The good Pakistani wife

Published: March 25, 2015

Amina watched her husband check his phone; she searched his face for signs of guilt or excitement – he was expressionless. ALWAYSLADIES.COM

Amina sipped her tea as she noticed the new red flame like flowers that had bloomed on the Palash tree outside her window.  Spring had finally arrived. The days would become brighter.

This should be a welcoming thought after the brutishly dark winter months. Instead, Amina worried. Her stomach wrought with anxiety. She bit the skin off her lips and tapped her slim fingers vigorously against the cup.

Her husband was cheating.

Introduced by their parents Amina and her husband, Ali, consented to marry because their match appeared correct; educated, good families and good looking. Amina felt lucky and knew women would be envious of her good looking and successful husband. She was pregnant soon after they married.

Although he was always home till late, hardly touching her, she assumed that this was the normal married life as she had seen of her parents and heard from friends. He fulfilled all her financial requests and she fulfilled all her duties as a wife. She took care of their daughter, his parents and hosted his family and colleagues with a buffet of dishes and presenting herself well by speaking little and smiling a lot. She had little idea who his friends were and assumed his friends were men and, out of possessiveness, he did not ask her to meet with them. She did not think while searching for her earrings that morning that Ali’s phone would light up revealing a message from some Sarah, who was missing her husband desperately. She stood paralysed while she imploded within.

Amina watched her husband check his phone; she searched his face for signs of guilt or excitement – he was expressionless.  He simply said,

 “I’ll be home late.”

Amina knew very well that the majority of Pakistani husbands in her circle cheated on their wives; and now she was the latest victim. She had read an article in which some Western couples decided to have open marriages because the expectation of a spouse to be reliable, compatible friend and exciting lover was unsustainable – it seems however Pakistan is already a step ahead. The Pakistani man enjoys a forgiving society in which without the explicit consent of his wife and with implicit consent from his society, he, without guilt and fear, breaks monogamy.

Her society is far more unforgiving.

She was the wife and mother of his child and caretaker of his family and home. The Pakistani wife is not to be touched or spoken to; the ideal Pakistani wife stands silently and submissively by her husband because they both know that she needs him more than he needs her.

Amina could not dream of calling her friends to reveal her issues; they would revel in it. She phoned her mother instead, who came over immediately. Amina sobbed as she told her mother about Ali’s new Sarah. Amina’s stout mother smiled.

“This is nothing! You almost had me worried, beta.”

Amina, shocked, stared at her mother blankly.

“What do you mean Amma?”

“He’s a man! It’s in his nature. As long as you’re a good wife and keep the house comfortable, he will be too dependent on you to ever leave for such loose character women. He’s given you a child, a home, security and a good lifestyle; what more do you want?”

“But Amma! He doesn’t love me!”

“Love shove! Only fools marry for love. Love dies after a while anyway. Marriage is about security and family and you have that. Besides, what will you do if you leave him? You know everyone will blame you for being a selfish fool. Who will care for you and your daughter? It is hard enough to be a woman in this society; do you have any idea how difficult it is to be a single divorced woman with a child in this society? Who will marry you?” her mother shook her head in disgust at the thought of her daughter getting a divorce,

“Be smart beta. Have faith in Allah”.

Amina’s friends always stayed away from divorced women, calling them nothing but trouble.

Exhausted, Amina crawled into her bed; she needed to decide her next steps but struggled to stop herself from wondering what Ali liked in Sarah.

Could she be like the Hetaeras in Ancient Greece engaging him intellectually and exciting him physically?

She must feel confident knowing she offers him sexual openness in a society where this quality appears rare. He must complain how boring his wife is; how he cannot do things with her that he can with Sarah – Amina wept into her pillow.

She sat up as she heard Ali walk in late that night. He silently sat down on the edge of the bed with his back towards her, undoing his tie, barely noticing her swollen eyes from her torrential tears. She detected a hint of alcohol and a woman’s perfume. She controlled her tears and pushed to smile through them. She must confront him.

The warm glow of the lamp softened his features; she did not know who this man was or whether she even liked him anymore but she loved him still for the provider and father he was.

She had to decide; could she live in this suffocating silence forever? Would he stop seeing Sarah if she asked? Would he run after her if she left?

