Intro: This post is not meant to ignore those who are single parents and/or who have chosen celibacy over partnership, but to admire the effort of those who had fought to stay in a relationship. In life, all choices are reflective towards a personal journey, and through this post, I reflect mine.
I had the honour to meet a prominent Indonesian scholar living abroad, who visited Jakarta a while with his wife. I asked what her occupation was, and her reply: "Saya sih cuma ibu rumah tangga."
Her words may perhaps be just an effort of humility or a complex response towards an ideological concept, but, I apologise, an 'ibu rumah tangga' is not 'cuma'. When I see their closeness and how far they must have gone together, from raising children to adjusting in a land not their native - it must have been a great deal of cooperation that had successfully led them to staying together.
I have also read of Dahlia Mogahed, Esposito's co-writer for the worldwide success 'Who Speaks for Islam?' and current advisor to Obama's administration, whose doctor husband chose to stay at home for the children after the success of his wife. All I can see is the greatness of their cooperation.
Nobody is 'staying behind' as in their minds they are a team, a unit. They are individuals and yet together they strive for something bigger than the both of them. Without the support of the partner, their achievements (for a lack of a better word) wouldn't have been possible. I remember Arya mentioning that in a relationship, there is no concept of 'ngalah' as a relationship is not a competition with losing and winning, but a cooperation driven by communication, understanding and friendship.
It does make sense my father's words, when he said to me during my teens, "Kalau mau memahami keberhasilan seseorang, lihat dulu pasangannya siapa."
Words of wisdom spoken from his own 33 years of marriage.