Brenesombere asked me yesterday, “Is marriage an achievement?”
A very important question that holds a very important place in my heart since the unmarried ones believe it to be a contract bound with gold, dowry and ovulation cycles (at least the Asians among us do). I can understand where the question came from since in a former article of mine I was fishing the internet for beautiful wedding dresses (and I was not even nearly getting married back then.) Back then marriage definitely felt to me like a contract of riches instead of love and understanding. Why? Because thats what I had witnessed in my society, women being married off to men with better financial means or vice versa. At that time it was saddening and horrifying to think I would one day be sitting on that same scale being weighted against my odds of bearing beautiful children or being a docile wife.
Now this brings me to the question at hand, “Is Marriage an Achievement?” Please bear with me just a while longer. So what does “Achieving” means? Literally, it means successfully reaching a desired objective or a coveted status by effort, skill or courage. We have to admit marriage is definitely a personal or social status, whether it seems undesirable to you or not. …by effort, skill or courage. Trust me, marriage requires a hell lot of COURAGE than usual, doesn’t matter which continent you are from. Marriage asks you to leave your family behind and adapt to a new environment within days, understand new people, for Muslims you are supposed to have physical relations with a man when you have never been intimate EVER with even a single one. You change drastically, your emotions, your body, your surroundings…everything changes in a matter of days. Me? I am a Muslim woman from Pakistan, got married, stayed with my in-laws for about 20 days, got on a plane and came to Abu Dhabi airport one day with a man I thought I understood and a place I never knew. I was lost. I thank Brenesombere for asking me this question…because it burns me when people I know judge me for loving my husband, supporting him and wanting to be with him. I need to write this but the right question eluded me for over a year. Here it is at last! “Is Marriage an Achievement?”
YES! I SCORED BIG TIME! All praise be to ALLAH. I am thankful for achieving my husband. I am grateful for reaching the next rung in my personal status ladder where I have come to know and love myself in a different and more beautiful light. I have learned to love myself independently of him while deeply caring for him as well. I have come to understand me and my religion without social biases, to know that I am more than my wedding dress and dowry. I have achieved a kind of mental freedom that makes me write without shame. Today is my 27th birthday and a year has also passed since I got married, I believe I have achieved so much and when me and my husband sit down to talk about it…we realize there is so much more ground to cover, so many more sacrifices to make, so many more barriers to overcome and put them in our spiritual list of achievements together. It’s an achievement every day to wake up, smile and spend one more day with your spouse, no matter how difficult or happy it is (provided its a healthy relationship and thats a whole another topic meant for another day.)
P.S. Sorry for the long rant. Leave your comments, I look forward to your opinions.