How Did I Do It?
I can’t believe it’s almost been 10 years! “How did I do it,” you ask? I’m still trying to figure out myself! There were a couple of times where my marriage was on the brink of divorce and I was certain my husband and I would end up going our separate ways.
The turbulence, the trials, the headaches, the pain… At times I wondered “why do I put up with this,” while other times I condemned myself for my own treatment of my husband, which made it likely that my husband asked himself the same question.
The ups and down, good times and bad, the triumphs and pitfalls, one thing’s for sure: marriage is not for people who just expect results without putting in the work. If you want to be married and stay married, you had be willing to exercise patience and be willing to do the necessary work, whatever it may be.
Had I known this before getting married, it would have been much easier. Previously, I had a juvenile idea of what marriage was and therefore, had no idea of what it entailed. Well-known mottos such as “love at first sight” and “happily ever after,” had more of an influence on me than I thought it did.
Many times we hear things being said about marriage and have no idea what is being permeated, especially if we have no experience being married and thus have nothing to compare or base it on.
Unless we have it being countered by wise, trustworthy people in our lives who actually have successful, fruitful marriages, we won’t know what to believe. Therefore, being bombarded by misinformation and half-truths can have an effect on anyone, sometimes even those who are already married.
With the idea that a marriage is always supposed to be rosy, the moment we face turbulence in our marriage, we believe that something is wrong and that things are not supposed to be going that way.
It is likely to believe that we have the wrong partner and we may be prompted to end the relationship so that we can find “the right one” or a better match, with the hopes that we can escape going through anything like that again.
However, most are in for a rude awakening. I can say that I know this happens because I fell in this trap myself.
Not only was I sure that my marriage was dead, but I was heading out the door in a hurry, thinking that the sooner I was free from my “burden,” I could start a clean slate and find happiness again.
Little did I know, changing my marital status was not the solution; in fact, it was a “quick fix” that would not fix anything, but instead cause more upheaval in my life.
However, I was lead to make such an unwise decision because I was void of some very critical information.
When the relationship starts everything is great. It’s the honeymoon period and you cherish it and hold on to it, wishing it would never end, until one day the carpet is pulled from under you. You swear the man or the woman in your life is not the same person who you married.
Nothing Is As It Used To Be
And before you know it, everything starts spiraling downwards. Nothing, it seems, is as it used to be. Instead of your partner making you smile, it seems as if he or she is the reason for your sadness and tears. How can this be the case?
I know this was the case for me, at one point. I didn’t feel the same way that I did about my husband as I did previously. As a matter of fact, during one stage I didn’t think of him favorably at all.
In addition, at the time I was doing poorly as an individual; I was in a very dark place and was trying to cope with the hardships which weighed heavily on my back. To be honest, I was in a place of great disturbance and confusion and I knew that I needed to make some changes right away or else my state would worsen.
The good thing was I was willing to seek help. I sought advice from married people. I asked a woman who stayed married to her husband a couple of decades until his death.
Previously, I was sure, based on the little knowledge that I had and by what I would hear in general that my marriage was decayed, but I decided to give it one more shot before giving up. I told her my situation and was surprised by what she told me.
Before that, I sought the advice of another woman who had been married at least 10 years in her first marriage. She told me that it made no sense for me to stay with my husband if I didn’t love him anymore.
I wasn’t so sure if I was given good counsel, so I decided to hold on, and a good thing I did because I was to learn a discovery that forever altered my view on marriage.
I trusted the married veteran; she was married a couple of decades until her husband’s death so I’m sure it was some jewels I could take away from talking with her. She was able to do something that is almost unheard of nowadays and I knew that she would have great wisdom to offer.
On the other hand, I noticed the other woman married a decade and whose marriage ended in a divorce, re-married and was barely able to survive her current marriage of nearly 2 years.
She carried a lot of emotional baggage and would frequently talk about her ex-husband, his faults and what he put her through when they were married. In addition, she openly discussed the problems in her current marriage.
That was a red flag for me.
When she talked about marriage, most of the time she was negative and it seemed as if she was spoke out of pure emotions, without restraint. I learned to be very careful of any advice I took from her in regards to marriage.
Since my goal was to have a healthy, happy marriage I knew the best thing was to consult people who have done just that, as opposed to those who were still trying to figure it out themselves.
After speaking with the married veteran, I learned that marriages go through different stages and it was quite normal for my feelings to change about my husband.
I had no idea of this. It wasn’t until years later, when I had the privilege to take a marriage and intimacy series called “Like a garment” by a well-respected scholar, Yasir Qadhi, that I developed more understanding about this.
“People need to realize that love evolves and as it evolves so does its symptoms and its effects,” says Yasir Qadhi. “It will grow and as it grows its manifestations and symptoms will change. If you’re aware of it, then when it does change, you’re not going to interpret it in a negative manner.”
Of course during the time of my test, I wasn’t aware of this and so I thought something was wrong. When I told the married veteran that I wasn’t sure if I loved my husband any more, she laughed uproariously.
I was relieved to know that there was hope. And to think, I had almost been too ashamed to open up about the state of my marriage. I was almost certain that my marriage was messed up and didn’t have any optimism of it being restored.
Could you imagine if I had prematurely accepted the advice of the woman with the emotional baggage?
According to her, it would have been correct to walk out the door without looking back, despite the young children my husband and I had together, the precious bond we shared and the effort we exerted time and time again in order to keep our marriage afloat.
Had I done that, I would have thrown away a blessing and a gift, something that Allah gave specifically to me. Thank Allah for blessing me with other people in my path to offer better counsel.
I am honored to say that after working for my marriage, my relationship with my husband has shifted significantly. We are now in a loving space and we respect and appreciate each other.
We had marital counseling and decided to implement certain things in the marriage that is a much-needed ingredient in sustaining a healthy marriage, such as listening.
It is one thing to say you listen to your spouse, but it isn’t until the marriage is tested, that you really know for sure. Communication is a must in any relationship; otherwise it will not survive.
But how can your communication ever be effectual if the words of your partner just goes in one ear and comes out the next?
The husband and the wife must truly listen to one another and respect one another as well as their thoughts and point of views. Otherwise, it will become apparent to the other spouse and this will threaten the marriage.
So in a nutshell, I’m not an expert on marriage and I can’t even say I know exactly how my marriage almost made 10 years.
However, I’m sure a couple of things definitely helped. Those things include patience, work, communication and true listening.
In addition, one of the key things needed to sustain a healthy marriage is support because there will be times when you feel tempted to throw in the towel.
You must consult people who are positive, have healthy, successful marriages and who want to see your marriage thrive.
Otherwise, there may be one seed planted in your mind, which poses a threat to your marriage and has the capability of destroying everything that you and your partner have worked for.