A successful marriage first starts with a promising vision. This vision must be founded upon a commitment to the virtues of hope, compassion, and selflessness. It is from this outlook that determination is born, optimism is sustained, actions are manifest, and love bursts forth into your relationship. When you enter marriage with the right expectations, married life is easy, joyful, and fulfilling; you are also continuously inspired and driven to take care of your husband.
For some single ladies, their perceptions about married life are skewed, and for many, this distortion in perspective began at a young age as a result of watching love affair films and reading utopian romance novels. They grew up with a childhood fantasy of a customized dream husband and a high standard married life. In their little girl minds, they were the Cinderella waiting for prince charming to arrive at their doorstep and lead them away to their imaginary castle in the sky.
Despite the fact that they are now adults, those same expectations subconsciously remain in their minds. The catch is that when they consider a potential suitor, somewhere deep down inside, they hope that he will match up to that fairy tale-version prince who they fell in love with decades ago. If they agree to marry him based on the idea that those delightful daydreams will automatically manifest themselves in their marriage, they could be setting their relationships up for trouble.
In almost every marriage, after the wedding party ends and the excitement wears down, real life kicks in and real faults begin to break through the veil of shiny glitter. For some women, when they see that their husband refuses to do things their way, or when he mistakenly hurts their feelings by speaking in a straight-forward manner, or when he forgets to take out the overflowing trash, they find themselves asking, “Who is this guy that I married? I thought he was different!” Eventually, married life doesn’t seem that appealing anymore, especially if they keep judging their husband and rating their marriage based on their fantasies.
If you want to avoid this type of heartache, then it is vital that you demystify any fairy tale expectations that you may hold and debunk common myths about what married life should look like.
Fairy Tale Busted: Marriage Is Not A Perfect Story.
Marriage is not just about living a flawless life alone with your prince charming. When you marry your husband, you also marry his family, his previous life, and his problems. Likewise, he marries your family, your previous life, and your problems. Then it all comes together, and you have to find a way of how to live in harmony and make it work.
There will be ups and downs. There will be challenges. There will be disappointments. But there will also be heart warming moments, good times, and triumphs inshaAllah. This is how life naturally is, and marriage is no different. Marriage is basically living REAL life with a REAL person. It is a constant test of responsibility and maturity because you have to take care of someone else: your husband; and raise someone else: your children; and consider someone else: your in-laws.
The Prophet ﷺ said that marriage is half of your deen. Hearing that it is half of your deen must mean that it’s serious business and it’s going to be hard. Conversely, it also means that if you succeed at it, the reward is weighty inshaAllah. Thus, you have to go into married life with a sound intention and mindset – not dreamy, wish-washy concepts that will actually do you more harm than good.
Adopt a more balanced approach. Know that marriage is a means for you to draw nearer to Allah Most High by way of your choices, your decisions, your attitude, and your behavior. A good marriage is a conscious decision. It requires a great deal of personal sacrifice and effort, and it is a daily job that you sign up for when you decide to be a wife.
Fairy Tale Busted: Marriage Is Not A Dream Vacation.
Marriage is not about taking a holiday. Some women have gained the impression that a relationship with a man is all about excitement and thrills. Believing that marriage must be adventurous is yet another fairy tale.
Women who fall into this fantasy easily become bored with their marriages and they’re always trying to invent some type of excitement in order to distract themselves. However, being on the lookout for an adrenaline high is not the point of life. Rather, the point of life is to worship Allah Most High.
Due to the push of the entertainment industry and social media spreading artificial images of happiness, many people think that ‘having fun’ is what will make them feel fulfilled. But it’s not – the only thing that makes you feel fulfilled is Islam. Having contentment with your life doesn’t come from jumping from one trend to the next, but it comes from being content with what Allah Most High has given you in life, alhamduliLlah.
The problem with this fairy tale is that after the newlywed stage ends, people start doubting their marriage. They begin thinking that something is wrong because their relationship is not as ‘exciting’ as it used to be. The truth is that for most people, that’s just what happens. The newlywed stage is but a stage, and couples subsequently settle back into their normal routines. Creating enjoyable moments together will take a conscious effort thereafter, and the simpler they are, the more sustainable it will be to recreate them inshaAllah.
Fairy Tale Busted: Marriage Is Not A Quick Fix.
Marriage is not a magic pill or a way to escape from reality. It won’t fix what you have not taken the means to fix. It is not a means for you to run away from the problems in your life. It is idealistic to think, “When I get married, I’ll feel better about myself.” That’s not how it usually works.
If you have difficulties with your parents now, you will most likely still have them after marriage. If you have glitches with your character now, you will probably still have them after marriage. If you have issues with your emotional stability now, you may still have them after marriage.
Essentially, marriage cannot fix your personal issues, but Islam can. Following the teachings of the deen is the best medicine for resolving these drawbacks inshaAllah. However, at the same time, it doesn’t mean that marriage cannot better your life. Marriage can put these issues into perspective, which serves as a stepping stone for overcoming them.
For example, maybe after having children you begin to realize how amazing your parents are and how much they’ve done for you. Or maybe you learn how to practice patience by way of sharing your life with another human being. Or maybe you feel so satisfied with married life that you finally feel at peace internally. It wasn’t your husband that did that for you, but it was Allah Most High who perfected your nature and fixed it alhamduliLlah.
Debunking Common Myths
Several relationship experts in today’s times have studied common misconceptions that people generally have about what it takes to make a marriage succeed or fail. Leading marital therapist Michele Weiner-Davis discusses the top seven in her book “The Divorce Remedy.” Below is a brief summary of four of them.
Myth #1: Conflict and anger are signs that the relationship is failing.
False. Every marriage has fights, but happy couples choose their battles wisely. They learn how to distinguish between important issues and petty issues. In short, they get smarter about what they fight about.
Myth #2: You’re more likely to divorce if there are differences in your backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and interests.
False. Some people think, “If I marry someone just like me, my marriage is less likely to fail.” However, happy couples are sometimes very different from each other. Yet, they appreciate their unique differences and consider the variety in styles a plus for their relationship. As such, happy couples learn how to deal with their differences and handle the conflict that arises from it. Outside of conflict, they nurture any interests that they do share.
AlhamduliLlah, as a Muslim, you automatically have a common interest to nurture with your husband once you marry, and it is Islam.
Myth #3: In healthy marriages, spouses have the same definition of what it means to be loving.
False. No one has the same definition of love in this world. Real love is about understanding what it takes to make your husband feel loved and showing love based on that definition, not yours. It’s about giving to him, whether you like it or not, agree with it or not. That’s true love.
Myth #4: People just fall out of love.
False. You have to make your marriage work. Marriage must be a priority for you. People grow apart because they’re not happily sharing their lives together. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a decision; what you decide to do daily is what makes your marriage.
In summary, if you start a marriage off with the wrong mindset, it can be a hindrance for you once problems arise. The more attached you are to those false ideals, the quicker they become excuses for why your relationship is not good enough. Furthermore, if you don’t learn how to properly run your marriage from the beginning, you’re left to your own devices to figure out how to make a marriage work, and that could be hazardous.
So how do you form a blissful Islamic marriage from the start? Namely, what actions make a good marriage? The solution rests in returning to what revelation says.
1. Relook at your answers from #3 in the previous exercise. Do you notice any fairy tale expectations based on what was mentioned in this section? Circle them and then ask yourself: “Is this really necessary for my happiness?”
2. If the answer is ‘no’, cross that expectation off the list.
3. If the answer is ‘yes’, quickly jot down the reasons for why they are so important to you. This knowledge will help you in later sections when discussing how to know yourself better and how to choose a husband inshaAllah.