Busting Marriage Stereotypes

Marriage advice...sigh. I seem to be getting quiet a lot these days, to which I do listen and take it all in. But what I'm finding is that they are mostly stereotypical in nature, yet they're passed onto married couples-to-be as if the information needs to be lived by. In order to reduce my flustered-ness, I thought I'd blog about them.

Here goes nothing.

Stereotype #1: "Prepare to put on weight after marriage, you're only watching what you eat until the wedding"

This stereotype relies on a few fallacies. First of all, it assumes that I only started eating healthy and exercising when I found out I was getting married. Second, it assumes that I am ONLY taking care of my health for the sole purpose of finding a man and now that I have, I don't have to give two rupees about what I'm eating or how active I am. Third, it's assuming that I'm going to turn into a sedentary coach potato blob who apart from working more than 8 hours a day will binge eat on samosas and baklavas and cook with inordinate amounts of trans-fat saturated oils. Oh please people, gimme a little more credit than this! Both Muslim Brothah and I are outdoor addicts, exercise regularly, eat healthy and not mindlessly, and already have talked about how a healthy lifestyle is on the top of our priority list.

Stereotype #2: "Enjoy the honeymoon period while it lasts, reality sets in after a year"

Oh Allah, where do I start with this? Ok, so if a couple is going in with the mentality that marriage will only be "good" for one year before it expires like cheese, are they not setting themselves up for failure? (aka glass half full vs. half empty approach) I mean really, why would you start a marriage with this mentality? Marriage takes work, we know this and we're prepared to work, and work, and work. As much as we can anyway, and then ultimately, the rest is out of our control. Which means that faith needs to be at the foremost of a marriage. Look at what the Quran says about married life...is there anything in there about an expiry date on the first anniversary? And besides, this myth is dependent on a number of factors: the personalities and maturity of the couple (aka what the heck are y'all fighting about?), their communication skills and how well they know each other, mood and temperaments, etc. To make a blanket statement that all marriages suck after a year is a little farfetched. In fact, there are MANY couples I know who say that the love they have for their spouses has increased over the years. So why aren't we making these couples the role model, rather than those who prefer to be more pessimistic?

Stereotype #3: "Now that you're both halal like meat...start making babies!"

On this one, I really have to say "mind your own business". Couples know themselves best, and inshaAllah they'll be guided and destiny will play out as it shall. I can't stand people asking when the baby is coming. Really? You'd rather a newly wed wife pop out a baby when she's not mentally, financially, and even physically ready to? I love how people create these arbitrary standards by which others have to live by. It's like a newly wed couple can't enjoy just being for a while...


Stereotype #4: "Sistah...time to get your cooking on!"

There are three meals in a day and snacks in between. If people think that the majority of OUR lives (yes, the Brothah and I already know we'll be cooking together!) is going to spent in the kitchen, you've got another thing coming. I have lived alone before, during school, and I know what it was like to carry a full course load, work part-time, and be responsible for my own place. There are strategies and routines that can be put into place to ensure that time is best utilized. And while some Brothers want a piping hot fresh motherland meal in front of them every night, there's something known as being realistic. For example, using Sundays to cook 2 main meals and then cooking once or twice during the week is a reasonable balance. The year is 2012 people...it's time to change our perspective of sisters being the sole chef of the household.

On the positive side of things, here are a few ideas that the Brothah and I have come up with in regards to keeping our future marriage happy and healthy (InshaAllah):

1. Pray for your spouse (and at this time, future spouse!)...always!! If you can't include your spouse in your prayers, that's not a good sign. Be thankful for what you have and what you're getting in the future, and pray to be guided in the future and for your relationship to always strengthen.

2. Your actions within your marriage should have positive intentions. Why try to undermine your spouse by making jabs at them? Or by doing things that annoy them?

3. Live a balanced life: spiritually, physically, and mentally. Spending too much being sedentary or too much time running around is not healthy. Take stock of how you're both spending your time. Listen to your gut feelings...if you feel off, then something needs to change.

4. Communicate...before and after marriage. You can't talk too much before marriage in terms of preparing for life as husband and wife (I know people will disagree here, but hey, we're all different and are treating the "engagement" period differently). And you can't talk too much after either. And for goodness sake, listen as well. Know when you need to be more of a listener. It's human nature to feel like we have to give advice, but it's ok not to!

5. It's ok to disagree, but know how to do it! Raised voices, insults, and physical gestures towards your spouse are not necessary and do more harm than good. Drop the ego and start to work with your spouse and not against.

OK, I'll admit we're not married yet and aren't living in the reality world now. But there is something to be said for preparation, communication, and problem solving through situations which may arise. And then there's also a point at which we leave the rest up to Allah and put our faith in destiny.

After all, it was entirely by Allah's design that we found each other in the first place :)

Comments

  1. Great post Sameera, I actually just read a bunch of your posts. Enlightening and hilarious as always. I hope our paths cross (or maybe we should plan for them too) some time soon!

    Erin

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