Carry me in your arms….
Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.’
When I got home that night as my wife Ameena served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.
Suddenly I didn’t know how to say it. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. Ameena didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, Ismail why? I avoided her question. This made her angry. She shouted at me, ‘you are not a man!’
That night, we didn’t talk to each other. Ameena was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; I had lost my heart to a lovely girl called Mary Anne. I didn’t love Ameena anymore. I just pitied her!
With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house and the car. She glanced at it and then tore it to pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said, for I loved Mary Anne so dearly.
Finally Ameena cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me, her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.
The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell fast asleep because I was tired after an eventful day with Mary Anne. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did’nt care so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month, we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son Ahmed had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that everyday for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy.
Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request. I told Mary Anne about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she has, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully. Ameena and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son Ahmed clapped behind us, daddy is holding mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly, don’t tell Ahmed about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest.. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to Ameena.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Mary Anne about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me, .. she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart.
Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head. Our son Ahmed came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mum out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. Ameena gestured to our son to come close and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Ahmed had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.
I drove to office… jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind… I walked upstairs. Mary Anne opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Mary Anne, I do not want the divorce anymore.
She looked at me, astonished. Then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Mary Anne, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other any more. Now I realized that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until one of us departs this world.
Mary Anne seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The sales girl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote: I will carry you out every morning until one of us leaves this world!
The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, the property, the bank balance that matters. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build a relationship.
Allah says in the Qur’an:’Men are the supporters of women, because Allah has stowed on the one more than the other, and for what they have to provide (for them) from their sources. So the righteous women are obedient and protect in the absence of their husbands that which God ordains to be protected.’ (Qur’an 4:34)
Allah says in the Qur’an:’And the believing men and the believing women, they are the friends of each other, they enjoin good and forbid evil, and establish prayers, and pay the alms, and obey God and His Messenger, these, upon them God will have mercy, indeed, God is almighty, All-wise.’ (Qur’an 9:71)
Prophet[p.b. u.h] said, ‘The best of you is he who is the best to his family, and I am the best to my family.’