If You’re a Lucky Guy…

South Asian Desi Indian Wedding Groom

If you’re a lucky guy… you have #1 or #2:

  1. Your mom is mature and always encourages you to put your partner first in your life.
  2. Your dad has shown you how to put a partner first in your life by putting your mom first in his life.

If you’re super lucky, you have #1 and #2. This means you’re well-prepared to be a good husband.

However, the reality is that most men don’t have #1 or #2. This is the reason why men struggle to give their wives her rightful place in life – it’s because you’ve never been taught how to do that. And so naturally, you will follow what is familiar to you – the old patriarchal pattern that you’ve observed as a child.

The resulting impact? Your marriage will be a replica of your parents’ marriage. Now if that’s not the kind of marriage you want, then keep reading…

You look to your family for validation and approval. And your need for approval is even greater when it comes to choosing a partner. You’re not even aware of these thoughts; it all happens on a lower level of consciousness.

When your family (particularly your mother) disapproves of your partner, even slightly, you feel ashamed for choosing (falling for) someone who doesn’t fit into your family. Your mother’s disapproval of your wife creates psychological pain for you and makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. You might try to rid yourself of that feeling by either fighting against your mom or rejecting your partner, both of which will lead you down a path of disappointment and unhappiness.

There’s good news — choosing one or the other isn’t the answer.

Before we get to the answer, let’s take a minute to compare your unconscious assumptions with reality:

  Assumption Reality
1. You assume your wife’s transition into your family will be easy and that you do not need to do anything. Change is never easy. Since you’re the connecting party between your wife and your family, it is your responsibility to lead this transition. The more proactive you are, the better it will be.
2. You assume your family is selfless and that your mother acts only in your best interest. No one is selfless, even if they claim to be. And no one knows what’s best for you except you. To uncover motives, you need to apply empathy and ask: what is my family (or mother) trying to gain or avoid losing in this situation?
3. You assume your family will warmly welcome your wife and pat you on the back for a job well done. No one likes change. Your family is experiencing status quo bias, which means they have a strong preference for things to remain as they are and any change will be strongly rejected. You should expect your family to reject your wife because she represents change, but that does not mean you should tolerate it.
4. You assume that if your family rejects your wife, you might have picked the wrong person to marry. Your family’s rejection of your wife may plant doubt in your mind, but you must remain firm and tactfully counter this behavior. It is your responsibility to create a fully positive image of your wife in your family, act in solidarity even when she is not physically present, and shield her from all possible forms of rejection.
5. You assume your wife will work tirelessly in the face of that rejection and eventually win them over. You know your family best and therefore, you must take the initiative to warn your wife about all the ways your family may reject her. You must take the brunt of the rejections, assure her that you will take the lead in easing her transition, and allow her to come to you with grievances and/or suggestions.

So now let’s tackle the final answer – how do you lead in this transition without having to pick your wife or your mother?

It starts with a very simple conversation, where you say this:

“Mom, you know I love you so much and I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me. As I take this next step in my life, I want to ask you for something.

I want to show my wife-to-be that you have raised me to be a great husband and that I come from a warm, loving family. I want us to do this together.  

Can I count on you to welcome my wife into our family and making her feel loved and fully accepted?”

The Gift of Faith

 

My grandmother passed away 23 days ago, at the age of 84, and left behind a handful of stories which will continue to shape my life forever.

My grandfather taught my grandmother our Dua, the set of prescribed prayers for Ismaili Muslims all around the world, in 1957 when Prince Karim Aga Khan became our 49th Imam.

Four years later, my grandmother was widowed at the age of 28, and left to raise 6 children on her own in a studio apartment in Karachi, Pakistan. She worked as a maid in 10 homes, earning a total of 20 rupees a month, with no days off.

Many people observed her difficult situation and offered financial support for a price: renouncing her faith and severing ties with the Ismaili community.

Her conviction was clear: “My faith is not for sale.”

She brought home other peopleʼs leftovers to feed her children and dressed them in used clothing, but never compromised her faith.

This is the narrative of our family: we face challenges head-on, we donʼt lose hope, and we never give up.

But where did she find her courage to persevere and the will to carry on? How did she not lose hope?

There was only one guiding light in her life: the Imam of the Time. And today, weʼre celebrating 60 years of his guidance.

For me, this is also celebration of my grandparentsʼ steadfast faith, and particularly my grandmotherʼs dedication to it – for as far back as I can remember, she woke up every morning at 4am to meditate for an entire hour.

This is greatest gift she could have passed down to our family. Through a few minutes of daily meditation, Iʼm able to connect with the source of true strength, even during the darkest moments in my life.

My grandmother will be dearly missed during this Jubilee. This is the first time we wonʼt have her as the “designated meeting spot” for my huge family in Chicago, looking after our shoes, jackets, purses, kids, etc.

This is also the first time that all of us will not be gathering in one city – my brother is in Seattle, my parents and family in Chicago, and I’m in London – truly becoming a family of global citizens and weaving together stories from all over the world. #onejamat #soblessed

Diamond Jubilee Mubarak from Sabrina.jpg

Goodnight Mama

7

My soul awakens
At all odd hours
Crying for food
Wanting to be held

Are we there yet?
She asks as she looks
out of the window

A sandbox of time

She sees herself
playing as a child
Then playing with
her own child

She builds up castles
And then whoosh!
With a bucket of water
Knocks it down herself

Tires herself out
Falling back into
deep slumber

Cycles of spurring activity
And then Brahma rests

Whispering goodnight mama
I’ll see you tonight.

Two Become One

6

Jame Mosque of Yazd

Two candles in the sky
Pointed to oneness

Like the two wings
of a butterfly

The sea-saw motion
Of love and hope

They are mirrored
In my own body

I have two eyes
But one vision

Two parents
But one life

Dual lights
of confluence

Both majestic
and merciful

In the here and now
And the before and after

Both, the palm upon which I walk
and the fire that burns beneath it

Both call me home

To this divine infinity
And beautiful unity

Of You
And Me.

Pond of Light

Somewhere, deep within us
Shadows encircle a pond of Light

Befriend them one by one
Offer them a listening ear

Put your hand on your heart
Speak softly and say Salaam

How quickly it sets them at ease
Say: I have heard your cry for help

What is it that has hurt you?

Do not worry my friend,
I’ve brought patience and love

Let me hold you a little while
Come, let your heart hear my heart

As I offer you the peace of my arms
A sacred space for your healing

Tell me your story and lighten your load
Let me be your caravanserai

You have a long journey ahead
Let’s fill these wounds with Light
So that even in your shadows,
you will find endless Light.

 

saadis-tomb

Saadi’s Tomb in Shiraz, Iran

 

 

 

Alamut Castle

O Alamut!

O sister of Al-Azhar and Dar al-Hikmah,
O beautiful nest of shooting stars,
I’ve come to pay homage to you.

O safe haven of intellectual vitality,
O gatherer of scholars and scientists,
I’ve come to bow my head in your honor.

“But I am ruined – can’t you see? I couldn’t save the libraries…” she responded.

O preserver of tradition,
O birther of new knowledge,
Mistake not the letters for the Light,
The Light is eternal and the legacy has continued!

Come, let’s dance in the Light and set everything ablaze – watch new academies form right before your eyes!

 

alamut-castle