She needed to know.

Her heart raced as she looked towards him, she asked softly,

“Have you had dinner?”

Read the second part of The Good Pakistani Wife here.

Beenisch Tahir

Beenisch Tahir

The author has graduated from the London School of Economics, London with an Msc in Social Policy and Development and she is a development professional in communications. Head of the LSE Alumni Chapter in Islamabad. Writing for a hobby. She tweets as @Beenisch (twitter.com/Beenisch)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Babar

    Good Writing,,,, BUT you are applying 1 example to whole society which is wrong.Recommend

  • Babar

    Good Writing,,,, BUT you are applying 1 example to whole society which is wrong.Recommend

  • Lily

    Nothing new in this article. Men cheat, and omen ALL over the world remain silent due to varying reasons. Women of Pakistan are only different because they’re usually financially dependent. Men cheat- Women cheat- Nothing new.
    No religion, no society in the world tolerates infidelity. So, if you choose to remain silent and tolerate A spouse, It’s your choice. /Recommend

  • LeoneHusband

    Fidelity can happen either side. More than 50% its here… Its not because amina husband smart and attractive, Smart and attractive guys are contended, its all natural… So best thing for easy survival get marry with first love, if not then always have a sharing option……!!Recommend

  • Uzair

    Typical hindi drama episode portraying weak, pure and gullible wife with a cheating husband and ‘zaalim’ samaaj. Of course, the significant majority of married couples in Pakistani society fail to make the news/drama because they are living a normal and gleeful life. This blatant criticism of the society by electronic and print media needs to stop for good and replaced by constructive criticism aimed for institutional and socio-economic reforms.Recommend

  • Alishba

    More like a 7th grade tale. Shallow piece of writing. Writer needs to focus on concrete arguments rather than shooting in the dark.Recommend

  • Alishba

    More like a 7th grade tale. Shallow piece of writing. Writer needs to focus on concrete arguments rather than shooting in the dark.Recommend

  • Alishba

    More like a 7th grade tale. Shallow piece of writing. Writer needs to focus on concrete arguments rather than shooting in the dark.Recommend

  • Alishba

    More like a 7th grade tale. Shallow piece of writing. Writer needs to focus on concrete arguments rather than shooting in the dark.Recommend

  • Pharell

    ‘No’, Ali answered while unbuttoning his shirt. ‘Kia hay?’

    ‘Mong ki daal ke parathay banaye hein’ Amina replied, biting her lower lip, anxious, ‘Sath kebab fry kar deti hoon?’

    ‘Rehnay do, roz mong ki daal, tang agaya hoon.’ His eyebrows squeezed together, his mouth in a frown.

    ‘Tou phir jao apni Sarah ke pass, wohi khilaye gi tumhay briyaniyan,’ her eyes flaming, hands together infront of her chest, her hair wild.

    Ali jumped back, half from shock half from pure terror, his arms infront of him in self defence, he felt himself falling back, tripping on his own pants, his head hit the side table with a loud thud. Amina hurried to his side, ‘Theek ho, aray itna darnay ki kia zaroorat thi bhai!’ Her hands shuffling over his head, trying to feel the point of impact.

    ‘Oye choro, mar he do mujhay, is tara mong ki daal kha kha ke tou nahin marun ga!’ His head was spinning and all he could see was bright little stars, he could barely make out Amina’s face, hunched over him.

    ‘I’ll get some ice!’ Amina got up and hurried towards the kitchen, her loud footsteps fading away quickly.

    Ali held his head and pushed himself onto the bed, ‘Briyani tou khilati hay woh.’Recommend

  • Khan

    so touchy and true.Recommend

  • Khan

    so touchy and true.Recommend

  • Khan

    so touchy and true.Recommend

  • Khan

    so touchy and true.Recommend

  • Sarah

    Good article.! But what should the solution to this problem be? A lot of women go through this experience but do not have the courage to speak up. The society is a harsh place for women.Recommend

  • ozzy

    Very nice and touchy article Beenisch. I agree with every word you have written. I have seen similar stories in my extended family and friends circle. Men have their wives at home looking after children and his parents and then they have a girlfriend (or a couple of them) outside and spend time with them. Very harsh reality and I feel bad for all those suffering wives. May Allah guide everyone to the right path.Recommend

