148: Getting Used to New Ideas

Culture is the environment you grew up in. It is peculiar to the region, and to the families who live in that region. Even in the US, where we are all Americans, there are distinct culture differences depending on where you are from, and your family. These cultural differences are just one MORE adjustment you must make when you meet that special person and decide to marry. Different families do not do things in the same way. Now, take that adjustment, and move to a totally new country in a new part of the world for you, like say….oh…..Morocco. In north Africa.

What I have discovered, after two plus years of living and working in this mostly delightful country is that there are some really new ideas to get used to. One of these ideas is marriage. Yes, Moroccans get married, just like Americans do. However – Moroccans are mostly Islamic, or Muslim. Islam allows a prosperous man to marry up to FOUR wives. This, to an American, is a radically new idea.

My husband of ten years is American. In America, men generally do the pursuing of the women for mates. In America, it is generally also understood that a married person is off-limits for persons who are prospecting for mates. Married people have already made that choice, for the most part. Yes, I know that prohibition is not always followed, but usually, pursuing married people is considered tacky and low-class to the extreme.

In Morocco, this is also true of a married woman. Married women are off-limits: they have made their choice, and it is all over except for the crying. Men do not pursue married women, because that could get them killed. Seriously.

However. However. However. Married MEN are still fair game, because of the four wife thing. Since we have been here in Morocco, my husband has been proposed to (sometimes within minutes of meeting him) by EIGHT different women. He has been startled to discover that when he says to them, ” I am already married,” that this does not deter them in the least: they are perfectly willing to be wife number two.  This is pretty heady stuff for a guy who has always had to do his own chasing.

Lately, he has begun to make casual (oh, so casual) jokes about getting a second wife, like how the two of us “girls” can go shopping together. Yeah, right. What he has neglected to recall is that I am an American woman, and a Christian one, at that: not Islamic. We are NOT culturally accustomed to sharing our husbands. In fact, sharing a husband can get you killed. Seriously. It could happen.

Maybe I’d better buy him some life insurance, before I kill him.

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