Last night, just before I slept I took one last look at Facebook, and was reminded that today is my fourth nikah (wedding) anniversary. If not because of that Facebook reminder, the day may have passed without realising it – and that would be a shame because that is a good reason to be thankful.
Four years of staying married may not sound as glorious as 14 years or 24 years or 34 years – but when marriages these days sometimes only last for a few months, there is no way I should take it for granted. Alhamdulillah – all praise and thanks be to God. At least I am glad that this one passed the first two so-called crucial years of marriage.
After four years of living under one roof with a man, sharing joy and pain, living through good days and bad days, apart from raising two children together, I have learnt several things. I am jotting them down here as a reminder for myself.
Know your rights as a wife, but focus more on fulfilling the rights of the partner.
Marriage is an amazing opportunity to serve which reward is none other than His love. And such acts will be reciprocated by the partner sooner or later God willing. Good begets good.
Do things because you want to please Allah first and foremost.
There is no point on doing things or sacrificing certain things in your life because of your husband. He may forget, he may not appreciate – and you’ll be hurt and left in total pain when your expectation is not met. But God the Almighty will never forget, will never fail to appreciate them.
Learn the love language(s) of your husband.
I found that my husband loves it when I do things for him (i.e. Act of Service) more than getting him an expensive gift, holding his hand, or saying nice words. And I made it clear to him of my love language, and insist on getting enough ‘love’ when I feel like lacking. There’s no point in quietly sulking.
- In reference to point #3 – Ask. And more often than not you shalt get.
During those moments when the worst of your partner emerges, remind yourself of the beautiful side of him; those traits that you love and adore. Whenever I am mad about anything my spouse did or did not do, I will ask this question: Is it worth doing damaging acts? Would I rather be with someone else? The answer is always ‘no’.
Being thick-skinned as opposed to sensitive will make things easier. I guess that if anyone else hear the kind of jokes we make about each other, they would think that the one teased is severely hurt. At least I don’t. I know my worth that even if my husband is making fun about all my shortcomings I can laugh together with him. After all, if he doesn’t like all of those, why did he choose to marry me?
Learn to speak ‘similar’ languages.
A person becomes your best friend because he or she understands you, have a lot in common with you, and because both of you are of the same ‘wavelength’. Because I want and need my husband to become my best friend forever a.k.a BFF, I see the importance of being able to speak the same language and to hold a conversation on his topics of interest. Engineering and physics, business-related issues, football, politics, religion etc. … and I am adding economics to the list now. I take it that I am doing well in this department, since my husband has never been out with his friends (outside office hours) :-P.
Live and learn to love the in-laws.
Again, no one’s perfect. I am not perfect, and neither is, for instance my mother-in-law (just to refer to the typical feud exists between one’s wife and his mother). But I love my husband, and he is the lovable him now partly because of how his mother raised him. How could I not be thankful for that at the very least? I am lucky in a way however, because my husband understands that if I complain about certain things, it doesn’t mean that I hate them. It is just because sometimes I need him to be the sounding board. I love his family just the same, despite all the rantings. And oh, give presents – a lot of them if you have the means. They erase all the bad feelings you have towards a person like magic.
- Your family is a separate unit. It is hard to put this particular lesson in words, but I’ll try. I have learnt and realised after my first year of being married, that my husband sees our little union and growing family as an opportunity to build a thing from scratch, free of the influence of others. I, on the other hand, still carry the luggage and strong attachment to my family (which is not wrong to a certain extent, of course). My view was proven problematic if not hurtful to my husband. My arguments that more or less sound like ‘My/your father/mom does XX,so why can’t we/you/I do the same too?’ don’t work. What and how our families do it doesn’t matter. Both of us now are presented with the opportunity to do it differently and correctly (if the way it is being done is incorrect), so why hang on to those practices? Our little family is a separate entity on its own, with perhaps different (and hopefully better) internal culture, practices and new traditions to start.
Say thanks – a lot.
No act of kindness by the spouse should be left unthanked. Even the smallest ones. Even those which are his responsibilities. I’ve read enough sad stories of dysfunctional families to be thankful of little things he does. Like when he brings home leftover fruit tarts from his departmental meetings because he knows I love fruit tarts but not talented enough to make them myself. Or when he lets me take unusually longer naps because he always thinks I am tired (even when I have the energy to run a marathon). Or when he kindly relieves me from having to iron his work clothes even after I becomw a full time SAHM. I know that not many men do these things, so I intend to keep mine by saying appreciating him.
So that’s it. 10 lessons I learned in my four (short) years of marriage, and I am looking forward to more wisdom.
May Allah ease.
p.s. Any wisdom you’d like to share with me on this matter?