  • Hamza Azhar Salam

    Wonderfully written, especially the end.Recommend

  • Arsalan Imran

    Ii think instead of keeping it to herself for the whole life, she should talk to him in a decent manner like ask him what if you ever caught me cheating on you? he might answer i would never forgive you and bla bla, ask him what if you get caught? what are you expecting me to do?, he may confess it . . tell him that you have your own daughters in front of you, & remember as you sow so shall you reap . . i think he would understand it for sure . . . if not she should focus more on her childrens rather thn his husband . . .Recommend

  • sheraz Khalid

    Women destroying women, and she is portraying men as wolves. Face-palm.Recommend

  • Ali

    Master Piece <3 WaooowRecommend

  • #iwillfightback

    why did it has to end? I wanted to know how long would she be able to live in this suffocation? i wanted to know how long would she be able to fool herself?
    I want all the women to step up and move ahead from the archetypal nature of a submissive women and let these men know, we are not dependent and stop ruining their lives for the sake of societal pressures and the fear of what will happen if i get seperated. Please have the courage to confront men who take advantage of women’s silence.Recommend

  • Sn

    Beautiful :) Recommend

  • Ehtisham Khan

    A sweeping statement about the loyalty of all the Pakistani men.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Uff tauba! So disturbing, honestly. What’s left in a marriage if there is no loyalty? Having actually seen a few cases of cheater husbands and girls being okay with that as long as her financial needs are being fulfilled, it makes me cringe at the very prospect of marriage. If given a choice, I would give up on all comforts and choose loyalty than living a luxurious, so-called “family” life with a cheater!Recommend

  • saman

    where can i read the remaining part?Recommend

  • Ali Abbas

    So a mistake made by the parents.Recommend

  • Asad

    That was brilliant blog.Recommend

  • Karim

    SARAH the one with whom Ali went out was also a Pakistani so you shd say here ppl cheat on thr partners instead of portraying women as the victims.Recommend

  • MalikSaabSays

    Looks like someone’s watched one too many dramas on telly…Recommend

  • sand

    what, utopia for a cheating husband, na women confront and couples fight, that is the conclusive product of such a marriageRecommend

  • Vap

    Absolutely sad. The society is yet not mature enough to blame the culprit. People will still tell a woman to compromise in such circumstances and if she doesnt she will be badmouthed.Recommend

  • Basharat Iqbal

    A gold one :)Recommend

  • Sheikh Danish Ejaz

    This article is an eye-opening piece but also depicts an interesting side of the society how the writer has equally blamed both genders for messing it up! kudos for stating facts and not blaming just one side!Recommend

  • Sam

    And still after all this she too will tell and learn her daughter exactly the same when her daughter experience the same. It has to take one strong mum to change that.
    Recommend

  • Majid

    There should be a second part to this story.Recommend

  • A

    Do you agree to the mothers explanation and why ?
    it will be nice if Tribune can have a blog about it
    Thanks
    ARecommend

  • Maha Emm

    Sure there might be a lot of examples present but I still disagree to the writers opinion…. articles like these help to spread a weak image of women….. By religious means even we are granted a lot of freedom and we need to study our rights….. not struck them off in the Nikkah Nama of our daughters, sisters etc. An enlightening piece of writing, highlighting the stories of women who fought in these suppressed conditions and succeeded would motivate other women in same conditions to rise…. Also it might give them a direction and spread some positive vibesRecommend

  • B

    Does this story end at “have you had dinner?” If not why isn’t the rest of the story a showin?Recommend

  • Mubashira Zaman

    So depressing :/Recommend

  • Irtiza

    no she wrote “Pakistani men in her circle”. I think she is not painting the whole society.Recommend

