems that God doesn’t want this marriage to happen”. The sad thing is I never got to see her daughter yet. Maybe the daughter is very nice, but I tell you, with a mother in law like that, even satan will refuse to become her son in law.

That’s when I decided that I can never marry from the states. In the same time frame, my mom told me that “my current wife” was still available. I knew the girl when I was visiting Jordan. I quickly told mom to ask her if she would be interested, and she was indeed interested. So I decided to go to Jordan and see her. Upon my arrival, my brother in law has prepared a list of potential “candidates” for marriage. I was brought up in America of course, and that concept just didn’t click in my mind. The list contained Christians and a 17 years old girl. I told him that I was here for one person only, but he told me to give it a shot and see a couple of other women for marriage, just like everyone “else” in Jordan. I honestly didn’t like the idea, but went through with it just to see how the system works. I agreed to see 2 girls in amman, just to understand this traditional marriage and how it works, and to get my brother of law off my back. It’s kind of funny somehow. In one instance, I sat down with a well educated 23 years old woman (I was 30 back then) who was brought up in kuwait. Very educated and modest woman. We sat down for a couple of hours. I had so much enjoying this meeting. We were sitting in a room, with the door open, and her mom was looking at us across the open door from the other room. She can see, but can’t hear what we say. I asked this girl honestly if she see’s herself marrying this way. She said that she fought against seeing me, but her family pressured her, and she was apologetic for saying that. She also said that she doesn’t see herself marrying me. I smiled and told her that I had to come here too, and we both agreed to talk about college matters instead of marriage just to finish the visit. We smiled and we laughed, and it was a very friendly and happy meeting. We both knew that we won’t get married, and we both agreed it was the right thing to do. Maybe that’s why it was a happy meeting.

After we left, my sister and brother in law were happy saying that I was laughing loud, and so did she, and that’s an indication that things are great. I told them the story, and told my brother in law that I won’t see any other girl. I now dedicated myself to meet my real future wife.

Her family knew, and my whole family knew that she would be the greatest fit for me. So I went there home for the first time, and we sat down and talked for many days. She would sneak out with my sister, and I get to meet them in a restaurant. I sometimes went to her work, and spent some time after work with her. I liked her so much, and she seemed happy with my presence. However, I needed to come clean with her. I decided to gamble and tell her about my past. One side of me didn’t want to lose her, but the winner side wanted to be as honest as possible with her. I told her everything about my past and how bad I was. I prepared myself for rejection too. She was sad for hearing what I told her, and she requested couple of days to think about it. Two days went by and I didn’t hear from her. I was sad to lose her, but I just needed to let her know everything. Then few days later, she called and approved me to formally propose after I gave her assurance that the past was gone.

I decided to propose and get engaged. So, like any typical Jordanian or Palestinian family, my father asked to meet them, and they planned for a specific day. On that day, I saw so many relatives of mine that I never seen before. We sat down in their garden, and then their family members started to appear one after another. I have never seen more guns in one room, than that day. So as the usual…my dad asked for their daughter, and her father (God rest his sole) agreed, pending the girl’s approval, but wasn’t too happy. He asked for 2 days to consult his daughter, and after the two days, he agreed. The funny thing is when we went back two days after the initial meeting; he requested to talk to me alone. We excused ourselves from my dad, and walked around the house. His words were exactly “listen, I don’t like you, but I respect your father and family. I know that all you punks in the states do drink and sleep with other women, but because of your dad, and the fact that my daughter agreed, I’ll approve this wedding, but rest assure that if you ever do something that will hurt my daughter, I will fly to the states, and shove a gun up your…and shot you”. I somehow never thought of his words and told him “don’t worry dad, I’ll be fine and your daughter will be fine”.

We had our small engagement party and it was fun. I never seen a more beautiful woman than her that night in my life. I was on top of the world, and don’t recall I was ever happier than that night. Then the time for departure came…..and that’s in the next chapter.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

And inshallah they lived happily ever after......

Good for you for turning your life around. Sounds like she's keeping you on the straight and narrow! :-)

Anonymous said...

Uplifting post!! cannot wait to read the next chapter!

Anonymous said...

I tried to read the whole story but I couldn't go beyond story #1.

First it was your choice of age for that girl (18) because in your mind she hasn't been around (like you apparently did).I mean she couldn't be any worse than you!

Then after you everybody agreed, the voices in your head told you maybe she is like other women (that you met in your past) and after investigating you found out things you didn’t like.

OK, why would you be looking for Virgin Mary if you are the devil's son?

I gotta tell ya budy, I sure am glad you are Christian, cause with mentality like yours we don't need more corrupt Muslims around.

adi said...

Dear Anonymous:
You are saying "I sure am glad you are Christian, cause with mentality like yours we don't need more corrupt Muslims around."

You know, just saying such racism phrase is the peak of corruption.

Anonymous said...

Amjad was looking for virgin Mary because he straightened up his act and became a dignified human being.

Amjad, I, too, hope "they lived happily ever after"

Ranzi said...

Dear anon,
It is clear that you have NOT read the rest of the story, as it was clearly mentioned, time and time again, that he was praying in a mosque. Put two and two together and you will realize that he is a muslim. Secondly, religion has nothing to do with it, and bad apples (such as you) exist in any and all religions. You honestly make me sick, you are just one of many examples why our mentality will never get beyond superficialities, and ultimately, we will never be able to better our socities. SHAME

Qwaider قويدر said...

WoWWwww!
That's just amazing. Seriously an amazing lovely story.
Things I guess didn't come easy, but at the same time ... I'm glad you knew all along what you want! That's just so wonderful!
Allah ykhalleekom la ba3ad

Anonymous said...

I was very touched by ur father in law's words allah yer7amoo

amazing as always

Bo3Bo3 said...

anonymous 1

Thanks..I'm the lucky one

Summer
Thanks for reading...

anonymous 2
I wasn't looking for the virgin mary..and I didn't say that the 18 years old girl did a sin. I am a muslim who never look at religions as tools to judge..and thank God for america for if there is one thing good I learnd from this country, is how to bypass the religion and value a person based on his/her person


adi
Thanks..and yes..religion will never be an issue for me, I value my great christian friends just as i value the muslim ones.

Eltapatio
thanks for the good wishes..and believe me..i never looked for a virgin wife..it wou;d've been unfair for me to do so.

Ranzi
Thanks for your comments..yes..bad apples do exist sadly

Qwaider
Thanks buddy..ur comments always comforting me dude

Simsim
God bless his soul..he never liked me nor i liked him, but he sure was a very protective man of his daughter..and thats because her mom died when my wife was 7 months old..and it's tough to let go a yateemeh that easy.

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