What happens when you Marry a Bookworm

This post is dedicated to my husband who has put up with all that comes with marrying a booknerd. So these are just some of things you have to deal with if your spouse is a booknerd! To all the people who are looking to get married and your potential spouse says they love reading, you have been warned!

1) We will constantly gush about whatever book we’re reading. Especially when we finish a book we NEED to talk to someone about everything we’re feeling and you are the closest person to us therefore you will have to listen. Even if that means we wake you up at 4am because we we’re an emotional wreck. This will also mean that you will know characters and storylines about books you may not have even looked at, let alone read.

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2) If something traumatic happens in the book we’re reading we will be severely affected by it. If one of our favourite characters dies then we will be an emotional wreck. We will cry, laugh, scream and yell at the book. Basically our emotions are affected by the book.

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3) Everytime we walk past a bookshop we will NEED to go inside to browse. This can mean we think we’re in there for 10 minutes but it can be an hour. We really won’t realise the that much time has passed because we’re too busy looking at all the amazing book we want to buy. You will more than likely end up dragging us out.

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4) We will want to buy more books even though we have a pile of books at home we haven’t read yet. Our favourite kind of shopping spree is a book shopping spree. Don’t worry we will eventually get round to reading all the books we have.

5) We will NEVER have enough books, just not enough bookcases.

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6) Our main post will be books! Because like I mentioned we need to buy books all the time it’s not always from the shop. We will also buy books online. You will also end up carrying the bag of books when we do go to the bookshop.

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7) As we love books, we will want to meet the author of these books. This will mean we will drag you book events as we don’t want to go alone.

8) Our books are like our children, our prized possessions. We will not take kindly to any damage to our books and we always dream of having our own personal library.

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9) We will want several editions of our favourite books. They’re so many pretty covers out there and we want them all!

10) You should never interrupt us mid-chapter. We will either not even realise you spoke to us or become highly irritated with you.

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11) You will never be stuck for a gift for us. You can literally buy us books for any and all occasions and we will be happy.

12) We will tell you every night that we will finish the chapter and come up to bed but it will become one more chapter until it’s past midnight and we’re exhausted but we still need to read one more chapter.

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13) We will carry a book wherever we go, even if it’s to go get the groceries because you know, just in case. We can’t ever get bored if we have a book with us.

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So these are things that me and my husband came up with. I’m sure that others will have their own ones to add. We booknerds are a unique bunch but at least we will keep your life interesting and you will always have something to talk about. 🙂

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Everlasting Marriage part 3

So previously I discussed how Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed spoke about love and how we each love differently. She then spoke about the next part of the ayah which says that not only should there be love between spouses but also mercy.

She defined mercy as; Even when you are angry or upset with your spouse you still don’t want them to be harmed. She described how a couple sitting on a bench facing away from each other, clearly angry, yet as it was raining the husband still held the umbrella over his wife to stop her from getting wet. That, she said, was mercy.

The death of a relationship is when there is no mercy left in it.

Passion, love, intimacy, all of these things go up and down in a relationship but the mercy needs to be consistent. So even if you’re not feeling loving towards your spouse your mercy should still remain.

As a side note; she also mentioned that there are some cases where divorce is necessary and we should not stigmatise people who are getting divorced or are divorced. We should however ensure that we separate on good terms and not spend all that time attacking each other. If no one was supposed to get divorced then it would have been made haram.

In trying to build that love and mercy, your spouse will try to make a connection. They will offer you their hand by trying to make a conversation, for example. There are 3 ways in which you can respond. You can take the hand, you can hit the hand away or you can ignore the hand.

Taking the hand will be the best response, it is what will build that love and mercy. When you take the hand you need to give them your attention, you should face them and you give them respect and importance. It is important for your spouse to know that you love them. You do that by the way you react to what they say or do. Even if they start a conversation about something that doesn’t interest you, you shouldn’t dismiss what they said. It’s all about building the bond regardless of what the actual  conversation is about.

The Prophet (saw) would publicly declare his love for his wife.

Another way to respond would be to hit the hand away. Your response is, who cares. You disrespect and belittle what they say. You act like you don’t have time to listen to them.

The third way to respond would be to ignore the hand. You show no interest, have no reaction to what they said. Your body language shows that what they said is not important.

Both these two ways of responding will create distance between you and your spouse and it can cause problems in your relationship.

Sister Yasmin Mogahed discussed the four things that destroy a relationship. In the next post I will go through them.

Everlasting Marriage part 2

So in the last post I mentioned the 5 love languages. We discussed each of these love languages and how because we all have different ways of feeling loved we should take the time to learn how our spouse feels loved and show our love in a language they understand. To be able to do that we need to know what the love languages are.

