Recently, I was out for dinner with a few friends. During the dinner, we came on to the subject of relationships. Everyone spoke about their different relationships, both past, and present. We spoke about the issues that may arise and how one might possibly deal with them. One way or another, the discussion eventually lead to my broken engagement.
DUN DUN DUN!!!
Nah, it wasn’t actually that big a deal. The discussion, I mean. Not the engagement. The engagement was a massive deal, as you would expect. Anyways, during the conversation, one of the girls wisely asked me what I would do differently the next time someone decides to put a ring on it.
So, today I am going to answer her question. After one broken engagement, what would I do differently next time? This is a question that I have asked myself several times. I feel that every situation has a lesson in it and this one isn’t any different. You cannot expect to get different results using the same method. In order for it not to happen again, there are two things I plan to do differently.
The first thing that popped into my head is to recognise and be certain of how I feel about the person before allowing everyone else to tell me how to feel. In Islam, we don’t do the usual dating. We don’t date for years and then get engaged. When a guy approaches you and your family, it is with the intent of marrying you. This means that everyone that is important to you is aware of this new guy in your life and wants to give you their opinion, as you would expect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I mean, they care about you and are only looking out for you. However, I found that I was making decisions based on what people were saying. When someone asked me how I felt, I’d say “Oh he is nice and so and so (who I hold in high regard, and I know wants nothing but the best for me) thinks he is perfect, so he must be…” Yes, it’s great that so and so liked him, but how did I feel about him? It sounds silly and if it didn’t happen, I’d probably wonder how one starts planning a wedding without realising how they feel. But it did happen. I found myself making decisions based on how everyone else felt. I remember I kept thinking to myself “Everyone thinks he is amazing, so there must be something I’m missing”. If everyone thinks he is amazing, I must be wrong to think otherwise. It was not until I stopped and contemplated on how I genuinely felt, that I decided to no longer continue with the wedding plans. What everyone saw in him mattered, but how I felt mattered more.
Second thing is to listen to myself. I was constantly making Du’a (Prayer), praying to God for guidance. If I’m completely honest, God was answering my prayers. He was guiding me, I just didn’t listen. I mean, I listened in the end but things might not have turned out so bad if I had paid more attention. While I was engaged, things didn’t feel right, I was constantly cranky. Like, constantly. To a stage where he (the guy) mentioned it, and pointed out that I wasn’t like that in the beginning. I had no patience and everything annoyed me. He just couldn’t do anything right. And this was the person I wanted to marry!! Firstly, I put it down to poor communication. He was as Nigerian as they come, having only lived in Europe for a couple of years, and I having lived here most of my life, so It was to be expected right? Secondly, was the idea that “the love will come” at some stage. He was everything I wanted on paper, so why on earth would he not be perfect for me? Because he just wasn’t. Love doesn’t just come from nowhere. It grows from something and that something was not there. I kept waiting for it to come. But it never did. As time went on, I began to dislike him even more. Things that I wouldn’t usually care about made me angry. It got to a stage where I had to check myself. I literally had to ask myself why I was being so unpleasant. It was in checking myself that I realised I wasn’t happy. I was lashing out because I wasn’t happy. If I wasn’t happy going into it, I most likely won’t be happy in it.
So, there’s my brief story. It took a while for me to realize and accept that things just weren’t right. But I’m so glad that I listened to myself in the end.
Till next time