Saturday, May 15, 2010

The First Two Years: A Marriage Survival Guide ... part 2

5. In-laws

The first few years of marriage are not just a period of adjustment for the married couple. It's one of getting used to in-laws and vice-versa.

Husbands, wives and in-laws need to practice the Islamic rules of social relations with each other. These include: avoiding sarcasm, backbiting, calling each other by offensive nicknames, and making a special effort to respect each other as family members.

As well, comparisons need to be avoided, since every individual and every couple is different. So wives should not be compared to mothers and sisters. Husbands should not be compared to fathers and brothers. In-laws should not be compared to parents, etc.

In addition, there should be regular, healthy contact between spouses and in-laws. This can mean visiting each other at least once or twice a month, or calling if distance makes it difficult to get together.

6. Realism

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after.
This is the plot of many a Hollywood and Bollywood movie, where everyone is "perfect". Real life is very different.

Couples may enter marriage with high-flying romantic ideas and expecting their partner to be the ideal human. But all humans have good and bad points. Husbands and wives have to learn to accept each other, warts and all.

7. Making a schedule and establishing rituals

Making a schedule may seem like an end to spontaneity but it's not.
This allows you to establish your own lifestyle and rituals as a couple. It's especially important if both the husband and wife are going to school and/or working. In this scenario, a schedule helps in setting time aside for each other during a fast-paced week of work and studies.

Some rituals couples can establish may include:

• praying at least one prayer together
• attending a study circle together once a week
• deciding on a weekly menu
• having a pancake breakfast every Saturday morning
• setting aside one day on which no work or studying will be done
• setting a day when both the husband and wife will clean up the house
• setting a time to discuss finances and a budget
• making a phone contacting during the day
• deciding on a particular day and time once a month at least to visit  each other's parents

By discussing and setting up these rituals, couples learn how to talk to and feel responsible for each other. They also learn to become a team instead of two people living in the same with separate lives.

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