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Thursday, April 13, 2006


When I was a kid, my mother taught me not to change plates when eating. She said, “If you eat in two different plates in one meal, let’s say, it will make you have two husbands later on.” It is indeed a MYTH; a popular myth in my culture. Coz divorce is always considered something bad, wrong, sinful, unhappy, miserable, etc, many people don’t want to get divorced. (Read => don’t want to be gossiped by people around, don’t want to be looked at weirdly, don’t want to be considered to deviate from society’s norm)

People are encouraged to keep their marriage until the end of their lives, no matter what happens; no matter how vulnerable the marriage is inside; no matter how temperamental, selfish, ignorant, irresponsible the husband is. Living married is considered to be perfect, happy. You are to show that happiness to people around although in fact you are broken inside. It is caused by the consensus that living single means hellish life (to be looked at pitifully, to feel lonely, etc.)

Approaching the twenty first century, I observed that in Indonesia more and more people get divorced. More and more women are confident to file divorce. Especially women who work outside are more aware that they have equal right with their husbands. They are not just property that can be treated just as their husbands like, despite the dowry they have got before getting married. They have more bargaining power before their husbands. Of course, these people realize that their happiness inside their heart is more important than just fake happiness they are to show neighbors, workmates in a marriage.

Different from Catholic that doesn’t approve divorce, in Islam, it is okay to get divorced (though it is stated that one thing God hates most is divorce.) Nevertheless, there are many religious programs on television or books teaching women to be pious wives to manage pious family so that divorce will not happen easily. Women always get heavier burden to submit themselves in front of their husbands to avoid friction, quarrel, and fight, to make “sakinah” family. (Sakinah => pious, peaceful, loving, caring)

Therefore, I really appreciate those women who daringly file a divorce when they feel that the marriage doesn’t work as what they expect before; when their husband doesn’t treat them well. Maintaining a marriage well is absolutely not as easy as turning palm hand upside down. Those women are confident to be considered to deviate from society’s norm, to be considered as women who do not easily thank God for what they have got in their life, to face their future by themselves financially (although the ex husbands are to be responsible for their children’s welfare after getting divorced according to the law, many men don’t care with that), to be looked at pitifully, and worse, to be considered as a “threat” by other women who suddenly fear that their husbands will seduce those “lonely” divorcee living around.

I remember when I was a kid, Liz Taylor, that Hollywood movie star, got married many times. People in Indonesia, of course, easily judged her as not a good woman. I am wondering how people in other countries saw her. LOL.

Some time ago, when a friend talked to me about her neighbor who has four children from four different men, and judged her not as a good woman, I easily commented, “Wow … isn’t it very creative? How nice it is to have four children from different men. It must be exciting, don’t you agree with me?” LOL. This friend of mine looked at me weirdly, but then forced herself to laugh together with me. LOL.

Going back to the myth to change plates when eating meals. Some time ago when my daughter wanted to change plates when having a meal, my youngest sister commented, “Don’t do it, honey. It will make you have two husbands later. You don’t want it, do you?” I responded, “Well, there is nothing wrong to have two husbands later. I consider it more creative than just to have one husband. Getting divorced is okay if it will make you even happier.” LOL.

FYI, I don’t teach my only daughter to believe in such myths without any logical explanation.

13.16 09042006

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