There you are in the perfect relationship. He seems like a knight in shining armor, here to rescue you, to complete you. Your happily ever after is just around the corner, where every call makes you fall deeper and deeper in love. Is he that perfect? He seems to know just what to say.
He comes to meet your family and they love him! You set the date – the day you’ve been waiting for all your life is getting closer. All your friends are so excited for you, calling you their ‘beautiful bride’ for weeks. Each and every one of them is ready to serve you and help you prepare for your biggest moment.
You are so elated, nothing can ever go wrong . . . .Correction, you won’t allow anything to go wrong. He seems to get even more and more perfect every day. He looks like a king and finally he has his queen. Yes, you are the queen!
For weeks to come, everyone congratulates both of you wherever you go, complimenting you endlessly. “You two are perfect for each other” and “Masha’Allah a true prince and princess” and “You better take care of our girl”, where he wraps his arm around you and says: “Don’t worry, she is in good hands”. Didn’t you just die! How sweet!!!
The day finally comes where you two sit on a stage and everyone you know and love is there to celebrate, taking pictures, dancing for you. It doesn’t get any more royal than that, does it???
The honeymoon arrives – it’s the perfect vacation. The time for you to compliment what you couldn’t before. “I love the way you sleep”. ”You snore but it’s so cute.” That’s right – you are still high from the wedding. He seems to have a few inconvenient habits that on a normal day will frustrate you. But you will never let anything get in the way of your happily ever after.
Upon your return, you still have a few weeks of people complimenting the newlyweds. What then? The honeymoon period is over. No one seems to care about the royal couple anymore. How could it be? Are you old news now?
That’s when your true married life begins. All of a sudden, without the magic, things change. Frustration begins to build up, and more and more it seems like hard work. Things are no longer as effortless as they seemed before.
Let’s look at this scenario which many couples go through. They equate the beginning to the time after the fairytale. Before you two lived together you only talked for a few hours a day. This means that there was much longing for each other and you would have the rest of the day to build the energy for one another. After marriage, there are no off times, so naturally the energy is lower and your ability to ignore the little things soon fades away.
This simple comparison between how things were, and how they are now is what many of us trip over. The reality is, of course, life will be different. Those first few months of celebration are nowhere near reality and nothing should be compared to your honeymoon period.
A cousin once said to me, “Never listen to what anyone advises you, every relationship is different.” Although I believe this, I will also add this: It is much harder than it looks, and just like anything in life, in order to sustain it, a lot of effort is needed.
So what should we do? Here are a few points to avoid.
1. For starters, never compare life before with life after. Two completely different states of minds and almost opposite dynamics.
2. Don’t rely on love. Although it is important, it can easily be forgotten. Can you love anything when you are in a bad state? Imagine feeling very frustrated and then being asked to love a puppy – you would probably want to kick it.
3. Don’t make it a one-person show – you two are a team. Even if you have intentions not to be negative and don’t tell him how you feel in fear of harming the marriage, it’s important to go through everything together. Trying to fix things one-sidedly will never have a positive outcome and you will end up compromising all your life
4. Never compare your relationship with that of others. Yes they may seem happy, but you have no clue what’s going on behind the scenes. People show you what they choose for you to see.
5. Don’t take any fight seriously. A fight is merely frustration as you both wish to have a better marriage. Look at fights as an indicator that there is an area of improvement. Get too sensitive about fighting, and trust me you won’t last long.
OK fine, Hassan, we understand that there are traps to avoid. What proactive steps can we take to not only sustain a marriage, but make it a great one?
In this article I just wanted to highlight the biggest illusion, which delivers the first shock in any marriage.
The truth is there are many things that have saved my marriage again and again. I learned them the hard way, but I am fortunate enough to have been through that, where I may now confidently stand by what I recommend.
In the coming weeks I will take you through many processes which have helped me. Till then, I wish you the best in health and love.
By Hassan Al-Mousawi