Someone Said Relationships Are Hard

Thursday, September 08, 2016 The Desi Wonder Woman 72 Comments

'Relationships are hard'. 'Marriage is a lot of work'. You hear so much of this drivel while you're single and then even more once you're married and you really wonder what boot camp you're signing up for in the name of love.

N and I were talking the other night and I asked him, "Don't you think things are just better than ever?" (if you say, MashAllah, right now, you're my bro). He smilingly said, "Yes" (I realise now that he didn't really have any other option at that point) and we had a tiny conversation about how despite the exhausted, typical, talk stereotyping marriages to get old and boring with time, as if they were pyaz tamatar, for us things just felt better and happier. I love him more, he loves me more. I take care of him like never before, he does the absolute same for me.

Which is why I don't believe that relationships are hard. Great relationships (even the platonic ones - best friends/parents) only make life easier. Better. More content.

And I don't say this because the both of us have seen growth in conventional ways so perhaps things feel smoother. We've actually downsized our living situation over the last five years, we didn't upgrade cars, we own even less than before (all personal choices). Every year of our life has not been compounded by a material milestone.

We've just been focused elsewhere. We've started to take more care of each other. We've gotten even closer. We understand each other's weaknesses and work with them. We've become more sensitive to what would hurt the other person and how to avoid that. We stay on our A-game with each other all the time and immediately pull the other back when one starts to slip.

Our relationship is the easiest thing we have in our lives right now.  

Of course, circumstances can be hard. Potentially chaotic. But it's never the relationship that makes it terrible. It only gets you through it. Life cannot be controlled, but your reaction to it can be. N and I have dealt with a couple of hard things (nothing catastrophic, thank you God for that) but instead of letting anything put our relationship on a ventilator, we've always looked at it together instead of going into separate corners and throwing shitfits. I know we're just five years old and don't have half the challenges the world does, and I'm grateful for that. But on a macro level, if you're a teamplayer and your partner's a teamplayer, you got this.

This equating-marriage-to-a-labor-camp philosophy only exists to justify bad relationships and convince people to stay in shitty marriages. Where one or both partners don't find it worthwhile to stay on their A-game.

So if anyone's writing this down (someone needs to say yes at this point), relationships aren't hard. They're actually the only things that make hard things better.

Nabeel is my friend, I am his. I hope I never have to see anything tougher than a cheese-pizza-on-a-diet with him, but if we do (but please no, Allah mian), I'll suck it up and let our relationship make sunshine bombs out of it.

72 comments :

  1. I swear to god you're the only person in the world who makes a cynical person like me want to get married.

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    1. Don't be cynical. Marry a bomb guy (when/if you find one, warna chill).

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  2. Mashallah!
    I can't agree more. I'm married to my best friend and I can totally relate to this. Thanks for writing so beautifully. Lots of love and prayers for you both. ❤️❤️

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  3. MashAllah! Such an inspiring couple. I personally believe that a couple should be best friends more than husband and wife and that's what makes the lifetime journey happy.

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  4. I completely agree with everything you've said, I've been married for a little over a year and It's been amazing Alhamdolilah. It's so nice to hear someone who's been married for 5 years talk about it the way you have, werna usually couples tell us k "oh abhi tou nayi nayi shaadi hai, baad mei pata chalega" Thanks for the positivity and reassurance!

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    1. Ughh, I hate that line. People will always find a hundred excuses to tell you why things are 'nicer' right now. In the beginning it's 'give it time' like you said, and when you've given it time, it turns into "you don't have kids yet, phir pata chaleyga". Jee acha.

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  5. Pessimists like myself need posts like these to keep our sanity intact. So, thank you!

    -B

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    1. All depends on if you find the right person. Warna kaheen aur party, life's got a truckload of things to make happy with.

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  6. What if you marry ur best friend and after 7 years things just dont seem to work out. No matter how much you both try. What to do then??

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    1. I'd feel so uncomfortable giving an opinion on anything like this because there's always so much to a story but you have to ask yourself, if you feel like it's worth your life. I feel your struggle pooray dil se, I hope you figure it out.

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  7. Yours Nabeel Jeejz Couple Is Awesome :D Inspiration.Stay Blessed ^_^

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  8. What about if you are having kids to take care of.... being a mom is a hectic responsibility which over shadow the beauty of being a wife.... yes it's really hard to keep the relationship lively. .... it drain you to maximum when u try to balance between your husband and your children needs... but with understanding and love of your partner you can live a happy life. ...

