Contracts of Love


"Women now have choices. They can be married, not married, have a job, not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children. Men have the same choice we've always had: work, or prison." ~ Tim Allen

If you haven’t noticed, it’s not marriage that I’m trashing. It’s ROMANCE. It’s marriages that are based on romance. And the subsequent divorces that are based on the dying of romance. It’s the wrong, romantic and adolescent causes to get into this serious business of legal, financial, social and religious contract.

Nahi an il-Mungkar”

I’m all for marriages that are based on the right causes. Even child marriages and polygamy (which, when done properly, can be lucrative and protective life investments). I don’t mind marrying to extend my residential visa in Indonesia (yes, to me, that is a matter of survival). I don’t mind marrying to have legal children, if it ever became desperate call for me. (It isn’t.) I don’t mind marrying for sex, if those 11 minutes of romp can ever be THAT GOOD. (Does it ever? Seriously, no eleven minutes in the world are good enough at the cost of lifetime of a devotional sacrifice and work as marriage.)

“Nisfu Deen”

If there is no good reason in the world for folks in the urban, modern society to marry, why is everybody still doing it?

Because, as much as we adore being free and irresponsible, a lot of us admit that being free and irresponsible can get tired and boring. And we know how destructive boredom can get on lost, irresponsible souls. Especially those who smoke a lot. And posts on her blog daily, just for kicks.

But before deciding that “Yeah, I’m old and responsible and bored enough to bind the rest of my life decisions to a spouse,” I have to figure out what else could be so wrong about my life that would make marriage seem like the ONLY bearable alternative to boredom and daily postings.

Shield your evil eyes before you read this next sentence.

None. [Alhamdulillah. Mashallah. Knock on wood. Throw salt over shoulder. Rub a Buddha belly. Kiss a rabbit’s foot. Or two.] My life as a single woman is perfect. Still Saudi, nevertheless, perfect.

Because, as far as the gods of matrimony are concerned, I am loved even in their absence.

“Mawaddah o Rahmah”

When the Lord said that we marry to fill each other’s lives with compassion and kindness, I wonder if He meant to add, LEST THERE’S NO OTHER WAY!!

Do we need to be married to be compassionate and kind? Do we need to be married to be happy? Isn’t that a smidge too much responsibility to lay on anyone, our personal happiness? Do we need romance to feel loved and wanted? Do we need spouses to support us and our fashion tastes?

If the answer to all of that is a firm, calm “yes”, then by all means, marry. And marry as often as you must.

Otherwise, if there is even a glint of “no” in your hesitant answer, then think of all the ways that you have ALREADY been happy blessed without having to marry.

Think of all the friends (of both sexes) who still enjoy your company. The dogs and cats you can adopt without bothering to send to college. The elders and nieces and cousins who already have as much right to your attention and time and love. The people and things and ball games that only need a bit of that attentiveness that otherwise would have been devoted to a single person, had you been married.

Being unmarried doesn’t make you a less loving/loveable person. Only evens out the lateral distribution of love.

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