As Salaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
I’ve been married for eight years, today. Which is just enough time to get some understanding of marriage and family life. Even if that understanding is a bit blurred and confused.
Since I’ve now established my “authority” to write on the subject, I would like to share eight things I’ve learned in the past eight years. Enjoy.
Four Things I’ve Learned About Myself
1. I’m not patient, cool, clam or collected as I had, previously, been made to believe by my friends. It’s easy to appear patient when you have no responsibilities and no worries beyond deciding where to eat lunch. It is decidedly much more difficult with real responsibilities and real problems, proving conclusively that I’m not the least bit patient.
2. I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. When I was growing up, there were two things I thought I could never handle; autism and psoriasis. I have psoriasis, though it is under control. Dhuha has autism and I think that’s under control too.
3. I am a lot like my father. It pains me to say it but it’s true. I’m a disciplinarian. “Smaking” annoys me to no end. I MUST be heard. Sabah calls me “grumpy daddy”. Not to mention that I look a lot like him. Harshness was his defining character trait.
4. I’m nothing like my father. I kiss and play with my kids. They can share my food or drink. I can and do change nappies. I tell my family that I love them. We spend on the kids first and often I do without. I like to think, my kindness overshadows my harshness.
Two Things I’ve Learned About Marriage
5. It’s next to impossible to win an argument. Even when I’m sure I’m right, I seem to lose the argument. I talk too much. I talk too loudly. The longer the argument goes on, the more likely I’m not going to win. In fact, the only way to win an argument is by arguing alone.
6. DIY and housework (especially washing dishes) is the best way to smooth things over after you’ve lost an argument (see point 5). There is a trick to it, so use with caution. You must not wash the dishes or put up a shelf too frequently or it will become what’s expected. You must not do it too infrequently that she starts thinking you are a lazy bum. It is a fine balance, I admit. Done right, it will endear her to you.
Two Things I’ve Learned About Being a Father
7. Having a child with a disability isn’t bad. I remember saying to Zahira, when she was pregnant with Sabah, that I didn’t mind if we had a boy or a girl just so long as there was no disability. I remember worrying about Abdurrahman through his first year. But the one I’m closest to and the one that I’ve learned the most about being a father and a human is from Dhuha. Her disability does not stand in the way of her awesomeness.
8. Being part of my children’s lives has been the most satisfying aspect of worldly life. Before they were born, they did not exist even as an idea. After I saw them, heard them and held them, I can not imagine a happy world without them. They are the coolness of my eyes. They are the pleasantness of my present. They are the hope of my future.
Alhamdulillah. Thank you Zahira for eight great years. I love you.