His wife Maryam Mukanova was a fiercely loyal and committed friend, wife and mother of their six children. She inspired him to write new works, to stay strong and to be true to himself. She knew many of his friends – renowned literary figures of Qazaqstan of the XXth century.
Maryam Mukanova was a kind and wise woman. These qualities of his wife helped Sabit Mukanov to stay focused at work. She accompanied her husband even on business trips. The Mukanov family was famous for its hospitality. The Qazaq intellectuals used to gather at their home for enlightening talks, meanwhile the hostess set a good table. Maryam Mukanova was a guardian of the hearth and a keeper of her spouse’s peace. It means, if Sabit Mukanov was working on a new piece of art, then there was absolute silence all over the house.
When in 1973 her husband died, Maryam Mukanova created a museum in their apartment. She insisted that everything should remain as it was during the writer's lifetime, including the living room, where the family received guests, and the writer’s room, where he used to work.
Maryam recalling about her life said, that she was a happy woman. “We lived together with Sabit for 47 years, I have nothing to complain about, I will be happy even if God takes me to him now”. She passed away in 2010 at the age of 101!
But few people know that Maryam was the second wife of the writer. The name of his first wife was Rakhima. She was the daughter of a wealthy man, Kosshygul bay.
In the early 20s of the last century, the Soviet propaganda started to enter into life of the Qazaq people, but the noble estate or wealthy people did not want to change their view on life. They adhered strictly to the old Qazaq customs and manners. In accordance to them, the groom's family was obliged to pay a bride money. Young Sabit could not afford to pay dowry for Kosshygul’s daughter. However, long disputes with her father, the loyalty of Rakhima and, not least, Soviet laws that promised equal rights for everyone, allowed Sabit and Rakhima to be together. The couple soon had a son, who was named Arystan. The young family in those years lived in Petropavlovsk, in the house of Mullah Mehdi Agisov.
In the spring of 1926, the Mukanov family had to move to an old, deteriorating house. One of the winter days, Rakhima became seriously ill. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis and in April of 1926 Rakhima passed away. In May, Arystan, the six-month-old son of Sabit, fell seriously ill; on May 12, 1926, the baby died of measles. The writer was very worried about the death of his wife and son. He went to visit the graves of Rakhima and Arystan almost everyday. One day his relatives invited him to visit them. When he came, they convinced him to marry again. A decent girl was found. Her name was Maryam, she was fifteen years old. After a death of her father, she was brought up by her grandmother, Zeynep. Sabit was ten years older than Maryam. The problem was that the girl was promised soon after her birth as a wife for the son of Khoja Nurpeis. Grandmother Zeynep informed Maryam about Sabit’s proposal to marry him and she waited for her answer. She did not want to put pressure on her granddaughter. Very soon Maryam accepted Sabit’s marriage proposal. When the rumors about the upcoming marriage of Sabit and Maryam reached the relatives of the son of Khoja Nurpeis, they raised a stink. Grandmother Zeynep did not want to spoil relations with the influential Khoja Nurpeis family and agreed to go on a trick with Sabit. The whole point of the trick was that Sabit would have to come to Zeynep with the militia officers, and Zeynep would try to stop her granddaughter. In the end, the fierce resistance of Zeynep will force the police to ask Maryam about her desire, and she, in turn, will choose Sabit’s side.
The plan worked perfectly. Sabit Mukanov managed to negotiate with the militia authorities. They came to Maryam’s home, took the girl with them to their office. On the way they met the armed horsemen, who were relatives of Khoja Nurpeis. The girl said that she wanted to stay with Sabit and the dispute was settled. In this way, the impending armed conflict with the relatives of Khoja Nurpeis was resolved.
Later Sabit and Maryam officially got married in the Registry Office of the city of Kyzylzhar. From there, a young couple went to Kyzylorda. They were happily married forty-seven years.
Sabit Mukanov dedicated one of his most famous works, a novel “Sulushash”, to his wife. It is a historical novel, written in 1928.
The novel tells about the tragic death of two young people - the young man,Altai and the beautiful girl, Sulushash. An ordinary herder Altai, in love with the daughter of his lord, the noble rich man, Tleuberdi, runs with her far into the mountains. The girl has to endure a lot of pressure from her parents and an unloved groom. The author reveals the images of the heroes of the novel in their unequal battle against the forces of nature and their enemies.