Five days have passed since our first anniversary and I’m so happy now as though I’m a newly-wed again. So I decided to reflect on what I learned and how I developed through spending the first year of marriage with the love of my life, Laila?
Lesson One: Befriend Insecurity
I, like all humans, have certain insecurities that I’ve been living peacefully with for my whole life without feeling the necessity to tap into them or confront them for the slightest or silliest reason. But as soon as I married Laila, and especially the first few months, I’ve lived through incidents where I had to face my insecurities head to head and not only that but also voice them and be totally honest about my feelings without hiding or avoiding that void caused by insecurities. I felt like for the first time I had to share my imperfections and the hard part here is that I’m sharing them with the very person by whom I want to be seen nothing but perfect. Those voids had to be patched and patching something isn’t usually a pretty thing. But what I learned this year is that facing my fear (i.e. Insecurities) again and again allowed me to live in harmony with their presence in my life simply because there isn’t a valid reason for me to fear them if the person I care for the most accepts me with the fact that I’m patched. I also discovered that trying to fool myself with the idea that I’m perfect is going to create more voids that will require more patches. Befriending my imperfections and admiring those patches on my personality dress is what makes me perfect in my wife’s eyes.
Lesson Two: Understand Before Being Understood
Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood was crucial to living through the first year with a loving and caring mindset. I feel like I still need more time to master this skill but I’m happy that I’m aware of it and at least am trying to improve it by the hour. Listening has never been on my strength side; I still have a long, very long, way to go yet I know how important the link is between listening and understanding. I won’t be able to understand the person in front of me without listening carefully and attentively to what they’re saying. The beauty of understanding people is that it allows me to see beyond what is being seen; I truly and deeply believe that ears are more powerful than eyes because they allow us to hear the unseen. Eyes can only see what’s out there but ears will definitely present us with a gateway to one’s heart and inner self. Well, we all start somewhere and I believe my first year of marriage was a great start for my pursuit of being a great listener.
Lesson Three: Flex Your Personality Circle
Realizing that everything you do and feel is now split into two is just overwhelming. In the past, all I had to deal with is my taste, my preference, my mood, my choices and thus my calls and decisions. All those things create what I call a “personality circle” and that circle represents all the things that are within one’s self-interest and very being. Marrying Laila, just like any other marriage, resulted in a forceful overlap between her personality circle and mine. That forceful overlap caused some sacrifices and lots of compromises from both sides in order for both of us to live in that overlapping zone lovingly, willingly, and peacefully. Before I got married, a wise friend warned me that the first year would be the toughest year I’d live in a marriage unlike what all of my other friends used to tell me that the first is usually the best and then everything is going downhill from that point on. In reality, although it was extremely difficult for both us at the beginning, the more time Laila and I spent trying to overlap our circles, the bigger the overlap area became; until both of our personality circles became one. And only then, you can call it a happy lasting marital relationship.
Lesson Four: Grow Or Grow Even More
spending every day with the same person definitely requires more than a relationship that “works” because at the end of the day you only have one life. It’s honestly a daunting thought when you think about spending the rest of your life, your memories, your laughter, your tears, your miseries and your success with only one person. It astonishes me how some people take it too easy when they choose whom to fall in love with; it’s the most important decision a person can make in their entire life. So many friends asked me after I got married “how did you know she’s the one?” And the answer to this question is very simple. When I’m with her, I grow spiritually, intellectually, and mentally. The answer is clear, if your partner is not making you grow every day to become a better person and pushing you relentlessly to get out of your comfort zone and aspire to achieve more, then you’re with the wrong partner (at least in my opinion). With Laila, I’m always learning something new through the discussions we have on a daily basis, there has to be a question raised every day about life, humanity, or God. We always ask the question “why are we alive?” And always try to find an answer to that. The first year of marriage helped me realize that no one can achieve their calling without the right partner, and the history of the greats proves it.
Lesson Five: It’s An Upbringing Relationship
The first year of marriage wasn’t that easy to tell you the truth. It witnessed cases of misunderstanding, miscommunication, wrong assumptions, and spats here and there. Don’t ever expect it to be all roses and hearts though it should be a happy relationship overall. Anyhow, I figured that bumps are inevitable in any road you take in life and marriage is simply no exception. I realized that the only way Laila and I could overcome those bumps is by seeing it as though she’s raising me as a person and vice versa. I felt like I’m being molded again as she is as well; we’re changing each other fundamentally in a way that will make us both live our shared life happily ever after without touching the core values of our personalities that attracted us towards each other in the first place. Going into a relationship knowing that I’m not perfect and more importantly accepting that Laila is not perfect (although she is in my eyes, but realistically speaking) helped me realize that she and I cannot be perfect in any possible way unless we are together.