Ask Asad: My mother is a widow but she has remarried. What should I do?

I am trembling with worry when I think about the pressure that is about to come on my family from the society


Asad Shafi June 06, 2017

Dear Asad,

By profession, I am a banker. A happily married man with two kids and a beautiful wife. I have three siblings – two brothers and a sister. They are also married and settled in their lives. My father died when he was 47 and my mother was only 36. My younger sister was only nine-years-old at the time. We were not too wealthy but after my father’s death, we all had to work very hard to make ends meet, but today, we are a stable family again.

The only problem is that my mother has remarried and she has not told any of us. 

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My wife once overheard my mother telling one of her friends about her marriage. When she questioned her, my mother confirmed that she had married a man who is currently living in the United States. My maternal grandfather had been a witness at the marriage. My mother is unaware that I know about her new marriage. However, I am trembling with worry when I think about the pressure that is about to come on us from the society we live in.

Every family has problems. We are four families living together. How is it possible that we cannot have problems? My younger brother is having some problems in his marriage because of his troublesome wife. But I believe, my mother's solution to our family issues is get married and move out of the house. Above all, she has not told anyone of us about her nikkah. Only my maternal grandfather and a friend, who arranged the ceremony, knew about it.

This is very embarrassing for me. What should I do?

A troubled son

 

 

Dear troubled son,

I understand your anxiety regarding the reaction of your family, relatives and society when they will know about your mother’s marriage. I also understand that in a conservative Pakistani society it is not the norm for a widow of your mother’s age to remarry – especially with four children and many grandchildren. However, at the same time, I will urge you to take your mother’s feelings into account and look at the entire situation from her perspective.

Yes, you might face a lot of pressure from the society but for the sake of your mother’s happiness you must man up and bear it. Think of all the pressure your mother must have gone through when your father passed away. She lost her husband at a young age of 36 and did not remarry because she wanted to devote her time and energy to bringing you and your siblings up. She ensured that you all get the proper education, rewarding careers and good spouses.

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She must have faced a lot of difficulties in looking after her four children and that too alone with utter devotion and selflessness. Why? Because she loves you and now that she has fulfilled all her duties and you and your siblings are busy in your lives with your spouses and children, your mother has every right to seek a life partner.

Now it is time for you to show her how much you love her and how much you care for her happiness. If her happiness is in getting remarried then you should support her. Do not think about ruining her happiness just because you are afraid of the society or because you want her to keep on solving your family or marital issues.

I know we usually look towards our elders for advice and guidance and it is one of the most beautiful aspects of our culture. But at the same time, we should not expect them always to be around and take responsibilities for our problems. We need to understand, they are humans too. They have their own needs and limitations. Your maternal grandfather must have agreed to her nikkah after understanding all of this.

If your younger brother is old enough to marry and have children, I believe he should also be able to handle his own issues. For how long will he keep on counting on your mother to run his marriage life smoothly for him?

It is high time that you and your siblings should start taking responsibilities for your own affairs. Just because you all went for arranged marriages as per your mother’s wishes, does not restrict her to protect your marriages.

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You also mentioned that financially your family is doing quite well. If this is the case and your mother is about to leave the house because she has married someone in the US, then why do not you and your siblings also opt for living separately with your families instead of living together under one roof. This will lessen some of the tensions at home as every family will have more privacy and independence.

I know it is not easy but you, your siblings and your families will have to come to terms with the fact that your mother has remarried and that it is her right to do so and you cannot and should not be a hurdle in the way of her happiness and a fulfilled life.

All the best!

Asad

 

Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (3)

tuk | 4 years ago | Reply Yes, this is the solution! By leaving you all she is teaching you one last lesson and that is to be independent. She is heck of a smart lady, thank her now or you will regret.
BrainBro | 4 years ago | Reply Your best bet is just to take it as it and move on with your own life.
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