Saturday, April 14, 2007

Feeling the guilt of four wives...

I love family, I really do. The teasing continues and I play along. Upon arriving in Rawalpindi I was greeted with statements like, Oh, you still remember me?; You haven't gone back to India yet?; Why are you afraid of Pakistan?; Why won't you shift here?; Why didn't you call? or my favorite, You don't love us?

I gladly respond to tease back that I have one wife in Canada, one in India, looking for one in Pakistan and have arranged for another one in Indonesia and haven't had the time. Oh the guilt that this family wields upon you. And I wonder why my parents coated statements with guilt; it runs in the family ;)

Now I pose a question upon anyone that reads this, what is guilt? Is it a feeling? Because everyone seems to say that they "feel" guilty about this or they "feel" guilty about that. How is it that you can "feel" guilty? Guilt is now classified as an emotion? I disagree vehemently. I've had conversations about this with many a friend and foe and have come to the realization that guilt is a thought, not a feeling.

Shame is what is felt due to the guilty thoughts that run amok in one's mind. Replace the words and you have it right. I feel shameful about not calling family, I feel shame for not being able to speak my mother tongue, I feel shame for my family for thinking that I don't love them, bottom line is that I feel shame and not guilt. Slipping me statements that are a catalyst to the thoughts of guilt, this is the way that these people impose their love? Since they are family, I've learned how to be family. I wield my own witty guilt and sport it equally and more convincingly now.

The crux is this, there is healthy shame and there is unhealthy shame. It is completely normal to have those thoughts fuel feelings of healthy shame, for that healthy shame will allow you to make different choices. That unhealthy shame will only compound your feelings of shame and thoughts of guilt. Learn to differentiate and grow.

A discussion ensued after my smart remarks of having four wives. The room filled with four women and myself discussing the fact that a Muslim man can marry four wives. What a crock pot full of burnt chana masala. I do have some reservations to any organized religion that allows the unfair treatment of another human being. Ah yes, the reason why a Muslim man is allowed to have four wives is to ensure fidelity. If a man has a wife and a mistress, God forbid, for this is a sin and you will have to answer for this wrong doing. But, if a man has more than one wife it tapers his need to be adulterous. The wives are in full awareness of his non-adulterous acts now, all if forgiven. At least he's not sneaking around making attempts to produce a cricket team, he does it in plain view. The wives are not allowed to stray however and have to be accepting of their man's choices to have more wives. Complete hogwash.

I guess I might want another wife if I had an arranged marriage, simply for the reason that the families would merge and produce a mutually beneficial partnership. I would learn to love my wife but might want another because my parents didn't have my best interests in mind. So if I wasn't happy with the first arrangement I could make others. Don't think I can condone it or even entertain it. I am of the belief that there is one woman in my existence in this form whom I will love the longest and most. She will never be treated unequal to myself and I will have no need to be adulterous for there is no other. It's that wrinkly hand holding porch love.

A familiar Jalal ad-Din Rumi quote found me recently that communicates this feeling:
The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you,
not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.

When you get married and become a family, what is of utmost importance? Yes, that's right ;) Nothing else matters. They are paramount in your existence. Whether you are of this religion or that religion or this belief or that belief - bottom line is it always comes down to LOVE.

Love is my religion and it is the universal religion. Feel that and think what you want ;)


  1. Guilt, shame - whatever. No-one makes you feel anything; one makes oneself "feel" things. I try not to let anyone or anything live in my head rent-free - you'll figure it out!

  2. I am curious about the wife in Canada!! You never tell me anything!

    love Cathy

  3. Luanne, you missed the point. I've lived rent free before, it's called living with my mom. I prefer owning my own emotions and taking responsibility and accountability for them. Maybe I get it, maybe I don't, but I have complete faith that you will figure it out ;)

    Cathy, you don't even want to know about the one in India? ;) You've already met the Canadian one, you may have just forgotten with your old age ;) I'm only kidding, you're the best 35 year old sister-in-law a guy could have. Don't worry, you'll be the first to know of the third and fourth ;)



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