They are:

1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Receiving gifts
4. Acts of service
5. Physical touch

1. One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build the person up and not tearing them down. Using verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful ways to communicate love. Simple statements such as, I feel like I can count on you, can have profound effects on your spouse and your marriage. Saying words of encouragement is another way to express love. Sometimes your spouse just needs words of encouragement to pursue an interest or some untapped potential. The way in which you speak can change the meaning of your words so it’s important to use kind words. When we speak to our spouse we should make requests not demands. Humble words should be used, you are equals.

2. Giving your spouse your undivided attention can be so important. Doing something together whether it’s going for a walk or sitting together on the sofa, paying attention to each other without any distractions. Give your spouse your focused attention, have a good quality conversation and do something together like going out for dinner or spending the weekend away or going for a walk. It’s important to make time for your spouse, it’s not what you do together but why you do it. The experience should make you feel like your spouse cares about you.

3. Gifts are a visual symbol of love. Receiving gifts can be very important to some people. Giving gifts comes naturally to some while others find it difficult. But it’s important to know if your spouse likes to receive gifts and it makes them feel loved that you should do your best to give regular gifts. It’s not about the price of the gift as long as it’s meaningful to them. It could even be something you make if finances are limited.

4. Acts of service are doing things your spouse would like you to do. Actions such as washing dishes, cooking, hoovering, paying bills etc. These things require though, planning, time, effort and energy. For some, when their spouse does these for them it’s an expression of love. Finding out some things your spouse would like you to do and doing these things regularly helps to show your spouse to love them eg. Hoovering every week. These things should be done out of love and not be forced or out of fear or guilt. Some of us may need to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husband and wife.

5. Physical touch is a powerful way of communicating marital love. From holding hands or hugging or sexual intimacy, these are all ways to express love. For someone whos love language is physical touch, not getting that can make them feel unloved. Eg. If the wife feels loved by physical touch then it is more important to hold her if she’s upset than to say comforting words.

These are the different ways or “languages” in which people feel and express love. It is important to understand the way in which you feel loved and the way in which your spouse feels loved. If you feel loved by acts of service but your husband feels loved by words of affirmation then you must express your love with words and your husband should express his love through acts of service. Otherwise you may feel you are showing your love but your spouse doesn’t speak that language and will end up feeling unloved.

Only when you are aware of your differences can you start to make compromises. As they say, knowledge is power. No relationship can work with the ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.

More details for this can be found in the book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. He has a personal profile for husbands and wives in which you can discover your love language and then discuss that with your spouse.

In the next post I will discuss what Ustadha Yasmin spoke to us about mercy within marriage.

Everlasting Marriage part 1

Recently I attended a seminar run by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed called Everlasting Marriage. I wanted to share some of the things I learnt with you all.

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
Quran (30:21)

Before she explained this ayah to us, one which we all probably know, she spoke to us about signs. We often confuse the signs Allah sends us with our destination. But the purpose of the sign is to direct us to our destination. A sign is only a means to the end. It is not our destination. We need to be aware of this as we live so we don’t confuse a sign with our destination. Our destination is Jannah. It is not a job, or home, or marriage.

As we discussed this ayah we not only talked about what this ayah is telling us but how we can practically implement these into our lives.

Allah created us to live in sukoon with each other. Our home is meant to be a place of serenity and tranquility. Inside the home it is supposed to be sukoon, it is meant to be a shelter, a refuge from the storm outside. Yet for many of us it the opposite. The storm is inside the home so people go outside to seek serenity. We need to make our refuge inside the home.

The ayah speaks about love (muwadda), in Arabic there are many words which mean love yet Allah chose to use this specific word for love. This is because muwadda means an expressed love. This is a love that you not only say but actively show by the things that you do. It is not a love where all you do is say I love you. It is a love that you show in the things that you do. This shows it is important for a spouse to show their love, it isn’t enough to just say I love you and not show it in any way.

However it is important to note that not everyone expresses love in the same way. The way in which we feel loved, so how we wish to receive it, is often the way in which we express love. However our spouse may not feel loved in the same way as us so it can lead to a miscommunication.

We learnt that there are 5 love languages. So there are 5 different ways in which we can feel loved and express it. It is important to know the way in which we feel loved and the way in which our spouse feels loved so that we can express our love in the way that our spouse understands.

In the next post I will discuss the love languages in more detail inshaAllah.

Oh my god! My husband is so…

They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Quran (2:187)

This ayah teaches us so much about the relationship between husband and wife. It shows that we are equal partners in our marriage. That just as the husband is a “clothing” for the wife, the wife is also a “clothing” for the husband. Your clothes cover you and this analogy shows how the husband and wife should be with each other. They should be covering and protecting each other from external threats or dangers from ruining their relationship. 

Clothes keep our body private and confidential from everyone. Any and all of our flaws on our body, our clothes covers and doesn’t allow others to see. In the same way our spouse should cover all and any flaws we may have, keeping everything private and confidential. Our spouse knows us intimately so they will know flaws that no one else will see. They will see all of our weaknesses and fears. Marriage obligates that each of them completely screen and obscure each of these faults and weaknesses.