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  9. Its the fact... relationships become hard when u have to give full energy to keep a balance between your children and your beloved husband. ...it makes you drain to the fullest but here I add if you have a loving and a caring partner then he will understand and then u realize that relationships are not hard to keep if live is given from both the ends...

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    1. True. If both contribute, everything can be adjusted to and handled <3

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  10. Reading about you and Nabeel always makes me so so happy. You guys are like truck bhar ke adorable people, MASHALLAH MASHALLAH! I hope one day I can have what you guys have with the person I love.

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  11. i'm pretty young at this time to comment on these relationship things. but you really gave me some happy life goals. stay blessed.

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  12. i'm pretty young at this time to comment on these relationship things. but you really gave me some happy life goals. stay blessed.

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  13. Asalam alaikum shehzeen. I'm a silent reader of your blog. I follow you on instagram and on snapchat. To be honest i look forward everyday to see what new and refreshing stuff ideas you have in store for the readers. Very inspiring, very motivational. Highly appreciate the positive vibes that you spread around. And i thank you for it. Thumbs up bro 👍👍

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  14. A very good read, this.
    Marriage is for losers:
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4369869

    Will recommend you and all readers to go through this. Sheds further light to what you are saying.

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  15. Ill be honest. When I read the title, was like ..pfffh...here comes another self-obsessed rant from an upper class lady enjoying a lavish life abroad, having no idea of how tough life can be for some people. But damn, those where some heavy wisdom bombs. Now i feel bad for being judgmental. Long time fan by the way :)

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  16. Mashallah for you both. However 11 years down the line I've had so many struggles both emotionally and financially that I have no positivity left in me. In the hard times I just can't remember the good times. It's too much effort and I always wonder if it's worth it. Best of luck to you guys.

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    1. I'm so sorry. My only input would be to priortise your contentment above anyone else - you only fulfill all your life roles once you truly take care of yourself. I wish you lots of positivity and the strength to always make the best choices for yourself. Love.

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  17. I enjoy reading your blog but I must say I do not agree with this post. Please don't get me wrong; I'm not here to rain on your parade or be negative. But I do think your post is quite skewed and comes across as rather judge-y.
    Marriage IS hard work. I have been married for 10 years and have faced long distance, difficult pregnancy, financial issues to name a few. Maybe you should take a moment to address the fact that your position is unique and you belong to the extremely fortunate 5% (or less)of the population who got things 'just right'. The rest of us might not be that lucky. While you were able to become 'best friends' with your future husband, many girls don't even get to meet their partners till they say Qabool hai. Yes yes yes we must change that but for now this the reality for many girls. Secondly, there are many things (intimate ones) that u learn about some1 once u hv lived with them and known them intimately. Sometimes you don't like these things but you 'compromise' and compromise is hard work. Many couples face many challenges and hardships as u mention in ur post such as infertility, miscarriage, illness etc etc. These things are not in anyones control and neither are the feelings/responses. You can't predict how a guy u hv known for X number of years is going to behave if u tell him you have lost your unborn baby. Yes u hope that your judgement of their character is correct and your 'friendship' is strong enough that he'll be the awesome caring husband that you hope he is! But people deal with grief in their own way and some people just shut themselves up and bottle their emotions. No amount of knowing someone can give u an idea of how they'll respond. Choosing to love them any way and working through issues while u are urself hurting and grieving... That is hard work my friend. For me the true test of durability and strength is when u have weathered many storms together and worked through your issues fought for your marriage and made a conscious effort to make things work. And saying that "Marriage is hard work is an excuse to stay in shitty relationships" is a gross generalization and makes you sound extremely conceited. Some girl out there might read that and think "Yes I have to work hard on my marriage it means my relationship must be shitty" People stay in difficult marriages for a number of reasons and yes its not ideal or acceptable, it is the harsh reality for many.
    Maybe you should edit your post to say Marriage isn't hard work for me and the rest of you can just suck it??