  • Aimon

    Come on! This is 20th century. There’s nothing women haven’t accomplished already. They are qualified doctors, engineers, lawyers, teaches and what not.
    Thus they shouldn’t tolerate this attitude from any one especially their husband because they’re men?
    Seriously?
    I would recommend every other girl who’s reading this, to establish her career firmly before marriage. Men cheat because they fulfill our financial needs thus they think that have a right to cheat in return of that. Change this, it’s not impossible. Today women are having salaries in lakhs, so the first thing is to be qualified and independent. If you are, then you don’t have anything to be afraid of.
    If such a case happens after marriage , and after trying all options which you have of saving it, leave your husband. And you can easily support your child by having a job. Its not easy but its not difficult either if you’re qualified.
    As for k ‘Log kia kaheingy?’
    The best thing is to ignore. And never close the chapter of marriage. If you meet someone else who’s ready to marry you while accepting your child, you can always marry him. There’s nothing wrong in that. Recommend

  • anonymous

    I totally agree to u…there must be some thoughtful solution towards it thru a story. raising a social issue is good but we must provide a solution too..
    I m sure many women must have related themselves wd da story
    even I was a victim to such situation I know how heart wrenching the situation Is
    Recommend

  • Tahir

    Do you think it is balanced,,,,,Recommend

  • Tahir

    I want all the women to stand up against SARA and ALI equally.Recommend

  • Mariyam

    The writing does play with reader’s emotions. Well written piece.Recommend

  • nadia

    honestRecommend

  • Tariq

    So majority of Pakistani men are cheaters? Such insecurity is nothing but pitiful. By the way I do get a hint of feminism in this. So just for the gender-equality can you write a blog saying “Sarah – A Pakistani woman who cheated on her husband”.Recommend

  • Dracula

    yeah right.Recommend

  • Meenah

    I wouldn’t ask if he had eaten. I would gut him and take his stomach out to check. Just sayin’.

    Unfortubately, that’s just what I hope I would do. None of us really know how we would react until we are in that situation. I do believe that we need to stop taking bad decisions for our selves based on what’s good for the kids. The kids come with their own destiny. They will survive. Recommend

  • https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8559594100366660134#allposts Supriya Arcot

    Sweety , what’s your opinion ? For starters .Recommend

  • mujtaba

    Hahah big deal man needs space why in islam he is allowed 4 wives think u dumb girls either let him marry or sufferRecommend

  • Malik

    Rest apart but I agree with the author on – ‘The Pakistani wife is not to be touched or spoken to; the ideal Pakistani wife should stand silently and submissively by her husband because they both know that she needs him more than he needs her.’ I hope we all agree on this.Recommend

  • goldriver

    A better solution is polygamyRecommend

  • Aleeha

    Is this the life of women in Pakistan? Do we have no say in what is going on in our life after marriage? Are we assumed to take care of the family, fulfil their wishes?
    Women do not deserve this life, we are also individuals that should be given the same respect as men. Why are the laws different for men when we are made from the same flesh and bone. This attitude towards women has been going on for generations and it is the women who have brought it on themselves.Women need to stop acting like victims.Only we(the women) can make a change. We need to stand up for our rights or will continue to be oppressed in this harsh, torturous society.
    Loved your writing and want to read more about this story.Recommend

  • Aleeha

    i totally agree with you. It is us who need to make a change. We need to become independent and stop relying on the typical Pakistani man. We need to change the mind set of people to be able to live our lives.Recommend

  • ali

    @express – please stop publishing dramatic stories.Recommend

  • Ali Mohsin

    It usually takes two to cheat but in this story it took three to cheat, Ali, Sarah, and Amina’s mother. Shameful but true.Recommend

  • Dinka Chika

    You would not, most women are gold diggers any way,if the story is real then my suggestion to this lady is that she should talk with him and let him know that she knows.Recommend

  • TS

    extremely well written with the perfect blend of emotions and everything.
    What if i were to tell you it goes both ways? whilst only one gender is being targetted here.
    What about the countless affairs of women during their college life, sleeping around and doing what not. I would have been glad if it ended for them at their Nikkah but they do it secretly (again i am not generalizing but i know they do).
    As a man, i certainly am not favoring “Ali” here. Its disgusting what he does but just saying the women do it equally.Recommend

  • https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8559594100366660134#allposts Supriya Arcot

    When you love some one , you forgive many faults . Love knows no reason you see .Recommend

  • Awais Ali Shah

    experience matters hmmRecommend

  • Ahsan

    it seems that, even if we assume that men are the major cause behind such events, or perhaps if i rephrase, men are the necessary condition for such events then women have to be the sufficient reason or cause.; without the effort of women, such events are not possible. (not that i agree that men are the necessary condition)Recommend

