The blog has been a bit silent lately and for that I apologise! The reason? Well, …, I was out of the country!!
And why? Well!! Regular readers may just recollect; the 19th June was a pretty significant day for me and my other half; …, yeah; you guessed; our first wedding anniversary! Mashallah 1 year gone! To share and celebrate the occasion, I flu to Azerbaijan to be with Reza (as most of you know we are still facing visa limbo). So: what did we do? Well, quite simply; nothing! That is to say, we did nothing special, yet we did every thing special! Because of the distance, and the bazaar situations we’ve had to face this year, all of our time together thus far has been about weddings, preparing for weddings, then 1 wedding, the second wedding, the visa battles, etc! All we both wanted was to spend our anniversary close together, in real time, doing real things! And that is exactly what we did! We couldn’t travel much (Reza was working for most of my visit!). All the same, we cooked, cleaned the house, watched TV, walked, visited the seaside, ate out (alone, and with friends), prayed together, called home together, studied Farsi (well, Reza taught, I studied!). It was a brief, but beautiful visit; and one I’ll remember forever. Leaving was intensely difficult. I felt physical pain during our further separation and cried all the way back on the plane, doubtless drawing a great deal of attention to myself! We are still in this forgotten hell that is the mercy (or lack of it: shown by the UK Border agency! That’s not easy and causes us both a great deal of stress, anxiety and pain. Despite the obstacles however; this first anniversary still felt like a really significant day for us, and a real cause for celebration. As we drove through the familiar streets of Baku to our tiny studio apartment, I was overcome with emotion, remembering my first visit to Baku last February. It had been a beautiful trip, but one fraught with anxiety, tension and questions; would we really get married? Would the family really accept our decision? How would we overcome the distance? It all seemed so remote then, so far off, so impossible, yet 1 year on, by the grace of Allah (SWT) and the duas of so many, known and unknown, we are married; we are united; and we have survived this difficult and testing year! Every one says the first year of marriage is the hardest, and in our circumstances I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that! Its tough; very tough! But we felt tranquil; somehow routed: ultimately, if we can survive this, we can survive any thing!
Sure we have tests: lots of them! But who doesn’t? and when I look at some of those in my circle of friends and the hardships they are battling, I often find myself thanking Allah (SWT) that I’ve got the tests I have and not bigger harder ones that I wouldn’t be strong enough to take!
Many friends and acquaintances have asked me through-out this year: “how did you know Reza was the one?”. Its an interesting question! I think your understanding of your spouse evolves; growing and developing as your understanding of them increases and vice versa! I’m sure I can write this here (its an open secret really), but when I first met Reza, I really didn’t like him much! I felt that practically, I couldn’t be bothered with a foreign husband: I’d been there, done that and it all felt like a very big headache! As I got to know him however, and he me, our understanding grow and my perception of him changed! We spoke on MSN for about 6 months before we spoke on the phone; and by our first telephone conversation, I knew Reza was the one. Sure: at that stage I knew I needed references, I had to research, take time, think, do istikhara; but put it this way; my mind was made up; unless evidence convinced me other wise. Reza tells a similar story. I can’t assume that every one has such “click” moments all the time, especially about something as significant as marriage! However I think most people probably do! I met a great many rishtay/proposals before Reza came along, and while I kept an open mind and gave them a chance, I think I knew deep down they were not for me. Some rejections directed at me were hard to take, and didn’t always make sense, but I knew if the feeling was not reciprocated, then why pursue things any further!
Friends also ask me what makes a successful marriage! Well, for us, it has been love, time, understanding, patience and as many laughs as we can fit in! Our marriage is definitely routed on our faith; and it is our shared prayers, our commitment to Allah (SWT) and love for the Ahlulbayt (A.S), that gets us through the really dark days. No man/woman is perfect; there are things about Reza that bug me, and I’m sure he’d say the same about me! Of course we fight, we disagree, we irritate one another at times! We do have some rules however; all arguments must be put to bed by magrib time; and no one has the right to stop talking; no matter how serious the matter is! You can take a few minutes out, but after that, you must talk and sort it out! In my experience, most marriages break down when the talking breaks down. While its not always easy to keep talking long-distance, it is the only way to combat stress and thrash out difficult issues. Its true; I didn’t want to marry a foreign man, didn’t want the headache of it! but I knew Reza was worth fighting for. I knew our family was worth fighting for. Every day, I’m touched by the love shown to us by friends, family and in particular my in-laws. Honestly; without exaggerating, I gained parents, not in-laws when I got married; and the fact that they are routing for us, even when we can’t look ahead ourselves brings such confidence, comfort and peace. All people will be tested; and for now, distance is our test! Its been hard, really hard and only gets harder! That said, this test has brought us closer in so many ways. We’ve realised each other’s strength and weaknesses on a level so elemental, so profound that I’m not sure we would have got so deep had we been in closer proximity. Moreover, we’ve become determined, empowered and strong! This is a painful fight, but it’s a fight worth fighting! We don’t know if/when we will win, but we do know we will give it all we’ve got! We’ve also learned that our time together is sacred and beautiful, and that these moments confirm for us that we will make our marriage work wherever we end up living: be it Britain, Iran, or a box in the middle of nowhere; we can do it! Tests are so much easier if you are together; and the beauty of where we are now is that, no matter what hits us in the years to come, if we can fight it together, hand in hand, it will feel so puerile next to this first year of difficulty.
After every hardship comes ease; and ours will surely come Insha Allah, if only we keep fighting and be patient. I read a beautiful quote recently “pray like every thing Depends on Allah, but work as though every thing Depends on you”. Good advice, and advice which, if we follow, will surely bring us success!
I want to thank our friends, my blog readers and all those who have commented, prayed for us, or just kept us in their thoughts over this year. Thanks to all those who have provided hands-on support: Masooma, Mariam, Kanwal, Nazlina, and all those who I don’t name! A special thanks to SR Otowi for her beautiful gift to me earlier on this year, which filled my time and kept my mind active through some dark days. Do continue to pray for us and support us on this journey to be together; with your love and help, Insha Allah we will enjoy many more fulfilled and blessed years together.
A song for Reza: