The Broken Bride

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24 Hours…

The force was hard enough for me to fall to the floor and I could feel a burning sensation on my cheek, but I was in so much disbelief that I could not react.

It only took 24 hours of being married to him, for me to witness his violent streak and realize that my marriage was never just between me and my husband, I was in a marriage with his entire family. Everything would have to be based around his mum and brothers. If I wanted to go out for dinner he would ask if his siblings were free and if my parents invited us over, the invite would somehow extend to his family. This suited my husband fine, even to the point that he said to me "You don’t need to keep me happy, you just need to keep my family happy." Naturally no wife wants to hear this, especially because I was a traditional girl and as a wife I wanted to make my husband happy, not his mum! But because of this attitude everything became a problem and it was hard trying to keep four people happy along with myself.

A classic trait of my mother-in-laws' was that she would pick and choose certain aspects of our culture and use it to highlight how disrespectful my family were towards her. It would set my husband off as he would believe that my family were, in fact, being disrespectful. This was never the case and it was quite ironic as they didn’t actually follow culture at all – I mean my mother-in-law was not only inviting herself over to my house before I actually married her son but she stayed over at my parents’ house several times. My family didn’t know how to react to t his and found it strange and uncomfortable, but because they wanted me to be happy and have a good start with my new family they went along with it.

My mother in-laws' behaviour created many issues. I remember being invited to my uncles' house for dinner, but she was not happy because she was expecting a personal invitation. Normally my uncle would have done this, but because my in-laws didn’t follow any traditions my uncle didn’t think it was important to follow the traditional way to invite them. This made her upset which then lead to my husband refusing to go, this upset me because I didn’t want to have to explain to my family why I was not going, as they would see I was having issues and worry about me. So out of frustration I said “Your mother is going to cause the end of us." These words were met with a slap across my face. The force was hard enough for me to fall to the floor and I could feel a burning sensation on my cheek, but I was in so much disbelief that I could not react. He had also dropped to the floor and I could hear him constantly apologizing, but I had no words. He hit me. Never in a million years did I think he could ever raise his hands on me.

After slapping me he left the room and came back to say that we would go to my uncle’s house after all, but I couldn’t say anything in response, instead I found myself in front of the mirror covering the red prints of his hand with foundation. I was in so much shock that I couldn’t speak, I was mute for a whole 24 hours. For the first time since we got married, he was guilt-ridden. His behaviour towards me changed, he was being sweet and attentive. That night when we made love he called it 'making up' but I felt sick inside because I forgave a man for something I frowned upon, in the name of 'love'.

However, this affection did not last. Just as I had convinced myself that he had only made a mistake, he hit me again. He wanted me to be more affectionate towards his mother and be a daughter to her, as I tried to explain to him that I had nothing against her and wanted her to be happy the way I did for my own mother, rather than understanding my stance on this instead he threw me across the room, he had no remorse and no feeling. It was as though I was a rag doll to him. He brushed it off like it was some sort of play fight, but I was in tears. His version of comforting me would be questioning why I would anger him enough for him to do this. He lifted me up and took me into the bathroom, where he wiped my face and started undressing me. I apologized and pushed him away, as this time I couldn’t handle him trying to make it up to me like last time. He accepted this and left me, and when I got into the shower I could see my bruised neck and my tears just flowed and refused to stop.

Once more he was extremely apologetic and somehow I carried on as normal. The vicious cycle began and he hit me, but this time in public. I had asked to go for a coffee, so that we could speak on the situation at home, which was far from okay. My emotions got the better of me once I had started to express how I felt, this only made him angry and he picked up the sugar pot and discreetly whacked my cheeks with it. For him to be brave enough and hit me in public angered me, so I stood up and walked out. As I started walking back to work, he followed me in his car and told me to get in. He was making a lot of noise, so I decided to get in to avoid any attention from passer-by’s and to avoid any problems at home, I forgave him again. It seemed easier to act like nothing had happened.

