Every person has some idea of their ideal life in mind. Ask a child in school, and even that child will have an idea of the ideal life that he wants to lead. Likewise, even a person opening a business will have an ideal outcome projected. Generate x-amount of income in y-period, thus allowing the business to expand over z-amount of time, and so on.

A place in which everything always unfolds according to the ideal is known as a ‘Utopia’ – and it simply does not exist in this world. Rather, in this world, we will be confronted by the unexpected, surprised by the unpleasant and shocked by the horrific. In mere seconds, a plan painstakingly formulated over years of careful deliberation and pondering can be derailed and rendered useless.

It is ONLY in Jannah that everything will be ideal and perfect, and we will have no unwanted surprises.

Every person, whether consciously or subconsciously, is aware of this reality and thus learns to adapt and compromise as they proceed through life. When the businessman suffers an unexpected loss (e.g. through a certain line not selling), he learns to compensate for it through other avenues (e.g. through increasing sales of another popular product).

In essence, the businessman takes the setback in his stride and learns to do the best that he can under the circumstance. Furthermore, he learns from his mistakes and setbacks, gaining valuable experience that enables him to make better decisions in future. Thus, over time, things will eventually improve and get better.

Marriage is exactly the same. Each spouse has their ideal life mapped out ahead of them – the children, house, grandchildren and so on. However, the reality is that the bed of roses they envision also contains concealed thorns which must be anticipated.

At times, the marriage is beset by financial difficulties, or in-law issues, or misunderstandings, or disobedient children, or illness or any other similar challenge. These challenges were obviously not expected and anticipated. However, the question is how the couple will react and respond when the planned, ideal life goes awry.

An intelligent couple will learn from their mistakes and take the setback in their stride. They will understand that everything in life suffers setbacks, and so they will be determined to ‘make the best of it’ rather than give up.

If the wife upset the husband by making him late, she will learn to be on time in future, and if the husband upset his wife by not informing her that he would not be coming for lunch causing her to prepare the food and wait for him, then he will also learn to be more considerate and inform her of his plans in future. If the wife had a misunderstanding with her sister-in-law, based on something she said that was misconstrued, then she will learn to be more guarded and cautious in her speech in future.

Similarly, if the rosy marriage with the baby carriage which they had planned does not materialize as they had anticipated, they remain positive. They continue trying and turn to Allah Ta‘ala, trusting in Him to make things work out in the end.

Everything in life has hurdles and setbacks, and marriage is no different. If we continue persevering and trying to improve, insha-Allah things will eventually improve and work out.