Right now I’m sitting in a hospital.
I am waiting for my husband, Joe. He is gowned and unconscious, undergoing a surgery called a discectomy, where they cut a teeny tiny hole in his lower back and shave away the bulging disc that’s been infringing on his sciatic nerve for five months.
This bulging disc has likely been in progress for years — decades, even. Years of poor posture and carrying toddlers and stacking wood has contributed to the slow pop of an unhappy disc. And finally, a heavy deadlift at Crossfit was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
About an hour ago I watched while Joe undressed and put on his pale blue hospital gown. I watched him kick off the new brown shoes I made him buy during a recent trip to the outlets, so I could get a pair of orange suede heels half off.
Dressed in light blue scrubs, the surgeon popped into the room just as Joe settled into the hospital bed. The two of them started to go over the procedure, to talk about how Joe would not breathe on his own during the two-hour surgery. I focused my gaze on the toe of his brown shoe sticking out of the shiny bag.
And I thought; this is marriage. One day you’re shopping for shoes at the outlets and just a few weeks later, the new shoes your husband reluctantly bought for himself will sit, discarded, in a room down the hall while someone else breathes for him.
I write a lot about raising our five kids and our son Jack’s autism and teamwork and blah blah blah-dey blah. But the truth is, some days this marriage is so hard. It is so hard I can barely breathe. No one — and I do mean no one — makes me as angry, as frustrated, as enraged, as this man does.
The biggest argument we’ve ever had — and believe me, we’ve had some doozies — was over Oreos. Yes, you read that right: the biggest fight I’ve ever had with my husband was over a chocolate wafer cookie. (To be fair, they were double-stuffed, and I think that ups the ante a bit.)
We’d been married less than a year, and I had to go to a dinner for work. It was incredibly boring, and I spent most of the long evening nodding my head and looking forward to going home, climbing into my pajamas, and eating a few cookies before bed.
I walked into our apartment just in time to see Joe holding the empty blue cellophane bag — plastic cookie divider cast aside on the floor — and shaking the last of the chocolate crumbs into his mouth.
I was outraged. How selfish! How greedy and thoughtless and disgusting. Before long, the argument took on a life of its own, launching itself from a Nabisco product to everything that was wrong with us as a couple. You never think about anyone but yourself! You overreact to everything!
We didn’t speak for days.
In the middle of huge arguments like ‘The Great Oreo Fight,’ I often have the sensation I am teetering on the edge of a large abyss, that Joe and I are separated by the deepest chasm. Married, yes. But also so very alone.
I know divorce. I’ve personally experienced three divorces, not one of which has been my own. I am not afraid of divorce. But somehow, thus far, Joe and I have always managed to cross the gulf that separates us. To buy a new bag of Oreos and move on.
This is marriage. It is standing on the edge of the abyss and saying, I choose to stay. Today, I will stay.
As Joe’s leg pain worsened and two cortisone shots did nothing to help the inflammation, to relieve the pressure on his aggravated nerve, it became clear that surgery was the next step.
Once he explained the recovery to me — no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for six weeks, no driving for two, no twisting or bending — I developed a plan for him. He would go to his parents for at least a week, where he could rest and recuperate without a 55-pound four-year old launching at him like a cannonball. When he came home I would drive him back and forth to work.
But Joe didn’t want this. He didn’t want to go to his parents for that long and he didn’t want me driving him around and in general he didn’t want me to be the boss of him. It was infuriating.
I confided in Jack’s psychologist when we met to talk about his anxiety over fire drills, figuring she would take my side. She didn’t.
Instead she said, “I hear fear in your voice. So why do you go straight to anger? Stay with the fear a moment. Let yourself feel it.”
Sitting on her light brown couch with a giant Elmo peering over my shoulder, I did. I let myself feel my fear.
For the first time since June, I talked about how scared I was to see Joe’s health decline, to see him wait ten minutes before getting out of the car. I wept describing how he struggled to toss the football with the boys and twirl our daughter Rose in the air.
How terrifying it is to see the strongest man I know falter.
This is marriage.
A few years ago I got up in the middle of the night for some water. I walked towards the door as Joe came out of the bathroom, and when we passed each other sleepily he reached out his arms and hugged me for a long moment.
For days afterwards I lived with that moment in my heart and my mind. I marveled that this person could love me so instinctively, so thoroughly, to reach out half awake and embrace me without even thinking about it.
It is this memory I cling to like a life preserver when the storms of marital rage and frustration sweep over me. This is the Joe I am thinking of now.
Shifting a little in my hard plastic chair, I go online and look up Webster-Merriam’s definition of marriage. It uses weird words like state of being united and recognized by law and intimate union.
But to me, it’s so much more.
It is sitting in a hospital fifteen years later and realizing it wasn’t about the cookies after all, that I went straight to anger in order to avoid the really scary thoughts; you don’t love me enough and I have made a mistake and this marriage will never work. To avoid my fear.
It is finding grace again and again in the small gestures; buying shoes and eating Oreos and spontaneously embracing in the dark hours of the night.
It is complicated and raw and tender and long and giddy and miserable and scary and exhausting and exhilarating and broken and yet whole and I know this is a lot of adjectives but they’re all true.
It is waiting, waiting, waiting for the surgeon in the blue scrubs to tap me on the shoulder and tell me it all went fine, that within a few hours my husband will slip on his new brown shoes and walk out of the door — sore from surgery, groggy from anesthesia, but free of the live wire that has electrified his leg for the past five months.
