A Hijabi who sees me as a mentor is also growing to be a counsellor of some sorts to other youngsters, fresh in marriage or about to marry. In the early forties, she has done quite well in life too.
Happily married with beautiful children, she has been able to successfully juggle career, family responsibilities, dawah or missionary work and also garnered a string of degrees. She’s even got some investment while she is now being invited for public speaking.
Each time she had a talk to give, she consults me. The truth is she initially did not consider herself qualified to be a counsellor. But it is the context and circumstances around her that placed the burden of mentoring others on her.
They see her as a success in all areas that challenged them in leading a happy life, circumstances that prevented them from getting married despite their assets or endowments or issues that crashed their marriage too soon after solemnization, niqaah.
A few days ago, she came for another consultation on what to tell a group which tasked her to speak to their spinsters and divorcees, though young. I fetched out a sketch of my thoughts on categories of lovers and spouses and why some marriages last while others crashed even at infancy.
These thoughts I share here. I told her that there are two categories of couples, wives and husbands, those to be and those in marriage. Their upbringing I explained, shape their outlook or worldview which they take into marriage and define the expectations of their partners and how they relate to each other.
On this account in my explanation, I clarified to her that spouses can either be supportive or distractive. I defined the supportive type as those who give you space and peace to be all that you want to be.
They are those who understand you and your emotions, so could get you close to your maker and mentors; prayer warriors they are for you. There are others who will connect you with your family and true friends, very comfortable in their midst too as they are indeed family builder and homemakers.
There are also those who connect you to your purpose and vision in life as they assist you to discover your talent and always patient with you to arrive or achieve a breakthrough no matter how long. They are visionaries in your life.
There are spouses who assist you in building your career and fortune. Always content, even sacrificing for you to reach your peak as your sponsors.
On the other hand, there are those who distract you from all the above in their demands, preference or pressures on you. Often they are silent destroyers, visible imposers, extremely demanding, always discontented and usually possessive, giving you no much to think on your own or thrive at all except you dance to their tunes.
They are the ones who disconnect you from your foundational family and good old friends. In fact, they are hostage takers and you lose your friends, in fact, your person in a marriage to such. They can be suspicious of you, yet they could also be disloyal.
Often too, they’re your exploiters, even competitors who can wreck you or render you wretched, no matter your height or wealth before. Many of such are abusive, vindictive, so they are hot and fire eaters or hair splitters at home stressing, depressing you to the point of lunacy, suicide or homicides.
But they could also be passive over time in marriage, wasteful and uncaring, even abandoning home to find comfort in hotels and bottles, getting alcoholic and becoming late office keepers or night crawlers. In their exhibition of escapism, withdrawal or avoidance syndrome, they pull-down the home, driving others to conclude that marriage is a meaningless contract, what Yoruba conveniently call Oja okunkun.
So, many are fearful to enter it and more are desperate to quit what God encourages for the stabilization of the society and perpetuation of mankind. Otherwise, without marriage, man would not be different from beasts in procreation.
No matter what background you or your spouse comes from, you can get the better or best in marriage or of your partner if you take your marriage as a project that you must succeed at. That is why there is a discipline called project management.
Many are successful at managing mundane career or professional projects entrusted upon them to manage but are very woeful in the project that gives them completeness or meaning to life.
Yet they are inadequately or ill-prepared for it, failing to constantly measure their performance, not monitoring or evaluating themselves but always looking at the fault of each other or using the wrong yardstick to measure theirs.
Usually, this is as a result of predicting their marriage on faulty and exploitative premises. Usually, they have a false expectation about marriage or are insincere in their contracts. When they now get into it, their expectations become a mirage and trouble sets in.
So I advised my student to counsel her audience: let them be sincere in choice, realistic in expectation, willing to sacrifice for one another, patient, and value each other, committed to harmonising their differences and achieve a common value with which to run their homes, raise their family and live their lives, BLISSFULLY.
The most important element in these is both should have equal or competing appreciation of the Most High God, putting their affairs in His hands, bowing before Him together, making Him their Chief Counsellor, not letting anything or anyone get in between them or their vision, not placing their trust in anyone but the Ultimate Guide, the best disposer of our affairs who is also Al-Khaaliq, our Maker as variously named in the Quran which the bible also summed as the author and finisher of our lives
By Abdulwarees Solanke, the Director, Media and Strategic Communications, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC)
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