A Wife is Not a Girlfriend

The character and personality of a girlfriend is quite different from the character and personality of a wife. She who had been a good girlfriend, might succeed as a wife, or might not. In most cases that does not happen. Not because she can never be a good wife, but because, the disappointment is oppressive. Similar is the case when we compare the boyfriend against the husband, writes SYED IQBAL ZAHEER.

Satan has a million guiles. One of them is that of an innocent relationship between a boy and a girl. They believe (or pretend to believe) that their relationship is pure, free of any sexual overtones and undertones, and full of sisterly or brotherly affection and liking. Many parents close their eyes when their children fall into this trap. They think it is a harmless relationship.

In actual fact, this kind of relationship (between non-mahrams) is only possible between children who are not conscious of their selves. If the two are above 9 or 10, when sex-consciousness begins to develop, their relationship will definitely take sexual overtones.

Relationship developed during this age leaves a deep imprint on the mind. In most cases they fall into what is called as “boyfriend/ girlfriend syndrome”; or, the “first-love syndrome.” If they do not get married, the longing for each other remains until death. But the situation changes drastically, in most cases, after marriage. For, a wife is not a girlfriend.

There is something strange about these “firsts” of life. We tend to clearly remember the first things in our lives. The day the first cycle was gifted by the father and you went out to proudly display it to your pals, the first train journey, the first day in college, the first child’s birth, and so on. The events stick to memory and recalling is sweet.

The first dating is similar. Married people with children and grandchildren, at the borders of senescence still recall their first date with clarity and fondness. The reasons should not be difficult to guess. First cycle, first train journey, etc. are momentary events. They do not involve one’s mind, body, or emotions, but marginally. But human contacts leave their signature at the deepest level of mind and heart. If they are prolonged, many memories get attached to them. And when it is male and female, and it is their first contact with the opposite sex, when they are teens, then, the memory’s fondness is deeply emotional, deeply etched in mind.

If they were in love, or thought so, but did not get married, then, the story is incomplete, the train-journey was cut short, the disappointment is bitter, and will last the rest of their lives. Marriage is the only cure. But, most such marriages fail.

Love is the central theme of life. So much so, that a true Sufi doesn’t bother about heaven and hell. It is enough of a reward for him that he should meet with his Lord. Christianity’s motto is “God is love.” Rightly so, but, unfortunately, the first Christian having died on the cross, seems to have taken the elixir with him, leaving behind an empty bottle.

At all events, neither the Sufi is wholly right in his belief, nor the Christians who have been the most bloody with humans, throughout their history, and evince all intentions to carry with their journey on the holy grail. May we not fall in their path of love – Amen.

The point we are trying to drive at is that love is truly the central theme of life, but not a very successful guile if used as a slogan, little believed in. But the boy and girl, recently conscious of sex, little suspecting of how the society can convert their God-gifted innocence into artful fiendishness as they grow, how the modern world can train them into becoming selfish bugs, and how the advancing age alters its demands, tend to believe that they are in true love. Beliefs blind, when they are not rational. People’s blind belief in stone gods is an example. In Islam, rational love is valued more than emotional love. In case of teens in love, none of the defects of each is visible to the other. The Devil sits on their eye-lashes. More: dreamy eyes see merits that do not exist. Their minds are locked, not the hearts, as it is commonly believed.

Little surprise then that, having fallen into the trap of “first love,” if they get married, they end up in separation in majority of cases. Separation time is at most five years. Disappointment follows disappointments. In some cases, regretful feelings visit them on the first morning after marriage. The boy had never seen his sweetie – as he sees her now, leaving the bed yawning – with pimples at a few wrong places, the hair disheveled, eyes filled with yellow smut, and the earlobes a little bit out of shape.

They are yet to begin their married life in earnest. They are yet to have a conversation as long as they used to have earlier. Never again they will have it. Before marriage it was, he: “I love this lake,” and she, “me too” (the lake is stinking with filthy water). Or he, “I hate fish, they stink,” and she, “I am not particularly fond of them.” (She enjoys them). Or, “I love computer games,” and she, “I suppose they are a good pastime,” (she hates them, anyway).

So, it is artificiality through and through. Both are falling upon each other trying to be agreeable to each other. Both wish to submerge their personalities into the other’s. Films give them dialogs, and, as bonus, dreams of happy life thereafter, forever and forever.

Although, as pointed out earlier, some regret creeps in the morning after marriage, they remain suppressed during coming months and years. But, gradually, as and when personalities open up, realities become visible, disenchantment grows, differences harden up. There was that pre-marriage time when the two wished to submerge in the other’s personality; these are times, when each begins to assert his or her personality. Confrontation is inevitable.

The character and personality of a girlfriend is quite different from the character and personality of a wife. She who had been a good girlfriend, might succeed as a wife, or might not. In most cases that does not happen. Not because she can never be a good wife, but because, the disappointment is oppressive. And of course, the reverse is also true, that is, what is true of a girlfriend is also true of a boyfriend. A husband is not a boyfriend. He may succeed as a husband; he may not. In pretty many cases, he does not. Not because he could never be a good husband, but because of his anger.

A girlfriend has to have two qualities: talk smart, look pretty; where talk smart is more important than look pretty; for, the boyfriend is partly blind. But a wife too must look pretty, but she should also be responsible, and should not be a chatter box. She must go as often as possible where she had never been once before marriage: the kitchen. When she says, “Your dinner is in the fridge,” the honeymoon is over, arrogance is visible in her face, and anger is visible on his face. There are pretty many things that a wife has to do, and be. Before marriage, her world was her boyfriend. After marriage, there are a dozen men and women around, with whom she must interact rightly. The list of demands on her is long, and grows. The main point is, she is not a girlfriend. If she tries to remain the happy-go-lucky buddy she once was, she will neither be happy, nor enough lucky.

Rare it is that a boyfriend and girlfriend got married, and they proved to be successful husband and wife. And, where success is seen by the outsiders, it is because they both assure each other that the time for a change is gone, and so, they must simply learn to live with each other – each hiding disappointment from those who had advised against the dating, against the marriage. But the rise in the cases of separation, tells us that pretty many smiling faces in public carry scorn in private.

Another point: they dream of successful marriage. Come to your senses. When life itself is failing, and failing miserably, at the widest of panorama, as in our times, then, how can husband-wife relationship succeed? If the choice had been blind, which it was, then, you are in a blind alley. If you escape bumping your head into a wall, you will hurt your toe hitting a stone. Successful marriages make a high demand on man and wife. But that is not the topic here. Teenage boys and girls must be strictly kept apart.

Any talk of innocent relationship between a boy and a girl, is simply rubbish. It is kitten-puppy relationship. Watch them when they have grown into moral and mental maturity. Watch them turn into enemies. Watch them laughing boisterously. Watch them, because that won’t happen too often.

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