By Andrea Umm Abdullah and Umm Zahrah
I may not know you. I may not know your name, where you come from, or where you live. But I know what you’re going through.
I’ve been there. I know you just want to be happy. You just want your marriage, your husband, your home life to be…better. Happier. Easier.
I know you are tired of being sad. Tired of being unfulfilled. Tired of settling. Tired of wanting more. Tired of trying to make yourself stop caring.
I know sometimes you look up and wonder, “What happened to the ME I used to be?” You’ve bent, suppressed, and given up so much of yourself. Sometimes you wonder, “What am I doing here? What’s the point? Maybe my life would be better if/when/there…”
I know you feel unnoticed and unappreciated. You can’t get rid of the headaches, your eyes are tired, your hair needs attention, your hands are rough, your body is sore, your feet are cracked but most importantly, your heart feels empty.
But you know what? It’s going to be okay.
You know how you start to compare your then and now? You wonder why you were happier and why you felt your iman back then? You wonder, “What happened? What changed?” Yeah, your situation changed…You had that thing, the issues were different, etc. but you changed too. You let your circumstances determine your happiness.
And if you keep doing that, you’ll always be up and down, because that’s how life is. But I don’t want that for you. I want you to get to a place where you can say, “You know what? It’s ok. It’s not worth the arguing, the pain, the tears, and the inner turmoil.”
We think happiness is always when and if. We think happiness is somewhere outside of us…somewhere outside of our current situation. But that’s not true. Your happiness is up to you.
You can “choose” happiness. You don’t have to wait until someone or something makes you happy. Instead of waiting for that one big change to bring joy and sunshine into your life, pay attention to the small drops of delight that abound throughout your day.
Everything will never be exactly the way you want. And if it is, it won’t last long. That’s just how life is. And that’s ok. We have ups and we have downs. The good thing about the downs is that they tell us to slow down. To pray. To be grateful. To feel empathy for those who have it worse.
I saw a quote the other day…”When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.” And that’s what you have to do sometimes.
You just hold on.
I know what it’s like to reach that point where you feel like you’re going to break. You’re tired of going through the motions and you know you can’t keep living like this. It’s scary. It’s scary because you don’t know what’s going to happen or what to do next but you know something has to change. And sooner or later, you realize, it’s you. It’s you that has to change. Because at this point, you know that nothing external will make it better. Getting a maid won’t make it better. Having more money or even getting that divorce. You would still be unhappy. And that’s how you know it’s your heart. And so you give in. And you throw in the towel and turn back to where you should’ve been the whole time…with Allah.
You know, your marriage isn’t the center of your life. The reality is you won’t always feel the love, the happiness and fulfillment. I know you didn’t get married to have a roommate and sometimes you feel like your marriage isn’t benefitting you the way it’s supposed to.
But don’t spend too much time being sad. And don’t let anyone stand in between you and your relationship with Allah. Not even your own self. You couldn’t read Quran because you were just too upset. You couldn’t pray because you couldn’t concentrate. Or you couldn’t sit and do your adhkar because your mind was everywhere.
But you know how you feel better after you take that first step back to Allah? That time you decided to pick up the Quran, maybe because you figured it’s been a while. That time you couldn’t stop crying in prayer. And then when you finished, you felt lighter. Well this time, keep going.
Remember the last time YOU did something and it made YOU feel happy? Or the other day when you laughed out loud, for a pretty long time, and you thought, “Wow, I can’t remember the last time I laughed like that.” Go do it again. Go make a nice cake, or put on some makeup and nice clothes, and do your hair. Play with your kids or go help someone. Do it for you. And then smile at yourself. Smile because it’s going to be okay. You may not have everything you want and your relationship with your husband may not be where you want it to be, but Allah sees you. Allah knows your trying.
And one more thing, don’t lose yourself in your marriage, trying to morph yourself into the perfect wife. Keep a little bit of yourself just for you. Because you need YOU.
And remember, you’re not alone.