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    1. I'm so sorry you feel that way and that you feel your marriage has been hard. I do think I've addressed those points in the post softly but I don't want to break up your comment line by line and repeat it. I respect your input, not everyone is supposed to agree with me. But I will say that because I haven't mentioned the difficulty I've seen doesn't mean that makes me the fortunate 5 percent. For example, you don't know if I don't have kids by choice or by infertility. I'm not answering that or hinting that that's the case because that's what my point was about. Not knowing someone's struggles but knowing their perspective doesn't make them conceited. I wish you love and luck.

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    2. I felt really sad to read your comment anonymous because while you say that shehszeen sounds judgey your comment itself has judged her so much on so many levels I feel offended even though it has nothing to do with me. I am in a happy marriage myself and it angers me to no end when people say my life is easy without knowing anything about how I might have handled things with grace. Shehzeen is generally an extremely positive person and her posts give me inspiration when I'm feeling down so I understand what shes saying here and I wish your comment wasn't so rude and attacking.

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    3. Please don't feel sorry for me at all :) I'm damn proud of the hard work I've put in my marriage :) it means my partner and I respect our commitment so much that we choose each other every day and make the conscious effort to work on our relationship through love and empathy. It just makes the marriage worthwhile and the rewards that much sweeter. Thank u for wishing me love and luck. I wish the same for you too.
      Bisma- this is a blog post, written on a public forum. Writings are open to subjective interpretation, no matter what the intention. I agree, I truly enjoy reading and following this blog b/c the posts are informative or entertaining. But I don't agree with what is being said in this post...simple! Its unfortunate that you found my tone 'rude'; that was not my intention but your subjective interpretation and I stand by what I said.
      Any way I've already wasted a lot of my precious time here. I wish every1 peace and a very happy Eid! Bye bye!
      - M.

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  18. You have actually changed my views about marriage and relationships. I must say that I am very happy with this change.
    Thank you Shehzeen :)

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  19. relationships are too hard, I've known him for a long time, i guess 9 years, and got nikahfied for three years, the huge difference in our living style, he started his career after nikah and we have been facing financial issues badly, sometimes feel stuck in a bad life situation but the most amazing thing between us is our love, we respect each other, i dun know when everything will be fine and when we will start living together, we both work hard for our invisible children, so that they won't suffer like us, we both happy and enjoying our life, but sometimes literally hard to survive but when your partner is good, other thing doesn't matter at all :)

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  20. "our relationship is the easiest thing we have in our lives right now"
    &
    "relationships aren't hard. They are actually the only things that make hard things better"
    felt so positive after reading this.made me think with new broader perspective.I am inspired :)

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  21. I've followed you for the longest time and this post compelled me to comment. I don't believe all relationships are easy, but I HAVE learned the hard way that a lot of times the correct attitude can make all the difference - and in that regard, I have partially you to thank.
    Thank you for the consistent hope you give.

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    1. I'm with you. Correct attitude is it. Thank you so much for the love.

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  22. Ok. So forgive me for this post but I can't help but comment on the naiveity that you speak on this topic with. Your marriage is a complete outlier in the desi (actually even non desi) graph. I think everyone intends to put in their A game when they enter a marriage. However circumstances, professional situations, kids, long distance so much can throw off anyone's game and it's totally normal and yes also extremely difficult. No amount of comparability or calmraderie between spouses can overcome that at times. It's tough but people get through it. I find it odd that you are throwing your relationship in people's faces when it is very evident that its your spouse and his very tolerant and patient frame of mind that has made your relationship so easy ( and mashallah for that). If you had a spouse that was just even a tad bit conventional then I would have liked to see how you would have brought your "A" game forward. And how much effort you would have put in. You've basically had it ur way or the highway so far and that's why you find it so easy. I'd like to see you be so easygoing if n was even a little resistant. :)

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    1. It's not the first time someone, unfortunately in most cases a woman, has taken the entire credit of my relationship and given it to my husband or all my of own life decisions and choices and attributed them to luck, so I'll let this go.

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  23. I genuinely want to know how you make n's life easier or add value beyond the fact that you spray the bed with pillow most. You make him split the chores or in fact prob make him do more of them lol. You definitely do not give his family the kind of face or respect that is usually a norm in our society. You constantly make fun or refer him to in a condescending manner. You clearly make all the major or minor decisions when it comes to house decor , house guests, food etc. has Nabeel every said no to you about something you have waned to do? Doubt it :). Ahhh I see why you think relationships are easy.

