As salamu aleikum, Beautiful 😉 We have all gone through this whole ‘pleasure’ of learning about our new family’s culture. Since a wife marries off of her family she goes into another with her husband leading the way, but how many times you have been disappointed once you felt so outrageously pressured to assimilate as if your previous background was an unwelcome noise? I’m sure you can relate. You, yourself have gone through that or have a friend, if not couple of friends, who have shared with you their stories. It’s just so common that such stories are being shared with a slight normality factor ‘You know, you cannot avoid that. I not only married him, but also a full package. Ha. Ha. Ha’.
I can still recall as if it was yesterday… The beginning years of my marriage. Beautiful. New. Scary. Promising.
And as anyone else I have had a certain image of how marriage should be. There may be arguments, but we would find the solutions and from there on it would be a smooth ride. How wrong I was (if you are veteran wife, you may be laughing your lungs out, I know;)) and I came from completely different cultural background…
Just what was normal and accepted to me was so different and somewhat strange in my new found situation. You may have been raised the same as me – you need to study well, get a good job, marry good guy, have two kids and juggle family with work commitments while keeping your outer appearance to the top standards.
Yeah, right, and once you got married you got the pleasure of staying at home with your differently raised darling telling you that your place is in the kitchen.
Or better, you parents-in-law think that you are absurdly alien and too rigid. A.k.a ‘that European’ (or any kind of ‘THAT’for that matter).
Tried to pull out the ‘But that’s not sunnah and has no basis in Islam’. How well did it go? 😀 Only an eye roll or active suppression of you knowledge form now on?
You see, there is nothing wrong with having cultural differences. I certainly wouldn’t have learned sooooo many things if I was not thrown into completely different environment that I have grew up in and with.
But how do you keep a balance, especially, when cultural differences are being pushed down your throat as a legit thing and now you are being an outcast?
First of all, you are a Muslim and what is Islamic is OK and what is not is simply not.
Many women, me included, we go over the top to please our husbands and his relatives with a near nationality change just to fit in and stop feeling like some weirdos.
And what we get in the end? ‘The look’.
Yeah, that look which reminds us that we are ‘THAT’ and however hard we will try to fit in it will always be the ‘cute’ thing.
Answer to that is…
Stop trying to be everything and everyone to your husband and his family. You are European, Asian, American, Middle Eastern, North African, African what’s the big deal.
You are a Muslimah and that’s enough. Keep being polite and keep obeying Allah.
Don’t let yourself to be dragged into ‘fit in or die’ trap.
Smile. Enjoy the differences. Enjoy the experience.
I have many friends who have had really bitter experiences with their parents-in-law and once they stopped thinking how to be ‘it’ daughter-in-law their lives changed. They finally reached that balance in marriage, where there are healthy limits and both sides are fine with that.
You cannot change your family and you cannot change his family.
You don’t have to. It’s not a race, who will suck it up better.
My family have hardly gone over the fact that I got married with an Arab and I’m OK with that.
I do not expect my husband anything more that respect towards them, since they are my family.
And the same applies to me towards my in-laws. Of course, it helps that I can cook some traditional food and know how make small talk in their language (ehem, rather put my husband in trouble with the little skills that I have).
It’s all based on respect.
Yes you are a servant of Allah, a wife, a mother, a daughter-in -law, but the main goal in your life is to serve Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Keep it simple and keep it halal. If you find yourself unable to please everyone else around you, turn back to Allah and adjust your pleasing settings 😉
Take care of yourself.
Make du’a and enjoy your marriage.
Don’t stress over little things.
If you see yourself endlessly trying to fit in completely different culture that you married in with no results, STOP!
Enjoy who you are and enjoy the differences, cause that’s what makes the life so interesting, so colourful.
Now breathe in. Deeply.
And let go.
Oh you, servant of Allah.
Till next time, Beautiful 😉 As salamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
Your coach and sister in Islam,
Veronika al Mahdiyah.
Ps. need some help with cultural differences in your environment? Email me (email@example.com) and I may be able to help you 😉 in shaa Allah.