Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In sickness and in health, till death do us part !

We've been having a lot of sexual content lately I thought I'd tone it down and talk about another important topic between couples. Namely when the man acts like a jerk ( the woman does sometimes too by the way , but this blog is about women experiences , but men are welcome to share their own pain of course ), and Libyan men are not exempt from being total jerks either.

It has always been my understanding that marriage was a serious union -even a steady partnership is or the intention of marriage , and regardless of religious concerns I love the wedding vows expressed here , and if I get married again I intend to insert them somehow in my ceremony. I think the part below is the most meaningful to me and I 100% uphold and believe in it !

"I X take thee Y to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to
hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in
sickness and in health, to love, honour, and cherish, 'til death do us part, and
thereto I plight thee my troth."

But you are asking what brought this to my mind ? Well I met recently with a sister of one of my university classmates, and when we spoke about her sister A. she told me she was married and had two beautiful kids in America. So I took her phone number and immediately called her to congratulate her and talk about old times.

You see A. has a special story, which affected me immensely when it happened. Having spent part of her childhood in America, A. was one of those Libyan girls whose dream was to go back there. All her efforts were geared at securing a Libyan fiance among the US community. It seemed that her dream came thru when she was bethroted to one from a good family. To speed up the process of her visa application they had the Qiran or Nikah contract ( marriage contract) and were officially married without consuming the marriage until her real wedding night though. So marriage on paper still. But she was in everything his wife and was preparing for the day she will be wearing the white dress and pack her belongings and move with him in the home they bought toghether in Detroit. He came to visit in the last summer a few weeks before their marriage party. Invitations were sent to over 500 guests. Camels were bought, sheep were purchased, halls were rented, sweets and food was ordered, all the hullaboo following a Libyan wedding of a first born child.

A. was adamant that she will start her new life by putting into practice what she and N. had agreed on : never to hide anything from each other, and so she decided to tell him about her very recent surgery.
A few weeks before he came, A . felt a lump under her right armpit near her breast, she went to have it checked and had a biopsy and was diagnosed as benign lump; but was adviced to have it removed. Which she arranged for, the incision was not too big and the scar was minimal and not too disfiguring in fact quasi unnoticable. But nevertheless A went ahead and told him, wanted to share her fear and how thank God it was fine, wanting to hear a kind word , wanting a caress , tenderness and love, and most of all understanding and affirmation that she did the right thing and that such a tiny scar was not going to be a problem.

A was about to have her illusions shattered, the cold shower she received , was something she told me she will never forget for as long as she lived. Where did the love go ? where did the tenderness go ? where was the understanding, where were the vows and promises of devotion ? Nothing , the moment was broken and N simply got up and told her " I'm sorry you should have told me about is last week, I would not have bothered to travel all the way to Libya. Your divorce paper will reach you tomorrow ! " and he turned round and left. ... Gone was the dream .. I recalled she called me and made me promise not to talk about this , as tongues would wagger and her reputation would be tarnished . "But you did nothing wrong A, what are you talking about! he is the jerk , he is not worth it, imagine what would have happened if you only learned about his attitude after you actually joined him there ? you are so lucky you found out earlier on , before you actually consumated the marriage. " . "Yes but I'm divorced now " , "so what" I said " divorced is better than abused outside your country and far from your family. You will find the man you deserve. Don't worry ! "

That is exactly what happened, 3 years later, a lovely man also living in America as she always wished, married her , and now they have toghether a boy and a girl, she is tracing her dreams of further education, a home , a job and a family. Hopefully that first jerk will get his come -uppance, dropping her because he thought she may be ill or have a scar and was less than perfect ? Imagine if she had become seriously ill along the way , would he have thrown her out like a used rag ?
Moral of the story , if your man is not prepared to love you just the way you are and support you when you need him most , then seriously to hell with him.

This also reminded me that not being bound in life to someone because sometimes life sucks , does not mean that the person stops sensing or caring what happens to you, and I guess here the 'till death does us part ' bit can still somehow apply. This was eerily demonstrated to me on moult occasions when out of the blue he calls , or demonstrates his tenderness, and how he is still loving me ...
When I feel let down by the whole world I can't forget , how he loved me and still does even when I looked like a scarecrow with all sorts of injections and monitors sticking out of my body for 3 months in hospital , just because he had promised to marry me! How he bribed the nurses to let him come visit me at night after my parents were gone. Of how he looked at me with puppy eyes even though I was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Of how he never gave up on me and helped me with the oxygen and breathing exercises, and of how my muscles became so weak I had to be wrapped in sheets to be able to stand up and learn to breathe again. And he was through it all facing everyone against all odds until one day I miraculously got up and recovered.

Though he had his problems and we ended up separated, it is difficult when a woman has experienced such a high standards of care to settle for less. I find him calling out of the blue, each time something happens to me, it's like his radars are always on the lookout.
For him I will never grow old , and will remain forever his' Amarige princess'.

Hint for any next romantic interest , you better not disappoint me when I need you most , or you will break my heart, or worse really ruin my health, and you know what I will probably be too shy to even tell you about it.


KhadijaTeri said...

hmm... I never liked the wedding vows that say in sickness and health, richer or poorer... till death do us part.

