Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of your be alone,
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
– On Marriage by Khalil Gibran
I still remember how it was like being alone and lonely. Exploring new sights, in foreign lands or unassuming bookshops and cafes, whiling the hours away in my own company. The solitude was simultaneously sad and sweet. It was a familiar friend who reminded me of a certain longing I had over the years buried deep. I still remember the halls of the haram in the early dawn and how long I prostrated, spilling tears and prayers for the loneliness to be abraded and for the things I wanted which are now miraculously in my life. I say miraculously because the girl in me still believes in miracles. And sometimes, she still finds it hard to believe the little things she has both been blessed and tested with. It’s the work of the Divine. God listens and gives so generously, in His own time.
A year has passed since I started building a home with a man I trust to enter my world. But that doesn’t mean I had forgotten how alone feels like. My alone still lingers in quiet waves, like a moving sea. Sedulously. Peacefully. It flows between us both. Between the shores of our souls, it is present to remind us of our existence from birth to end – we carry no one else’s deeds but our own. It has only been a year but a year is enough to reassure me that marriage is not the key to happiness. Marriage is never the answer to the question of your nagging loneliness. Marriage is simply a promise you make to another soul you find comfort in – a promise witnessed by the One who wrote your story – that you are willing to go through the rest of your life with each other and striving to grow better together. Marriage is the introduction of a new chapter, not a denouement of a fantasy.
Growing up, I have been well acquainted with being alone, so I find a special kind of happiness in our togetherness. Coming home to a warm, long hug from your best friend after a bad day at work is a balm to the soul. Doing a chore without being asked. Cooking a meal for each other just because. Buying their favourite snack or drink on the way home. These little things are the big things that make up for all the friction and uncomfortable silences. Honest conversations and check-ins continue to make marriage a portmanteau of his soul and mine.
One year on since the day we took our oaths… May our hearts ever find comfort in each other and may the sea ever move serenely between our souls. May our sowed seeds of love and respect continue to grow. And may Allah SWT always protect our home.