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    1. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. I'm trying to take your comment seriously but it's just not happening.

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  24. I like your take . Prespective is a way to look at things and if u choose to look at good things ,life becomes easy. I think ppl suffer in marriages because of unrealistic expectations..both want the other person to perfect n fix whats broken in them.. shaadi se pehle sb kehte hain larki me etc etc khubi ho n larke me etc etc...what we fail to understand is that u both might be flawed.. its not a deal but a companionship where u accept eachothrr n help eachother to get better.its never going to be easy.. life will give ups n down but its better to hv someone by the side. I wish everyone gets a good spouse.n ppl who are struggling may come to this understanding.

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    1. Exactly. Life is always going to be peppered with challenges. Good communication so your partner comes to understand you and then working together is always key.

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  25. I'm getting married soon inshallah, and even though I love my fiance very much, I'm a little nervous because of what everyone keeps telling me (mostly scary stuff). But you're 5 years in and so happy mashallah! I loved hearing a different opinion for a change :)

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    1. Part of my reason for doing this post was also because so many people about to be married have written to me about this hesitation towards the husband-wife relationship. If you go with your best intentions and with the right attitude and maturity, the relationships develops into something you can rely on. Wish you lots of luck with your upcoming shadi :)

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  26. Reading the comments on this post, I've realised log (khaas tor pe desi community) can never see someone happy or successful. Sarri baatein ko goli marain and please stay happy and blessed.

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  28. I usually don't comment but some rude and dil jalany waly comments ignited me to write acha. When i read the caption few days back i was sold and literally thanked Allah k kisi ne to bat badli. These two people are so full of energy and love and i love their approach towards their relationship. I've been in a relationship for 7 years, half married (nikkahfied ok) for 2,in a very long distance relationship. We both have the same bossy attitudes and had the same teenage early 20s crisis AT THE SAME TIME ( we are age fellows 24 right now :D) I feel my relationship is the happiest most easiest thing in my life right now because we worked hard for our relationship and yeah it was never served in a dish to us.It is definitely out attitudes that make things easy or hard. So bajees you should take a chill pill and probably should live in the moment rather thinking of it as a sar ka dard. You always evolve through your relationships either intimate or platonic just like She mentioned in the post. Everything is easy if you THINK and MAKE it easy.
    Ps this emotional writing has nothing to do with grammar etc so avoid being judgmental . :) MASHALLAH for Shehzeen and Nabeel. ��

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    1. I love you Ramaisa. A few people misinterpreted my intent and message behind the post, your comment lit up my day.

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  29. I have been a very vocal supporter of you, your blog and yes your relationship but on this one, I think your point of view is slightly skewed. I'm not trying to point at you because at the end of the day, everyone judges life and its dealings based on his/her own experiences.
    Just because I got a first class education at a great school does not entitle me to say, oh the education system in Pakistan is not so shitty.
    Point being that this post is bringing so much negative (and positive) reaction because perhaps for the first time since I've read this blog, you've tried (could be wrong) to assert your experience as the only one.

    "Marriage is hard work is an excuse to stay in shitty relationships". No, just no on so many levels. What if you had fallen in love with someone from another sect or religion while being in Pakistan? Would you be saying the same thing? Or what if Nabeel's family had not been this cooperative (trust me families can wreck havoc)?
    These are just two simple examples. Your case is ideal mashallah and God bless you always but please do not consider it to be the absolute truth.

    Relationships DO take work. Not always in themselves but in circumstances surrounding them.

    Much Love,
    - Mahnoor

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    1. It is unfortunate that a few people misinterpreted the point of this post. My point was all around building perspective. I've seen many women alienate their spouses because of difficult circumstances when they can easily work together - blame the situation Vs blame the partner. And in some cases compromise their happiness to no end to make it work with a difficult person because society said so or because they're conditioned to believe that this is what it is. This was the point of my post, I have never assumed my relationship to be the only one, I can only speak from experience which is why I used my relationship as an example. You like others have objected to this by asking me "what I would have done if x" with the simple assumption that my life has been a walk in the park. I've shared perspective, that's all that matters to me in life, I don't give struggles weight in my life because that's not who I am, but that doesn't mean I haven't faced anything. Anyway, I'm grateful to the hundreds of people who understood the message and took it in the right spirit.

