Marriage really is a big test in our lives. But it’s a test that sadly has no short cuts.
You do your best to choose the right partner and try to avoid problems but it’s never easy for anyone. You often think that getting to know each other before marriage or having a long engagement will be the key to a successful marriage but sadly not. Expectations that we will find a perfect match are nothing more than a myth, there is no perfect match. It’s a long-term investment that you have to work hard at, to make it successful.
So, when it doesn’t work and you get divorced, what then? For me, a woman who is divorced is truly a brave one. Remember more often than not, a woman gets married young and moves from her parent’s house to her marital home with little or no life experience. I know sometimes, it’s not her choice to get divorced but that’s life. No matter how far Islam has come to keep up with modern times, divorce is still a hated word, but for many, it’s the best outcome for all concerned.
Now… let’s just deal with the perks after a woman’s divorce is finally granted. If you don’t have children then frankly, it’s a chance to get something from your old life back. If not that, then at least you have the opportunity to start over, whether it’s to start a new career or change the one you have. It’s a time to relax and find yourself again. Often this takes a back seat when you are a couple. You get your freedom back and can connect with old friends that you had before you got married. You get to decide who you want to spend time with… and of course no more weird in-laws.
Being divorced gives you another chance to live your life in your own way. It can also be a time to reflect, now that you have experience behind you, about the kind of husband you do want to spend the rest of your life with. Even simple things, like choosing what to eat or watch on tv will take on new meaning especially if you had a very domineering husband. If you have kids, then you can enjoy your time with them more. You can choose the activities you feel are beneficial for them. You can decide who you think they should spend time with and make your own house rules. Plus, you get free time from them when they are with their father. The impact of the divorce on the kids may actually be good because now they wouldn’t have to see their parents constantly argue and fight.
Now this all sounds pretty good but life is never that simple is it and there are always pitfalls to overcome. Our community can sometimes be really harsh to a divorced woman. Often, she will be blamed for not trying harder to keep the family together. Even other women will see her as a threat to their own husbands which is frankly madness. The in-laws who may have actually been nice at some point, will no doubt take the side of their son now.
Often new freedoms bring different kinds of problems. The husband may use financial means to control a woman’s life even after a divorce. If he refuses to pay what he has to under Islamic rules, to his wife, then there is little a woman can do. She will need to have support from her family until she can financially support herself. Living back with your family after being married is not easy. Your husband may not be there to ask where you have been but your father probably is or even worse your brother.
Then there is the unwanted attention from other men and not just single ones. A divorced woman is often seen as easy and will settle for anything. So many will try it on with a divorced woman but wouldn’t dare with a single one. It’s the downside of divorce and how women are viewed by Muslim men in our communities. Even what you wear or where you’re seen takes on new meaning and your every move is now up for judgment by people who probably hardly know you but will manage to tell your ex-husband about it. Even those who do know you, will feel sorry for you, even though you are probably much happier now. Often, they will try to persuade you that getting back with your ex is something you should consider.
If you have kids then any decision you make will be contested by your ex. Things which they probably didn’t even bother to get involved with while you were married. Which after school club they attend or which Arabic school you choose will be up for debate. Even going on holiday will be a contest about who could give the kids a better time. The impact on the kids can be tough and it’s usually left to the mother to try to deal with. Friends are forced to take sides and even step back from the relationship with the women for fear of offending the ex husband and his family.
Finally, yes, divorce has many perks and pitfalls but it is something that Allah has provided for us to use when all other doors are closed.
At the end of the day, no matter what anyone says, it’s there for both men and women to help them start over, when a marriage no longer works. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Single mum to my beautiful son and fiery daughter (she's the youngest but definitely the boss). Seeing the light at the end of the divorce tunnel. Grateful to Allah for everything I have and for all his help during all the different life tests I have had. Doing my best to make sure my children have everything they need to flourish and thrive.