A few days later we were out again in a public car park, discussing our finance, when he attacked me yet again. I explained to him that he wasn’t sticking to the financial commitments he had initially promised. He purchased home appliances, an expensive lavish car all under my name and promised to pay it himself. That money was never to be seen again. I told him that I couldn’t afford the extra £500 he wanted, he simply said that his previous girlfriend was willing to take out a quarter of a million pounds for him. I was so frustrated by what he had said, that I blurted out: “Well you should have married her then," Normally I would never speak to him like this but I was just so angry! This was an excuse for him to grab me by my hair and drag me out of the car. My silence broke, I screamed “Get off of me!" But he just became more and more aggressive until he noticed a man watching from the balcony so he pushed me into the car, locked the doors, and drove off. I was screaming to get out of the car but he drove into a secluded car park and pushed my head down towards the steering wheel and carried on punching me. My face was shielded by my hands and when he stopped, I opened my eyes to find a chunk of flesh on my bloody hands. Seeing the blood made him panic and he changed his tone and for the first time, I saw fear in his eyes. I asked him to take me to see a Doctor but he refused, we both knew he would be questioned or worse. He begged for forgiveness and even touched my feet. It felt like an over dramatised scene of a Bollywood movie. I was too weak to say anything and he convinced me on how he much he 'loved' me. Eventually he agreed to take me to the doctors, under the condition that I was involved in a car accident, which I agreed to. I felt sorry for him because he was scared, and I felt like it was my fault; that I made him do this.

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He hit me.

By then I was so defeated that I didn’t even blink..

My life with him had become a vicious cycle, a chain of circumstances. The violence was normal, so much so, I expected it. I'd always tell him how I was feeling, but a little differently this time. I wrote him a personal letter. He read it in the car and I reiterated what I had written. I stressed how his brothers and Mother were treating me behind his back, how I felt about his change in character and how isolated I felt even though I was with him. He hit me. By then I was so defeated that I didn’t even blink, I took a deep breath and got out of the car. My calm reaction puzzled him and when I had gotten back to work he would not stop ringing me, so I switched my phone off. I needed to zone out. He then called my work phone and my PA put this straight through telling me it was my partner. I was forced to speak to him with a smile on my face, he wanted to know if I was coming home that day, deep down I wanted to go to my parents' house, but I couldn’t. They would see my pain from a mile away and they would not tolerate him even screaming at me let alone being aggressive. My Mother was already questioning me as to why I was losing so much weight, this would just confirm their concerns. So I decided to book myself into a local hotel and disappear.

I knew my duty as a wife, so I informed him that I needed a bit of breathing space. I told him through a text that I wouldn’t let anyone know about his behaviour, I just needed to reassess my life because I was so unhappy. The next morning, I turned my phone on to find a long list of text messages, calls and voicemails from him pouring his eyes out. The voicemails filled with the sound of a broken man yearning for his wife, my heart melted and I let him take me home. He said that I didn’t have to speak to anyone, he would give me the space that I needed and that he will 'fix' the issues in our marriage.

I had only just freshened up when I received a worrying phone call from my Uncle, asking me to come over immediately. I informed my husband that I thought something was wrong and that I had to go. He said one thing which I never understood then, “I only just got you back, I don’t want to lose you again. promise me you will come back." I felt his affection and hugged him saying “It’s okay, I promise.”

I reached my Uncles' house and only then I realised why my husband made me promise that I would return home. My beloved husband had been there the night before, with his entire family to slander me. My heart stopped and anger flooded my whole body, my mouth opened and all the words poured out. I told my Uncle everything! He was in utter shock and advised me to contact the police and inform my Father immediately. I was hit by fear, fear of the consequences of what I did so I immediately tried to take my words back and justify his actions. My Uncle was not impressed and insisted I stay the night, he switched my phone off and called my husband to say he was keeping me that night and for him to come over the next day to collect me. My Uncle is as good as a Father to me, so I completely understood his anger. The only thought that clouded my mind was if my Uncle could feel this much hate towards my husband, how would my Father feel? What would my Father do? My father would kill him. With great difficulty, I managed to convince my Uncle that I wanted to make my marriage work and I couldn’t hurt my Father. I promised him that if my husband raised his hands on me again, I would leave him or at least contact him straight away.

The next day my Uncle sat him down and had a conversation; man to man. My Uncle booked us a holiday and told us to take a break from everything and to sort out our differences. It was clear to everyone that our families had a problem, but we needed to fall in love again and work this out together. The first time in a long time I had hope that we could move forward, so we both agreed to the holiday.

