Finding the perfect balance between marriage, parenting and law school

By Harun Bin Johari

In continuation to an article written in 2015 entitled “Why we got married at 18”, I believe that it is time to reflect on some experiences and challenges faced as a bachelor’s degree student, a husband, a father, and a colleague to university mates. Both of us are now graduands of the IIUM, parents of 2 daughters, and individuals teaching for the Muslim community in Tokyo, Japan.

It was our choice, and it caused no regrets. It wasn’t an easy path, nor was it impossible.

We felt that our journey after marriage has been blessed with many forms of rizq. From financial scholarships, kind family members, and uncommon opportunities. Alhamdulillah, Ni’mah conceived children to care for in 2017 and 2019, when we were still both students, but that did not prevent us from finishing our bachelor’s degrees and participating in university programs.

We are very grateful to those who have lent a helping hand and supported us in times of need.

Despite all of the blessings mentioned, there were other forms of blessings in disguise, in the form of challenges. These challenges were what made us grow and develop strength, patience and resilience.

There were challenges in achieving financial stability to pay for our university fees, accomodation, transportation and expenses for our daily needs. We also faced challenges in understanding each other’s unique personalities which is an inevitable process in all marriages. We even struggled to find productive time to finish university assignments and do night jobs, while looking after the children, and were careful not to burden others.

To finish the daunting tasks required sacrifice, consumption of energy, time for entertainment, sleep, and prioritizing more urgent matters.

But at the same time, there were moments where Allah s.w.t has blessed us with productivity that was seemed easy to achieve; tasks that would usually take long hours to accomplish suddenly could be completed within a few hours.

Alhamdulillah, with the blessing from Allah s.w.t. I have graduated with a first class honours, am eligible for the Rector’s List and I have received several awards.

Through my experience, these are some reflections I would like to share:

1. Readiness for marriage is subjective

If one is worried of stepping into a marriage due to financial instability, Allah (s.w.t) has provided in the Quran, in Surah An-Nur:32 that He will enrich those who are poor from his Rizq, from His bounties.

“Get the unmarried ones among you married, as well as the righteous slave men and slave women. If they are poor, Allah will make them independent by His grace” (Surah Nur, verse: 32).

It is our responsibility to plan and execute our plan, but He is the best of planners and the source of all wealth. Rizq does not come solely in the form of money, but time, health, knowledge and most importantly, tranquility.

2. Marriage is a life changing process for those who are willing to experience it

Although financial stability could be a measurement of one’s independence, marriage is not a destination especially designed for people who are financially successful. Marriage is part of a life changing process that promotes mental maturity, fosters responsibility, assists partners to develop better communication and understanding, and at times allows them to develop persistence, patience and tolerance.

A perfect marriage would come from understanding and accepting the imperfections of the partner and the marriage.

Furthermore, it is extremely crucial to understand that a marriage requires commitment, patience and a strong intention to cooperate and understand one another.

I believe that when one says, “I want to find a partner who understands and is happy for who I am,” implies that he or she has reached the perfect character and does not need to improve in any way, and that the partner should accept him or her for whom he or she is. Setting high expectations for the other would be detrimental to the marriage.

3. Marriage requires mutual sacrifice

It isn’t about how much we get back in return for every favor done, but how much we are willing to sacrifice and collect rewards for the hereafter.

Count our blessings we have received, every favor done for us, surely uncountable and immeasurable. In sha Allah, it will be easier for us to be grateful in the future.

Lastly, with the right intention, efforts, good understanding and acceptance, things will be within one’s capacity to manage. Put the trust in Allah, and always be thankful to His blessings. I certainly didn’t manage to go through law school without the support given by my family, especially my parents and wife, as well as the understanding of my peers and lecturers.

With this, I have officially closed my chapter in the IIUM. I hope this writing could benefit anyone facing hardship In Sha Allah.***

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