*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’.