So you’re all set to get married. You’ve picked out the dress, the party favours, the stage décor, and all the little details in between. You’ve got an amazing vision in mind for how the magical day will unfold. You have an even more amazing vision of how magical your life will unfold afterwards, with your prince in sherwani or thobe.
Because you’ve waited so long to be with someone, holding yourself back from haram in hopes of saving yourself for a halal relationship. And surely Allah will make your life as enchanting as a fairytale.
It’s only after marriage, do you realise how unrealistic your expectations were about marriage. Because life can never be as enchanting as a fairytale. And this is known as the Disney Dilemma.
Many many young Muslim girls face this dilemma, and it is a by-product of the way we are raised. We are instructed not to date or engage in relationships with guys before marriage. So we hold ourselves off. We know that Allah has made us in pairs, and we are satisfied in the knowledge that we will be united with our soulmate one day. Whether we choose to find him ourselves or have relatives find him for us is besides the point. He is out there and we will find him!
We’re so good by waiting for our life partner, and so we think that Allah has reserved a prince for us. We begin to build him up in our minds. We imagine grand romances and a fairytale ending. We begin to expect a life like we see in movies, one in which everything happens the way we want it, with everything falling at our feet. We have unrealistic expectations before marriage, which ends up hurting our relationship later on. Because we don’t know what to expect.
But I’m here to tell you how it is: life is not a fairy tale. And you are no Disney princess. Indeed Allah will reward you for abstaining from haram and for saving yourself for marriage. But that doesn’t mean that you are entitled to a life of ease and riches, a life where you don’t have to compromise, a life where you don’t have to do any work.
Marriage is work. I’m sorry if this is the first time you’re hearing this, but it’s true. Marriage is not a fairytale ending, but a beginning of a new life. The storybook does not close when you find your significant other, but instead it begins.
And inshAllah it begins in the best of manners, but that does not mean that there is no work to be done. If you come to marriage with the mentality that you deserve a happily ever after that is golden and bright and full of sparkles, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Because, while there will be happy times, there will also be sad times. Chances are your husband isn’t going to be your ideal idea of a prince. Because he’ll be real. He’ll have good parts and bad. Just like you. You’re not perfect either, and so you have to be willing to work for your relationship and accept the man you marry, and not the one you fantasize about in your daydreams. Because that man doesn’t exist.
Many girls unfortunately have the mentality that they simply deserve the best, and thus will not put up with anything but. But marriage, like life, is full of compromises and sacrifices. And both parties need to be willing to give, in order to get. But the way many of us grow up, we often have the mentality of getting. We are not willing to give at all. And then when our relationship requires us to put some work in, we don’t know what to do.
You need to be able to give, in order to get. And sometimes you need to give a lot more than you will ever get. But that’s okay. Sometimes we need to do things out of the goodness of our hearts and out of the love we have for others, without the expectation of getting something in return. Because we need to remain steadfast in the belief that our reward is not in this life, but in the next.
All of this applies to guys too; not just girls.
So if you’re thinking about marriage or fantasizing about that ideal husband or wife, knock that Disney dream down. And try to get rid of those unrealistic expectations about marriage. Remember that a relationship requires work, and that marriage is no fairytale ending. It is a beginning.
Hope that helps.