I remember once asking a friend on the eve of her wedding, "How did you know that this is the guy for you, for ever and always?"
Her tranquil answer was, "You gotta have faith when it all feels right."
I marvel at her faith and courage to take such a risk. Marriage is a long-term contract; in Islam, the solemnisation affair 'aqd literally means that, a contract. How do you make sure that the person you chose to wake up next to for the rest of your life is the right person?
Is there a happily ever after promised after the ring is on the finger? No. There is no guarantee that you will be happy with that person for the rest of your life, but there is a promise to try and make things work with that person. Surely the fact that you said yes, that person is important to you; important enough that you are willing to take the risk of it all blowing up in your face.
In this disposable world, many seem to think that if a spouse didn't work out, you can always throw that person away and get another model. Just look in the gossip rags; the blushing bride of the magnificent wedding a few weeks/months/years ago is now the virago ex-wife demanding her rights (and share) in the court. The groom who once professed undying love and devotion is now coldly enumerating her faults and failings as a wife and/or mother.
Why does this happen? Do people change that much once they said "I do"? Could it be that people have unrealistic expectations of their partner even before they committed to matrimony? Could it be because during courtship showing one's true colour is considered de trop and you only found out that your beloved refuse to shower on weekends or cook the dishes your mommy used to make when it's too late?
Being realistic about the candidates for one's hand is a must. We all have dreams of our ideal partners, but what are the likelihood of meeting the perfect someone who reads Sartre, enjoy long walks on the beach and can make a mean espresso? Lori Gottlieb pointed out that if he/she has annoying habits at the cinema or is hopeless at choosing the wine, said person should still be a viable contender.
Should we settle? Or is that settling?
I had thought that the culture of having your spouse chosen for you by your family member takes a lot of stress out of the whole selection process. Not so according to my friends whose families still use traditional matchmakers. There are all the angst of viewing the possible groom/bride and finding that person is still not right/not fair enough/not funny enough and just simply ... not enough.
I wonder if I would have the courage of Siti Khadijah and ask a man to marry me.