One year has passed.
One year ago, hours before my wedding, I wrote a letter to myself to remind myself of the things that I need to remember for the rest of my marriage life.
One year after that moment, I am still trying to keep true to the contents of my letter. There are, however, a few things that I would like to add to the letter. Obviously that letter is incomplete and it needs to be reviewed from time to time.
This past year has been a totally new experience for me. Even the common things become new again, because now I have someone to share those things with. With this new experience, there will be new lessons and I want to put some in writing.
Because I am human and humans forget.
I hear it from some single people who feel like they are going to lose many things once they’re married, and that they might regret it. To be fair, the life after marriage will be different than the single life. That is part of the experience – things will change.
But it doesn’t have to be a bad change. The things that you lose during your single life will most probably be replaced with better things.
For example, time. Yes, when you’re single you are freer with your time. But once you get married, your time won’t be exclusively your time anymore. Your time will become lesser since you have to divide it between yourself and your wife. On top of that, you have three families now – the family you grew up with, your wife’s family, and your own family. That will significantly reduce your time.
That could be good or bad, depending on how you choose to see it.
2. Emotional maturity
How you feel about certain things is mostly the result of how you interpret those things. Two people could be experiencing exactly the same thing but with two very different emotional outcomes.
For example, say two people took a test in a class and the professor gave back the test results. Both of them failed the test. One person could not believe it and was devastated. The other person felt sad, but he accepted what he got and moved on.
Why? Because each of them interpreted that experience different. One thought that it is the end of the world for him and the other thought that this is just another obstacle that he needed to face in the journey to success.
What does this have to do with marriage? Easy answer: everything.
Bad assumption is the mother of all bad relationships. When something that you interpret as bad happens, don’t immediately assume that it is your spouse’s fault. We should always, always, always think good of people, especially when we have no conclusive evidence to say otherwise.
When we have little to no information about what the reality is, we should always assume the best for the person, especially if that person is our lawfully-wedded husband or wife, whom you have chosen to be with for the rest of your life.
If she’s late, maybe she’s in a traffic jam. If she’s angry, maybe she had a rough day at work. If she didn’t cook that day, maybe she’s tired.
All it takes is a change in perspective. Seek to understand before making conclusions. Let the relationship stands on the basis of mutual understanding and not on the basis of bad assumptions because even when you are living with your wife, you don’t know all the things that have happened or are happening her life.
In the end, it might not be her fault. We shouldn’t always point the finger outward, but we should always point the finger inward. However, even if it was her fault, then you should learn to forgive.
A person’s imperfections become more and more obvious when you become more and more intimate with the person. The person whom you are most intimate with is your husband or your wife.
You will see flaws in each other and you know you will, because you didn’t marry an angel. When you accepted her hand in marriage, you should know that you are accepting her in her best state and also in her worst state. Same thing can be said for a woman who is accepting a man as her husband.
The best thing to do is to overlook the flaws and focus on the good in the person you married, especially in those times when the flaw is very obvious. In those times, you should really, really hold on to the good.
If she made you angry for a moment, just try to remember why she made you happy for a lifetime. Learn to just let it go. You have to learn to let things go because it’s just not worth it. Let it go and never, never, never bring it up again.
Don’t hold on to your wife’s flaws and mistakes like they’re weapons that you plan to use in the future.
However, that doesn’t mean that you overlook all the bad. When the bad quality in a person affects the person’s relationship with God, then we should do our best to intervene, especially when we are talking about our spouse.
Why? Because the promise was to enter into Paradise together.
A married couple should help each other to attain the ultimate goal – to enter Paradise and meet Allah in the best form. That can only happen if both of them have that same ultimate goal, but that is something that you probably should figure out before marriage.
When she falls down, you should help her get back up. When you fall down, she should help you get back up. This is a long journey and there will be stumbles along the road.
There is an African saying that goes, “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.”
We should support each other in good things. At the same time, we should compete with each other in good things too. That’ll make the relationship much more exciting.
I mean, you shouldn’t excel all on your own. When you get married, the word “I” is being replaced more and more with the word “we”. Marriage helps you to silence the ego. You start to think less about what’s best for you and more about what’s best for your family.
But that doesn’t mean that you completely erase what makes you you. Getting married doesn’t mean that one person becomes the exact copy of the other person. There will be individual differences.
You can’t expect your significant other to be exactly like you.
You both are two people from two different sets of parents, two different families, two different life experiences, two different groups of friends, probably two different personalities, two different tastes in certain things, and lets not forget – you are a man and she is a woman. You both think differently and perceive things differently.
Try to understand your significant other through how she sees things, because if you think that your wife thinks like you i.e. a man, then you will be in a heap of trouble.
Despite all the differences, you do share some essential things in common. Both of you agreed to marry each other, both of you agreed to live with each other for the rest of your life, both of you agreed to face every challenge that come your way together, both of you agreed to help each other attain the pleasure of Allah, and both of you agreed to enter Paradise together.
Those similarities are worth more than all the petty differences combined.
When things get rough and when you drive each other crazy, which you will, remember one more thing that you both share: you both agreed to accept each other.
When you find someone who accepts you for who you really are; the good, the bad, and the ugly; there is nothing better than that.
In return, you should hold on to her, cherish her, and love her as best as you can.
To Amira, my wife:
Thank you. For choosing me.
Happy 1st anniversary.
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