Would I do this all over again? Are we still together?

Often I get messages from people thinking about marrying Muslim/Christian and they want to know if we are still together and are we happy.  Did it all work out? Back in 2003 when we had the Islamic marriage ceremony, I was so naive.  I had no idea what lay ahead.  The family struggles. The conflicts because of being raised on different continents- even the foods we eat are so different. The class differences because he was raised as a privileged kid with a house full of staff, while I was poor with a single parent home where my mom always worked 2 jobs. Though I no longer practice a specific religion, he's incredibly disciplined and prays 5 times a day, which sometimes causes me to lose patience because we are always leaving something in a hurry so he can get back to the house where he prefers to pray. I still hate ramadan, or at least the inconvenience of what it does to our family for a month, which I admit is rather selfish on my part.  Then throw in our differences like race, language, social norms...and the list goes on...and on.

I won't say it's ever been easy.  It's been more of an adventure.  I still work on trying to see things through his viewpoint, but rarely do I feel he does the same.  I have to be twice as accepting because he is rigid.  When I married him, I gave up my familiar home, moved to Milwaukee, quit working and had a baby.  He then had a domestic partner who would take care of all his family needs so he could concentrate on growing his passion- an engineering business. He gives me an allowance nearly equal to what I was making when I was working, if you consider he pays the bills and lets me live here for free.  I wasn't on the fast track to being a CEO but I always had jobs I loved.  I had been a military officer. I managed programs at the Dept. of Transportation and had fun doing it. I often feel bitterness well up because of what I may not have, when I should be concentrating on the blessings I do have.  It's crazy in this age, that we still have division of the sexes.  Women still don't get the same things as men.  I will never know what I might have achieved, but he's convinced what I have now is nirvana.

He created this wonderful, mostly successful business, but I am not entitled to claim any portion of that success.  It's hard to explain this, but when he wanted to create a will, he asked me to sign away my Wisconsin rights to marital property (the business and home), because he believed the Koran should take precedent and I should be allowed 1/16th of his property, and he believes that everything we have is 100% his, not 50/50.  Even the lawyer who met with me on his behalf was taken aback, yet according to Muslim rules, my husband felt I was being unreasonable.  Recently we had a discussion about debts.  I acquired a lion's share of debt, thinking that I would one day return to the workforce, and it still hasn't happened.  He said he would pay it if I would agree to give up my rights to the business and home as marital property. I wouldn't so he didn't. Neither of us see the other viewpoint as being fair to our own way of thinking.  We've talked about divorce dozens of times and I almost went through with it, but quit after spending $10,000 in legal fees, because I still felt there was something in our relationship. Anyone who has been through divorce knows how much pain and bitterness is there.  It's very hard to forgive and move forward.  Someone once told me divorce is about selfishness and I believe it is.  There comes a time where you just want to call the shots, have it your own way, go it alone.

It's both enlightening and antagonizing when you pair up with someone who is so very different.  If I had to give us animal selves, I'd say he was more like a hardworking, incredibly focused earthworm, and I'm a butterfly.  He keeps his nose to the ground creating highways and bridges.  I'm floating about meeting people, experiencing art, music, culture, and creating things. We are so incredibly different that sometimes I don't understand why he worked so hard to capture my attention.  We were never meant to be together. Given our own devices, we should never have met. He enjoys sports while I never watch a game.  I enjoy writing and he rarely reads a book (and has
never read my books!). He unwinds with TV.  I go for a walk in the park or do some gardening. But we both love our 10 year old son and that brings us together for common good now that we are together.

Where will the future take us?  Who knows? For the time being, we are still together and still struggling to find our place in the sun.

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