Marriage is not a prison!

{ Wednesday, June 29, 2011 }
Lately, I've been reading some blogs with, I'm sure, some well intended advice to other women about marriage. Basically, the advice comes down to this: forget about your own needs, your own feelings, keep them all inside, and keep smiling to your husband. His needs are all that matters. The word divorce is never mentioned, as if it doesn't exist. No, a woman should put up with her husband's behavior because he is the man, period.
I'm not saying I am a marriage expert, but am I the only one who doesn't admire or appreciates this kind of advice? It's not about being patient and pleasing Allah swt. Why would He want to see you suffer because of the selfishness of a man? With this kind of advice you are actually saying that a man is more valuable in the eyes of God, and that the sole reason for a woman's existence is to please her man and to put up with his abuse.
This is dysfunctional behavior, wrapped in religious zeal. I'm sorry I'm being so harsh about this, but I just wish those women would get a different credo than "I made my bed and now I have to lie in it". It is YOUR life. You only live once, why do you have to let it be ruined by a man? You won't die of some disease when you divorce him. You won't end up in hell for daring to think about your own needs. God loves you, He wants you to be happy!!!
I'm not saying we should leave our husband if he's wrong from time to time. I'm not imagining marriage as some kind of fairy tale where the man is like Prince Charming who will always make you happy and never hurt your precious heart. But the key word is respect. He should respect me and my feelings, and not expect that I suffer so he can have his needs met. I've learned the hard way that if you have to choose between losing respect or losing love, that you should always always let the love go. The truth is, there is no love without respect. You cannot claim to love someone and then hurt them intentionally. When it comes to men, you should look at their actions, and not at what they tell you. The words "I love you", don't mean anything if they aren't backed up by actions that show his love for you. Some men are very clever in this. They hurt a woman on purpose and then try to smoothen it out by telling her nice things. We want to believe so badly that he loves us that we accept it. I have the impression that every woman needs to have at least one very bad experience before she learns to untie herself from her self-made chains. Then again, there are women who never release themselves. But I've had mine, and alhamdulillah, I have learned to put respect above "love". I'm no longer prepared to make sacrifices that a man wouldn't make, and I take my own needs in consideration too. If that is such a crime, I ain't apologising for it.


Almost a Muslimah said...

damn! it was one powerful post! loved it :-) a girl after my own heart even though i don't always listen to my own advices :-)

you go girl! :-)

Safiyah said...

Thanks! :-) Yes, sometimes we can get lost and forget our own advice, but we will always land on our feet, inshaAllah, if we just keep in mind who we are and what we deserve as human beings ;)

Bonnie said...

I agree with you however it is not always that simplistic, when there are children involved and the wife has absolutely no financial support then it truly gets tricky. What we do need are more good Muslim marriage counsellors and more refuges for Muslim women. And as individuals we should NEVER turn a blind eye, it is our duty to help care for these women but our Ummah is sick and think too often of 'not getting involved'

MarieHarmony said...

You said it out loud, thanks Safiyah! Yes marriage is a two people relationship , so what goes in one way goes the other too. Respect is the main thing. Obviously we are not perfect so we have to handle different character traits but with efforts from both side we can reach a balance. Marriage should help us to improve as individuals and to grow as a couple.
When I found the "Wife's prayer" that I added on my blog -, I found a Husband prayer with it that is word for word the same.

Good to read this! Thanks for the advice as we are too many begging for love and forgetting we ought to be respected for who we are as well.

Safiyah said...

@ Bonnie: I agree with you that it's not always simple. A lot of women are not empowered and don't have the financial independence to get out of a bad marriage. This truly makes me sad. There should be more good Muslim counsellors and more refuges, I agree. I think an important step is the Marriage contract and the conditions you can put in it. A lot of women don't bother with this, either because of social pressure, because they don't know they can or because they think their husband will always remain perfect. But I really think you can save yourself a lot of pain by just putting some conditions (no second wife, child custody after divorce, etc.)
In my post, I was more addressing the women who could get out of a bad marriage, if they really wanted, but who choose to stay because they think they will get a reward in the afterlife for taking all this pain and suffering. They think God wants them to endure all this. They think it's the husband's right to always see a happy wife who never complains, no matter how bad he screws up. This makes me very sad too. Thanks for your comment :-)

@ Marie: I read your wife's prayer before and I liked it :-) I do think women have flaws too and sometimes make it hard for their husbands, and then a prayer like that can be very valuable, to think about our mistakes and how to improve them. Marriage is definitely a two people relationship, and although I can perfectly imagine that not every day will be rosy and without fights, I agree that there should be a balance, and that respect for the other person should always be maintained, or else the trust will be gone, and the love will turn into something toxic that we are addicted to, but that's truly bad for us. Thanks for commenting! :-)

Melody said...

Hello, I am a new follower! I am very glad I stumbled upon your blog, because you write very eloquently, and this post was very moving. Many people must remember that marriage revolves around compromise, and this is such a good reminder!

Safiyah said...

Thank you for the nice complement, Melody, and welcome to my blog! :-)

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