Love is … Our 1st Anniversary

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Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to God alone), as my husband Umer and I have reached our 1st milestone … 365 days of love, laughter and friendship. I have to admit, it’s absolutely true when people say, “It’s not easy, you’ll want to pull your hair out.”

In the past 365 days, we lived, loved, learned, forgave, accepted, fought, etc. At times, things were as smooth and calm as the waves of the beautiful waters we explored in San Juan, but at times, things got as bumpy as our plane ride with those rapid bumps as turbulence occurs. Yes, just like that. But, overall this experience has been BEAUTIFUL. As some of you know, Umer and I had a semi-arranged marriage. (If you didn’t, feel free to read my first blog where I talk more about it!) This was a benefit for us as it helped us build a strong bond. We were able to start connecting before and then again after actually being tied together.

 

Some facts, or you could call this our “Marriage Timeline”:

Fact 1: We were in contact for about 5 months before our engagement, so basically “WE” started fall of 2015. Us, South Asians, like to call this “baat paki,” which is basically when both families agree to the proposal and plan to eventually unite us as one.

Fact 2: We got engaged in February 2015.

Fact 3: We got nikkafied/legally married on December 6, 2015.

Fact 4: One year later, our official wedding/ruksati (farewell to moving in with Umer) took place on December 22, 2016.

Fact 5: Since our families are all spread over, we had two wedding receptions. One in NY a few days following the wedding celebration and one in Pakistan in February 2017.

Fact 6: From the last two facts, you can tell we had a “busy, partying it up, celebratory year.”

 

 

A few things marriage made me realize:

1- Marriage is not PERFECT.

People, please don’t be under the misconception that since you’ve been dating/engaged to someone for a long time, that it’ll continue to be all sweet all the time. You will face hardships, so you must be ready to embrace them. Don’t let the struggles bring your relationship down. Use that as your strength to bring you closer together. Both individuals have to look beyond the imperfections of each other. There will be hugs, kisses and laughter, but distress and tears might tag along, as well. AND it’s OKAY!! It’s all a road to progress. My husband and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have each other. We fight and I may say some not so nice things when I’m mad (and vice versa), but at the end of the day, we come together and put our differences aside because we chose to be #onceuponamehmood (which was our wedding hashtag, by the way!).

      This does not mean you and your spouse should verbally abuse each other. That’s not acceptable and that’s what I meant when I said I may say things when I’m mad, but things that I may not actually mean. Example of me would be constantly saying, “You are so annoying right now. Get away from me.”

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2- We are in this TOGETHER.

Together is the key word. One shouldn’t make everything fall on their spouse, whether it’s house chores, errands to run, paying bills, decisions to make, etc. Do it together! This does not mean you both have to be shadowing each other at every point. Just split responsibilities and get them done. You both need to play your cards. Balancing your relationship is very essential. Help each other and you will feel that smoothness I mentioned earlier. Just because I’m the wife, that doesn’t stop Umer from helping me around the home. He helps me with a lot things, among which one of them is in doing laundry. I’ll be honest, my first laundry experience was after our wedding. Our laundry room is in the basement of our apartment building and even after a year, I’m hesitant to go down there alone. Yes, I’m a little chicken. Not going to lie, every time I remind him laundry needs to be done, he gets irritated and says, “By now, you can go by yourself. You are not a little girl anymore.” And of course, me being me, I refuse and he agrees to go (yay, haha). That’s one thing I’m definitely going to work on as the new year approaches. On the other hand, I’m making sure all payments are being made in a timely manner and reminding him of urgent things whether it’s job or family related. On days when I know he’s busy caught up in something or running late and was supposed to go to the meat shop, I’ll go myself even though I HATE MEAT SHOPPING!! Let’s not also forget being together in emotions. You have to look after each other and each other’s feelings. Make sure your significant other is not feeling ALONE in this commitment. Whatever makes you guys happy together, just do it and cherish all the moments. Do your very best to put a smile on each other’s precious faces.

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3- Be PATIENT.

Being patient is one of the hardest traits for many, including myself. I like/want to have everything done quickly. Umer, on the other hand, is the opposite so for us, that’s a pro. Sometimes you want something more from the marriage or something just isn’t going right for you or for the both of you, but just remember to slow down and relax. Give it your 100%, pray to God, wait a little and it’ll all happen. If something doesn’t go your way, it’s okay. Talk to one another and give friendly reminders. Instead of being impatient, be understanding. Don’t quarrel; if your spouse says, “It’ll be done,” trust him/her – don’t keep nagging. That’s something I’m still learning to get through even to this day as I’ve been impatient my whole life. I have to give it to my husband for not becoming snappy. When we got married, I did not know how to cook anything. Maybe frying an egg but that was about it. God bless him for not getting restless with me. Luckily, he knew how to cook, YES BINGO. Believe it or not, Umer taught me how to cook. He would stand side by side and instruct me while getting in action. I got the hang real quick and I usually do most of the cooking. But cooking rice is definitely his department.