The holiday was booked and everything was in place for us to go. I had something to look forward to but that couldn't stop me from being transparent with my feelings. I could not look at his Mother knowing she had gone to great lengths to go behind my back and tell lies to my extended family, it hurt so much more because I tried so hard to gain her approval and went out my way to make her feel comfortable. I knew I had to suppress these feelings and move on for the sake of my marriage. But it wasn’t long till she started another argument. She was angry that my Uncle had booked this holiday without her permission. Was I married to him or his family? Like always he said nothing, instead he came up to our bedroom and defended everything his Mother had said. It didn’t take much for him to break his promise, before I could argue my point, the ferocity of the hit had swollen my entire face. The small amount of excitement I had for the holiday had disappeared.

I can’t say it was the best holiday of my life but it was nice to be away from all the drama. This for me was an opportunity to give him a chance to prove himself, but instead I was the one trying to get his attention, to make him happy and to try and just be us again.

We did make some progress, and managed to make a few good memories, but this was short lived. Coming back was not exciting, and deep down I didn’t want to come back at all. We got back at 2am in the morning and I was ripped apart for not going to his mother’s room and greeting her from our holiday. My justification that it was late and I didn’t want to wake her up only fell on deaf ears.

My mother and brother came to visit me that morning and I greeted them with a hug and a smile, even though he and his family where being very anti-social, I tried to lighten the atmosphere and pretend I was happy, I showed pictures and covered my pain with laughter and small talk. The moment they left, I fixed myself a plate of food as I hadn’t eaten all day, when his mother kicked off. How dare I hug my mother and not hug her, she started swearing and declared I was living in ‘her house’ and had to follow ‘her rules’, I looked at my husband in disbelief, he had nothing to say. I was shocked and the anger of her everything she had done got the worst of me. I started to defend myself – and for the first time she was not getting her way. I said, “It is my house, that my father gave me, and so long as I do right by my husband nothing or no one else matters”.

She said her son was paying the bills and my dad gave me nothing, the property was not even in my name and how her niece was given a freehold property. Now I was fuming, I said, “Fine, you live in this house, I will leave!’’ She responded that I should go to my dad and tell him to write the property over to her – I did not want to disrespect her, after all she was an elder and my mother didn’t raise me that way, so I said "Okay" and walked out of the room. He followed me, and smashed the glass in my hand – “How dare you speak to my mother like that!” My body started to tremble, as I thought he was going to kill me. I literally put my hands together and begged him for forgiveness – I don’t know what he was thinking – he just left the room, I cleaned up the mess and walked to my bedroom.

I was praying my Esha (night prayer), when he walked into the room and said “You will get what you want, my mum is packing her stuff, she is going to leave the house”. She had packed and never left so many times that I looked at him and said “I never asked her to leave”, he ignored me and replied “You need to give her bangles back”. The gold bangles meant nothing to me, I took them out of my draw and handed them over – this was so pathetic, but i was more than happy to give MY wedding bangles back, in exchange for some peace.

She didn’t leave and the night passed, he woke up at dawn and I could hear her cleaning the house, screaming “I have guests coming, my sister is coming”, then they all left the house to do some grocery shopping.

After they had left, he called me to say that I should leave the house for a few days, his mum had family coming over and it would be best if I wasn’t there after everything that had happened. As usual, I just followed his instructions – and I left for my parents' house.

After a few days I started to question this whole commotion, and I couldn’t understand why I was made to leave. I called him up and it would always end in an argument. But I missed him and needed to fix things, so I decided to go back and just let it be. But when I got to the front door, I couldn’t get in - the locks had been changed. My own house and I didn’t have the key. I called him and said I was outside. Anger got the best of me and I walked up to the room, packed my belongings and told him, I had had enough! I felt betrayed, the home that I gave him was no longer ours. His mother walked in, and told me she didn’t expect me to be ‘that kind of girl’, to break it off so easily – even though I was desperate to get married because of my past. I looked at her, she was driving me out of my own home and had the audacity of accusing me of breaking my marriage. I looked at him for comfort and all he said is “After everything you have done, my mum is still looking out for you.” I couldn’t believe what he was saying.

I went back to my parents' house, but luckily they were on holiday, so I didn't have to explain myself. I thought it would give my husband enough to recalculate what he done and hope he would come to his senses. Two weeks passed and I got nothing. Then one night, I received a call at 2 o’clock in the morning - "I give you Talaq."

Marzana Rahman