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By Selma Cook
 
Many young practicing Muslims are opting to get married at a younger age. This is usually done with the intention to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and as a way to help young people ‘lower their gaze’. Such intentions are good but sadly, there is also a lot of divorce happening and so, in order to be wise, we should try to learn some lessons.
 
Often when people get divorced, regardless of how old they are, they tend to blame the ‘other’ party for all or most of the problems. Sessions are spent blaming and retelling stories of who did what to whom and why and how and then what happened and if you listen carefully, you will find that the one who is talking is trying to emerge from all this looking blameless; a victim. He or she might say “I know I did such and such but…….” With that word ‘but’ the person has sought to remove himself or herself from blame and throw the blame onto the other.
 
What happens after all this is that both parties move from one relationship without really having learned much at all. It is really important that we learn from all our experiences in life because if we do not, we will ultimately fall into the same mistakes again. There is an old saying that ‘it takes two to fight;’ likewise, it takes two people to make a marriage work just as it takes two people to make it fail.
 
Having a victim mentality and blaming the other party; not being able to face up to the fact that he did anything wrong, is a sure sign that the next relationship he gets into will be under threat. Here is the point, if a person finds himself ‘just divorced’ chances are he is feeling disillusioned. After all, it is perfectly normal that a person goes into marriage hopeful that he or she will have a loving and happy relationship. If this does not happen all the images he had will crumble and the dreams will disappear and the heart will feel broken. The person may ask himself: Will it ever mend? Will anyone want me after this? Is there something essentially wrong with me?  All these questions and more come to mind and fill the heart with doubt and perhaps even feelings of hopelessness.
 
However, this is where the test is likely to be; realizing one’s own self worth with or without a partner in life. Sometimes we are made to think that we are only half a person if we do not have a partner in life; that we need someone to lean on. Once a person has been divorced it is easy, especially in the early days, to feel quite overcome by self-doubt and feelings of weakness and vulnerability. This may reach the extent that the first person who comes along and shows interest and attraction may fill his heart with strong feelings that can easily be mistaken for love.
 
Imagine a person has not learned any lessons from the first failed relationship; and then he succumbs to depression and anxiety about his future and at last falls head over heals for the first likely spouse-to-be. What kind of skills and resources will he take with him into the next relationship?  Perhaps he will be more defensive, sensitive and anxious when any small problem arises. This is likely to happen because he has not yet faced up to himself; his strengths and weaknesses and his role and responsibility in a relationship.
 
Sometimes it is helpful to look at one’s problems on the larger scale. Keep in mind that each individual is living life on a journey that is ultimately leading to the Hereafter. Remember that every experience we have in life is a means of good for us, as it contains lessons that can turn into wisdom. Marriage is a part of life and something we should aim for but in the process we should not lose sight of our individual role in life; and that we will have to stand alone in front of our Creator one day. Marriage, like anything else in life, is a way to learn, to experience, to know others and to know ourselves. At the same time, our life after marriage is also something to be experienced and learned from.
 
If we can learn to analyze ourselves honestly, admit our defects, work on fixing those weaknesses and continually move forward, divorce, or any other difficulty in life will be an enriching experience that will prompt us to draw closer to Allah the Almighty, seeking His help and guidance. Then, when the time comes to think about getting married again, we will stand firm and confident; not weak and vulnerable. There is no hurry to remarry, but there is no time to spare to strengthen and develop ourselves.  

Relationships