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4- SUPPORT each other.

Be each other’s right hand. Maybe your spouse had a bad day at work, just hear them out. Be a good listener. You are the one they will come home to, so make it a pleasant welcome. Putting on some red lipstick and posing a smile can change the whole mood. Don’t forget to support each other in family matters. Support your spouse when they’re right and if they are wrong, it’s okay to let them know they are wrong – just do it in private. You took vows, or for us Muslims, we said, “Kabool hai, kabool hai, kabool hai” to keep each other happy, so don’t back out. Lift each other’s spirits. There are times when I have to push and motivate my husband in business matters. He would get disheartened about certain job proposals or not reaching a goal in the time he expected. I had to stay calm and be positive for him in order to remind him, “You got this, it’s just a matter of the right time to come” and it came Alhamdulillah. My king is my backbone and I’m his. Motivate each other to succeed and go beyond. Applaud one another after accomplishments. Trust me, it will make you and your partner feel good.

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&& in all this, don’t forget to fall in love with EACH OTHER again and again. XOXO

 

 

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Semi-Arranged Marriage … What is it? Does it even exist?

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Middle Eastern and South Asian countries are known for arranged marriages. What is an arranged marriage? To simplify the term, it basically means your family or an extended family member/friend sets up your marriage with someone you had little or no contact with whatsoever. This may mean that you’ll be meeting your significant other for the first time on your wedding day at the ceremony because your parents believe they are more wise and in a higher authoritative position to make a right decision for their child. This is a common practice in many cultures, including my very own – Pakistan. 

Fact: Percent of marriages in the world that are arranged is 53.25%. Now that is a higher statistic than love marriages. This is something that has been happening for hundreds and hundreds of years. My own dear parents met for the first time on their wedding day. Just imagine exchanging looks with a stranger one minute and in the next, that same stranger is whom you’ll now be calling your spouse. I am not justifying this practice because both types of marriages do have their own pros and cons, but studies show that arranged marriages are more successful than love marriages. Again, not taking any sides; everyone has their own belief and each marriage has its own circumstances/story. So back to my parent’s story – that was 34 years ago and not surprisingly, this custom, as we Asians like to call it “rasam,” is still alive and being practiced as a dignified tradition. But just like the world is changing and everything is becoming more modernized, so have arranged marriages. In today’s day, in many cases a “semi-arranged marriage” takes place.

The idea is still similar with a prospective, suitable match being found for the guy/girl. The difference now is that many individuals are able to exchange numbers and have actual face to face meetings before any serious decisions are made. Although some used to have this chance before too, it has only recently become fairly common. Now, as society has advanced along with the modern world, more and more families are observing this. This tradition is being maintained in a way that culture is still holding its same value and respect. It really depends on how open- or close-minded your family is to this idea and to what extent. To give you a meaningful example, if I may say so, I consider myself to have a “semi-arranged marriage” instead of the typical “arranged marriage”. My husband and I were given the option to reject the wedding proposal before the marriage took place. My husband and I were able to exchange conversations on the phone. Alhamdulillah (all praises and thanks to God), we were able to meet and get to know each other before tying the knot. 

Keeping the culture and religion in mind, many of our meet-ups were with older relatives present with us, whether it was an aunt, uncle and/or cousin. Semi-arranged marriages also have boundaries to maintain and enforce to prevent dishonor on both families. 

So to wrap it up, YES, semi-arranged marriages are REAL. I am one of the thousands of people as a “sample” or “case” you could say. 

Why not give you guys a little briefing on how my semi-arranged marriage is going?If I have to describe my experience thus far in one word, I would say BLESSED. Believe it or not, I was one of those brown girls raised in New York City who had the thinking “oh nah, I would never marry a guy my parents choose.” Even till this day, when I run across an old friend from high school or college and they ask about my marriage, they get stunned to hear that I did a semi-arranged marriage. Now, you’re probably thinking what caused me to change my mind.. hmm, I would be too. I grew up watching a lot of Bollywood movies and wanted that fairytale love story. But with time, you realize it’s not realistically that easy. Everything falls in place at the right time. You have to put your faith in God and trust Him. He will work His magic in ways you’d never expect. My mom would always tell me about marriage proposals and I would right away say no without hearing anything about the guy. One day, I randomly said to her, “You know what? I think I’m interested in marriage.” A few months passed and she told me about a proposal (from Umer, the man whom I married). I automatically first stalked his Facebook page, haha. And so, from there it all started. Alhamdulillah, I am so glad for changing my view point on arranged marriages because that led me to my paradise on Earth, in this duniya.

Disclaimer: I am not here to encourage or discourage any sort of marriages. Everyone is free to their own will. God bless all!

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I got it from my mama xoxo