  • Syed Awais Ali Shah

    your appraoch is limited to your personal thought. think with a broader and real life pakistani perspective. Recommend

  • Ahmed Nisar

    This story should be visualized in a broader context! agreed she is the victim! but why? because of sara!! who is sara?? most of the time this sara is a girl who knows that she will end up marrying an arranged man, seen and sorted out by her family, a man who would take care her financially, and then this sara marries to this man, and vows to be loyal now with his husband, not knowing that there is another sara who is out there in our twisted and complicated society! now coming back to the man who is cheating! when he was unmarried he might have loved someone as sara!! but sara wouldn’t give him a damn, because she knows that she will end up getting married to an man chosen by her family, so who would u blame? parents, a liberated girl before her marriage, a married girl who has now vowed to be sincere to her husband for ever and forever or that man who knows that he can he have lot of saras, once he is well established…….Recommend

  • Qazi Shehryar Khan

    This story made me cry :'( …. Every Man and Woman who cheat their loyal spouses should be burned PERIOD!!!!! >:(Recommend

  • Nayyar Abbas

    Bitter but true picture of our society. In our culture its not easy for a woman to leave everything because her husband is cheating. But why don’t somebody write on the reasons of distractions for husbands???Recommend

  • zoya

    Its the irony in this article. It explains how the society sees women. You’ve missed the whole point. Recommend

  • Faiza Nawaz

    (Y) truly depicting the mentality of most of Pakistani men and women…Recommend

  • Tanveer

    But – I would Advise Writers to Point out the main issues which have always been under table – i.e If woman wants the separation and make her man realize legally so she does not find any place to find herself justice in courts ; In these Cases separate courts should be maintained with speedy trials and make the children future secured immediately just after filling the case – why parents advise their daughters to be calm? Speedy trials , Separate courts , and separate community services should be established …. Man cheats does not matters but he must needs to have some fear of doing these acts …Recommend

  • abhi

    Exactly. I was wondering if all husband cheat from where they get another woman? Are thre more women than men?Recommend

  • Ali

    And your name is Sarah . Skeptical* Recommend

  • Saz

    Good honest men are hard to findRecommend

  • adx

    I strongly disagree with the writers opinion…Women should not be treated like an object or a submissive creature…It is high time now women should stand up for their rights otherwise every husband will have another woman for fun….Recommend

  • J.Khan

    An excellent piece of writing Beenisch. I loved it. I have been through what this woman is feeling and suffering and it kills you from inside. I was a victim of such life and I choosed to leave it and Survived with a child. What you have shown through ur writing is happening all around us. Sadly !Recommend

  • Tooba Waheed

    You dont know if Sarah was married or not………… :pRecommend

  • Tooba Waheed

    They never do it for the finances dear :) ……….. single women through out history have taken care of their children by earning themselves, in Pakistan, from a maasi to a doctor, if nothing then simply teaching, they do it so that when she is out trying to marry her daughter off, she wont have to face any accusations……… its for the sake of name, she already has lost the man, she knows she is never marrying again, what difference does it make to her life if she gets a divorce or not……… money is just a perk, still his wife, gets to keep the children after 7 years of age as well as financial support…………Recommend

  • Le Khan Hammad

    You, my fellow citizen are living in an oblivious state, can you go and ask your mother how many women approximately suffer through their husband’s extramarital affairs, how many recover(Divorce or getting the husband to leave the other one, both ways)? and how many just go on with it(not talk about it even while it’s happening)?.
    TBH it’s not religious, religion don’t have anyting to do with it, it’s societal.Recommend

  • fra.i

    Very melodramatic and obviously completely fictional story.

    THIS ISSUE IS VERY REAL AND DESERVES PROPER ACTION AND AWARENESS. Men cheat on their wives. Men, both rich and poor, can cheat on their wives because society looks the other way, thinking ‘men will be men’ and ‘he’s given you financial security and a home, what more do you want’?

    How about loyalty? Women can and should demand faithfulness from their men, just as men can do the same.

