What Nobody Told Me Before I Got Married

Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

People get all kinds of advice before they get married. I was told what to look for in a potential spouse, how to know if someone was “the one” for me, and even what to say and how to act before and after getting engaged.

Experienced married adults gave me the best advice they could, like not going to bed angry, trying to do the best I could for my spouse without “keeping score,” and having mutual respect for each other’s families.

But before all of this, an ocean of messages flooded in to me from all directions. These messages were delivered through movies, songs, books, TV shows, advertisements, and other people. They were everywhere and, slowly but surely, they made their way into my mind and heart. What they said became an unquestionable truth. And I’m not the only one who believed them.

They told me to wait for my soul mate, who would “complete me” — my “other half.” As if I was incomplete until I found this person.

What were these messages telling me, and everyone else who came across them? They said things like, “Love makes the world go round.” They told me that there is a Prince Charming out there who will fall madly in love with me (at first sight), sweep me off my feet, and live happily ever after with me. They said that love is blind and unconditional, and that it knows no bounds. They told me to wait for my soul mate, who would “complete me” — my “other half.” As if I was incomplete until I found this person.

It wasn’t until I got married that I realized how flawed these messages are, and how easily my young and impressionable mind had absorbed them.

Marriage can be beautiful, it’s true. A healthy marriage can definitely add a lot to your life; it can be full of love, respect, and friendship. And marrying someone who is compatible with you is obviously important.

But the problem, in my opinion, is that those messages can warp our idea of what marriage is, until our expectations are sky high. Even if we don’t explicitly say it or think about it, many of us get married and expect our spouse to be our best friend, passionate lover, roommate, provider, adviser, nurse, and protector… With a little bit of mind-reading thrown in from time to time. And this is all 24/7, of course. That’s just a given.

It wasn’t until I got married that I realized how flawed these messages are, and how easily my young and impressionable mind had absorbed them.

But what about when reality hits you, and real life doesn’t end up being like the movies? What about when you and your spouse just aren’t in sync sometimes, even though nobody did anything wrong? When you’re both trying your best, but still feel like something is off sometimes?

For me, it seemed like even though the advice people gave me was practical, it was still missing something.

What I needed to hear was that it’s okay to expect a lot from my spouse, but to know that only God can be my Everything. That it’s great to fall in love, but that it should never blind me. That the only one I should give my heart and soul to, or love unconditionally, is God. That it’s alright if my spouse can’t fulfill my every need all the time, because that’s something only God is capable of doing. That feeling like something isn’t perfect, even when it seems that way on the outside, doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with my marriage — because this is normal. That yes, my spouse will fall short at times, and so will I. That we can’t cater to each other’s every need and fulfill one another’s every desire. That we should use those moments of realization to remember our ultimate goal — Paradise. Because only when we reach it can we attain perfection. That my spouse isn’t my “other half,” because I’m already whole. And that if I still feel incomplete, it’s because I’m looking in the wrong place to fill that void. I’m not looking to the only One who can complete me, and fill my life with a purpose so great that nobody, and nothing, can shake it. That even marriage itself is a sign pointing me in His direction. And it’s my choice whether I use it to guide me that way or not.

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates, so that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and compassion. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who reflect deeply.” (Qur’an 30:21)

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  • shahid parwez ahmad

    gone through your blog dated 10.25.2016.may God guide all the couples in the same way!

  • Bessma Haider

    Ameen! Thank you for reading.

  • http://www.saysomethingnews.com Kaya

    I feel the same way! I feel that all of the movies I watched made marriage look perfect and easy. No one is perfect, nor no spouse is. Many people have such high expectations for marriage and they get disappointed. The only one perfect is God and God alone.

  • Shani Alam

    Beautifully articulated and it’s amazing that you have realized this at such a young age mA! Thank you for sharing. I just want to add that this holds true for friendships as well. We must accept that everyone in our life is human and will fail us at times except Allah who will all always be there for us and is our only true friend and eternal companion

  • Bessma Haider

    Thank you! Yes, it can definitely apply to friendships as well, so it’s important not to rely on anyone 100% except Allah.