The richer or poorer thing gets me the most. Why do I want to hang around some poor guy? I say 'Get your butt moving and get to work - earn yourself a living!'

Until death do us part.... people change over time. You can fall out of love as easily as you can fall in love. Stuck for the rest of your life with someone you loath... not a nice thought.

Chris in MB said...

I just don't understand about the problem with the scar? Don't be insulted by this question, but is it some sort of strange Libyan or ME cultural thing or was this guy just seriously insane & superficial?

Also, sorry if this is way too personal to ask, but what was your sickness? Are you ok now?

Libyan Violet said...

Khadijateri , you do have a point but I think I meant the vows in more general way , what if I married my man when he was rich and some calamity befall and he lost it , shall I just drop him callously or encourage him to regain his strenght again ?
Yes people do fall out of love, there is divorce for that , but divorce someone just because he has cancer or had an amputation is not ethical - that's not love .

Chris in MB, I think the guy was superficial, as A is very pretty and she had a tiny scar on her breast so what ? Should she dump him when he gets bold or can't get it up ? But I think he also was calculating whether she may get cancer later and he will have to deal with her disease.

I am ok now yes thank you for asking, but that was a close call and I can only thank that man for getting me out of it, only his love saved me, that's why it took me so long to get a separation when things did not work out, because despite his love, his possessiveness and jealousy was overwhelming.

AngloLibyan said...

you are right, A is very lucky to find out about this jerk early on, I am glad all went well for her at the end. I am sorry as well for what happened to you and really wish you the best InshAllah.

Chris in MB said...

Another thing I don't understand is doesn't this reflect very badly upon this man's honor? Wouldn't his family have been extremely disappointed in the behavior?

Also I would have thought this sort of thing wouldn't require a divorce & a simple annulment could be had.

Oh! one more thing! What on earth do they do with the camels they bought?!? The sheep I guess you can eat them or cut wool but camels???

Chris in MB said...

hehe, wouldn't most women prefer a nice horse (even a cat) over a camel? :P

Libyan Violet said...

Camel's are eaten on weddings Chris.

Chris in MB said...

Really??? Wow, I thought you were joking so I looked it up.

I thought they were just for riding or decoration!

Well I feel a little silly now, it never occurred to me to eat one.

Sex and Dubai said...

Chris in MB: You're North American, hence your ignorance is forgiven (lol) though full marks for tying to learn more.

Anyway, it sounds like this guy was just looking for a way out of this whole marriage to begin with. And your friend just provided him with one.

Gross and disgusting how superficial both men and women can be sometimes. But sooner better than later, clearly your friend had a happines far more beautiful in store for her.

Libyan Violet said...

AngloLibyan, thanks it all ended up well for me as well . I got my life back in track. Some people are superficial and glad that A found out early on.

KhadijaTeri said...

Should someone stick it out when their spouse gets sick? Yes, I suppose so. But what if the persons illness is made worse because of stupidity? An example - my husband has diabetes. Diabetics have to be very careful of their extremities, especially feet and legs which if injured can get infected quite easily. They should wear closed shoes every waking moment. But hubby likes walking around barefoot, even at the farm and on the building site of our house.

So what did I do? I took out the camera and told him I wanted to take a picture of his feet. He thought I was crazy, but I told him I wanted the picture so we could look at it in the future if they're ever amputated. Of course he was completely pissed off about this but I had made my point and he wears shoes now.

- so what if he decided not to pay any attention and ended up getting gangrene from his stupidity... should I stick it out for that?

Ahhh! never mind me, I can be very callous sometimes.

Twosret said...


Your post is very touching and the way you wrote it reminds me of how humans can be so cruel. You only know people when things don't go well for you.

I have to disagree with Khadijateri, love and marriage is a very strong bond and for people to give up on each other for sickness or money is something I don't believe in.

You can't gurantee your health or your money, in Egypt we say "Allah gab Allah Akhad, Allah aa'lih el a'wad" in my opinion, if I share my husbands happiness and wealth and I can't share his sickness then my marriage is built on selfishness. This is my personl opinion anyway.

If you stop loving your partner I have to agree with you that it is honorable to walk out.

sex and dubai,

I have never heard of this tradition and I was born in Egypt. The camels and sheep etc... was never in the area where I lived in Cairo. I never knew about people eating camels. This is the first time I hear this so I guess I'm ignorant too :)

Lovely post Libyan violet

Libyan Violet said...

Khadijateri, the fact you chose to take a photo of his feet meant you cared enough to stick with him and make him wisen up. Good work on the hubby , of course you are not callous :P

Twosret :) Long time no see on this blog I totally agree with you on this if I share my husbands happiness and wealth and I can't share his sickness then my marriage is built on selfishness.

With regards to Camel eating , I'm not sure it is a traditon in Cairo /Egypt except in the more baladi areas ? Here in Libya we are still bedouins my dear , and let me tell you a secret :P Camel flesh is so yummy and healthy and organic, still unadulterated .... Plus you feed more guests at the wedding with one Camel then 10 sheep ... Make the calculations and the time it takes to prepare the meals :)

piccolina said...

i feel sorry for A but i guess she was lucky !
i understand u and i totally agree with u , may GOD bless u with an amazing loving man and life inshallah

Libyan Violet said...

Thanks Piccolina :) you too inshallah .