That he is breathing on his own so I don’t have to do it alone.
This is marriage.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Halima and I'm from Gauteng, South Africa and my husband (Arshad) is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; we are both South African Indians.
He liked my profile on muzmatch on the 8th of April 2018 and on the 9th we started chatting and Alhamdulillah, today we are husband and wife.
About a month before I joined muzmatch I remember speaking to my mother in the kitchen as we cooked supper and she had full confidence that I'd be getting married soon.
I told her that I felt that maybe I'm just not meant to get married and be happy, taking into consideration that I personally felt like one could never find a decent man whose intention is to make Nikah in this day and age.
My Moulana had recommended that I join Nikah/Muslim match-making groups and muzmatch populated amongst my searches, so I downloaded the app and registered. After a while I had lost hope so I deleted the app from my phone but did not deactivate my profile.
It was a Monday morning, I had woken up to get ready for work,
I checked my phone and I had an email notification from muzmatch which read "Arshad likes you".
I was quite surprised; I looked at his profile and his biography was quite captivating but it seemed so surreal - this was too good to be true.
I used the link in his bio to view his Facebook profile, we had a mutual friend which was my cousin that also resides in Kwa-Zulu Natal, so I felt a bit more assured that this is definitely real considering that I had started to think that this could potentially be a catfish.
We started chatting that very morning and there was an instant click. It felt like we were long lost friends because of how well we understood each other and could complete each others sentences. We had the same interests and the same intention; we could speak for hours on end without running out of things to say.
We had realized that we are most definitely soulmates.
Within 2 weeks he called my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. In July 2018 (21st), I booked a flight to visit him and his mum for the day and after spending time together we knew that this was the right decision and that Allah SWT had created us for each other.
We then saw each other once again in August 2018 (25th - A surprise for my 21st birthday planned by him and my mum); and again in November 2018 when he flew up to attend my younger sister's wedding with his mum, younger sister and brother-in-law.
Slowly the long distance had become difficult, our younger sisters were both already married and settled and we started wondering when would we actually get married. In February this year he decided to relocate to Gauteng and found a temporary job.
His dad visited my parents and they decided to set a Nikah date, Alhamdulillah once the date was set everything fell into place by the will of Allah. He found a job as a PC Engineering lecturer and we were able to find our own place with our parents help and support.
Today I am happily married, living my dream with my husband and I have wonderful in-laws that love me as much as they love Arshad.
The most important quality I wanted in a husband was someone that could take my family as his own and Alhamdulillah I found that in Arshad.
We are now a huge happy family Alhamdulillah.
Jazak'Allah muzmatch! Arshad has found me due to the creation of this wonderful app (He always says that he found me, not the other way around).
I would advise everyone to put their trust and faith in Allah SWT, never give up hope that Allah SWT will send the one who is meant for you when the time is right - for Allah is the greatest of planners. May all the other individuals find their spouses through this app as well Insha'Allah.
Halima & Arshad
My name is Yasmeen and I found my husband, Taymoor, on muzmatch on the last day of last ramadan. We were both divorced.
The first time we talked on muzmatch was in June and we got married one month later in August 2018. I always wanted to send our story to inspire others who are searching for a good husband and wife.
We are both Egyptians, from Cairo, we even work & live very near to each others in New Cairo city. I am a digital marketing manager and Taymoor is an IT manager. I am 37 years old and he is 40.
I have a daughter who is 12 years old, and I was searching for a real Muslim man who would be a good husband and father. Finally I found Taymoor, who is a good man and a good Muslim, he is very kind.
I am telling my friends that I found someone who really looks like me from the inside. He was divorced and also has a kid, who is 5 years old. When we first chatted on muzmatch we spoke for over 6 hours, he was surprised much we got on, he even thought that this was a prank!
I couldn't believe that I finally found the man I was looking for. The first time we met, was after Eid al futr, in the House of Cocoa, as Taymoor knew that I loved chocolate. We talked about ourselves for over six hours, I did not want to leave and neither did he.
After we met I told my family and friends, and he did too. He and his family visited us and we got married in only two months, I never imagined that I would find my soulmate and marry him that fast.
I always wanted to find a man to trust and love, after being a single mom for years, I found out that my dream man was hard to find, but alhamdullah I found him on your app.
Alhamdullah, we are very happy together, my daughter lives with us and his son visits us on the weekends. You cannot imagine how much I am now recommending muzmatch to all my friends.
It didn't even take me long to find my husband. I used the app for almost one month or less.
I am so happy alhamdullah now that I married a real muslim I always wanted.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Sara and I just wanted to thank muzmatch and let you know that I finally got engaged on 24th December 2018 and found my Fiance - Ghazunfar on the App.
We are really happy Alhamdulilah and just wanted to thank you for creating a platform for Muslims to find a suitable match for marriage!
I believe it's a real blessing because initially we matched but we didn't talk as he hadn't read my messages and was not appearing online. After around 4 weeks, I unmatched however after some weeks I logged in and I came across his profile again. After some giving it some thought I decided to rematch and give it a try again.
The next day he replied to me and the is history. Its been a almost a year since we matched on Muzmatch and we have set the Nikkah date which will be 1st March 2019 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Our families are very happy and we are looking forward to entering into the blessed union of marriage Insha'Allah. We just wanted to say keep up the good work, may Allah bless you and request that you keep us in prayers.
One last thing to everyone using the muzmatch App - please do not give up, there is someone out there for us all!
Get married, free, on muzmatch.