The concern of most career women.
Whenever I have conversations with my fellow female colleagues, one of the bothering topics that always pops up is the subject of issues with regards relationships and marriage.
The biggest question that usually stems from this debate is whether or not we any of us would quit our jobs if our husbands asked us to. Similar debate currently going on social media.
Despite always responding with an unsure, “No, I wouldn’t,” I’ve found myself feeling a lot more convinced after a conversation in which my colleague revealed that she wouldn’t work when she got married as her boyfriend and potential future husband would prefer that she didn’t. According to her “my potential future husband may want me to be a housewife or homemaker.” Personally I feel this is worrisome. My reasons;
I believe that patriarchy shouldn’t dictate the roles we choose in marriage.
I have understood that many discussions about marriage revolve mainly around gender roles, about the man as a provider and the woman as a homemaker/housewife. The concept of a woman quitting her job because her husband told her to or asked her to be is a prime example of this, because of this, I believe people tend to be so fixed up and centered on “archaic” gender roles that they fail to see their partner’s character and personality. As Areeba has changed to MTN so as Zain to AirtelTigo, if you now pray in a tiled air conditioned mosques, it should tell you clearly evolution has taken place.
I believe that a man who would dare to suggest that I quit my job would be one that fails to see me beyond the roles that the patriarchy has defined. Not only would he fail to see my brilliant mind and big heart, but he would also be denying me the opportunity to use my intellect to grow in terms of my career.
Most of all, he would fail to see that just as he has desires and dreams that he would like to accomplish and bring to life, so do I too. If just his job can help him attain those visions and desires, so too can mine.
There are many viewpoints about what marriage is, but one popular thought is that it is considered to be merging the lives of two people together in order to create one life. To be honest I don’t think that quitting your job for your husband while he continues to work is a symbol of how your lives are merging.
Rather I see it as one in which you are dying so that he can live his life without him making any concessions of his own.
But why should this be the case? I know that there is this expectation for women to give up so much of themselves when they are in a marriage in order for the marriage to succeed, but is it so impossible to believe your wife can still have her job and a prosperous marriage?
Personally, I worked hard to get to where I am for my husband to use a day to tell me QUIT.
I have endured so much for my academic advancement and have spent hours trying to come up with amazing business skills. Not only that, I have experienced and overcome so much anxiety regarding my studies and have often found myself crying all alone in the room because of my academic results.
As young as I was growing up, I was blessed enough to have parents who saw the importance of obtaining and investing in a good education. My parents cared so much about me and my siblings’ education that they sacrificed many of their desires to provide us with the best education in terms of the schools and universities they sent us to.
With this, for any man (precisely my husband) to dismiss my brutal yet triumphant academic experiences and for that same man to ignore all that my parents have done and continue to do for my education, is blatantly disrespecting to both my parents and myself.
A husband like this is one who chooses to disregard his wife and her parent’s life stories all in a quest for him to have a wife he can rule over. Some of my friends have said that if their supposed husband makes enough money for them not to work, they would agree and quit their jobs. As for me, I am set on my decision to never quit my job for any man, no matter the reason. My parents worked so hard for me to accomplish my visions.
According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, “If a woman prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (of Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise from whichever of its gates you wish.’” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 661). This is what I refer by saying some people abuse religious sayings for their own personal gains.
My little advice to husbands and would be husbands is, never should you use this right as exploitation to hurt your wife’s feelings or ignore her opinion or go against her wishes. Rather fear Allah and try to consult with your wife and discuss with her, and explain the shar’i ruling to her (if she doesn’t know about it), and give them permissible alternatives that will make them happy, and to develop their potential and achieve some of what they wants.
Allah knows best. We ask Allah to help us all to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.
©Aisha Deliwine Alabireh