Wow. March 8th, 2013. Its has been a year since I married my husband. I really can’t believe that its passed so quickly or so slowly!
SubhannaAllah and Ma Sha Allah.
In reflecting back on this first year of marriage with my husband I have to say its been everything I thought it would be and wasn’t. Does that make sense?
Marriage is a idea/reality that often gets more expectations and hype than I think many of us don’t really think about or consider until we are actually married and facing the reality vs the hype.
I remember thinking after my wedding – wow all this hype and its all kind of a let down. I don’t mean my husband is a let down – no in fact he is as imperfect as I am and it totally makes it that more meaningful that we chose each other as we compliment each other. Ma Sha Allah.
All of the images and fairy tales and ways that people have described marriage – didn’t cover the mundane reality of it.
Case in point – The stories of Cinderella, Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty -heck even Bambi – As a child we get exposed to the imagery that both of these young female characters worked hard and life pretty much sucked UNTIL they meet and marry Prince Charming. Then after meeting and marrying Prince Charming – everything is just glitter, rainbows and puppies all the time – none of these stories which later got made into movies goes beyond that happy ending.
I got my prince so to speak but the idea that it would be the “Happily Ever After,” of Cinderella – didn’t cover the daily grind of what it means to be married.
So what have I learned in this first year of marriage?
- Accept your spouse. If you thought you could change the person your with – well that’s not going to happen. Focus on the positive. There is no Mrs. Perfect or Mr. Perfect. So love the man or woman you marry.
- Hear not just listen to your spouse. To me this means using active listening when my husband and I have an issue or conflict to work through.
- When something bothers you talk to your spouse about it to resolve it not just complain about it.
- If you want to vent – then tell your spouse – this is a vent and that I just need you to just nod and say yes until I am done and no I don’t need help to fix it even though I know you want to help.
- Talk about how your going to deal with money before you get married – we did and we talk about every purchase before we make a big purchase – if we can’t agree we don’t buy the item
- Treat your spouse like an extra special best friend.
- Buy your spouse random little gifts. My mom calls them “Princess Presents.” I like to get things that I know my husband likes but doesn’t get for himself often – such as a pack of chewing gum, sunflower seeds to snack on, National Geographic in Arabic and crossword puzzles in Arabic – the gifts don’t have to be big or expensive everything listed above is under 30 dirhams.
- Pick your battles – yes my husband does things that drive me batty. Ex. I clean the kitchen and I go to bed with it clean and wake up to it dirty as my husband has put together his lunch in the morning and left a mess. ARGH! I could harp on this – instead I have my husband clean the kitchen when he gets home. (I tidy things up a bit so I can work in the kitchen but leave 80% of the mess for him)
- Do things together – we enjoy going out to cafe’s and talking, taking walks together and nights watching movies or TV shows we have downloaded. Once we get back to the USA I look forward to going to Islamic lectures together and volunteering together for causes that we support in our community.
- Don’t forget to give TLC (Tender Loving Care) to your spouse. Since I don’t work right now that means when my husband comes home tired and hurting sometimes (being a fire fighter is hard work) he might ask me or I might offer to give him a massage. My husband is a great sick nurse – he cooks, cleans etc when I feel crappy.
- Do things apart – Hey just because you got married doesn’t mean your single social life has to die! I often send my husband to the cafe to hang out with friends, if we were in America I would be going out with my girl friends to a movie or shopping or to an Islamic lecture together and he would be doing something with his guy friends no problem.
- Share/Teach each other new skills. My husband has been my #1 go to for learning to cook Moroccan dishes – even before my mother in law. He is excited to get in the kitchen and start cooking every time I say – Hey Honey .. I really want to improve or learn X Moroccan dish.
- Argue – I know your thinking what?! Yes all healthy relationships have conflict. I am not perfect and I haven’t yet mastered how to always argue in a respectful way nor my husband but we are working to argue and deal with conflict in healthy ways. One way we do that is if we do have a problem is that we go to our dining room table and sit down and talk it out – sometimes yelling but we haven’t had anything we couldn’t work through yet. Alhumdualillah and Ma sha Allah.
- Take advantage when your spouse offers to help – You don’t have to do everything yourself. I am a control freak but I am slowly learning to ask for my husbands help with things around the house and other issues. If you don’t take advantage of the offers of help – eventually they dry up because your spouse thinks your a superwoman or man and you feel more alone in the relationship because they aren’t offering to help.
- Love your spouse. Both in an emotional sense and a physical sense.
- Keep learning and using the new things you learn to keep up your marriage. We are only a year in but all the relationships I have seen that have lasted a long time are because each person in the relationship work hard to maintain it.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”Friedrich Nietzsche