By Qudsia Osmani
In my single days I would take a look at married couples and think they had it all together. They knew exactly how to be the perfect husband and wife, all because they fell in love. From a young age we’ve been taught fairytales exist. After all what are princesses and princes for? From books to movies all displaying the same theme; “All you need is love” Isn’t that the common denominator of happily ever after?
Yes, love is a part of a successful marriage, but No, it is not the end all be all of whether we marry that person we feel it for, or end that marriage that no longer harbors that feeling. There are many myths attached with the word love. Myths that can ultimately lead us to making the wrong decisions.
Myth #1: Love is a feeling
Love, what does it mean anyway? Love is categorized as a noun (a person, place, a thing, or an idea.) When we think about love, the first thing that comes to mind is a feeling. We make a very long term decision based on this feeling of “love”. That feeling can very easily be mistaken for lust even if our intentions are good. Deciphering between them comes down to changing our perspective. We needto view the word “love” as an action verb (physical and mental action) rather than a noun. This allows us to determine what we want from a spouse. Feelings can fade, but when you clearly demonstrate what actions and decisions you bring to a marriage, it’s concrete. With actions, love and feelings blossom. In a marriage you don't feel butterflies in your stomach everyday, but with time you recall all of the moments that count, and all the effort and action that was put in.
Myth #2: Love will know exactly what I want and need.
No one is a mind reader. The thing with the word love, is it can have different meanings for everyone according to their expectations. We all have different upbringings and understandings of love. Check in with the person you want to spend your life with. Ask what you can do to make them feel loved. Discuss what your deal breakers are, talk about what you want out of a marriage. Ask the uncomfortable questions in order to have realistic expectations of each other. The key is to communicate what you want from each other and determine whether or not you can carry it out.
Myth#3: My spouse will change for me, because he/she loves me
We’re all wishful thinkers when it comes to love. Every individual has certain life choices they make. When love is involved our vision may become blurred to the things we want from our spouse versus who they actually are. It’s important to learn about your spouse from what they tell you about themselves. Don’t expect the opposite or that you can convince them otherwise. Have conversations about what compromises and sacrifices your each willing to make. Discuss what you’re not willing to give up. Then determine whether you can agree on those things. When an individual is unwilling to change something about themselves that you’ve known from the beginning, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Accepting a person for their individuality can help you both grow in love. If you are at the beginning of getting to know someone, listen to what they say, how they react, how they describe themselves and their wants. Before you say yes determine if you have a clear picture or a blurred vision.
Myth #4: When your spouse suggests therapy they don't love you anymore
Therapy, counseling, or any form of professional help when it comes to marriage has long seemed taboo. When we hear those words we've been conditioned to think that our marriage has failed, yet it's quite the opposite. It's important that we put our preconceived notions aside and see that our spouse is looking for a solution to strengthen the marriage. When it comes to a life long journey, we should be willing to put in the time to fix our marriage. If you've been married for a while and you keep running into the same differences you believed your spouse would change, seek advice. Allah explains in the Qur'an there is nothing to be ashamed of when trying to settle one's differences between a husband and wife.
"If you [believers] fear that a couple may break up, appoint one arbiter from his family and one from hers. Then, if the couple wants to put things right, God will bring about a reconciliation between them: He is all knowing, all aware." (4:35)
We established that love is an on going action. It is valuable to remind ourselves that we are in a committed relationship or seeking them. We should chose to spend the rest of our lives and our hereafter with our spouse because we gain peace and tranquility as Allah describes in the Qur'an. This comes about with a real understanding of what love is, fulfilling each others wants and needs, and knowing when and how to seek help for our marriage. May Allah establish mercy, kindness, love and peace within all our marriages. Ameen