My Marriage is Average

*Disclaimer: author’s identity has been kept anonymous.

Now I don’t really want to be a killjoy and dash people’s dewy-eyed hopes of what marriage is like, but I’m going to anyway. I use the word hope, because I don’t think anyone realistically expects a fairy tale marriage. But I think that a lot of us, really deep down, hope for it. We hope for romance, hope to find our ‘other half’. We hope to find a man even half as wonderful as Prophet Muhammad (saw) was to his wives, or a wife just as devoted and loyal as Khadijah was to the Prophet.
I am not trying to be a condescending married person, complaining about how tough I’ve got it. Nor am I an ungrateful sort of person. I’m not going to qualify the following generalisations, because there are plenty of exceptions. I’m just going to share pearls of wisdom (!) based on my own experiences.

Marriage is so hard. It involves work. I know that sounds painfully obvious, and you’re rolling your eyes thinking, ‘yeah, yeah, this spiel again’.  But it’s true! I’m still a newbie to marriage, but from personal experience, I’ve found three big reasons that young Muslims struggle to handle the challenges of marriage.

I believe that we have it really easy in Australia. For the most part, we’ve been raised in stable homes, with decent roofs over our heads and warm meals every night. We live in such a consumer-driven society, and we are used to getting what we want, and getting it now. Who on earth doesn’t have a smartphone now? Who doesn’t have their own laptop? It is very easy to walk away from commitments. You don’t like your uni course? ‘No problem, I’ll just transfer next year. It’s all going onto HECS anyway.’ You don’t feel fulfilled in your job? ‘No worries, I’ll find another job.’ What I’m getting at here, is that I think it becomes very difficult to deal with adversity. You can’t just solve marital problems with money (if only you could!) or walk away or transfer to another partner. We are not very accustomed to being patient.  It hits you in the face when you do get married, that it’s for life.

Another big factor is that for a lot of young couples, both the husband and the wife work full time.  People are too tired to work on their marriage. And you really have to put a lot of effort into making a marriage work. Another problem of working full-time is that things can get really boring. Routine will do that to a marriage. The other side of the coin is that when I come home from work exhausted, I can be short-tempered (it doesn’t help that I’m naturally a bit hot headed). I’m not sure about other people’s temperaments, but I am far less likely to be agreeable and much more likely to be snappy.

The third thing is social media. Many people point to social media for society’s woes, but I have to make this point. Check out this article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2551615/Death-seven-year-itch-Average-relationship-just-2-years-9-months-social-media-blame.html )
I’m not sure if many men do this, but I know of a fair few women that splash the wonderful awesomeness of their happy marriage/engagement/whatever all over Facebook and/or Instagram. It is really, really hard to deal with your own problems when you see others raving about how fantastic their husband is, and what a great dinner he just cooked, and what a wonderful life they have etc. It is difficult not to resent your own partner for making you that ‘happy’. But the problem is that nobody is really that happy! I’m sorry, but social media is complete artifice. I mean, you take a million selfies and choose the best picture of yourself only to put it through a filter. Please. Everybody has problems, and that picture perfect couple that you see on your newsfeed has them too.

I know I haven’t offered any solutions to these problems, but that’s only because I’m trying to navigate my own way through them! I’m not unhappy, but I’m just ‘meh’.

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One response to “My Marriage is Average

  1. Wise words! The part about our present generation being, shall we say, unskilled, at dealing with adversity that comes with marriage particularly resonates. I think that while most of us enter marriage knowing that it is not a state of perpetual bliss, our understanding of just how difficult a test marriage can be is very superficial. It is just as difficult to manage as any meaningful relationship, but it is also just as rewarding. How many of us can say we have a perpetually blissful relationship with our parents, for example? Our parents can hurt us, crush us, make us feel absolutely terrible, and so can we sling those barbs right back at them! But when we work at that relationship it can also be the source of the greatest support, love and comfort in your life. So it is with marriage – I think if we are trained to enter marriage as a relationship which is as permanent and as binding as our relationship with our parents, we would be more likely to persevere through the tough times and reap its rewards. Divorce should be an absolute LAST resort – unfortunately it feels like these days the word divorce gets thrown around so easily, at the first sign of difficulty 😦

    I also agree with the effects of social media on your perception of how successful your relationship is. Its very easy to feel dissatisfied with your husband when he doesn’t provide you with tangible gifts that you can photograph and share with the world, or to feel jealous when you see other couples seemingly ‘living the life’ while you struggle with your bills. Or to feel jealous of being in a relationship at all, when youre single, looking for a man, only to have your single status rubbed in your face every time you log in to Facebook and see your friend in a romantic pose with his/her spouse. I can totally see how Facebook can sour or kill relationships. If a person isnt strong enough to remind themselves that Facebook is an artificial reality, and to be thankful for what they have, is the solution to abandon social media altogether?

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