Asiyah and Ahmed were excited to enter marriage. They both expected a fairytale romance straight out of the movies with an intimate life that imitated pornographic material. Neither of them was ready for the reality that marriage requires work and compromise, disagreements will happen, and things don’t always work out as you expected.
The ability to identify your marriage misconceptions now can help you avoid potential issues down the road and help your future marriage. Marriage as a whole is amazing, a union of growth and love that can uplift us while providing a lifelong partner.
So much reward comes from it spiritually, emotionally and even for the betterment of our survival. Yet, it also comes with a lot of pressure, from family and society alongside a false sense of obligation due to those pressures. These misconceptions paint a false picture of marriage and make the process more difficult instead of easier for the new couple.
Types of Marriage
Marriage is not a one size fits all, what works for one couple might not for another. It is important to look at each situation with all variables considered. One family may support the idea of arranged marriages and state it is the tradition. In some cases, this creates a happy marriage as the parents understand the needs of the children, but in others, this creates depression and resentment if they are matched up for wrongful reasons against their wishes.
“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.”[Quran 4:19]
Intercultural marriages bring diversity and can be beautiful, but they do come with challenges such as the blending of two different cultures and language hurdles with family. For some, they can beautifully blend cultures and see it as a positive, yet many would struggle and find the difference in culture to be a great hardship. Again, we must remember the type of marriage that works for one couple might be doomed to fail for another.
No matter what type of marriage one enters, it is important to keep in mind the Islamic narrative on marriage.
“A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!”[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
When considering marriage, all four of these must be considered and all variables surrounding the potential spouse. This does not mean only look for piety, although this is a big deciding factor. The likelihood that a marriage without any compatibility or attraction will flourish purely because they have similar religious beliefs is illogical. We must look at the whole situation and make an informed decision.
Marriage Requires Effort
This misconception that marriage will solve all your problems, be easy, provide a child quickly and be like a fairytale romance is just that, a fairytale. Marriage requires compromise and genuine effort on both sides. One spouse cannot carry the entire family forever, both must contribute towards their bond with heartfelt and genuine intentions. Couples should learn to pick their battles, giving on the things they can change and respectfully communicating their needs and feelings.
A marriage without communication and trust is a recipe for disaster. Learning how to effectively communicate with your spouse takes time, especially when it comes to disagreements, which will surely happen. How one controls their tongue in those situations is very important. It might be easy to lash out when feeling angry, but it will hurt the person who is supposed to be the most intimate and close to you. Communication is mostly non-verbal, it is not what you say but how you say it.
Patience is a virtue often mentioned throughout Quran and Sunnah, this behavioral trait is very important in marriage. A marriage without patience from both spouses will undoubtedly clash. Patience in marriage gives you the ability to really think over the situation while trying to understand your spouse’s perspective.
“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.”[Quran 2:153]
Changing Your Spouse
Another common misconception is thinking that one can change their spouse after marriage. For example, a sister might realize her potential spouse is often aggressive and has been in many fights. Despite being aware of this, she has the misconception she can change his personality after marriage so easily.
Dangerously, some families believe that marrying a non-practicing brother/sister to a pious and modest brother/sister will somehow fix them. In reality, it will only make the marriage more difficult and cause tension.
Although marriage can and does change us, our core personality traits remain the same. If you are already planning how you can change your spouse after marriage; are you truly marrying that person or are you marrying your false version of them?
Some people rush into marriage thinking it will satisfy all their urges instantly and grant them relief. The truth is, true intimacy takes time to develop between spouses and should not be hurried or made to be uncomfortable for the other.
Although marriage is a means to satisfy those urges in a halal manner, we shouldn’t rush into marriage simply for the sake of lust. Marriage is a deep commitment that requires more than just physical desire.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires work, patience, communication and trust. The special bond between husband and wife runs deep, but it takes time to learn how to live with one another.
Marriage requires setting aside cultural misconceptions and family pressures, while asking yourself honestly what you want from a spouse. It will not solve all your problems and ensure lifelong happiness, but it can become a helper in the pursuit of problem solving and happiness. This largely depends on how the couple treats one another and behaves.
Misconceptions about marriage often cause hurt feelings and false expectations. When we work on identifying those misconceptions we can move forward in seeking a healthy marriage.