By Dr. Farah Aslam
After my graduation, I got married into a huge extended family. Most of my in-laws were partly dependent on my husband. Although all the family members had jobs, their salaries were not sufficient for their due contribution or moving to their own houses.
In a single kitchen, four families would cook their food. Privacy was an illusion. Since we were the elders of that hierarchy, the feeling of responsibility was so deep-rooted in my heart that it was unacceptable for me to enjoy liberty and happiness without fulfilling mine as well as my husband’s obligations.
We didn’t have ideal lives in that house – there were multiple problems and sufferings on a twenty-four hours basis. There was an inquisitive atmosphere, too, which sometimes really pinched me. In fact, it was a hard time, which I tried to bear with patience and tolerance.
Although I was overworked and stressed, I knew that inconceivable demands and unnecessary altercation would only jeopardize our relationships. It was not my habit to involve my husband in petty household matters, because, according to my understanding, when men become interested in women’s issues, they are unable to concentrate on the bigger tasks of life. Therefore, most of the time, I tried to digest all the thorns and bitterness in my stomach.
But amid that tense environment, my husband tried his best to be a lively person. He worked hard to keep me cheerful and happy by giving me affordable happiness of life. I thank Allah (swt) for a life partner like him.
I realized the fact that my husband was not in a position to resolve all the complications, so it was useless to demand it from him. I would pray to Allah (swt) only. It was very difficult to bring up more than two children in one room, but I couldn’t help it. \
After a few years, two marriages were held and, with our help, the new families ventured out on their own. Some more time passed, and three other families went abroad. This way, within a few years, ninety per cent of our problems got solved, and my family gained some level of privacy and freedom, though still living together with two other family members. This was a natural phenomenon of an expanding family; I just had to wait patiently some more.
Later, we moved to a different house in a posh area – a blessing indeed. Now, my house is an island of peace and contention, just as I had always desired. I always advise others that one should be patient; build a balance between rights and responsibilities. Something wonderful awaits you, even behind a blind alley.
Dispensing others’ rights unconditionally would bring long-term benefits for relationships and family. One should wait patiently and courageously for the right time to come and then act in a positive and responsible manner.
I strongly believe that the Almighty watches over us at all time, everywhere. He acknowledges even the tiniest deeds we do for His people in this world and gives us a better return for our hardships in this world and the next. Tolerance and patience are the keys, and responsibility and the right attitude are the success factors to attain happiness. It is your choice to have them or not – no compulsion. Work towards a better you.
The writer is a researcher and working women activist.