When all you’d seen around you were bad marriages, a good marriage comes as a shock.
This happens to many people. Which is one reason why many young women (and men) are scared to get married, thinking it will most likely be terrible. Marriage today has such a bad rap.
This happened to me personally.
I remember a specific incident in the first month or two of my marriage, and it has stuck with me for the past decade and a half.
My husband and I had had a random argument or disagreement (I forget now about what), but I remember distinctly that I had been more in the wrong.
So I went to him to apologize. I said, “I’m sorry for what I said–”
Immediately, he warmly replied, “It’s okay. Thank you for apologizing. I’m sorry too.”
His response was so quick, so instant that it had actually cut me off. He took me off guard completely.
He had interrupted me. I had been just starting the “apology process,” which refers to the long, arduous, agonizing process of apologizing to someone who refuses to be placated or appeased. Someone who refuses to forgive or forget. Someone who seems to revel in your mistakes so that they could hold them over your head and use them as ammunition for a long time to come. Someone who requires long, elaborate apologies, begging, pleading, groveling, maybe even some crying. Only then, MAYBE, if you were lucky and they were in a good mood, they may deem it fit to semi-“forgive” you. For now anyway.
I had only seen this model in the marriages I had seen around me until that point in my life.
I had never seen a marriage where forgiveness was easy, where apologies were simple yet sincere, and where people were allowed to be human and make honest mistakes.
I was astounded, of course.
As I stared at my husband, frowning with suspicion and consternation at him, trying to figure out his game, I said, “That’s it? Just like that? We’re good?”
He smiled and held my hand. “It’s water under the bridge.”
Another expression I had never heard before.
What kind of mind games was this man playing??
He said something along the lines of, “We are going to have fights and arguments. We are both going to make mistakes and accidentally hurt each other’s feelings sometimes. And that’s all right. No problem. We just have to apologize and forgive each other. And then we move on, no grudges. And over time, our marriage will inshaAllah get better and better, as we learn from our mistakes and get to know each other better. Nobody is perfect, so we just have to be flexible and easygoing. Marriage doesn’t have to be hard.”
It was an amazing moment for me. An epiphany. A revelation.
Marriage doesn’t have to be hard, or miserable, or stressful.
Marriage can be whatever you decide to make it.
Your own marriage does not have to mirror the sad, bad, unhealthy, or dysfunctional marriages you may have seen growing up in your family or extended family or neighbors or friends.
Your marriage is YOURS.
Be open to learning new ways to think, to feel, to *be*, with your spouse. Let go of the past. Remove the old fear, dread, suspicion, mistrust, pessimism, and cynicism that you have learned to view marriage with.
Dare to be hopeful, optimistic, and trusting as you form your own marriage, your own relationship with your spouse.
Unclench your hand from around the old baggage that you’d been tightly clutching for years.
Put your hand in your spouse’s hand and start a new, beautiful chapter.
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