    These dramas and made up stories do nothing to spread awareness of this as a real issue.Recommend

  • Le Khan Hammad

    Exactly, but what about the children? the societal bounds, I just hate to admit it, but we are really messed up.Recommend

  • mahvash

    Her mother’s advice was natural and as expected in our society. But AMINa’s answer should be like ” whos the provider? Husband? And who Provides him? ALLAH ALMIGHTY. When ALLAH provides me here, he will provide me and feed my child ANY WHERE in this world.Recommend

  • INDIA999

    This is heartbreaking. A woman’s plight. Its really unfair. She dedicates her life for the family and this what she gets in return. :(Recommend

  • boco

    poor sentence structure and usage of grammarRecommend

  • Saloni Blair

    BrilliantRecommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Recent studies have proven; women cheat more than men but are way more discreet. Women desire men who are wanted by other women. Women desire men who are more experienced with multiple women. It works the same way in the animal kingdom, the alpha-males get all the females. “Ali” in the above article is a real player and Amina is dying to get his attention. When she gets a chance, she will stray too but she still wants to stay with the alpha-male. Things aren’t as simple as black and white. There are many men who are complete loners and would never get a chance to cheat, girls like Amina would prefer not to be close to any of them because they are the beta-males and evolution has designed women to go for the alphas.Recommend

  • Malveros

    Wonderful. Unfortunately this is reality of life and one should live with it. Love stories exist only in movies or books. Positive side is at least the husband is not abusive verbally or physically towards the wife.Recommend

  • Asad Ehsan Ghumman

    I am cryingRecommend

  • Zain Bukhari

    All rightly said. at the same time its a big shame how the so called writers would put things like “Amina knew very well that the majority of Pakistani husbands in her circle cheated on their wives” in the name of Amina and then sit back and sip tea with the money earned. How the word majority can be verified. this is not even upto the very basic standards of writing to put things like these just to sell your product.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Seems like a comment coming from some 13-year-old kid, struggling with puberty. Recommend

  • Shauzab Ali Raojani

    what happend after that ?Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    This! (Y)Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    So true! Also, it’s best to take children away from the influence of a cheating father. What good example can a dishonest, cheating man set for his kids, anyway?Recommend

  • Uzair

    You are not living in a very cognizant state either. This article can have a different effect on different people. As far as your questions go: Do you have answers to these questions? Pakistan is a country of approx. 200 million people. Please don’t insist on high sounding rhetoric by claiming that ‘majority’ of the husbands are cheating. Maha Emm has provided her honest feedback on the issue which I feel is more realistic because it is grounded in legislation that one can refer to for substantiation of evidence. A little intellectual humility goes a long way :)Recommend

  • Maha Emm

    Well you missed my point as well thn….. i just said solutions or success stories are required for women under these suppressed conditions to motivate them to do something about it in time…. Someone will have to break the traditional norms otherwise its like a cyclone….. We need to educate our daughters to make them strong, not tell them to stay hush hush….. and again i said even our religion grants women with lots of rights and freedom…. we just need to be well read and awareRecommend

  • Maha Emm

    I totally understand….. but my point was we need articles to inspire people to make their lives better with a solution or direction maybe, not just relate – able content.Recommend

  • Baneen

    I really don’t think its societal. Any man could cheat, we don’t have to blame their Pakistani nationalities for their extramarital affairs. However, this article basically says women are oppressed because they are forced by the Pakistani society to stay silent for this or that reason. I think it is more of a personal choice, whether you wish to continue such a marriage or not. The woman knows the stakes, and she also knows the potential life ahead if she stays within a so-called marriage like this one.Recommend

  • Maha Emm

    Exactly….. u can tel people how you came out of the situation perhaps…. giving them a ray of hope maybeRecommend

  • Uzair

    Wow! Such an elaborate response for a fictional and anecdotal piece? Please calm yourself and don’t invest your emotions in these misconstrued stories.Recommend

  • Khizer Jalal

    Excellent writing. Pakistani women are amazing and one of a kind. Someone who needs most respect and attention. Recommend

  • yasir

    This not happend normally. Pakistan is an Islamic state these things may not done by the pure MuslinsRecommend

  • AZ

    what’s next??you left us and Amina in between !!Recommend