I am not Muslim, but I do live in conservative Anatolia Turkey, which is presently in the month of Ramadan.
With the added emphasis on spirituality and one's relationship with God/Allah, I have, naturally so, focused my attention on these matters to the extent that I have forgone my daily staples of all-day and all-night music playlists of every conceivable type of music that you can find.
I did this today, choosing to stay at home and just hone in with my soul and God. I was not disappointed with the outcome at all because with a very eventful last six months, this very intimate time with God served to clear my head of the trivialities as well as perceived priorities which are really just a disguised form of the former obsessions.
In so doing, my heart, soul and thoughts were laid bare, uninhibited by anything extra.
As a result, I got to truly experience some life changing revelations and epiphanies. These are in large part related to the game of relationships.
- There is no honour in martyrdom. I used to believe, as it refers to relationships and partners, that there was honour in the suffering wife, who, subjected to the humiliation and pain of her adulterous husband, would stay in the marriage, assuming an air of oblivious. Now I know there is no such honour in being a man's doormat. None. I am not sharing this epiphany as some kind of across the board advice; a one size fits all panacea to failed marriages where cheating is involved. I am saying this as a result of a major life epiphany: my dignity and my self-respect are meant to be lived and experienced. When placed in a position of door mat, I can't do that and so, life (for me) is just meaningless. If that is the case then, why sacrifice your dignity and self-respect for a palatable marital status?
- Tradition is beautiful. I will not be a man's doormat, but I will be a woman who honours the traditional role. It may seem counter-intuitive being a Western educated woman that this would be a preferred role. I say why not? There is nothing wrong with being a lady. I have no desire, even though I have been equipped to assume the role of man, to be one. As a result, a man who understands his role in a woman's life as protector and personal priest should not be considered chauvinist or misogynistic. He is not.
- I am not going to love you...I will respect you. This was a big epiphany for me, if only for the reason that I can finally put into words what I have always subconsciously believed. Love is for puppies and babies. But between grown folks, I would rather have a man's respect and have him, have mine than love because at the end of the day when you lose my respect you lose my love. I cannot be with a man whom I do not respect. It just does not afford me the experience of the above. And I don't want to settle for anything less.
- Cover and protect me. Don't give me shit that can't feed my soul. It is not sexist to assert the truth: women are vulnerable. If a man is going to be in a woman's life he must understand, accept and assume the role of protector. This is not to say that without a man, a woman is not protected. God is the ultimate protector, but a man acting as such, demonstrates in real life form, the covenant that God has made with all of his daughters. Please don't be myopic in your understanding of what this role entails because it would be just so to believe that this is restricted to the physical. Certainly not. This protection is to cover every facet of a woman's life. The vulnerability of being a woman demands that a man has enough integrity to protect her from the world, but also himself too.