“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Everyone dreams of a fairy tale, happily ever after marriage. The question is, does it exist? Or is it a myth? Have you ever wondered why keeping a friendship strong is easier than keeping a marriage? Why is it that with friends we can always work out our differences but with our spouses we can’t seem to talk things over?
Recently, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary together. The funny thing is, we both actually forgot about our anniversary and we only realised it two days after that and to top it off, this is the 2nd time in a row, it has happened! Gosh! We really are getting old.
Years ago, I would be terribly upset if my husband were to forget about my birthday or our anniversary. Years ago, I expected him to remember and to plan something special to mark the special days. I even expected special gifts. I expect, expect and expect.
Thinking back, it was actually selfish of me to impose such expectations on that poor man whom I call husband and to get visibly upset when he does not fulfil it. I think I drove him mental with my expectations. I mean, he can’t possible read my mind and know exactly what I wanted, right? Even I didn’t know exactly what was on his mind. He had enough on his plate, with trying to provide for the family, without me adding to it with my silly notion of romanticism.
Don’t get wrong, I’m not saying that a married couple shouldn’t be romantic but putting unreasonable expectation of what romance should be on spouses could very well be putting unnecessary pressure on marriage and on each other. The Wise Owl had once said to me, “Sister, when you don’t have expectations then you will be pleasantly surprise and contented with life”. Of course, when he said that, I thought to myself “yeah right!” but I decided to try his advice nevertheless.
I started with listing down all the negative things, about my husband. Hhmm….quite a short list and none of it unislamic….then I started listing down all the positive things about him. …oh my!!! What a long list!!! Right there, all my grouses and complaints about him seemed very trivial. I have been harping about the small insignificant things that I had actually lost track of the important matters. At that moment, I started thinking, that if my husband was to draw up the same list as I did, about me, the negative list would probably be longer than the positive…errrkkkk!!! Better not suggest that he does it….
Now, 15 years down road, I have more or less gotten a little bit wiser ( I hope). I learnt that rather than getting upset about our expectations not being met by our spouses, it is better try to focus on the things that they are doing right. Try to appreciate the things that they do out of love, for us.
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard.”
Surah An-Nisa 4:34
When we stop having expectation and accept everything that comes our way, in stride, then anything extra, anything unexpected, is actually a bonus. The Wise Owl was actually right.
Also, sometimes in the heat of the moment, especially when we are angry, we women tend to dig up old wounds and throw them back to our husbands. We tend to have temporary lapse of memory, especially when we are irritated or mad with our husbands and we sometimes accuse them of not doing anything nice or romantic for us, ever. I know I have been guilty of that in the past…oh!…Some men do that also….
“Hadith - Bukhari 1:28, Narrated Ibn'Abbas
The Prophet SAW said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful toAllah?) He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you."
For the ladies, accept your husbands as leaders and Imams. Respect them and they will in turn respect you. Treat them as how you would want to be treated.
For the men, always remember that your wives are given to you by God, on trust. Lead them well as you are solely responsible for them. They are fragile and need constant tender loving care, for them to bloom. Love them unconditionally and you will find a loyal companion for life.
I have learn to count my blessings now. My husband is still not the most romantic person. He doesn’t buy me flowers or expansive jewelleries or even take me out for candlelight dinner but…….
I am thankful for all the times that my husband was by my side when I gave birth to all our children, even though he was not allowed in the OT for the 1st three and I think he almost fainted when he was finally allowed in for the 4th.
I am thankful he was by my side when we lost our babies.
I am thankful for the times when he wakes me up for prayers.
I am thankful for the times when he fasted with me, just to keep me company.
I am thankful for all the times when he led us in prayers.
I am thankful that he is a wonderful father to our children.
I am thankful that he has never been judgmental towards me.
I am thankful that he has accepted me, flaws and all and still chooses to stay with me and be my pillar of strength.
Most of all, I am thankful that he reminds me of God Al Mighty every second of the day.
I’m not saying that I am such a perfect wife now or that my husband is such a perfect husband. We still drive each other crazy sometimes but hey, that what makes the marriage interesting. The main thing is that we strive each day to be better and learn to differentiate what’s important and what’s not and the rest........we leave it to fate….Tawakallah……