Like for many Pakistanis, my marriage was an arranged one. My wife and I had similar upbringings, cultural values, financial standings, and seemingly similar mentalities. My family introduced us; we had a couple of meetings; everything seemed good; we did our Istikharah, and before we knew it, we were engaged! I was sure it was the beginning of my happily ever after.
Sadly, it was not to be. After almost five years of a very difficult marriage, we parted ways. In hindsight, I see a lot of things that could have been done differently. I wanted to share my experience, so that others can hopefully benefit from it.
Pay heed to the vibes you get
When before Rukhsati I saw mood swings and bouts of anger, I put it down to wedding stress and getting to know a stranger. When I saw fits of jealousy, extremely possessive behaviour, and continuous demands for attention, I thought it was her way of showing her love and adoration. I just wanted to get married and was willing to ignore all the signs, which in hindsight I know I should’ve heeded. If you are getting the wrong vibes early on, when getting to know your spouse/spouse to be, don’t ignore them. Listen to your inner voice, talk to a trusted married friend or sibling about what is making you uncomfortable, and rely your gut feeling. Don’t chalk important things to ‘wedding jitters’ and don’t bank on ‘he or she will change once we are together’. Most certainly, don’t care about ‘what people will say’, if you have to call it off.
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