UPDATE on ‘Why You’re Not Married’ Article

So, I’ll start by stating that I apologize to anyone who may have gotten offended.  The article is a little abrasive and crass, so with some  help, I realized I need to be a bit more explicit on what I did and didn’t like about this article (particularly if someone didn’t read it all the way through).  So let me start out with the DON’Ts 🙂

  1. I am a firm believer in naseeb.  I do think there are those out there who want to get married who just haven’t found the right person, and not a result of anything “wrong” the girl herself has done.    Also, as Muslim (I can’t speak for other minorities), the pool of suitable eligible bachelors in the US is pretty limited, and I know a lot of pretty fantastic young ladies who shouldn’t settle for the sake of getting married.
  2. I don’t think a lot of what she alluded too applies to Muslim women (or any woman – Muslim or non-Muslim, who have a conscience) because, I don’t know women who freely sleep around, which understandably complicates matters.
  3. Unlike the author, I do think marriage changes you.   Actually, correction, I think in addition to marriage, life changes you, children change you, time changes you, experience changes you – you are an evolving human being.  You are not the same person you were when you first got married – or even the person you were yesterday– although, I COMPLETELY agree with the comment regarding the laundry 🙂

So here’s what I DO agree with:

  1. Guys DO want to marry someone who is nice to them, and more importantly, they want to feel respected, and often times, if a husband is dismissive or argumentative, you’ll often find those 2 elements at the root of his unhappiness.  Feeling appreciated is probably a close 3rd but that’s another discussion :).
  2. Character really does matter over everything else in any man – and any woman.  Take everything else she’s said about being shallow aside, this really is at the heart of any good man, and not surprisingly, it’s something our deen emphasizes over everything else.
  3. The oxytocin element explains so much – and is the fundamental reason why high school girls (and all women really) should avoid sex outside of marriage.  It’s a bonding hormone and it can cloud a person’s judgement – making casual (sexual) relationships very difficult for a woman to have, and the repercussions are potentially having a woman emotionally torturing herself over someone who doesn’t deserve her.
  4. So this is the big part that I really think is spot onassuming “that marriage will make you happy.  It won’t. Once the initial high wears off, you’ll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.”  Ultimately, I think she’s saying that happiness is more in your own hands than you think.  That marriage doesn’t necessarily make a happy person out of an unhappy person.  IN FACT, it’s infinitely more of a challenge than the fairy tale premise we grow up with leads us to believe.   I think these fairy tales are one of the biggest disservice done to girls and young women.  Marriage is hard. Really hard.  There are moments where it’s wonderful, yes (like when you’re on vacation and the sun is shining, food is served, beds are made, everyone is sun-kissed and happy :)…and there are many where it’s hard.  Not bad, just hard.  As the author says: 

“”The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway — because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self — you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along: Love. “

There is a reason marriage is half of deen.  Not necessarily because you need a man to make you a complete person, but because marriage, and all that comes with it (children, etc) test you in a way that nothing else can.  There is a reason buddhist monks don’t get married…they would never reach enlightenment with a screaming 2-year-old, and a pile of undone dishes :).  And the process of transforming yourself into that kind, deep, thoughtful, giving person DESPITE your surroundings, it’s the ultimate challenge –  it’s so incredibly humbling, and you can either spend your days being upset and live under a cloud of resentment (and those days do come), and overlooking all the good and the blessings you’ve been given, or you can free yourself and accept it for what it is.   It’s like forgiving someone.  If you hold on to the anger, it can poison and consume you.  If you forgive the person, it’s much more for your benefit than for the benefit of the other person.  You are allowing yourself not to hold  on to those negative feelings that ultimately take you away from being the person you want to be.

I also think we grow up in a culture that in addition to preaching the fairy tale farce, says that any time you swallow your pride, or let something go, you are letting the other person “win”…that you are “weak”, when in fact it takes a much stronger person to look the other way.  Screaming is a lot easier than maintaining composure when you feel wronged, or swallowing your pride .  This isn’t to say that the  your spouse shouldn’t be practicing the same virtues, they should of course!  BUT in the event that they don’t…that you maintain your practice of loving them, and being this good, whole person, “even when they don’t deserve it.” It’s not a manipulation game.  This is your spouse – he’s not the enemy 🙂 and much the same way you’d be won over with kindness and having someone overlook your faults, and mistakes – I’m sure the same applies on the other end.

Anyway, I just needed to clarify and again I hope I didn’t offend anyone and if I did, I sincerely apologize.  And I have to add that this is very much a reminder to myself first and foremost.  It’s hard to think zen in the heat of the moment 🙂  BUT…it’s the goal insha Allah…

Have a blissful day iA 🙂

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2 thoughts on “UPDATE on ‘Why You’re Not Married’ Article

  1. Hal, I think you’re spot on! You should have written the article on the Huffington Post! But really, 100% agree with you on all your points. Even though she was a bit harsh, I do think McMillan’s six reasons had a level of truth to them too. Her last paragraph especially resonated with me. So many girls think that marriage = happiness, and to believe that is just denial of taking the responsibility of your own happiness. I think all the fairy tales/fantasy/bollywood we grow up is a huge contributor. That’s why when the movie “Tangled” came out, Haj and I went and didn’t take Inni. Hahahaa.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Hus! I think one of my biggest pet peeves is how culturally speaking, we’re raised to think, you’re incomplete without marriage. It will make you happy, it will solve the world’s ills. All the wonderful lovey dovey stuff will come with marriage. Not to say marriage doesn’t have it’s bright moments. It has many, but it’s SO much more about giving of yourself, and being prepared for that responsibilty, and it’s a complete shock when it’s very different than what you percieved. It causes so many problems. I think people need to be mentally and emotionally prepared for that. THere will be blissful days, but there will be days where you fight, and may even want to leave…and how to know when to work through it and when it’s really necessary to leave. The fairy tale image leaves you completely unprepared for that. Anyway Hus, thanks for the support. Really never meant to post it to be offensive. I just thought some of her insights were really…honest. 🙂 It’s refreshing for a change…

    Reply

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