Marriage (not the wedding) completes half of one’s faith according to the hadith. With the way modern weddings are being celebrated, you would think it was the other way round. And it’s not just in Nigeria, it is a global trend: ostentatious weddings, destination weddings, themed weddings (or weddings in theme parks), over-the-top renewal of vows (not seen any Muslim ones though)…
Don’t get me wrong. A wedding is a beautiful thing and should be celebrated as a memorable day but the effort, detail, stress, agony and money that goes into it, at the detriment of the marriage itself, is disheartening. Some couples are even in debt after the wedding! If only we invested as heavily in preparing for our marriages, divorce rates would actually begin to drop. We could attend pre-marriage counselling sessions, wedding seminars, discuss with married friends and relatives, and work on improving our manners, hygiene and Islam.
In Suratul Rum 30, He mentioned creating wives that men may find repose in, and between them is affection and mercy. Is it merciful to expect our husbands-to-be to squander all their life-savings on our wedding? ‘In that are signs for a people who reflect.’ We spend lavishly; eating, drinking, dancing and laughing (or frowning) only to spend the next couple of months pretty broke!
Immediately after the wedding, we are rushing to count how much we made from gifts of money and being ‘sprayed’. Few things stress a marriage like lack of money. Husband becomes cranky as reality kicks in, wifey is disappointed she cannot afford to go shopping with her friends, and can’t afford to host guests as wonderfully as she did in her father’s house or as a spinster.
God forbid if they have infertility issues which require specialist treatment (infertility is on the rise, you know?) They may now have to resort to borrowing with interest, rueing the way money was squandered at the wedding; money that would have come handy now. What if wifey got pregnant within the 1st month but cannot afford to attend antenatal at her choice hospital? What if a Caesarean Section is necessary for delivery of the baby? (Top private hospitals in major cities in Nigeria now charge between half a million to a million naira for C/S). What if they are twins?
‘Oh, if only we had that money now!’
Fine! You are pretty wealthy and can afford to splurge without batting a lash; why not let people who are in need benefit from your largesse instead? Why not donate your wedding gifts to a charity of your choice? Or go for your honeymoon in Makkah and Madina performing Umrah or Hajj? What could be more beautiful that embarking on that lifelong journey of marriage with Ibadah (worship)?
And a note to parents: when we make weddings so expensive, we are inadvertently encouraging our kids to fornication. If we feel they are mature enough for the responsibility (and will they ever mature in our eyes?), we should encourage them to get married.
Let’s worship Allah through our weddings and we will find Him solidly beside us during our marriage in sha Allah. This way, our stories can be told and actually end in ‘…and they lived happily ever after!’
image credit: http://www.ourweddingstorynigeria.com