How to deal with interracial marriage- My Marriage Story (Part Two)
Life is full of surprises. Saudi Arabia is not like Jakarta. Although I live in Jeddah, the international city of Saudi Arabia, the situation is completely different than what I am familiar with. Women cannot drive and I must be really dependent upon my husband, even to the extent that if I don’t have any salt at home, I cannot go to shop near my home to buy it. I have to wait for my husband to buy it or for him to take me to shop. In the past he wouldn’t let me go by taxi without him but now it is different and I can go by taxi since the situation of the city has changed; but still it is not permissible for women to drive.
Can you imagine that if you only stay at home? I am purely a house wife, although I graduated from the faculty of law and I can’t work in Jeddah. It is very complicated for women to work here, except for as doctors, nurses, teachers and some other jobs in the hospitals and girls’ schools. At that time, I felt very depressed to just stay at home.
My mother said,”You are like a bird in a gold cage.” I said of course I’m not. I did not just sit at home: I cooked, ironed, and washed like other house wives without a maid. Life, however, was very different from what it had been before marriage. I used to go out, to drive a car, and I had a lot of friends. But Alhamdulillah, my husband would always take me out after he came home from his job. Even when he only needed to go out to buy a gas cylinder, he took me with him. Loved it.
Another custom in Saudi Arabia is for the people to sleep late at night and wake up late in the morning but I like to sleep early and wake up early. Even parties start very late at night, especially wedding parties. They say sleeping early is like chickens. Well, I just smiled and told them that I am not a bat who stays up at night and sleeps at day. This sentence made them laugh.
One day we spent the night during a weekend in my brother in law’s house. I woke up early as usual, prayed Fajr (Morning Prayer) and waited for the others to wake up. My husband prayed Fajr and slept again but I wasn’t used to sleeping again after praying Fajr. I waited and waited but there was no sign that the host had woke up. My stomach started singing! I was hungry and it was nearly noon. I wanted to eat breakfast or brunch so I woke my husband up and asked him if it was ok to take bread from the refrigerator without the knowledge of the host? He said: yes, of course. Oh! If I had known it was permissible I would have eaten breakfast by myself without waiting for the host to wake up. I was used to taking something in other’s homes with permission. It was really and unforgettable story. LOL.
In addition, there is a special dress for women if we want to go out of home. We have to wear an Abaya (black long and wide dress) and cover the head. As a muslimah I wear it too. In Indonesia, however, or in other non Arab countries, Muslim women wear colored dresses which cover their bodies and their heads. So I hang my Abaya near the door and anytime I want to go out, I wear it.
The essence of this story is that whatever type of marriage you have, whether it be an interracial one or a marriage with a fellow citizen, there are differences between two people living together with different backgrounds and customs. The important things are good communication, mutual understanding, love, respect, care, sharing and understanding each other. The various obstacles can be overcome by learning to adapt, to be patient, and to be sincere.
In fact, being a wife, a housewife, and a mother for my children is a happiness that makes me feel blessed and thankful to Allah (SWT) for what I have been given. I am proud to be house wife and a mom and although I am not perfect, when I look at my children, I know that I have something in my life that is perfect. Regardless of the constraints from outside, the important thing is the good Islamic foundation in our home and in all aspects of our lives, If we are close together, hand by hand, we can manage our marriage and our small family. The spoiled girl can be a super mom too. Alhamdulillah.
Now, with a lovely husband and 4 lovely children, together we walk through this life toward of Allah’s (SWT) pleasure. In Shaa Allah. May Allah (SWT) bless us and always guide us in right path. Aamiin. All Praise to Allah. Alhamdulillah.
Rabbana hab lana min azwajina wa dhuriyyatina qurrata A’yunin waj’alna lil-muttaqina imama.”
“Our Lord! Grant us in our mates and offspring the joy of our eyes and make us patterns for those who guard against evil.” (25:74).