Often times in life we seek things rather subconsciously or out of desires. Marriage is one thing which should not come in either of these categories. Over the years of my life and the research I did, I often find couples planning for their big day rather than concentrating on the life ahead. It’s not only them who are to blame, but also their parents, relatives and probably the society as well. This makes me wonder – are we looking for a wedding or a marriage?
Some may ask, what is the difference? Aren’t both one and the same? Well, there is a basic difference between the two, a difference that has the potential to break a relationship or worse put people in an endless, torturous life. So what does it mean to plan for the wedding?That’s easy. When you plan for a wedding, you plan for the “D-DAY” (Or in some cultures the 7-day long wedding. Probably, I will write another article on that!) But yeah, you make the guest lists, you select the venues, you make the food and décor arrangements. All this while no one bothers much about the couple, or maybe the least is they will be given tasks to accomplish. That’s pretty much what happens when you plan for a wedding.
On the other hand, when you plan for marriage, this plan starts from the day one thinks of marriage, long before you have even selected the perfect spouse. So what exactly is planning for marriage? And why is it so different from the wedding?
Firstly if you plan for the marriage, one can be rest assured that the “D-DAY” will be taken care of. Marriage is the lifelong commitment we make with each other. A life where there will be ups and downs, where there will be good days and bad ones, where you may lose jobs or get sick. So before we work our way to looking for a rightful spouse, we should start with knowing our self (self-analysis). That is the first question one should answer. Who we are, what our life goals are, what makes us excited, and where do we see our self in this marriage. Once you answer these questions, the second hurdle of finding a spouse will be easier. You should not only answer these for yourself, but also explain them to the person who is looking for a spouse for you, i.e. yourself (which is the easiest), maybe your parents, or anyone else. When you plan for marriage, focus on compatibility (at least on basic levels), look for similarities and things that you enjoy in the other person. This helps in the long run and especially during the bad days.
Another very basic and good part of preparing for marriage is pre-marriage counseling. Unfortunately this is not common in our lands, and if there is something like this, often it’s not imbued Islamic values. A pre-marriage counseling helps you to bring your expectations in line with realities, and also helps you to get a better picture of what is the worst that can happen. I didn’t have the luxury to go through a pre-marriage counseling, but the time I got really serious about my wedding, I had to make a list of all the attendees. I believe that was my first shocker of life. I realized how much of time and effort will go into this marriage, and what if it doesn’t work out for me! So regardless of how much you will invest in the D-DAY a decent investment in a pre-marriage counseling is far better, or it could simply be a talk with those who are married already.
The second step in preparation is commitment. When we start a job, we have to commit to the office that we will put in certain hours every day. Similarly, when one gets married, they have to commit to giving their time and efforts to keep the marriage working. If you are not yet ready for such a commitment, then don’t be pushed into it, by peer pressure, parental pressure or simply the carnal desires.
Also read Is Marriage A Necessity?
A very important point one should notice while preparing for marriage is that you aren’t going in for a short period. A wedding is a one-day thing, or 3 days or maybe 7. All of the cases are short term, and short-lived, they are like the adrenaline boost one may get from an adventure. On the other hand, marriage is a long-term contract, probably a lifetime and it often has its boring days. This contract should not be taken lightly and should be worked towards with a thoughtful mind and a steady heart. This reminds me of my HR. Going through some tough days, I always had nightmares that I would be fired. On sharing this with my then HR representative, he simply said – “Yaseen, we haven’t hired you to fire you tomorrow. We have hired you to stay with us, so remove this fear from your heart.” Alhamdulillah (Praise be to the lord), since then I have been more confident in myself and every endeavor I take. One should commit to putting in as much effort as required to keep the marital relation afloat. Usually, it’s the lack of commitment from either partner that sinks the ship.
Dear parents, if your child is preparing for marriage, don’t just focus on the glitter and the gathering. Let the couple meet (in the presence of the parents/guardian) and let them get to know each other. Rather than focussing on which uncle or aunt might be upset, work towards ensuring that the couple isn’t upset. Instead of making sure that there are right amounts of fruits and flowers on the D-DAY, focus on making their relationship fruitful and look forward to the blossoms that will bloom.
Finally, to the future husband / wife, understand that marriage is not a one-day thing or a one-shot celebration, but a lifetime commitment and a promise that you should work towards keeping steady. Happy Ever After!!!