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  30. I've followed you for years and have NEVER commented but this post just pushed me to say something. I've been married for two years. Did not have the best beginning. I was immature and careless. Every time I saw posts from you about your relationship I felt inspired to do more to make my relationship better. I worked on my behavior with my husband. I gave him feedback on his. I feel so happy mashallah. You are a beacon of light in an otherwise dark, soulless desi world where speaking your mind or questioning the status quo is worthy of attacking someone for. I love your blog, I love your spirit. Never stop blogging. Never stop inspiring. You saved me from ruining my marriage. I love you. I love you. I love you. Never change.

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    1. I felt like a creep thinking that but totally the same for me! I am always so inspired by her. Me and my sister both discuss the relationship posts like nutty stalkers :$

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    2. Thank you. It's so generous of you to say that, it totally made my day.

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  31. You have won my heart all over again here: "It's not the first time someone, unfortunately in most cases a woman, has taken the entire credit of my relationship and given it to my husband or all my of own life decisions and choices and attributed them to luck, so I'll let this go"

    You are a wonder woman :)

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  32. Perhaps a lot of people have missed the point here and some have actually proven what Shehzeen says has weight. The anonymous lady married for 10 years says she is proud of the struggles she has faced and has put her relationship first, that is exactly what Shehzeen has said. All the things like long distance relationship, difficult pregnancies are ‘conditions’ and not relationship. So maybe you can complain about life being hard and not relationships!

    For the funny lady who says she doesn’t do anything for Nabeel, I have never seen her do anything without Nabeel. She doesn’t really have a very active social life. Her activities and life revolves around her husband which is something even most desi girls don’t do. She doesn’t shop and is always all dressed up for her husband (again, many desi girls don’t even do despite all the aunties telling her to). She keeps the house clean and tidy and greets him cheerfully. Yes, this is what I have concluded from the snapchats that the funny lady has also seen. Perhaps, it is only about perception and pessimistic approach you have in life.

    And Shehzeen – Sorry but Self pity sells more. If this post was about a grieving woman complaining about her cruel husband, you would have seen how scores of people would have sympathized with you. Happiness is difficult to digest.

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    1. Your first paragraph is everything :) EXACTLY what the point of the post was about with no intention to judge or make anyone feel small, just about building perspective. Thank you for this.

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  33. I wish everyone gets to feel this way about relationships. If I'd read this three years ago I would have slammed it as total bs, but I then I met my current partner and he has changed my word. And its completely true that it only gets better and more loving with time.
    G.

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  34. Although, this post has been referred, criticized and appreciated to death I would still like to comment. I read your blog regularly and share your articles with my friends or whosoever it related to. The point is you are a part of my life in a positive way [and kudos to you for bringing positive energy into the lives of readers in an endearing way]. So when I read this article of yours I shared it with my fiancé and asked him to share his opinion. We had a good heart to heart discussion. For me it was more about exploring our perspectives and opinions and finding whats best for this relationship. It’s a n arranged rishta so I don’t know much about each other and about our families. I used this article as a case in point to talk about my fears and my expectations and my fiancé did the same. I loved how you put it: We've actually downsized our living situation over the last five years, we didn't upgrade cars, we own even less than before (all personal choices). Every year of our life has not been compounded by a material milestone
    I shared this very article with my long distance American friend who lives in America [of course] and talked about friendship and what is the best way to develop any relationship based on what you said, ‘Great relationships (even the platonic ones - best friends/parents) only make life easier. Better. More content’.
    When i shared the article with him, i wrote a small note for him based on how I see my friendship with him. Also, because of different cultural backgrounds our friendship is challenging. My friend loved the article as well my note.
    All I know is that you are an example for many women out there , who have nowhere to turn to except those hefty traditional women in the family who tell you, ‘baita, chup ker k zindagi guzarna sekho, shoher k agay naheen bolna, baron ki izzat karo chahaye wo ghalat he kiyon na hoon, sjadi say pehlay mangaytuur say kiyon baat kerti ho? ‘ and the list goes on.
    So I would some it up. For me you are a long distant online acquaintance who jas developed a relationship with readers coz after all relationships are ‘actually the only things that make hard things better’
    LOVE
    MBS

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    1. Oh MBS, you made my heart explode :) Thank you for such, such kind words.

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