February 15th, 3.48 a.m., London. I looked at my phone. Apparently, it’s 2°C outside. It also says here that it’s snowing, but, perhaps because it’s too dark, I can’t see any snow through the window.
I touched the surface of the window. If a kid touches it for the first time, she might think that windows are not made of glass, but of ice. Because it’s warmer inside, water vapour condensed on the surface of the window — my touch leaves marks on it.
I wrote “FAITH.”
In a few hours, I will become a husband. There perhaps a thousand reasons why one should get married. In my personal reflection, these are three of them:
1. Marriage makes you courageous
If you are young and you haven’t found this out already, you will learn that romantic relationships are, in fact, less “romantic” than what is portrayed in most songs and movies. What often escapes the cheerful lines of musical poetries and scenes of romantic comedies is the reality that love can be a tremendous source of pain. Once you start to deeply care about someone, you risk being hurt.
Wait. Scratch that. It is not a risk, it’s a fact: You WILL, at times, be hurt.
So to commit to be with someone for the rest of your life — despite knowing that fact — is, without a doubt, an act of Courage.
And you will wear that Courage as an armour throughout your journey in life. It toughens you up. You become what Paulo Coelho refers to as a Warrior of Light. He said, “I’m not saying that love always takes you to heaven. Your life can become a nightmare. But that said, it is worth taking the risk.”
The risk is worth it for one simple reason: “You will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”
2. Marriage refines your Ego
In the Sufi tradition, you can’t actually get rid of the Ego or your sense of “I” completely and forever.
Even when the elites experience moments of annihilation (fana’) of the Ego, it is not a perpetual state. They will indeed come back into this world, renewed.
So, it’s not about the disappearance of the Ego, but rather the transformation of it.
It is an arduous process of transforming the Commanding Ego, Ammara (as in commanding oneself to things that destroy him or her, like one’s addiction to drugs, food, or money), through seven stages, into the Purified Ego, Safiyyah.
A sincere commitment to marriage is part of that journey (that’s why celibacy is extremely rare among Muslim ascetics). It makes you sail beyond the border of your Self, bringing you to care more about another person than about you.
It violently shatters the selfish structure of the Ego, so that, from its pieces, you are allowed to rebuild it, and to refine it, into its purer, selfless form.
3. Marriage amplifies your experience of Life
Why then would you need to marry someone to gain the Courage of a Warrior of Light, or to refine your Ego?
Can’t you just do it being on your own?
Perhaps you can, but never at the same intensity. Because the experience of Life is amplified when we share it with someone else.
Answer this: Is it the same watching a football match or a concert, on your phone, in your room by yourself; compared to sharing the experience in a huge stadium with 70 000 others who share your love towards the athletes and the artists?
Sharing your life and committing it to a marriage intensifies every beautiful moment of your experience of Life. And that makes it worth the pain and the spiritual struggle that come with it.
In a few hours, I will become a husband. I understand that there is no guarantee whether I’ll be good at it, or whether this marriage will bring me closer to peace and happiness.
It is quite a leap into the unknown.
A leap that I am willing to take.
Here’s the reason I wrote that word on my window: As much as it is a sign of love — perhaps more than a sign of love — a marriage is a leap of FAITH.