We should also remember that just like our clothes don’t fit completely perfectly our spouses aren’t a “perfect” fit. They are however our best fit. They are the one who is right for us even if they aren’t perfect. We will not be perfect for them either. Keeping this in mind helps us when they make a mistake. We can overlook it easier just like when we make a mistake we would want them to overlook it. 

So with all this in mind what do we do when we have an issue with our spouse? What if they did something that hurt us? Sometimes we want to hurt them back to make them feel how we feel. Sometimes we express our hurt with our spouse to others. We in our anger tell others our spouses weaknesses and flaws. This is one of the worst things that you can do to your spouse. If your spouse made a mistake it should never be discussed with others. Keep matters between the husband and wife private. I personally find it irritating to hear people telling others about how “awful” their spouse is.

Dont share your marital problems with the world. Not everyone around you is trying to build your marriage. Not everyone that smiles at you is happy for you. Family and friemds are usually too close to you to give impartial advice, they will always sympathise with your unbalanced side of the story and tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. First try to work out a solution with your spouse through open and honest communication. Tell your spouse how you feel first before you tell anyone. It is wrong to rush too quickly to tell your friend and family problems that you haven’t even discussed with your spouse. If you fail to reach a solution seek a trusted preferably muslim marriage councellor, imam or a neutral couple who will give unbiased advice.

One of the problems we have is when our spouse makes a mistake we find it easier to talk to others about it than our spouse. So it spirals out of control. It gets worse than it actually is because everyone else has their input into a matter which should only be between a husband and wife. The people we generally talk to are people we know, family, friends or colleagues. These people are biased towards us and may not give neutral advice. They may take our side without hearing the full story and make us feel as though we are right even if we may not be. This will create distance between you and your spouse. Also not everyone we speak to will have our best interest at heart. There’s people who enjoy hearing when others are having a problem with their spouse. It gives them something to gossip about and some people like that you are having problems for many reasons. They may be jealous of your marriage for example. So we need to be careful who we speak to.

The best thing to do when you have a problem with your spouse is to calm down and then speak to them directly. Speak calmly and with an open mind to see their side of the story too. If you start to get angry take a break from discussing it until you calm down. Never allow your ego to get in the way of resolving an argument. You may feel as though you haven’t done anything wrong but you can still initiate the discussion. Discuss it at a time that is best for both of you when you’re not distracted or busy. Discuss how the problem can be resolved, put a plan in place. And always, always apologise to your spouse if you made a mistake. Even if you feel it is a “small” issue, it may be something big to them. If something happens that despite both of you trying to resolve it, it still causes issues in your marriage then speak to an Islamic marriage counsellor as they are trained to deal with this and help you resolve it. If you are unable to speak to a counsellor then speak to someone with  experience in marriage who will be unbiased and trustworthy. And of course pray and make dua to Allah at all times for you to have a happy and successful marriage.

Be VERY careful where you get marriage advice. If someone doesn’t love marriage, love God, love you AND love your spouse, they will not consistently give you healthy advice.

As a side note I am speaking about those issues that happen normally as a result of two different people living together. Everyday arguments and fights. If there is abuse going on in any form, whether it’s physical, emotional, psychological etc. Then speak to a trustworthy person straight away. You do not need to suffer in silence despite what culture dictates. In Islam we are told not to tolerate oppression.

He’s going to “fix” me…

If you think that by getting married your spouse will be able to fix any and all problems or weaknesses you have think again. They cannot “fix” you. Only Allah can.

Many people have this idea that by getting married the spouse will suddenly give them the ability to change them. This is a HUGE myth! If you struggle with your anger control, or struggle to pray or struggle to lower your gaze, you will continue to do so after marriage. Trust me. Although I have of been married long I know that my husband cannot fix any of the weaknesses I have and neither can I fix his. The only thing we can do is advise and encourage each other. 
So if one of us struggles to pray all our salah on time we can encourage each other n try making things easier like praying together and reminding each other. But we won’t be around each other all day and when you’re not with them to remind them they can still miss their salah. Or if one of us finds it difficult to be punctual and get to work or meetings etc. on time we can remind them to  leave on time and advise them to try different ways to have a reminder maybe use a diary etc but we cannot make them get to their appointments and meetings on time. 
We can help our spouse to become a better person and work in their weaknesses but we cannot fix them. 
What I would say though that this shows how important it is to choose a good, righteous spouse, because your spouse can help you and make it easier for you to overcome your weaknesses. 
Only Allah has the ability to fix a weakness of yours, so instead of getting married so your spouse can fix you, instead learn about how you yourself can fix your weakness and ask Allah to make it easy for you to overcome you weakness or what ever it is you struggle in. So if you struggle to pray, learn the importance of prayer and attend classes about salah etc and make sincere dua that Allah gives you the ability to consistently pray on time. 
So don’t expect your spouse to do what only Allah can do for you because if you do get married with this expectation then you will be very disappointed and it can even cause issues between you and your spouse.