I’d like to preface this by saying that marriage is a beautiful thing. It really is. Especially in the religion of Islam, marriage is seen as a religious union between two souls who are ready to take on all of life and its challenges together. Two people literally sign a contract (nikkah) that says they’re going to be responsible for each other for the rest of their lives, there are a couple of witnesses, and you accept each other in front of your loved ones and in front of God. And in return, this unites two families, two individuals, and ultimately two worlds.
Yes it’s beautiful. Yes those proposals are cute as hell. And yes, the wedding celebrations make you want to get married yourself and start planning about how fly you and your future bae’s color-to-outfit coordination is going to look on your wedding day. You’re thinking wedding decor, bridesmaids, venues, and guests (because let’s face it, you have to invite that one aunty, whose neighbor’s daughter’s friend’s dog gave birth and you were invited to see the action live. And if you don’t invite her it’s culturally unacceptable because well..like..how dare you not?).
But all of that is short-term thinking and for a moment, we forget about the long-term effects of this decision. After the parties have settled down, after the glitz and glamour disappear, and after you receive your wedding photos and flex for the gram, there’s a terrifying realization that dawns upon you : this is it. This is the person who I’m going to be with for the rest of my life. This is who I promised God, I would take care of for like….ever.
And it’s not a bad realization. It’s actually a beautiful thing. But growing up and seeing many marriages both succeed and fail, you start to understand how your marriage can go either way. You obviously want to think positive here and believe that your marriage will succeed, but as soon as you’re married all of a sudden the depth of marriage becomes vividly clear. You start to comprehend the extent of your responsibilities towards this person.
Along with religious duties that are mandatory towards your spouse, you take on an additional set of cultural duties too (my South Asians peeps, you know exactly what I’m talking about). There is also the added pressure of in-laws, the stress of finances (you’re going to be filing your taxes together for goodness sake), adjusting to living with each other, raising children, paying bills (btw her debt is your debt now and vise versa) and the list goes on.
It’s not so much that marriage scares me, it’s the fact that so many people have a basic, surface-level understanding of it. And it’s largely due to the fantasy of it painted by Hollywood and Bollywood movies. It’s not as simple as you love someone and they love you and then you both live happily ever after. Frankly, love is not enough to sustain a marriage. Because love will fade as soon as you see the bills aren’t paid on time. Love will peace the hell out when you see your partner being disrespectful or irresponsible. You will literally be like “love? who dat?” when and if your spouse has an explosive temper and isn’t dealing with problems and situations in a mature manner. If anything, I believe respect for each other plays a larger and more significant role. But furthermore, it goes to show that so many things factor into a marriage such as religious views, culture, mentality, expectations, finances, attitude, maturity, personality and overall compatibility.
But then your argument might be, but people who are compatible in every way still get divorced. And my response is, yes. Yes they do and this is the harsh truth. The reason marriage scares me is because it is one of the biggest risks you will ever take in your life. Forget investing in stock, this is an actual human-being you’re going to pour forth your entire life into. Your time, your money, your energy, your hopes, your dreams, your future — they’re going to absorb it all. And statistics say you already have a 50% chance of divorce once you tie the knot. You are not only jumping into something that would risk your own life, but you even have the potential to destroy another. And I don’t know what would rip me apart more : being ruined, or leaving someone else in ruins.
But whatever the case is, I’m not here to scare people out of marriage. You should marry, and you should be able to love the person you’re marrying, and you should be excited to spend the rest of your life with them, but you should also keep all these factors in mind. And one of the most magnificent things in Islam is that we’re taught to rely on God for everything. That we don’t have to make these big and confusing decisions alone. That if we ask Him, He will guide us.
So pray about it. Contemplate about it. Think hard and clear about it. Ask God to send your heart to the person who is best for you, and make you the best for them. Ask God to give you the patience, capacity, love and mercy to deal with another human-being. And ask God for courage and His mercy to make this bond one that is ever-lasting, both in this life and the hereafter. Because if anything, when your marriage is up in flames, it is only God who will save your relationship. Marriage won’t be easy, but I do think that ultimately, it will be a decision that’s worth it.