“So you are just going to go and leave me by myself?”
I get this question EVERY SINGLE TIME I tell a potential suitor about my passion for working with refugees, my travels abroad, and my intention to dedicate my life to help make life better for kids around the world — especially refugee children.
You would think that would be seen as a desirable quality, to have a partner who is kind and wants to serve others and rack up good deeds to earn Jannah (Heaven), right? Apparently, this is not the case for most of the guys that I’ve encountered. Instead, it is not a “wife” they are looking for; what they actually need is a babysitter, a personal chef, a 24/7 maid, and someone to pamper them and be by their side every second of every day (when the dude is not at work).
If a man truly loves Allah (SWT), then he should also love khair (goodness). If he loves Allah, then he would want you to keep doing the khair-filled work. If he is selfish and only wants you to be at home and take care of him, then he is only thinking of the dunya (this life on earth). Therefore, he does not truly love Allah if he is not willing to let the woman he supposedly loves go out and earn good deeds and take care of others.
When you’re married before you have children, you have more free time than when children come into the picture. I am not saying you should leave your husband and children and be gone all year long. I am saying do everything within reason. Spending a few weeks at a time is reasonable, especially when you have a strong network of relatives and family friends who would be willing to help watch the children — when they do come along.
While some more traditional men may have a preference of finding a wife who will stay at home, not all are looking for this. There are some that actually appreciate a strong woman who will help raise their children to be involved in community service and helping others. It is important to teach children through actions and not just words about how important charity and helping others is. And what better way to demonstrate that to them than by having them see their mother’s passion and see her in action?
To be clear – I am in no way insinuating that stay at home wives/mothers are not strong women. To be around tiny children all day long every hour of every day of the year is a strength in and of itself.
Beau Taplin stated in a beautiful quote once:
“Listen. A healthy relationship isn’t living vicariously through one another. True love isn’t someone being there at your side every moment of every day, but being free, and encouraged, to pursue your own passions, and then sharing in the spoils of your triumphs together.”
There’s a fire in my heart that I can’t put out, a passion that lives inside of me — it’s my purpose for living. That fire is the urge to continue serving humanity and to care for others in my capacity as a nurse, a healer and a human being. That’s the exact reason I decided to complete my doctorate, and the reason I am now completing a post-doctorate certificate in mental health.
Indeed, we are encouraged as Muslims to get married and fulfill half our deen. But it shouldn’t have to be that you either choose to get married and give up your passions in life, or decide never to get married and instead dedicate all your time to service. The point is that the right person should be loving, encouraging and most importantly, supportive of your passions and your desire to make this world a better place.
This has been a source of internal struggle for many of my dear friends who are in similar situations. They would love to keep doing the work they feel called to do, while also meeting the person who is proud of the work they are doing and wants to be their partner in all things beautiful and good for the world. Struggle is an understatement.
I will end on this positive note though. To all my dear sisters, please believe that amazing, loving, supportive, and humanitarian-driven guys do exist. They are out there, and they are looking for us, just as we are for them. Do not lose hope that you can have the best of both worlds. You definitely can continue to do what you were born to do, with someone amazing supporting you every step of the way. When he finally does come along, he will be better than you could have ever imagined. Don’t lose hope, and don’t let anyone ever try to tell you that he doesn’t exist. He does!
He is the one God has been saving for you, to be your partner in the dunya and akhira (afterlife) insh’Allah — after you work together to earn a spot in Jannah. Do your part now, and then everything will fall into place when God knows you both are ready. God created you and your heart full of khair, so God most certainly created someone for you who will love and understand you and your passions. It’s only a matter of time.
Stay hopeful and stay inspired!