This post will act as my response to the weekly Friday photo challenge, One Love, because I lack foresight, and well, two birds with one stone.
Back in October my husband and I signed a document called a ‘Katb ktab’, which translates as ‘signing of the book’. Ok, that translation is no help at all. The document was a marriage contract, which means we are internationally married, however culturally meant that we had promised ourselves to each other until we could formally present our marriage in a wedding. (Weddings here don’t involve any religious or legal aspect – they are just a celebration to say ‘hey guys, we’re married now! Let’s eat cake and take selfies’). So despite signing our marriage contract and saying vows in front of a sheikh, we were just considered engaged.
But then Sam’s beloved grandma passed away, and the family agreed to observe a mourning period. I wrote a little about her passing here. However, when they decided to extend this from forty days to a full year I was in England for Christmas. I didn’t know until late December that there couldn’t be a wedding celebration, however by society’s standards I was already married. When Sam told me over Skype I immediately swapped my ring to my right hand, said que sera, and came back from England a wife. We were given our own room and there’s been no mention since of the wedding that never was (although I have been apt to stick my tongue out at any mention of blushing brides).
I actually didn’t want the big wedding here – no family or friends, or traditions I know – but I am sad Sam didn’t get his moment.
God willing, if he gets his visa we’ll have a ceremony in England in conjunction with his graduation ceremony in July. Crossing fingers and toes because I HAVE to wear that white dress, and I already promised my baby cousins they can be bridesmaids. (and I really want to change my relationship status on fb lolol).
To make things more confusing, here’s a pic of Sam finally proposing to me with a ring in November, a month after we signed our marriage contract…
The picture of the ring is my engagement/wedding ring. It’s a very traditional design, and everyone pretty much wears the same thing so there’s no mistaking if you’re married or not. It’s made of 32 karat gold and is very soft, so it’s already dented and scratched. I’m a very hands-on kind of person, which doesn’t really mix well with nearly pure gold. When I first scratched it lifting logs in the garden back in the UK I had a breakdown, but I was later reassured that wedding rings are very recyclable here.
So that’s the story of my strange marriage. Any inter-cultural other halves out there that have similar experiences?