There are some nights when I just have to go for a walk. Clear my head, get out of the still air of the apartment and into the fresh cold night air. Tonight was one of those nights.
Nights like these I ask myself the same question “How much am I willing to change myself for him, before I lose myself… to me?” One of the most difficult things of being in this marriage, and this relationship since the beginning, has been the cultural barrier. Go figure that an American woman married to an Iranian man have a few problems with trying to build a life together.
Half of the problems are self-inflicted. They revolve around the ideas and values that I have grown up with; like feminism, independence, and hard work, and how they clash head-on with the beliefs of what a wife is to an Iranian man. Well before I get myself in total hot water for over generalizing a whole country’s male population, the idea of what a wife is to MY Iranian man.
I grew up with the idea that I would be an independent working woman from the get-go, without the husband and children to slow me down. I wanted to have my own apartment in Washington DC made perfectly with wall-to-wall bookshelves, a black cat and comfy furniture to come home to after a hard and long day working at the State Department. I saw myself rising in rank at an early age due to my dedication to my job, and no where did I see a family coming my way. I never even pictured myself in a wedding dress, let alone having children.
Everyday is a constant battle in my head with how to please him and how to please myself- I have yet to find a way to bring those into the same action.
And then of course here I am after waking up from the daydream, married for 8 months now, thinking about having children in a 5 year timeline and having to juggle the ideas of what I imagined my life would be about with the expectations of my husband. Everyday is a constant battle in my head with how to please him and how to please myself- I have yet to find a way to bring those into the same action.
At the current moment I have a full time job, and he doesn’t. I am going to work everyday, and he isn’t. I have a continuing income, and he doesn’t. It isn’t out of lack of trying on his part it is just that when you live in Turkey, it is easier for a foreigner who speaks English natively to get a job, than it is for an Architect. He thinks I can’t see how hard he tries to hide how difficult it is to rely on the money that I make every month, instead of on his.
The arguments and the stale conversations start when he starts to realize how much he is depending on me. The resentment, no that is too strong of a feeling…. the guilt that he feels is plain on his face. Sometimes this makes me angry that he can’t see that it is perfectly okay for me to be bringing home the bacon (yes that joke was in bad taste for being married to a muslim man), but then other times just makes me sad that at the current moment there is nothing we can do to change it other than move to a different country. I want him to be happy, and feel like the man of the house that he wants so desperately, but at the same time I want him to see that those ideas of the paternal household are not the same ideas that I have. The belief that the woman, no matter how hard she works should come home and immediately cook dinner for her husband even though he has been home all day and hasn’t cleaned a single thing, are not the same values that I hold.
[…] it is a continual struggle that can’t break the chains of our cultural barrier.
I wish it were just a problem of miscommunication, or a lack of communication. It always starts as a joke about me not cooking enough, or that I should be wearing makeup only for him. However, it isn’t just communication, or a joke. It goes beyond that- it is a continual struggle that can’t break the chains of our cultural barrier.
At the end of the day, I just have to remember that there are some things he will never understand about me, from a cultural perspective, and there are some things I will never be able to understand about him. I will not be defeated, nor will he. We are just at a ceasefire.