My husband finally got his driver’s license on Saturday. The fact that he is in his mid-40s and learning how to drive may add humor to the situation. Months ago, I had gotten my license (I am in my mid-30s) and after he saw the perks of me driving him around, he vowed to get his own. His competitive nature definitely added light-hearted jokes to my driving experience and as time passed, I could sense a determination on his part to reclaim his ‘manhood’.
He soon enrolled in a driving center, which is required by Jordanian law, but on the weekends, I would allow him to drive me around our local neighborhood for extra illegal practice. We are both pretty busy these days, and fitting in those small moments together really sparked our connection at the end of the week AlhamduliLlah.
As the days built up to taking his written exam, I quizzed him with sample questions at dinner time. I drew road signs on my mini white board and asked him to guess the road rule. I am not the best artist, which caused us to burst out into laughter several times, especially when I drew the warning sign for ‘animals ahead’, which is the outline of a camel in Jordan. “What in the world is that?!” my husband exclaimed, struggling to make sense of what seemed like a blob of abstract art at a museum.
After he passed his written exam with a perfect score Masha’Allah, he was given a week to prep for his practical exam. I could sense his nervousness this time. Many people fail the practical exam the first time around in Jordan because they try to trick you as a way to ‘test’ your skills. He already has a lot on his plate and the thought of failing an examination that wasn’t entirely predictable added to the stress.
He went out by himself a few times as a test run, and two days before the exam, we went out together. I noticed that his driving had drastically improved since our last rendezvous. It was very smooth and he seemed more confident in his ability to maneuver the car. I told him the good that I saw – not once, not twice, but as many times as I felt that he needed to feel calm, even when he made mistakes. Each time I praised him, he seemed doubly relieved. He needed to hear something positive and my encouragement was more than welcomed.
I told him that I wanted to go with him to the exam center and I would wait until he was done, regardless of how long it took. He looked at me with a shy smile knowing how busy I am and innocently inquired, “You will stay with me?” I replied in the affirmative and made sure to get to bed on time so that I wouldn’t make him late for his appointment.
I didn’t sleep well that night, but this did not tempt me to back down from my promise. I knew that if I didn’t go, he would be crushed. He didn’t have to say it; I just knew. His body language told me more about how he was feeling than his spoken words.
It was a sunny spring morning and the weather added to our hopeful mood. I dropped him off at the exam center entrance and quickly tried to find a parking space. I didn’t want to miss the chance of seeing him take his practical exam.
We waited together until his name was called, watching other people attempt to get their license. We studied their mistakes and commented on their driving like judges at a football tournament, each taking the microphone to say their piece. It was fun. Actually, we made it fun. We weren’t at some fancy outing but it was spending time together with a good laugh that mattered the most.
They finally called my husband’s name and he ran off in a split second. After studying different drivers take their exam, he now had the insight that he needed to succeed. I watched him get into the car and waited on the side cheering him on in my heart. I silently made dua for his success and read Ayat al Kursi. He drove off in a calm manner and disappeared from my eyesight to complete the course. I quickly glanced at my watch. I knew he would ask me how long he took to attempt the exam so I made sure to time it.
As he returned less than ten minutes later, my anxiousness grew. I wanted him so badly to pass. I stood on my tippy toes in order to give myself extra height to see him parallel park. He seemed to do okay but it wasn’t perfect. They told him to pull over to the side and get out of the car for his results. He looked over and shot me a look of uncertainty. Then I saw him discussing his exam with the police officer and soon enough a huge smile appeared on his face. He found my eyes and gave a thumbs up with his hand. My heart skipped with joy.
I rushed over to him. “I passed,” he said gleefully. “Congratulations!!!” I exclaimed with joy. We walked together to the office part of the exam center and waited until they called his name to receive his license.
As we exited the center, I asked for him to drive us home. He happily got into the driver’s seat and buckled his seatbelt. I immediately started talking about how I would contact his family and tell them the good news. We drove for a short while in silence – both busied with different thoughts.
“I love you,” my husband said out of nowhere. “Wwwhat?” I stumbled. I was completely caught off guard by his openness – he is not the emotionally expressive type. “Wait, why?” I asked, still confused at his random declaration. “Because you support me,” he said with bright eyes. I placed my hand on his hand and said, “I love you too. I am so proud of you.”
People often come to me with their marriage problems. Although every situation is unique, the one piece of advice that I can give which is applicable to everyone across the board is: cherish the small moments together.
A good marriage is based upon nurturing consistent happy, small moments together over a long stretch of years. In today’s times, people look for a quick fix for their marriage problems – a date night here, a counseling session there, a family outing once a year.
These are all helpful action steps but they are only band-aid solutions to creating a good long-term relationship. You don’t need to spend any money or dedicate big chunks of time in order to have a good marriage. The truth is that happy couples make the most out of their small moments together, and they use those times as a way to connect by way of chit chat, smiles, jokes, flirting, kind words, and physical touch.
The Prophet ﷺ taught us that the blessing (baraka) is in small, consistent works for Allah’s sake. If you want to turn your marriage around, then focus on making the most out of the simple, small stuff.
Encourage each other. Support each other. Love each other. Spend time together. Don’t hold back! Do it whenever you can. It is all worship to Allah Most High. When you give your marriage a daily dose of happy moments, you will see the blessing in your relationship inshaAllah.
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© Muslima Coaching, 2019.