I got married and moved to Karachi. Before my marriage, I had never in my life lived in Pakistan, let alone Karachi. The two places where we would go are Islamabad and Lahore, so this was a whole new experience for me. It has now been a year Alhumdulilllah, and I have started adjusting to all the changes.
Initially, it didn’t sink in since everything was so new with new people and a new environment. But, as time passed on, I started to get into a routine. Living in a joint family has brought along some challenges, but a lot of positive things too.
It’s been so nice to have my in-laws with me to help me adjust in a new place. My mother-in-law, especially, has been so understanding and helpful. She makes sure – despite her busy schedule that I don’t get bored at home, and hence, takes me out during the day. She has also been so great in welcoming me to the family, and showing me how things are done. This way I didn’t have to struggle as much as some do to learn how they do things in their families.
As we all know, all families have their own set of ways and routines, and they are all different; so having someone to guide you through it is a great help. For me, it was Not only helpful in learning the ways of my husband’s family, but it helped me a lot in knowing what things my husband likes and dislikes. I didn’t have to experiment and find out the hard way.
Living with in-laws helps create a bond between you and them; and it increases understanding between both the parties. Before living in a joint family, I was terrified that when you live with your in-laws, they can see all your weaknesses or they can see if you’re in a bad mood; while if you live abroad, no one sees any of these things. Now, I’ve learned that although it is true, my in-laws must know my flaws and weaknesses; but at the same time, we have a stronger relationship, and they also do see the other side of me as well. My husband is also very dedicated to his parents and very family-oriented, so when he sees me having a good relationship with his parents, and doing things that are hard for me to please them, it creates a special place for me- not only in his heart but also his parents’ heart.
Every situation has its pros and cons. Since, I had lived in a nuclear family system my whole life and had gotten used to that system. My parents always liked that we should be independent and try to handle situations ourselves.. This being said, they do still oversee everything but more in the background. They are there to support, but let us try things the way we want. In my in-laws, it’s a bit different; and adjusting to that was a bit difficult, while I still love to try things my own way. I had to see things in a positive light that now I can have guidance throughout.
Another test for me was when I lived in the Middle East, there were no security issues and I drove on my own and I knew that I was not dependent. In Karachi, there are security issues which makes my father in law a little hesitant to let me go alone; along with that he says that people in Karachi are very different from the Middle East, and doesn’t want anyone to take advantage of me. So, I can’t go to all the places alone, although I still go everywhere I’d like just not always alone. More than the safety issues though, adjusting to the traffic of Karachi and the way everyone drives here has been harder for me. I’m used to people following rules and staying in their lanes, now I’m constantly just watching people break traffic rules, not to mention the famous motorcycles that come at you from every angle.
All in all, the past year has been a year of so many firsts for me, and as I look back on it now I see that although moving to Pakistan was never part of my plan, I’m sure that Allah (swt) has something greater for me. I know that Allah (swt) has made these adjustments easier for me; and Insha’Allah as time goes on, it will only get easier for me. At times, I do complain about living in Karachi and having to change my entire lifestyle. I hear stories of other people’s in-laws give them a tough time, and I immediately realize how much Allah (swt) has blessed me. My complaints are so small compared to some of the tests that others are facing. Being grateful will only increase Barakah; and therefore, when facing any tough times regarding your in-laws, or married life, or any situation, looking for the good will always please Allah (swt). And Insha’Allah, He will help us to come out stronger from those situations.