HARGEISA, 30 August 2009 (Somalilandpress) – As a young girl, I used to build this beautiful yet fancy life of how my marriage would be, I would create a picture of Mr. Right and alter according to my fancy, how he will look like, behave like, treat me, how he would sweep my feet’s of the ground, how he would fall in love head over heals. How rich he would be and what kind of house or mansion I would live.
This is not something unnatural or out of context illusion by young unrealistic girl. It is something shared by all young girls around the world and from all walks of life and religious. Every girl has set of expectation about what kind of man and marriage she would hope to have. She perfects and polishing as she gets order and most of these fancies expectation gets stronger and more unrealistic as times closes by.
I left Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland when I was only 8yrs old, my family moved to one of the gulf countries, my father was engineer and I had three siblings. As the only daughter, I was given most of the attention and got away with having best of everything. As the gulf war took place, my father decided to take us to Egypt. Once there my parents made sure we all get the best education that can be found in Egypt. Since my mother was not educated enough she made sure I give 100% to my studies than doing chorus at home. But she also made sure on my weekends, I learn how to cook and take care of home.
Just like any girl coming out of puberty, your mother will start telling you that you are a woman and woman are created to be wives and mothers, that their first priority in this world are being homemakers. My mother told the happiness and most satisfying job of the world is making your husband happy and being good mother to your children. She told me education is good in woman’s life as she can take care herself and children incase something happens but not necessary for fieldwork. Because of this, as I get older and turned into young woman, I start building fancy life of what my marriage would be like and mostly important what kind of husband I would be married to.
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Once I started attending university, I was happy that I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to persuade degree, as many of the girls back home did not have that chance. I was also lucky enough to have parents who can afford to show me around the world and give the freedom to make my own decisions. Because I had this freedom, I learnt in early age what you make out of yourself and the choices you make in life are those that curves your future ventures. You will also know your limitation as woman of taking the right path towards life.
When I finished my university, we went back to Kuwait, there I got job with leading company. In this stage every mother wants her daughter to be married and settle in life rather than seeing her working. It is natural instant of parents to see their daughter to be happy settle in her own home. The pressure also comes from out society where once the girl is in her prime time, she should be married. But my parents did not want to force into marriage I was not content with. They want be to have the choice of meeting nice and gentleman who is suitable for me. I had expectations of what kind of man I would marry and my parents were satisfied with that.
From the time I turn 18 years, I already knew what kind of husband I would marry. He would be highly educated, handsome, working with big company or rich enough, understanding, caring, he would be someone who will love me to death and above all, he will be someone who will never allow me to be unhappy for a day.
During one of my trips to other gulf countries, which I used to go to visit my uncles for my holidays, accidentally I met a young man who was friend of my cousin. We became friends and start communicating constantly. I did not had much knowledge about him as it never strike me he could be one day my future husband, but as destiny had, once he proposed to me over the phone, I don’t know but there was something nice about him and I said yes, I told my mother, she was happy first that I finally found someone I am happy with but once the news reach my father that is when the tide turn, my father was furious and angry that I could be marrying this guy or even thinking about it.
Why was my father angry? This man was totally the opposite of the kind of husband I was hoping to marry, that he was uneducated, did not have a job, he was not from wealth of family. My father could not understand why I would throw myself into hell.
I was adamant as I believe I was happy and have high expectation of my marriage. It would be happy once, we could work together, build life and home that will suit our expectations. I will have the perfect marriage as we are in love with each other and nothing else matters. Finally my parents had to given in and bless our marriage eventhough they knew otherwise.
First year of my marriage was blissful and full of love and happiness, my husband promise to give me best of everything, to work harder so he could show me how much I meant to him. He was so full of promises, I was happy that I made the right choice of marrying him. I also thought since he is trying hard to sustain career, I could continue to work and support our new family.
As time goes by, it became apparent we are two different people. He did not want to fulfill any of the promises he made in the beginning, he was not willing to improve and persuade high education, he was not willing to work as I was already providing for the family, we already had child and I was working full time job while he was lazing around and hanging out with his friends.
I could not share this with my family, as I was ashamed of their we-told-you-so accusation. More over I was angrier with myself believing all the expectations that I had before my marriage and while in the beginning could just all come together and relying on fancy life that I could have perfect marriage where there will not be any hole or gap. I also realize that no one is perfect and nothing is ever 100% guarantee.
All the dreams and illusions we built as young woman are all false and unrealistic. Marriage is never perfect what consist of the compromises and sacrifices we made to keep our home together. I also realize that as wives we gave more than we get. I end up being the bread earner, a mother as well as the homemaker, a job and responsibility, which was, supposes to be the husband’s.
The more my life gets challenge, the more I grow up to be matured and stronger person. I was thankful to my parents to give me the education that helps me today to have the financial security to take care of my family and children. I learn to be independent and decision maker, I learned to face the world and take up any challenges that comes my way, I learn to be the best of my career and turn out to be someone my parents are proud of.
When was getting married, I was naïve and innocent woman who believe marriage is all about the man being the steering wheel of the marriage, that everything about marriage would turn out to be perfect. The husband takes care of everything and women are just the homemakers who would not have day to worry about anything.
My mother was wrong when she said education is secondary and woman’s place is her home, that used to be the old times. In today’s world it seems woman’s place is in the workforce especially in the Somali communities. Large number of women are out of their houses supporting their families and children while the men are chewing around and ignoring their prime responsibilities of being the bread earner and taking care of their families. It seems it is becoming trend even young men to find women who is working and can support herself and the family.
The only concern is that many of these women are not educated enough to find the right kind of job and end up doing businesses that are not suitable for them or bring harm and danger to them. As for me I am glad I have all the right tools to life comfortable life and not worry the financial security for me and my children. I am so glad that I went through this experience I was destined to.
I hope all the young girls of my sisters would not believe there is such thing as perfect marriage but more of preparing for the unknown and unprepared ventures that will come their way once they enter into the marriage, they will be ready and strong enough to handle an unexpected events and responsibilities that comes with marriage.
D A Hassan
D A Hassan is a regular contributor to Somalilandpress and will be writing about the relationship. She has an extensive knowledge in the issue and will be helping young generations understand more about the relationship issues.