Sunday, March 14, 2010


The world felt like it was crumbling up around me. I was prepared for the long wait for a waiver. I was prepared to fight about the legalities surrounding whether or not my husband should be forced to file a waiver at all, but here I was being told that they were doubting whether or not my husband was even legally divorced. I had spent a lot of time worrying about this when it came time to submit the divorce certificate initially, nine months before, but when it made its way through the USCIS and then the NVC, I had, wrongly, assumed that it had passed muster.

For those of you who aren't aware, US Immigration takes polygamy very seriously. They also take fraudulent marriages (when they rarely correctly diagnose them) very seriously. Every piece of paper related to a marriage visa that we submitted had to have a certification on it that he was not married to anyone else, and we had CONFIDENTLY signed them. Now, instead of filing a waiver and moving on to simply waiting, we were going to have to figure out if his divorce was valid. We knew it was valid in Pakistan, for his "ex-wife" had remarried years ago, but how to prove that to the United States Consulate in Montreal?! The certificate would be sent to Islamabad by fax and we would be notified of the result in "a few days."

I was crying for the rest of our consular visit, quietly, angrily, crying. I was not only angry at the consular officer for the hold up, but I was angry with M. I had begged him to obtain a different certificate, the type I had read about online. I had lectured him on how unhelpful and unsupportive his family had been already, and I had reminded him of how hard it was to submit supplemental evidence once one piece had been found to be insufficient. I had reminded him of the delays we has already suffered because of his stupid Pakistani marriage. I was livid and M was going to be the one to bear the brunt of it because it was he who had again trusted his parents' word in place of mine. Again it had cost us. I was mad, and I had no idea of the amount of time we were now going to have to wait.

I walked out of the consulate with our huge bag of irrelevant, useless proof along with our five pound waiver envelopes all worthless. The snow was piled high around us as we walked out to the car. Now, even I worried if the divorce was real, I mean, I only had one man's word, right?


  1. poor love. even though this time has passed, i know it still holds emotion for you when you relive here on the blog.

    thank God its all over for you and youre only writing a history.

  2. the hits just never stopped, did they???? u'll have to remind me how long it's been from his 'forced' marriage to the consulate meeting. and hurry back for another post, please!!!!

  3. oh man...that sucks!

    i've got a question for you. I've been reading your blog and so far in the story you've never talked about one of the biggest challenges intercultural couples often face, and that is the issue of religion.

    M being a practicing Muslim I would assume you guys had many differences in values. What sort of issues did you guys have and how did you reconcile them? Were you ever expected to change parts of you lifestyle to be in accordance with Islamic values? give up certain foods, dress a certain way etc? Was he expected to do similar things? Were there disputes about the faith of your future children?

    I have a friend in a similar situation and is struggling with the religious aspect of the relationship. Do you have any general advice?

  4. I'm kind of doing the blog story-wise and figured those questions would be touched on more when we finally got to *cross your fingers* live together haha.

    Those things have come up and they are so individualized that every couple's solution will be very different. We have had discussions AND arguments about it. The thing I found interesting about M and I is that our values (mine Christian/his Muslim) were closer together than mine and many Christians I had discussed things with.

    The "values" are very similar, it is the day to day practice that gets sticky with us, things like M being very picky about where he prays, wanting to go TO the mosque 5 times a day instead of praying some at home. . or putting off dinner until horrible hours of the night in summer time so that we eat after prayer, etc.

    Trying to reconcile my attendance at mosque functions. . .taking the baby to mosque dinners, separation of men/women at functions, these are all complications I intend to get to. . .patience is the only real advice, ulitmately the cultural complications coupled with the religious ones are sometimes deal breakers in these relationships.

  5. Okay, so the general advice would be:

    Be careful. Remember that all marriages are inevitably going to be hard sometimes and a marriage involving a strong religious difference is going to be even more difficult and complicated. Make sure that there are more things about the two of you that go together than cause friction and that you are ready to sacrifice parts of what you have been used to all of your life.

    Marriage is about making your lives go together in harmony. If you are not willing to have patience and take a little bit of change to yourself and your habits, you will be completely miserable. Do not think you will be the same person five years into the relationship as you were when you came into it. If you cannot embrace that idea. . . .

  6. thanks for the response =) it was quite helpful

  7. ...and wow! M prays five times a day AT the mosque! way to go marry the devoutest amongst us lol

  8. Not to sound horrible, but he and I have since come to an agreement that it would be easier (for me) if he pray only 2-3 of the prayers AT the mosque a day and the others at home. The other up side is that our daughter then gets to watch him and "pray" with him. She loves it every time she sees him take out his mat and even at 11 months old sometimes says "ala" (her version of "Allah o Akbar") to him when he does it.

  9. i cannot believe that 11 months has passed since you had her wow!! time they say. lol

  10. i admire your courage and strength. i am in a relationship since 4 years with a muslim guy, we're indian but i'm a hindu so huge differences not to mention hostility from his mom - threats, abuses and insults. however seeing stories like yours gives me hope and a little more strength. i wish you a very happy and fulfilled life. and of course, wait eagerly for your story's resolution.

  11. Oh my goodness. I just read every single post in the last two hours. And I teach in four hours! Your story is captivating - probably because I also went through a lot with my Muslim Pakistani.

    Keep posting! I want to hear about marriage, life together, and your baby girl!!!